Animal Radio® Network Newsletter June 2009

In this issue:

  • Doc Halligan Top 20 No-no List
  • Chef Klecko baked for Presidents and Celebrities and is now baking for your dog!
  • Dying woman gets 20 tattoos of her animals
  • Why does your vet immediately "Flip the Lip?"
  • Benji or Lassie - who would you choose?
  • Win a great prize pack from Disney/Pixar's  3-D™ UP
  • NBC 30 Rock's Friedlander tells Animal Radio® he'd get a pet-dragon if he could?

20 Foods You Should Never Feed Your Pets by Doc Halligan

Admit it, we all do it.  We feed our animals table scraps and handouts of whatever we might be eating at the time.  While we don't mean any harm, and it is hard to ignore those "puppy eyes," you can actually be causing harm to your pet.  While it is okay to occasionally give your animal people food, you might be surprised by some of the items on the following list that they should NEVER eat!


1. Ham

Ham and other fatty meats are high in fat, which can lead to a life-threatening pancreatitis. In addition to being high in fat, these foods are very salty and can cause serious stomach upset if eaten by your cats or dogs. Furthermore, large breeds of dogs that eat salty food may drink too much water and develop a potentially fatal condition called bloat. The stomach fills up with gas and within several hours may twist on itself, causing the animal to die. So avoid giving ham and/or rich/salty meats to your pets.

2. Bones

Bones are very dangerous for animals. Every year thousands of animals end up in the emergency room from eating bones, usually given by their owners as a treat. The fact is that dogs are omnivores, not carnivores. Most dogs and cats can’t tolerate bones, since they can splinter or lodge in the intestinal tract with disastrous results, usually requiring surgery.

Bones can also get stuck in your pet’s mouth or throat, which is just as dangerous. Bones of all kinds are bad; this includes pork, chicken, and beef. So the next time you feel the urge to give your dog a bone, just make sure it’s a Milk-Bone™ or a Nylabone™. Your pet will love you for it.

3. Chocolate

A potential lethal dose of chocolate for a 16-pound animal is only two ounces of baker’s chocolate or 16 ounces of milk chocolate. Chocolate contains theobromine, which causes increased heart rate, central nervous system stimulation, and constriction of arteries in pets. Clinical symptoms range from vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, and excitability to cardiac failure, seizures, and death. A serious reaction can occur as quickly as four to six hours after ingestion.

4. Raisins/Grapes

A recent study found that raisins and grapes can lead to gastrointestinal signs like vomiting and diarrhea to life-threatening kidney failure, which starts in about 24 hours after ingestion. Small dogs can also choke on grapes, so it’s best to make sure that you provide your pets with a well-balanced diet that’s formulated for their life stage.

5. Potato Peel

Potato peels contain oxalates, which adversely affect pets’ digestive, nervous, and urinary tract systems. Symptoms include lethargy, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.

6. Apple Core/Apricot Pits

The pits and cores of these delicious fruits contain cyanogenic glycosides, which, when eaten by cats or dogs, may result in cyanide poisoning. Signs of toxicity include salivation, apprehension, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, dizziness, collapse, coma, seizures, hyperventilation, and shock.

7. Alcohol

It doesn’t take much alcohol to intoxicate a pet. Animals will stagger and bump into things, hurting themselves; alcohol also causes them to urinate uncontrollably. In high doses, it will suppress the central nervous, respiratory, and cardiac systems, and can even lead to death. It’s best to just give your pet water.

8. Moldy Foods

Dogs and cats get food poisoning, like humans, and actually die from eating moldy or spoiled food, which can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, shaking, and seizures. Garbage gut is definitely dangerous, so don’t feed anything you wouldn’t eat to your pets.

9. Avocado

First, avocados are high in fat and can cause your pet stomach upset, vomiting, and even pancreatitis. Second, the pit, besides being toxic, can get lodged in your pet’s intestinal tract, leading to a severe blockage that may require surgery. Symptoms of toxicity include difficulty breathing, abdominal enlargement, and abnormal fluid accumulation in the chest and abdomen.

