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 Featured On This Week's Program

Animal Radio® for December 20, 2014  

Holiday Dangers For Pets
Dr. Kathy Hillestad, Drs. Fosters & Smith

Dr. Kathy HillestadDr. Kathy Hillestad from Drs. Foster & Smith is here to help make your holiday safe and fun for your pets. She has the details about good and bad foods as well as good and bad holiday plants. This year, as Lithium batteries become more prevalent in devices, there is also a problem with more animals swallowing them.

Dr. Hillestad has been with Drs. Foster and Smith since 2001. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association.

While the holidays are a fun time of year for us, they can be dangerous for our pets. Dr. Hillestad explains that people don't realize the things that may be toxic to our animals. Plus, we also have guests over who leave food and drink around the house, or they may leave a door open and a pet might escape.

Drs. Foster & Smith want to make sure that our pets enjoy the holidays as much as we do and Dr. Hillestad provides some great tips on making sure that happens.

Holiday Dangers:

Ice Melt Products
These contain ingredients that can irritate your pet's skin, feet and mouth. Even in small amounts, like the granules that fall off your shoes when you come inside from outdoors. Use an ice-melt product that's labeled safe for pets around your drive and walkways.

Dog with glass of BeerAlcohol
Alcoholic beverages contain ethanol and cats and dogs are especially attracted to the milk or cream based alcoholic drinks popular during the holidays, for example eggnog, White Russian and Brandy Alexander. Because of their smaller body size, cats and small dogs are especially sensitive to ethanol, the type of alcohol these drinks contain. Alcohol toxicity in cats or dogs can cause vomiting, disorientation, seizures and death.

Many people think of poinsettias, but actually poinsettias don't cause much of a problem. The toxicity of poinsettias is overrated. They can be irritating to our pet's mouths and stomachs and may cause mild vomiting and nausea. Actually, lilies are the most dangerous, especially for cats. They can cause liver failure and can be deadly to cats. All a cat has to do is to chew on the leaves for it to affect them.

Some of the compounds in chocolate can be very dangerous for our pets. Baker's chocolate, which is the real unsweetened chocolate, is the worst and contains the largest amount of problem causing compounds.

Treats for humans at this time of year are chocolate covered espresso beans, which are very harmful to our pets.

Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in many sugarless gums and candies. Small amounts are harmless, but just a little bit more, especially in small dogs, can be very dangerous. Xylitol can cause a dog's blood sugar to become dangerously low, leading to hypoglycemia, seizures, even death. In some cases, dogs also develop liver damage. How much xylitol is dangerous? It depends on the size of the dog and how much xylitol he eats. The amount of xylitol in a stick and a half of gum can make a 10-pound dog dangerously sick. What about cats? Cats don't seem to be adversely affected by xylitol the way dogs are.

Lithium BatteriesLithium Batteries
Round 'button' Lithium batteries are often found in watches, hearing aids, and toys, including some dog toys that make noise. Dogs may chew on or swallow batteries while playing with toys. Although these batteries are tiny, their contents are acidic and can cause some nasty burns to the esophagus or the stomach.

Just be vigilant when it comes to your pet and look at the holidays through your pet's eyes. As far as he's concerned, life is going along normally and then all of a sudden, his normal routine is all changed around, all these strange people are at his house, there's a lot more noise, different smells. He's not sure WHAT might happen next. It's enough to make even the most laid-back pet a bit anxious.

Some pets love visitors and behave very well. Others may be fearful or aggressive, or over-exuberant. Plan ahead for how your pets will react to visitors. A quiet room, away from the commotion, with water and food available will help fearful dogs be more comfortable. Include familiar items like his bed and some favorite toys. Some dogs enjoy having the radio on low. Or use a white noise machine to mask party sounds.

Dog and Cat with Christmas TreeUse a plug-in pheromone spray, like Comfort Zone, to help your dog feel less anxious. Give your dog something interesting to focus his attention on, like a Kong toy filled with peanut butter, or an interactive toy where he has to work to get a treat. For dogs that may not behave, are extremely fearful, or could be aggressive, placing them in a separate room, using pet gates, or having them stay at a friend's house during a party, may be necessary. Sometimes, boarding a dog in a kennel may be the safest alternative.

Cats are often frightened when strangers come to the house. Restricting your cat to a single room in a quiet part of the house, with food, water and a clean litter box, can help your cat feel less anxious until your guests have departed. Cats feel more secure when they are up off the ground, so try to give your cat access to an elevated area; even a cat bed on top of a piece of furniture will do. Be sure to use a pheromone product like Feliway in that room, to help your cat feel less anxious. Buy the kind that plugs into the wall, and plug it in several hours or overnight before putting your cat in the room.

