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 Featured On This Week's Program

Animal Radio® for April 4, 2015  


New Pet Products Showcase

Since 2003, Animal Radio has been showcasing the latest toys, gadgets and technology available for your pet. Our 2015 NEW PET PRODUCT SPECIAL is no different. For the next five weeks we'll feature the latest gadgets as well as cutting-edge technology for your pets. And the best part? We have giveaways for you!

We kick off Week One with Glen Jessup, Trust Fund Pets, a marketing guy that reinvented something for our cats.

Kitty Kush

Kitty Kush CatnipTrust Fund Pets has come up with a different spin on a product that has been around for many years. Catnip is usually sold in little baggies or plastic tubs in leaf or pellet form, but they wanted to find a new and interesting way to deliver it.

Kitty Kush is made up of catnip pellets, all natural from Canada, which have been placed in a grinder. This is similar to a pepper grinder you might have at home. The grinding allows you to release the natural oils on demand from your cat, keeping it fresh. The design also allows you to shake it, making a discerning noise that will get your cats running to it.

What is Catnip?
Catnip is a plant that is part of the mint family and is a delicious treat for your cat. Officially known as Nepeta cataria, catnip features small, lavender-colored flowers with jagged, heart-shaped leaves. Native to Europe and Asia, it is also found growing in North America.

What Does Catnip Do To My Cat?
When your kitty smells or eats catnip, they will have an almost intoxicated demeanor. Although every cat will react differently, catnip can cause a wide range of reactions in felines from sleepy and dopey, to playful and energetic. Catnip is a hallucinogen and will cause behavior often uncharacteristic of your kitty.

Can Catnip Hurt My Cat?
There are no long-lasting or permanent effects caused from ingesting or smelling catnip. In fact, it can be a natural way to get your cat to be more active and help them lose weight. The typical duration of the effects of catnip is 5-15 minutes.

How Much Should I Give My Cat?
We recommend a Quarter-sized portion of Kitty Kush for your cat. Catnip is a treat, and should be used in addition to your cat's current diet. It can also be used to help train your cat to use a new bed or scratching post.

Is Catnip Good For Me Or My Dog?
Catnip is safe for humans and dogs, and will not have the same effect on them as it does cats. There are some that believe that when brewed in a tea, catnip helps to calm those who drink it. (We'll leave that one up to you)

How Long Will Kitty Kush Stay Fresh?
Kitty Kush will stay fresh from start to finish! We have designed a UV protected package, that block out harmful sunlight that can deteriorate the potency over time. We also added a moisture-absorbing desiccant to regulate inside the bottle.

Strangely, Ladybug, the Animal Radio Stunt Dog, loves catnip! When we ground some up, she came running. Dr. Debbie explains that unlike in cats, catnip in dogs can actually make them sedated instead of excited.

Glen and his partner both come from the corporate world background and were looking for something new. Together they decided to come up with new pet inventions and join the multi-billion dollar pet industry.

We feel they hit the mark on their first product, Kitty Kush – our animals love it (both the cats and dog!). They won't tell us their next big idea, but did mention that it was 6 feet tall with lasers - can't wait!

Christina Lindquist, VGL

Christina LindquistChristina Lindquist is a forensic investigator at the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory Forensic Unit (VGL), which is part of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. She uses evidence from animals, usually dogs and cats, to nab the bad guy. You'll hear about a murderer that was busted when he stepped in dog-poop and a rapist that was tied to the crime when a dog urinated on his car tires.

One such example of how animal DNA was used was in the case of 3 carpenters who were murdered in September 2000. They were building a barn in Lakeville, Indiana when they were robbed and shot execution style. There were no witnesses, but there were dogs on the property. During the crime, the criminal had stepped in dog poop and got some on his sneakers. A DNA testing of the criminal's shoes and one of the dogs at the property was a match, proving that he was at the scene of the crime. The criminal was then found guilty for murdering all three men and received a sentence of life in prison.

Another case was solved with dog urine in 1999. A woman, who was the victim of an attempted sexual assault case, was unable to identify her attacker. However, she did remember that her dog lifted his leg on her perpetrator's truck. Through a DNA analysis of the urine from the truck and from her dog, they were able to place the man at the scene of the crime.

Dog in Front of PoliceTapeIn the last fifteen years, the VGL has put away approximately 500 criminals using evidence, which consisted of pet hair, feces, urine, blood and drool. Just like our fingerprints, DNA from animals is unique to a specific animal, whether it is their feces, hair, etc. While this evidence is used in trial, many cases don't even make it that far and end up in a plea bargain, as the evidence is too strong to fight.