10. Caffeine

Refrain from giving your pets coffee, as caffeine is unsafe for them. It contains methylated xanthine, like chocolate, that stimulates the central nervous and cardiac systems and, within several hours, causes vomiting, restlessness, heart palpitations, and even death. So make sure your pets stay away from that early morning brew.

11. Mushrooms

Mushroom toxicity can be fatal if certain species of mushrooms are ingested. These can contain toxins that may affect multiple systems in your pet’s body leading to shock and eventually death. Clinical signs include abdominal pain, seizures, hallucinations, depression, vomiting, and diarrhea.

12. Tuna

A cat’s heart muscle requires an amino acid called taurine to maintain normal strength and function. Canned tuna fish does not have this amino acid, and cats that eat too much tuna fish will develop heart problems. If you want to give your cats the taste of tuna that they love, just make sure it’s tuna fish for cats, which has the amino acid taurine added.

13. Liver

Eating large amounts of liver can cause vitamin A toxicity, which severely affects muscles and bones. Hypervitaminosis A causes severe changes including constipation, deformed bones, weight loss, anorexia, and neck, joint, or spine stiffness due to excessive bone growth on the elbows and spine.

14. Fat

A pet’s consumption of fat trimmings can cause pancreatitis, which leads to vomiting and diarrhea. Pets with pancreatitis are usually lethargic with severe stomach pain, and often become dehydrated. If left untreated, the condition can be fatal.

15. Dough

If ingested, yeast dough will expand in a pet’s stomach or intestines and produce large amounts of gas in the digestive system, causing severe pain and even rupture of the stomach or intestines. Secondly, as the dough ferments it produces alcohol, which can be toxic as well. Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal discomfort, lethargy, or depression.

16. Milk/Cheese

Many pets are lactose-intolerant and develop diarrhea when drinking milk. Pets lack the enzyme that’s required to break down milk sugar, and this causes them to develop vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Even though your pets like it and were nursed as infants on their mother’s milk, refrain from giving them milk. Cheese, even in small amounts, is too high in fat and can lead to a life-threatening pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

17. Macadamia nuts

These tasty nuts contain an unknown toxin that can seriously affect a pet’s digestive tract, nervous system, and skeletal muscles. Clinical signs include vomiting weakness, depression, diarrhea, panting, difficulty walking, and muscle tremors. Dogs have become violently ill from ingesting as few as six macadamia nuts.

18. Onions/Garlic

Onions and garlic contain toxic ingredients that can damage pets’ red blood cells and cause fatal consequences. Pets may develop vomiting and diarrhea, which may progress to anemia, weakness, and labored breathing. Onions, either raw or cooked, are more dangerous; a cat or dog can be seriously harmed by only a small amount. Garlic is less toxic, as pets need to ingest large amounts to cause illness.

19. Tobacco

Tobacco contains nicotine, which rapidly affects the digestive and nervous systems of pets. This may lead to salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, shallow breathing, rapid heartbeat, collapse, coma, and even death.

20. Rhubarb and Tomato leaves/ stems

These plants contain oxalates, which adversely affect multiple systems including the digestive, nervous, and urinary tract systems. Pets will experience vomiting, diarrhea, labored breathing, abdominal cramps, weakness, convulsions, muscle twitching, and seizures from ingesting these.

Get more information at


Get Your Licks on Route 66 - The Cross-Country Adoption Tour kicks-off in L.A.

Susan Sims, Fido Friendly Magazine

Fido Friendly Magazine and North Shore Animal League America bring you “Get Your Licks on Route 66.”  The cross-country adoption tour kicks off June 6th in Pico Rivera, California. If you live in the LA area, come join us June 6th as Animal Radio® broadcasts between 1-3pm.

Look for the mobile adoption unit and Alpha-dog broadcast vehicle at Wal-Mart, 8500 Washington Blvd. Pico Rivera.

The 36’ mobile adoption unit will travel the length of Route 66—through CA, AZ, NM, TX, OK, KS, MO, and IL—with a culmination event in Chicago, IL in early July.  A wrap party hosted by supporting sponsor, Bissell, in Grand Rapids, MI will follow the Tour.    
The Get Your Licks on Route 66 Tour will raise awareness of shelter adoptions, promote its mission to save lives, and generate significant awareness of Sponsors—and their commitment to this mission.
With the support of North Shore Animal League America’s shelter partners, the Tour will make approximately 18 stops along the route.