If you are traveling during the holidays, and need to leave your pets at home, start to make accommodations for your pets early. Many boarding facilities fill up very fast. Responsible pet sitters are a good alternative. If they are unfamiliar with your house or pets, have them come over and get acquainted before you leave.

As much as possible, keep your pet's routine as close to normal as possible, with regular feeding and exercise times and plenty of attention from you.

And Finally: Why not make the holidays more enjoyable for homeless pets? Contact your local animal shelter to see if you can donate food, kitty litter, toys, or time.

"HERO PEOPLE OF THE WEEK" - Mario Chiozza - High Speed Rescue

Mario ChiozzaMario Chiozza is this week's Zeuterin Hero Person. Mario said he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw a dog tossed out of the car in front of him on Interstate 40. Despite the 55-mph rush-hour traffic, he managed to capture the dog and save him. "Savior" is the catalyst for Mario's mission.

Mario Chiozza is a Fireman in Memphis, Tennessee, an Animal Activist and the Founder of The Savior Foundation.

The Savior Foundation is named after a Pit Bull who was thrown out of a moving vehicle at 55 mph on I-40 in front of Mario's truck. Mario was just driving along on his way to work one evening and couldn't believe what he was seeing. Someone actually threw a dog out the window in the truck in front of him. When he realized it really was a dog, he started slowing down, with everyone behind him hitting their brakes. The dog was in the center lane in rush hour traffic. When Savior hit the ground, she didn't roll, she just started running, which probably saved her life.

Mario had been doing a lot of rescues for other organizations at the time, and just happened to have a dog catch pole in his truck. Savior was running down the center lane, while Mario was trying to guide her to either side. While Savior did change lanes, instead of going to the right shoulder, she went to the left, where there was a center divider and emergency lane. Mario was able to get her in between the divider and his truck. He then rolled his window down while he was trying to catch her with the pole. After about a ΒΌ mile and with the emergency lane about to end, Mario made a 4th and final and last-ditch effort to get the noose around her neck and was successful.

SaviorThe abuse that Savior had suffered wasn't discovered until she was caught. Mario was shocked at her condition. She had been starved, fought, shot and thrown out of a truck and was nothing but a skeleton. She had puncture wounds from her head to her tail and was bleeding.

She was loaded into a kennel and taken to a nearby vet. While she was in the back with the veterinarian, someone came out and handed Mario a piece of paper to euthanize her. After all he had been through to rescue her, he was not just going to put her down. He also realized that there are people that have to put their animal down because they don't have the funds to provide for emergency care for their injured animal. But, Savior was not going to be one of these dogs.

Mario was able to get ahold of his personal vet, who opened his office just for them. Treatment took months, but Savior survived and Mario says she's incredible!

Savior's story inspired a group of community members, along with Mario, who volunteer their time and effort to organize and work towards preventing animal cruelty and suffering.

The Savior Foundation team was formed, consisting of volunteers such as local students, corporate professionals and a city employee. Each volunteer works/studies full-time yet dedicates their personal time to support animal welfare and prevent animal cruelty. All volunteers have their own animals and often personally provide financial and emotional support for injured, abused, and abandoned animals in the local community.

As animal abuse problems have risen in Memphis, the need for financial support and community awareness has become critical in the struggle for animal welfare. The Savior Foundation was formed based on the vision of helping animals in need in emergency situations and also works with other organizations. The Savior Foundation provides the opportunity for the community to be part of the vision and solution.

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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Animal Radio's HERO PEOPLE is brought to you by Zeuterin a safe, permanent and virtually painless alternative to surgical castration.

Holiday Cookie Party For Dogs!
Robert Semrow, Animal Radio Correspondent

Dog CookiesAnimal Radio correspondent Robert Semrow is having a 'cookie-party' for his canines. He has simple and healthy recipes...and a video to help. He says it's not that hard to make good holiday treats for your furry-friends.

Robert Semrow admits he cooks for his dogs year round. But when it comes to the holidays and what everyone does for their human guests, people are now seeing that it would be a lot of fun to include their dogs and make special cookies just for the pooches.

Robert also hears about people who want to do something for their special friends but are on a limited budget. A great gift to give someone is homemade dog cookie treats that are safe for their pets.

