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 Featured On This Week's Program

Animal Radio® for August 16, 2014  

Pet Care Tips From Nose to Tail
Dr. Marty Becker, America's Veterinarian

Marty BeckerDr. Marty Becker, America's Veterinarian is back once again to give us some great pet tips, which includes everything for your pet, from nose to tail!

Dental Care
Dr. Becker says literally no one is going to brush their pet's teeth on a regular basis, even though you should. So, you need to use some kind of daily oral care that's typically in the form of an edible toothbrush. His three favorites are: Greenies, which can be a little pricey and dogs consume them very very quickly; Milk Bone's new Brushing Chews (not the other Milk Bones that have been around for years); but the one that Dr. Becker uses on his own dogs and highly recommends is the CET HEXtra Chew, an enzyme impregnated rawhide with Chlorhexidine, which is very palatable and is available at your veterinarian or online.

The old myth that dry food is better for dental care in dogs than wet food is just not true! Both dry and wet food is the same on their teeth. However, semi-moist food can cause higher levels of periodontal disease because they are sticky sweet.

Reducing Shedding
You will never completely stop the shedding (and you don't want to - it is good for your dog's coat) but there are two products that Dr. Becker likes. One is bathing your dog frequently. This was another old myth that you shouldn't bath your dog very often. That is not true! You can bathe your dog frequently if you use the right products. Bathing your dog can flush allergy triggers off to reduce environmental allergies, but also the hair that was going to fall out anyway, is now in your tub instead of all over your house. One product is Zoom Groom by the Kong Company. It is a device that you hold in your hand that has rubber fingers that goes down and gets the shampoo really deep into your pet's skin, leaving you with a device full of hair that is easy to dispose of. Next is the
Furminator comb. But be careful, as you can be too aggressive with this comb and can actually irritate your pet's skin.

If you do have hair all over your carpet, a great tip is to use a balloon. Just rub an inflated balloon over the carpet and it will make the hair stand up, making it easy to vacuum.

Taking a dog's rectal temperatureDe-Sensitizing Your Pet To The Vet's
Dr. Becker recommends if you get a new puppy or kitten; pretend you have a veterinarian hospital at home. Get a syringe from your vet (you don't need a needle) and pretend you are giving you pet a vaccination. This allows your pet to see the syringe and feel you lift up a piece of skin. Then pinch the skin lightly, and give them a treat. You can also prepare them for medications by giving them a Greenie's Pill Pocket. Sit them down, tilt their head back (just like you would when giving a pill) and put it in their mouths. This will help you if you need to give medications to them years down the road. And if you're adventuresome, take a Q-Tip and lift their tail up and give them a treat. Next, take the Q-Tip and touch their anus and give them a treat. Then do it again, but this time take some K-Y Jelly and put it on the Q-Tip and barely insert it gently into their anus and give them a treat. This will help to de-sensitize the pet when the veterinarian needs to take their temperature.

Dr. Becker has been practicing veterinary medicine for more than 30 years and is a best-selling author, syndicated columnist and a frequent guest on national shows. You can also find Dr. Becker on, a new animal health and lifestyle website dedicated to giving pet owners the most accurate information possible to keep their pets healthy and happy. Follow Dr. Becker on Facebook and Twitter.

The Dog Park Phenomenon
Matthew Gilbert, Off The Leash

Matthew Gilbert with dogBoston Globe TV Critic (a great gig if you can get it) Matthew Gilbert investigates the dynamics of dog parks. There was a time when he didn't like dogs. In fact, he was afraid of them until his spouse introduced him to a dog that would forever change his view. Matt shares stories about the nutty fellow canine-lovers at his dog park.

Matthew Gilbert grew up in a home where they never had a dog and was terrified of them. He said if he ever saw a dog, they seemed so mysterious and unpredictable. He also felt that they were dirty, and if he touched a dog accidentally, he said, "My hand would buzz until I could wash it!" This went on for many years, up until his 40's.

So what changed? Matthew met and fell in a love with a person, who turned out to be a dog person. They are now married, and Matthew knew he had to loosen up and relax around dogs, because he was now constantly around them. He learned to trust them and has actually reached a point in his life where he states, "I couldn't imagine living without a dog!"