Fido Friendly Magazine will be taking pictures of everyone who adopts a dog and one lucky person will be selected to have their picture on the cover of Fido Friendly Magazine. 

The tour is sponsored by Presenting Sponsor Purina and One Hope Network and supporting sponsors Bissell, 3M Toyota, LaQuinta and Animal Radio.

The entire tour will be broadcast live every weekend on Animal Radio®. Check out to follow the tour and find out when it might be coming to a town near you!

Listen to Susan Sims on Animal Radio®


Dying Woman Gets Tattoos of 20 Pets to 'Take to the Grave'


A terminally ill woman is having the faces of all her 20 pets tattooed on her body, so she can take them with her when she dies.

Jayne Jubb, 47, who shares her home with all the animals, including raccoons, a piranha, snake and a fox, has already had half of them drawn across her neck, arms and back.

She is now hoping to get an iguana tattooed on her neck and still find space for her pet snake, dogs and cockatiels. "When I was diagnosed with lung cancer and told I didn't have long to live I knew it would be my animals I'd miss the most," she said.

"So I came up with the idea of getting all the animals tattooed over my body.

"My husband thought I was a bit crazy at first but I've always liked tattoos and this seemed like a good way of keeping my pets with me forever."

Mrs Jubb, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in April 2007 and told she had between 18 months and three years to live, has always been passionate about animals.

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She became even more "animal crazy" after working at the Exotic Pet Refuge in Peterborough, Cambs, and then left to create a wildlife sanctuary with husband Alan, 50.

But she became too ill to run the business and instead the couple now take in sick and rescue centre animals.

Their menagerie includes two raccoons, a blind fox, four dogs, nine cats, a snake, a piranha and two cockatiels.

They have also fostered an iguana, llamas and more than 100 cats.

"I've always loved animals and been taking them in most of my life. It's my pets that make me get up in the morning," she said.

"The fox and raccoons live in a pen in the garden, but inside our farmhouse you can't move without tripping over a dog or ducking as a cockatiel whizzes past.

"But it's worth it as they make me happy."

Mrs Jubb has already had four raccoons tattooed across her back – a painful procedure which took six hours.

She then had their blind fox tattooed on her lower back, her cats and some meerkats on her right arm and a fruit bat on her left arm.

"All the tattoos have been done from photos of my animals," she said.

"I still have one more cat to squeeze in somewhere, and all the dogs, the snake and some llamas and an iguana we cared for.

"I don't know how long I've got left but this means I'll always have my animals with me no matter what."

Mrs Jubb has now stopped treatment for the cancer and is just on pain relief.

"I'd rather have quality of life than quantity of life and I want to have the summer with my animals," she added.

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Animal Radio® Launches Animal Welfare Education Funds
Animal Radio® and Animal Radio Network are proud to launch Animal Radio® Charities' Animal Welfare Education Funds (AWEF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that fosters animal welfare education in broadcast media.

AWEF assists educators with efforts that enrich the lives of animals, with strong emphasis on correcting behavioral and medical issues, spaying, neutering, population control and enhancing the connection with our pets.

AWEF provides grants and resources for smaller and under-funded projects that reach large numbers of people through TV, radio, print, online and other broadcast media.

AWEF offers low-income pet-guardians a toll-free phone consultation with a board certified veterinarian or behaviorist.

AWEF presents educational events with a thrust towards preventing surrenders and increasing the bond between human and animal.

If you're reading this newsletter, you know how important education is for the welfare of our furry-friends. Learn more at:


Flipping the Lip - Dr. Marty Becker

Dr. Marty Becker says what you want is "The whole tooth and nothing but the tooth." This includes flipping the lip!

Why is the done? To see if there is any periodontal disease going on. Tooth plaque is not an award! Periodontal disease is the number one health problem in pets and 80% of cats and dogs suffer from some degree of periodontal disease by the age of three.

In the early stages, it is easy to overlook the bad breath, the discolored teeth and the red gums. But, as it progresses, it is not just a nuisance. Its not just doggy breath in a dog or tuna breath in a cat, but studies show that with advanced periodontal disease there is damage to the major organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver, even respiratory disease. It is a serious health problem.