With an average of 40 percent of all households owning a pet, we are all walking around with a little bit of animal DNA on us at all times!

Animal Homes
Chris Morgan, Ecologist

Chris MorganImagine if you cross HGTV with Animal Planet. You'll get the new PBS special Animal Homes. Host Chris Morgan joins us and explains how some animals build their homes bigger and better and shinier to attract the opposite sex.

Animals were the first homebuilders and their structures are stunning examples of architecture and even art. Each is built with a purpose, to protect the young, and like us, real estate in the animal kingdom relies on one thing: location.

Animals, like humans, need a place they can call home to provide a safe and stable place to raise a family, but they go about building it in entirely different ways. Whether it is a bird's nest, bear den, beaver lodge or spider web, these are homes of great complexity, constructed from a wide range of natural as well as man-made materials.

Animal Homes, three-part series, investigates just how animals build their remarkable homes around the globe and the intriguing behaviors and social interactions that take place in and around them.

Chris states that when they started filming, they went in thinking one thing and came out thinking something else. He states that animals are incredibly resourceful in their homebuilding. The animals they filmed included everything from birds and mammals to insects.

One home they explore in the series is the pack rat, which surprisingly designs a home much bigger than you would expect a rat to have. They pull in all sorts of things into their homes, and love building large nests and adorning them with shiny objects. A lot of birds do the same thing. The homes go way beyond a practical home to give birth in or lay their eggs and are quite intricate.

Bird's Nest with BlueprintsIn some cases, an animal will build a home or nest to attract a mate. Chris explains that in Episode 3, they had to fly to the France Mediterranean (someone had to!) and went diving to find a male oscillated wrasse, which is a small fish about the size of the palm of your hand. It builds its nest out of algae to attract and impress females. The females will then all line up and look at the nest, and as soon as one female dives in to lay her eggs, the male will then fertilize them. Then the other females think, "Well, if it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me." So they all go in and lay their eggs, which the male will then fertilized as well.

But then the plot thickens. Chris says it becomes, "Sort of an underwater soap opera." If a male is not very good at building a nest, he needs to attract females so he takes on a female body to do it. He will then infiltrate another nest and fertilize some of those eggs. You would expect the male who built the nest to be upset, but since the male entered looking like a female, he has actually attracted other females who think it must be a good nest.

But that's not all. There is also the "sneaky" male. He doesn't cooperate with anyone and just fertilizes the eggs when the other male's backs are turned. Chris sates," It is like an episode of Sopranos – underwater!"

The series delves into not just how an animal builds their homes, but why they build them, where they build them and how they utilize all of the local resources

NATURE'S Animal Homes is a 3-part series airing Wednesdays, April 8 (The Nest), 15 (Location, Location, Location) & 22 (Animal Cities) at 8pm on PBS (check local listings).

"HERO PEOPLE OF THE WEEK" - Kristina Rinaldi - Bringing Animals In From the Cold

Kristina RinaldiKristina M. Rinaldi is the Development Associate at Detroit Dog Rescue. She tells us that this last winter in Detroit was really brutal, and even though it is now Spring, Spring in Detroit can still mean freezing temperatures. This can be especially hard on the animals, both those left outside the family home and strays roaming the streets.

Detroit Dog Rescue works with the community to try and teach them proper pet ownership. But unfortunately they do run across a lot of cases of dogs chained up outside without proper shelter.

On a regular basis, staff members load up donations, which can include food, igloos, proper tie-outs, etc., and actually go out block-by-block helping animals. They also get calls day and night to help out animals in need.

There is also a big stray dog problem in Detroit. Over the years it has been estimated that between 10,000 and upwards to 50,000 stray dogs roam the streets, but no one has been able to gauge and get a real number.

Kristina tells us that there is no shortage of stray dogs that they pick up all of the time. They also get the worst of the worst cases. These include dogs with gunshot wounds or dogs that come from homicide. They also get the dog raid dogs and the dogfighting dogs.

There are a lot of drug dealers in Detroit with these "beefed up" Pit Bulls on large chains and they just have the "gnarliest" look to them. However, Kristina states that when they go into these drug raids, most of these dogs are the nicest dogs that they rescue. Some of them might have a little dog aggression because they've been abused, but they love humans and do make great pets.