From someone who couldn't touch them without washing his hands, Matthew now kisses his dog Toby, a yellow lab, on the mouth and can't get enough of him.

Before Toby, Matthew, being a TV critic, spent most of his time in front of the TV. But Toby wasn't having that. Toby is a very social dog and needed to get out. Matthew then found himself being dragged to the dog park, which ultimately became a great experience for Matthew and allows him to re-energize.

Off The Leash Book CoverThe Book, Off The Leash, is a group portrait of dog people, specifically the strange, wonderful, neurotic, and eccentric dog people who gather at Amory Park, overlooking Boston near Fenway Park. And it's about author Matthew Gilbert's transformation, after much fear and loathing of dogs and social groups, into one of those dog people with fur on their jackets, squeaky toys in their hands, and biscuits in their pockets.

Dog-park life can be tense. Dog parks bring in people of all ages, all different walks of life; people that you might never normally meet. Matthew's favorite dog park types are the ones that love to talk. They tell you everything about themselves. Matthew calls it "dam burstage" because you are standing there and they are telling you their entire life's story, when you don't even know their names.

And when dogs fight, their owners might also bare their teeth at each other, too. Amid the rollicking dog play, feelings tend to surface faster, unedited. But Matthew shows how Amory is an idyllic microcosm, too, the home of enduring friendships and, as the droll but vulnerable Hayley knows, romantic crushes. Meeting daily, a gathering of dog owners can be like group therapy, or The Office, or a standup concert.

Matthew Gilbert is the TV critic at the Boston Globe and, and his work has appeared on He is a regular radio guest on Massachusetts' WCRP and WBZ and has also appeared on NPR. He currently films a weekly show called "We Like to Watch" that airs on He has also guest lectured at Tufts, Brandeis, Boston University, Emerson, and Harvard, and led a seminar on Television and Self at UMass Boston.

"HERO PEOPLE OF THE WEEK" - Silvie Bordeaux, Muffin's Halo

Silvie Bordeaux with Muffin wearing HaloOur Hero Person this week invented a bumper, or better described as a 'halo,' that protects blind dogs from bumping into furniture and other obstacles. Sylvie Bordeaux was tired of seeing her blind dog bash into stuff. With needle and thread in hand, she created a genius product that is helping vision-impaired pups from being discarded to shelters.

Silvie Bordeaux's 14-year-old toy poodle Muffin went blind approximately two years ago due to cataracts. She was devastated, since he kept bumping into walls and falling down the stairs. He became very depressed and was afraid to move around. She could not let him out of her sight and carried him around everywhere. People even told her that she might have to have him "put down."

Silvie searched the Internet extensively for solutions and assistance. That was when she realized that there is a great need for products to assist blind and visually impaired dogs, so she invented an aid for dogs called "Muffin's Halo Guide For Blind Dogs ® " that has changed Muffin's life, as well as hers.

She wanted the device to be like a halo or like a headgear bumper. This would allow him to navigate, but would alert him and redirect him when he bumped into things and he wouldn't get hurt.

Muffin's Halo is a 3-piece item. First you put on the harness, which makes them feel cuddled, because blind dogs have a lot of anxiety and feel very insecure. Next are the angel wings and the attached halo, which sits on their neck. The halo guides them and when the halo taps a hard surface, it alerts the wings that sit on the neck and they are automatically redirected.

Quarterback HaloMuffin now knows his home again and can also travel with Silvie to any hotel or friend's house and gets familiarized with any new surroundings, quickly. He just loves this aid and is back to his peppy confident self! Muffin also loves all the attention he gets when she takes him on walks, as he looks like a little angel. Most importantly, she can leave him at home for hours and know that he is safe.

Muffin's Halo's come in many sizes for all dogs. She can even make them for miniatures horses and cats! She also has the angel wing halo in red and blue, as well as a butterfly and a quarterback halo.