Dental disease is also painful to pets. Their teeth are not just for chewing and they are not just cosmetic (like people who like to get their teeth bleached!). They function as their hands. This is how they pick things up and carry things. Their teeth also help hold their tongue in place when they pant. Their teeth serve several different functions. They need healthy teeth and gums!

When you have periodontal disease, as a dog chews and the tooth wiggles, the bacteria works itself into the blood stream, doing major damage to the kidneys, liver, the heart and may even result in respiratory problems.

Some signs of periodontal disease you can look for are loose teeth and bleeding from the mouth, blood on their toys, they suddenly pull away when you touch their mouth, their appetite has changed, they drool excessively or drop their food and excessively foul breath.

Dr. Becker says that there are two things to the furry fountain of youth. The two things you can do: 1. Keep your pet close to their ideal body weight (which is what they weighed at about one year of age) 2. Have good oral health. Each one of these can add about 15% to a dog or cat’s life, which is an average of two years. You can add about 4 years to your pet’s life by keep them at an ideal weight with good oral health.

For your pet’s teeth, you need to do some kind of daily oral care. Even though Dr. Becker recommends this to all of his clients, only about 20% of them actually brush their pet’s teeth. Dr. Becker states that he brushes his dog’s teeth everyday, but admits that he doesn’t do this with his cats. When brushing their teeth, you need to use special toothpaste just for animals, which comes in many flavors such as salmon, chicken or beef. You also need to use a pet toothbrush. There are also special dental diets available such as edible toothbrushes, oral gels and dental treats. And now, there is even a dental vaccine by Pfizer called a Porphyromonas.

Dental disease is worse in small dogs. This is because their teeth are closer together and the saliva doesn’t flow as easily, so they can’t clean the teeth as well. Also, the bone that holds the teeth is thinner and they live longer.

So let’s stop the periodontal disease in our pets and get out there and brush their teeth!

Listen to Dr. Becker on Animal Radio®



On Animal Radio® this month

For nearly 30 years Master Baker Klecko has been feeding the people of the Twin Cities.   During his career, he has baked for numerous presidents, rock stars, professional athletes and even a munchkin from Oz.  Klecko once cooked for Aerosmith where he sent blueberry pies out to the group.   He states that Steven Tyler is a former baker himself, and was very specific on how exactly that blueberry pie had to be made!  When President Reagan and Gorbachev were at the summit in the twin cities, Klecko made “bread of peace.” Klecko likes to say that he ended the cold war with his sourdough loaf!

Judah Friedlander, Frank on NBC's 30 Rock, prefers to be addressed as “Champion of the World.”  Judah tells us that while his career keeps him from getting a dog, he is a ‘dog-person,’ but that if he could have an animal, he would probably get a dragon and then practice karate with him every day!  Come out and support Judah, and all of the other comedians, at a comic benefit to help the non-profit Funny for Fido charity on Wednesday, June 3rd at 8:00pm at Carolines on Broadway located at 1626 Broadway, New York, New York, to benefit a group of no-kill animal rescue organizations.

Richard Conniff states that if there was an ad placed for his job, it would read something like this:  HELP WANTED:  Writer to visit the wildest places on Earth and get close to strange and often dangerous animals.  You will never have to wear a business suit and Human Resources will not know your identity.  Death benefits not included.   Not many people would apply, but this is right up Richard's ally.  In fact, he has written a book about his job and the dumb things has has done with wild and dangerous animals called Swimming with Piranhas At Feeding Time


HOW TO LISTEN to Animal Radio®:

-XM Satellite Radio ch. 158 Saturdays at Noon eastern - and again on Sundays at 5pm eastern.

-On any of the 90+ AM-FM Radio Stations including KOST 103.5 Los Angeles.

-Download the weekly two-hour Podcast from iTunes or



Benji or Lassie?

Vinnie Penn, Animal Radio's Resident Party Animal

Drunken Fight over Benji & Lassie  

I’m back with another Party Segment.  Despite all of your email, I have not been cancelled.

That’s a joke!  Nobody’s been emailing about getting me cancelled or kicked off the air!