As staff members prepare for the next run, they have this word of advice for anyone with a dog, "Please keep your dog inside. The cold weather is brutal on animals. We find more than most times, these dogs don't survive."

As the rescue calls increase, staff members say they need your help to make this mission work. You can donate to them by going to their website, and they will use that money to buy hay, dog houses, bedding, and food.

Thinking Globally. Acting Locally. Do you know someone that should be nominated for our Hero Person of the Week? Send us an email to:

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Dr. Debbie WhiteMultiple Cats, Stress & Illness - Dr. Debbie

Caring for one cat is easy. Adding a second or third doesn't take much more work. But how many cats are too many? As the number of cats in a home increase, there is greater risk of behavior and health disorders - partly due to higher stress. Problem behaviors like hissing, chasing and soiling outside the litter box are more common in multi-cat homes. But environmental stress contributes to medical disorders too. That's right - stress will make your cat sick.

Defining Feline Stress
Crowding within a home zone creates psychological stress for cats. Cats are social creatures, but don't form social structures like dogs or people. They require room to be away from fellow cats and retreat to their own space. But just having more square footage isn't enough. Cats require a multi-dimensional environment with vertical perching sites and hiding spots.

Household activity, changes in the home and the presence of outdoor cats nearby can rile up your cat's stress level. It's easy for cat owners to fail to detect clues of cat stress in the multi-cat household. A majority of cat communication is nonverbal, so even if you don't hear growling or hissing, your cats can be stressed out.

Even mealtime can be stressful. A study of feral cats has shown that cats hunt and eat their prey preferably away from other cats. Feral cats eat up to 10 to 20 times throughout the daytime and night. So kibble offered to pet cats in a large communal bowl once to two times a day is contrary to innate kitty dining behaviors.

Multiple CatsCat Stress=Sickness
Just as in people, the mind-body connection is at work in cats too. Higher stress results in higher levels of compounds that result in bodily inflammation and suppress immune responses.

Feline interstitial cystitis, also referred to as feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), is an inflammatory problem of the bladder typified by frequent urinations, straining to urinate, and bloody colored urine. The cause of FIC isn't completely known, but stress is believed to contribute to its development. Cat owners are shocked to learn that those bloody urine accidents may have nothing to do with bacteria, and everything to do with stress.

Other stress related health problems include excess grooming behaviors, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and obesity. Cats in high-density living situations may be prone to upper respiratory outbreaks even if residing solely indoors. Stress and an indoor lifestyle have also been implicated in contributing to obesity, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and dental disease.

What to Do
It's not that you can't have multiple cats, but you need ensure you can provide the environment for more cats. Consider the feline perspective with living space, feeding, and interaction with other animals and people.

Add cats to the home that share similar personalities. A rowdy cat gets along best with other rowdy cats. A timid cat may be stressed out and fail to thrive in a home where fellow cats are outgoing or rambunctious cats.

Work toward household harmony by following the basic guidelines in resources. Provide ample resources to avoid competition, and therefore stress. Provide one more resource than the number of cats in the home. For two cats you should have three litter boxes and three feeding/watering sites.

Vertical height equals safety to cats, so provide ample perching sites for cats, such as cat trees and window perches. Stick to the rule for one more perching site than kitty in the home. Provide hiding spots like paper bags or cardboard boxes.

Promptly address feline behavior problems when they arise by consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist.

For more information on enriching your indoor cat's environment, visit the Indoor Pet Initiative. This resource is provided by the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Featured veterinarian known as "Dr. Debbie" on national pet radio program, Animal Radio. Ebook author of "Yorkshire Terriers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Pugs: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Mini Schnauzers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; and "Shih Tzu: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend."


It's a Wacky Wednesday Here at the Animal Radio® Studios

WackyWed Contest IS ON - LIKE your FAVORITE pic and the three pics with the most LIKES & SHARES are this week's winner will receive a Pet Frisbee from Wham-O Pets.

Wham-O Pet FrisbeeTO ENTER Send us your FUNNY pet pic to - (Please put WACKYWED in the subject line & give us your pet's name, your name & where you hail from) If YOUR pic is chosen then spread the word to your friends & family on Wednesday - the pics w/the most LIKES and SHARES will be the winner!

This week we are giving away a Pet Frisbee from Wham-O Pets which is not your ordinary flying piece of plastic, but instead this 9in. soft rubber disc features raised Bone-Tec patterning, which adds dimensionality to a product and provides tooth grip and chew feel.