Silvie has also set up a non-profit called "Second Chances For Blind Dogs" that donates Muffin's Halo to blind dogs in shelters and rescues to help them find their furever homes quickly. To learn more and to donate, please visit:

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Joey VillaniThe Dogfather's Grooming Tip with Joey Villani

Flea Bite Dermatitis
If you have a bad flea infestation, you should take your dog to a groomer to have them dipped in a flea bath, then use topical flea preventative on your dog. You must also take care of your house, including your dog's bedding and any place they may have visited, such as your yard and even your car.

Your dog may also have significant hair loss and pimply skin, which is called flea bite dermatitis. This is basically an allergic reaction to the saliva of the flea. While some dogs aren't bothered by this at all, there are other dogs that will scratch themselves raw, opening up their skin causing infection.

Dog With Flea Bite DermatitisThis needs to be taken care of right away. The easiest way to do this is to go to a groomer or try to find a shampoo that has hydrocortisone in it. This will relieve the dog from itching, because the problem is the dog scratching. So if you can stop the dog from scratching, the skin irritation will clear up. Sometimes a Benadryl regimen will work, but please talk to you veterinarian before giving any medications to you pet.

In extreme cases, your dog may need a shot of cortisone from your vet. But, whatever you do, don't wait, as it will only get worse and possibly lead to other problems.

Animal Radio® News with Tammy Trujillo

Do You Get Kisses From Your Dog Or Your Cat? Who Doesn't!
Maybe it's not such a great idea to get kisses from your pet. Dr. Ira Roth of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine says dogs, in particular, carry some pretty nasty germs like these in their mouths. The risk of getting sick from close contact with your pet is very low, if you're healthy. But if you have a chronic health condition, or a suppressed immune system, sharing germs may not be safe for you. Roth says the symptoms can be pretty unpleasant, such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting.

GeepWhat Do You Get When You Cross A Goat And A Sheep?
How about a geep named Butterfly. She's the product of a pygmy goat and a sheep and was born a few weeks ago at My Petting Zoo in Scottsdale, Arizona. No one at the Zoo knew that the mother sheep was even pregnant. Butterfly appears to be the first of her kind. She was named Butterfly because of her various black spots. She has the feet and face of her goat father but the fuzzy wool and longer tail of her sheep mama.

What To Do With That Unwanted Fur
Apparently a lot of other people have been given old fur and refuse to wear them. Now a national organization called Born Free USA has come up with a fantastic idea. It collected unwanted furs and sent them to wildlife rehab centers in Texas, California and Missouri where they were cut into small pieces and used for orphaned babies and injured animals to snuggle in.

DeclawingDeclawing Is Major Surgery
For years there has been controversy about declawing cats. Now the American Veterinary Medical Association has amended it's policy to clarify that declawing is a major surgery that should only be performed as a last resort to prevent destructive clawing, but it stopped short of suggesting a ban on it. The new policy stresses the importance of educating cat guardians about normal feline scratching behavior, alternatives to declawing and that declawing is actually the amputation of the first digit of the cat's toes. The AVMA says there may be some situations where declawing might be necessary to keep a cat with it's family, pointing out that cats may present a risk of injury or disease to people who have compromised skin integrity such as the elderly or who have compromised immune systems. The AVMA says the decision should stay with the cat's guardian with the aid of their vet.

Kids & Pets = Vegetarians
Kids who grow up with pets are more likely to become vegetarians later on in life. At least that's what a new study done at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky shows. It found that such kids develop deeper empathy toward other animals and that can result in more of desire to avoid eating meat. In the study, when the participants did eat meat, people who were attached to a pet during chilodhood tended to justify eating meat by 'looking the other way,' keeping from thinking about the origin of the meat, while those who had no or a lesser attachment to a pet as a child more often justified the meal in a direct, unapologetic way, such as that humans are supposed to eat meat.

Dog Footprints on MoonSend Your Pet's Remains Into Space
There's been a lot of talk lately about how to memorialize our pets after they pass. Now a company in Houston that already sends people's remains into space is offering the same for pets. Celestis says rockets carrying the cremated remains of dogs and cats will start this fall. The price will be about the same as for humans, starting at about $995.

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