I had an interesting drunken fight the other night, believe it or not.  A girl I went to grammar school with and have known since the sixth grade (now our kids are in the same class together) and we were talking about what fans we were of Benji when we were young back in the 70’s.  The Benji movies – you all must remember them?

And her husband, who up until this point seemed like a pretty good guy, all of a sudden turned it into a Rolling Stones vs. the Beatles thing.  It was like, “Lassie this,” and “Lassie that.”  And I was like,  “Bro, whoa, whoa, we’re talking about Benji here.  No need to bring up that corny collie.”

Next thing you know, it was Benji vs. Lassie.  How Lassie always knew how to communicate and get Timmy.  Why was Timmy always in trouble?  Why was Timmy always falling down a well and letting tree branches fall on him Timmy was just a little too needy!

Now Benji, he stopped bank robberies.  Benji kind of ran on his own.  He was a lone dog.

Yes, it was pathetic.  It really was kind of pathetic that we could get into a Benji vs. Lassie argument! 

Maybe you’d like to chime in.  Drop me a line at  I say I won that argument.  I’m going to check with Maria to see if her husband is still pissed!  He looked like he was going to punch me at one point!

Listen to Vinnie Penn on Animal Radio®


If you're in over your head with credit card debt and you don't want to declare bankruptcy, call Debt Settlement USA for a free consultation. They can help you. They're a sponsor of Animal Radio® and they've helped lots of listeners like you get out of debt. 1-888-551-7788


Disney Pixar “Up" The Must-See Comedy for Everyone this Summer!

Animal Radio® has teamed up with Disney/Pixar to celebrate the kick-off of “Up.”

Up is a comedy adventure about 78-year-old balloon salesman, Carl Fredricksen (Animal Radio® friend Ed Asner), who finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America.  But he discovers all too late that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: an overly optimistic 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell.  Up will be presented in Disney Digital 3’D in select theaters.

Cast and characters:

* Edward Asner as Carl Fredricksen.
* Jordan Nagai as Russell, Wilderness Explorer stowaway on Carl's flying house

* Bob Peterson as Dug, a dog with a collar that translates his thoughts into comical-sounding English
* Kevin, a large tropical bird. Russell gives the bird a male name although Kevin is actually a girl
* Christopher Plummer as Charles F. Muntz, the villain
* Delroy Lindo as Beta, Muntz's talking Rottweiler
* Jerome Ranft as Gamma, Muntz's talking Bulldog
* John Ratzenberger as Tom, a construction worker
* Elizabeth "Ellie" Docter as Young Ellie, Carl's late wife (as a child)

Tune in to win a great prize pack from Disney/Pixar's first film in Disney Digital  3-D™, UP!  UP opens nationwide on May 29th - but you can take home the adventure now. Select Animal Radio® callers will receive the Tag™ Reading System and Up storybook plus a movie hat, t-shirt and mini poster. Give reading skills a lift with this LeapFrog® Tag™ storybook featuring Carl, Russell and friends from Up! Kids can use the Tag Reading System to bring words and pictures in the book to life, then play learning activities that help build vocabulary and reading comprehension skills! Learn more about the movie at


If you could feed your dog the best - this is the food you would feed your furry-friend.

Official food of Animal Radio's Ladybug!


Judah Friedlander, 30 Rock –  Funny For Fido

The goofy-looking writer (Frank) on NBC’s smash-hit 30 Rock has a heart for the furry. 

Friedlander, who prefers to be addressed as “Champion of the World,” tells us that his career keeps him from getting a dog, although he is a ‘dog-person.’

He’s headlining a multi-comic benefit to help the non-profit Funny for Fido charity started by fellow-comedian Justin Silver.  Funny for Fido will be held Wednesday, June 3rd at 8:00pm at Caroline's on Broadway located at 1626 Broadway, New York, New York.  It is an annual stand-up comedy event that brings together the country’s most talented comedians to raise money and awareness for abused and neglected animals.  It benefits a group of no-kill animal rescue organizations. 

Friedlander says he’s Twittering, and defends it fiercely; “If any hot chicks want to stalk me…you can Twitter me…or come see me at Caroline’s this Wednesday.”  Tickets for the event are available from

While Judah Friedlander currently doesn’t have any animals, he states that if he could have an animal, he would probably get a dragon and then practice karate with him every day!