Wham-O Pets knows that a red plastic Frisbee flying onto green grass appears all grey to our canine companions. However, using new revolutionary scientific research, the Wham-O Pet Frisbee and Tug Toys collection are designed with these findings in mind, and are exclusively made in blue and yellow.

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Join Animal Radio® on Facebook for Wacky Wednesday! Win great prizes every week for your wacky pet pictures. Last month we gave out goodies from Diamond Wipes, Gibi, Sturdi Products, Pet Acoustics and more. Visit us on Facebook now.

Tammy TrujilloAnimal Radio® News - Tammy Trujillo

Could Your Child Be Allergic To Your Pet's Food?
This makes sense, but it really hasn't been examined that much till now. If a food that your child is allergic to is also in your pet's food that could be a problem. A new study by a company called Sylvana Research was prompted by the case of a young boy in California who had a peanut allergy. He broke out in hives after his puppy, which had just eaten a peanut flavored snack bone, licked him. It means that many kids who are thought to be allergic to dogs and cats might actually have been allergic to what the animals have been eating. Parents of kids with food allergies need to double-check the ingredients on pet food labels as well.

Would You Adopt Justin Bieber? How About Kim Kardashian?
One rescue group is hoping at least the idea of these names will get your attention. Dallas Pets Alive has started naming their animals with popular online search terms, things like Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, Miley Cyrus Twerking, Obamacare, Left Shark or even Photoshopped Bieber. The idea is to increase the animal's exposure by having them pop up more often in trending news feeds. We'll see how it works, after all, you don't have to end up living with Kim Kardashian's butt, and you can always rename the pet after you get him or her home.

Burberry and IanPolice Go To Wrong House and Shoot Dog
Ian Anderson of San Diego is demanding police take responsibility for a mistake that cost his service dog his life. Anderson woke up to police pounding on his door early on a Sunday morning. His 6-year-old Pit Bull Burberry barked until Anderson opened the door. One of the officers is seen on a surveillance video petting the dog. When Burberry goes over to the other officer, he backs away with his gun drawn and then, out of video range, he allegedly shoots Burberry in the head. Anderson says the officer restrained him as he tried to get to Burberry after she was shot. Anderson says Burberry was a registered service dog, helping him deal with anxiety and depression, and visited with children with Down syndrome and autism. The San Diego Police Department says it is investigating, but Anderson says officers went to the wrong house number. He's now circulating a petition requiring officers to take a mandatory training course to teach them when it's appropriate to use force on dogs, similar to Colorado's Dog Protection Act. He's also set up a Facebook page for Burberry.

Dog Kssing WomanKiss Your Dog - It's Healthy for You!
After several studies saying that kissing your dog could expose you to some unhealthy things comes a study that says - Go ahead and kiss that dog! The study was done at the University of Arizona and researchers think that the microbes contained in a dog's gut could have a probiotic effect on the human body, encouraging the growth of positive microorganisms. They're now getting ready to start trials to prove their theory. They actually think that all the interaction through the centuries between people and dogs may have caused something mutually beneficial to happen. The study is being conducted under the university's new Human-Animal Interaction Research Initiative. It works to bring researchers from different areas of expertise together, to explore the mutual benefits of human-animal relationships.

Dog Meat FarmDogs Rescued From Dog Meat Farm
A hundred dogs arrived in California's Bay area a few weeks ago, saved from an unspeakable fate in South Korea. They were rescued from a dog meat farm by the Humane Society International, which then shut down the farm and got the owner to start planting crops instead of raising dogs. HSI is also working with other dog farmers who agree to get out of the dog meat trade permanently and transition into trades like crop growing. This first group of rescued dogs have been evaluated and treated for medical issues and are now with various shelters and available for adoption and a chance to start their new lives.

Is Dog Renting A Good Idea?
Some people don't have the time needed to devote to a pet, while other people may live in a small apartment. But they still would love to have a pet. In Tokyo, they've come up with an idea called Dog Heart where you can actually rent a dog for a few hours. You can just hang out at their facility or take the dog out for a walk around the neighborhood or maybe to the park. It doesn't cost much. A half-hour of playtime costs about $8 and taking the dog for a walk for an hour runs about $30. It's becoming very popular. But the Japanese Coalition for Animal Welfare has some worries. It says the animals could suffer stress from being handed off from person to person. The owner of the company says the animals are selected primarily for how friendly they are and how much the like to interact with people.

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