Listen to Judah Friedlander on Animal Radio®


Doing Dumb Stuff with Animals

Richard Conniff – Swimming With Piranhas At Feeding Time

Richard Conniff, who has made a thrilling foray into the animal kingdom, has written a book about his adventure-packed journey.  But, some of the things he has done and written about weren’t necessarily the smartest things someone should do with animals! 

He said that if there was a job listing for his position, it would read something like this:

HELP WANTED:  Writer to visit the wildest places on Earth and get close to strange and often dangerous animals.  You will never have to wear a business suit and Human Resources will not know your identity.  Death benefits not included.

One of the dumb things Richard did was to jump into a tank containing Piranhas.  Expecting them to attack, he was surprised when they swam to the other side of the tank and cowered because he didn’t look like the food they were used to eating.  It all started when he wondered how the Piranha got a ferocious reputation.  He said it was due to Teddy Roosevelt who made a trip to Brazil in 1913 and wanted a wild tropic experience.  Teddy thought that the Piranha was that incarnate.  So he created the myth that a Piranha will strip you to the bone if you put your foot in the water – which is not true!

He also sat down with African wild dogs and let them sniff his neck to test the idea that they are vicious man-eaters.   And one time he stuck his hand in a fire ant mound.

Richard Conniff is a Guggenheim Fellow and winner of the National Magazine Award.  He also writes for the Smithsonian and National Geographic. He has to be one of the most entertaining 6 minutes on Animal Radio® with more information than you might want to know!

Listen to Richard Conniff on Animal Radio®



Summer Safety For Your Pet


Summer is here and that means fun in the sun for us and our four-legged family members. While long days spent frolicking outdoors creates priceless memories, it can also pose hidden dangers to your pet. By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure your pet enjoys summer safely.

Keep your dog hydrated

Pets that play or spend time outdoors in the heat need to drink plenty of water. A dog or cat that becomes five percent dehydrated will develop early signs of heat stress while a pet that experiences ten percent dehydration will be severely ill. To avoid dehydration, always carry fresh water with you and offer it to your pet at least every thirty minutes. There are many styles of portable dog bowls that are convenient to carry. Under normal circumstances, most pet swill drink about an ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. In hot and humid conditions, your pet may need three to four times this amount.

Pets can get sunburned

Dogs and cats are susceptible to the same damage from ultraviolet rays that humans are. This is especially true in white or light-colored pets and areas of the body that are thinly haired, such as the nose, face, and ears and in breeds with little hair such as Shar Pei's and Chinese Crested hairless dogs. Dog sun suits, visors, and hats can protect at-risk dogs. They come in a variety of designs, colors and materials to suit an individual's preference. Look for a suit that is at least 30+ UPF with 50+ UPF ideal.

The eyes and nose of dogs and cats are highly susceptible to damage from the sun's rays because they are typically lightly pigmented and frequently exposed to direct sunlight. I recommend using a children's sunscreen that contains avobenzone (also called Parsol 1789), which is a UVA blocker, and octisalate, which blocks UVB rays. Avoid sunscreens that contain zinc oxide because accidental ingestion could lead to a serious condition called hemolytic anemia in some pets.

Chill out when it gets too hot

The amount of time a dog can exercise in the heat is dependent on several factors: the acclimatization of the dog (how long and frequently it has been exposed to hot temperatures), its current fitness levels (lean, fitter dogs can endure high temperatures longer than out-of-shape, overweight dogs) and hydration status.

In general, once it gets above 85 degrees, dog owners should use caution when exercising their dog outdoors. For most dogs, moderate activity for thirty minutes is safe. When temps exceed 95 degrees, it's probably best for both of you to skip the outdoor workout until it cools down. During the summer months, try to walk or jog in the early morning or evenings or seek shady trails.

If your dog begins to have rapid or labored breathing, begins to resist walking or acts depressed, your dog may be overheating. In these cases, stop, rest, and rehydrate. This doesn't mean you should cease exercising just because your dog is panting; you need to closely watch your pet to determine if the panting is excessive or abnormal. If in doubt, take a break and cool down.

Water safety

Many pet owners enjoy taking their pet to the beach for a dip or for a ride in their boat. These activities are great ways to bond with your furry friends and I encourage people to include their pet in outdoor fun. Whenever your pet is on a boat, I strongly advise you to use a pet floatation device. Purchase one with a large, convenient handle that allows you to safely retrieve or assist your pet should it fall overboard or tire from swimming. It can get hot wearing a life vest, so be sure to provide shade and plenty of water during your trip.

Dogs often ingest water when their swimming. If they drink seawater, they will often develop vomiting or diarrhea. Most cases will resolve quickly but if your pet continues to experience GI upset for more than 24 hours, seek medical attention. Another potential threat is drinking contaminated water. There are many water-borne parasites and infections that you and your dog can contract from ponds and lakes. Always verify that the water you intend to swim in is safe. Don't allow your dog to go into any body of water you aren't certain is safe. In addition to microscopic predators, our areas' ponds are also home to alligators, cottonmouths (also known as water moccasins) and venomous insects.

After you enjoy a day cooling off in your favorite watering hole, rinse your dog's coat with plenty of clean, fresh water and a hypoallergenic pet shampoo. Clean and dry the ears with an ear cleaning solution that contains an astringent or drying agent. Many cases of ear infections are caused by allowing moisture to remain in the ears after swimming or bathing.

Thunderstorms and fireworks

Summertime also means frequent afternoon thunderstorms and holiday fireworks. Many pets are frightened of loud noises and these events trigger severe anxiety and stress. If your pet becomes destructive or behaves abnormally in response to loud noises, there is help. In addition to great pharmacologic treatments to help relax your pet during these stressful times, there are non-prescription remedies that may help.

Gradual desensitization using storm recordings work remarkably well for most pets. Rescue Remedy, valerian, melatonin, dog-appeasing pheromone (DAP), and other natural products may also help some dogs and cats. Talk with your veterinarian about how to calm your best buddy with a storm problem. There's no reason anyone should have to cower in a closet or destroy the furniture to get relief.

Heartworms, fleas, and ticks

Finally, warm weather brings out the pests. Every dog and cat in our area should be on heartworm preventive year-round. Heartworm disease is fatal if untreated in dogs and there is no treatment for cats. In addition to heartworm preventive, most pets require a flea preventive, especially during warmer months. There are several choices, including newer, more eco-friendly options this year. Many newer heartworm preventives also contain a flea preventive. Talk with your veterinarian about the safest and most effective flea preventive for your pet.

Pets that live in wooded areas often are exposed to disease-carrying ticks. Many flea preventives will also protect against ticks. One mosquito, flea, or tick bite is too many for any pet. Don't risk your pet's health (and your money) by allowing your pet to be at risk. Today's preventives are highly efficacious and extremely safe.

Summer is a great time of year for people and pets. The activities you share with your pets this season will last a lifetime. Be smart, safe, and break a sweat!

Ernest E. Ward, Jr., DVM is the owner and chief-of-staff of Seaside Animal Care, a nationally recognized award-winning small animal practice. Dr. Ward is the current veterinarian for the Rachael Ray Show and is a spokesperson for Rachael's Rescue. He has been featured on NBC Nightly News, Animal Planet, CNN, Animal Radio and numerous television and radio talk-shows around the country.

Animal Radio's Dream Team of ExpertsListen to Animal Radio® every weekend on 90+ AM-FM stations. Click for airtimes in your city. Animal Radio® also airs twice weekly on XM Satellite Radio channel 158.

We're live Saturday 12 noon eastern and re-broadcast Sunday 5pm eastern. You may call our Dream Team to ask your pet-related questions - toll free at 1-866-405-8405. You may also find emails for everyone at

Animal Radio's Dream Team: Executive Producer Judy Francis, Host Hal Abrams, Vladae the World Famous Dog Wizard, Animal Radio® Vet Dr. Debbie White, Animal Communicator Joy Turner, Comedian Vinnie Penn, Musician Britt Savage, Dr. Jim Humphries, Animal Radio® News Dir. Bobbie Hill and Fido Friendly's Susan Sims.

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