It is so easy to make cookies for dogs and it's a lot of fun. It's also one of the ways to get your children involved in the spirit of giving and to teach the younger generation about what we need to do to take care of our pets.

Robert's children even invite their friends to the party, which include some of the girl scouts that fatten everyone up every year with their cookies!

But, we want to make sure we don't fatten up our pooches, so we need to make our dog's cookies healthy.

So why not just go out and buy dog cookies? You certainly could buy them, but these days' people are paying attention to ingredients and where treats are made. Increasingly, people are turning to making their own treats because it's easy, inexpensive, fun and maybe most importantly, they know what ingredients are going into the treats. Also, the treats you make at home can be catered to being made with fresh, healthy and natural ingredients instead of with chemicals and preservatives.

We don't want to add the pounds to our pooches while sharing the love and the treats. So whenever treating, remember it's included in their daily portions not in addition to their regular portions of food.

Just make sure that you make the cookies right and do your research. In fact, you can watch a video with Animal Radio Listeners on their Facebook page. The cookies contain only a few ingredients and take very little time to make and even decorate. You can also view a fun and healthy version of icing to get creative with their cookies.

Joey VillaniThe Dogfather's Grooming Tip with Joey Villani

Get Your Dog's Feet In Shape For Winter
The weather is changing due to the approach of winter, with some places already receiving several inches of snow. So it's time to get your pet's feet in shape.

As the ground gets colder, the pads of your dog's feet can crack, get chapped and even become irritated. And if you've ever paid attention, you will probably have noticed that your dog chews his feet more in the winter.

You want to keep the pads of their feet moist and nice. You can do this very easily with a product called Bag Balm. You can find Bag Balm in most local drug stores and even in some supermarkets. It comes in a little green can.

Bag BalmWhat Bag Balm was originally designed for was for farmers to use on cows' udders so they wouldn't get chapped. It works really well and you can also use it on your own hands.

If you can't find it, you can use Vaseline in a pinch. Just remember to rub it in very well, because you don't want your dog to get Vaseline all over your furniture and carpets.

You just need to apply this once or twice a week and your dog will be happy and have happy feet!

Dr. Debbie WhitePet Flipping - SevenTips to Safeguard Your Pet - Dr. Debbie

Pet lovers beware of the disturbing criminal trend called "pet flipping." This is when a person steals a pet or takes ownership of a lost pet, and then sells the animal. Pets are typically sold on the Internet to make a quick profit. The American Kennel Club (AKC) reports a rise in pet thefts.

Pet flippers most commonly target purebred dogs because they can fetch a high price, but even mixed breed dogs are at risk. Dogs are swiped from porches, fenced in back yards, dog parks, and cars. Some pet scams involve a person advertising as a pet sitter or trainer, who then disappears with your pet. Other scams involve someone who steals a pet and then responds to the lost pet ad, making money on rewards.

Top 7 Tips to Prevent Pet Flipping:

1. Don't Leave Your Pet Unattended
Avoid leaving your pet unattended, even in your own backyard. Don't leave your pet outside of stores or coffee shops. Tying your dog's leash up while you run that quick errand can give a thief the few minutes he needs to snatch your pet while you step away. Keep a watchful eye on your dog when visiting dog parks.

2. Get Your Pet Microchipped
A microchip is one of the best tools to reunite lost pets and serves as legal proof of ownership. Be sure to keep your contact information up to date with the microchip company.

Empty Dog Leash3. Use GPS Collars
A GPS collar allows you to track your dog's movement minute by minute. These units can help you find your pet quickly if lost, but are of little use if a pet flipper removes the collar. I use the Tagg Pet Tracker for my dog and like that I can locate him to a precise location with my smart phone.

4. Get Your Pet Spayed or Neutered
Dogs that aren't spayed or neutered are especially prized targets to thieves since they are perceived as a money-making opportunity. Spaying and neutering also decreases the desire to stray and is good for your pet's health.

5. Research Pet Services Carefully
Before signing on for pet sitting or dog trainer services, research the business person's reputation with the Better Business Bureau. Ask your veterinarian for a referral to a reputable pet professional. Request references before using a new pet service.

6. Buyer Beware
Be cautious when buying a pet online and only use reputable breeders. Check out a breeders standing with the AKC and breed clubs. Be wary of individuals that lack documentation of breeding or veterinary health care records.

7. Sign Up For Doggie Facial Recognition Apps
High-tech facial recognition technology is now available to identify and track down lost pets with services like Finding Rover. Use your IPhone to download the app at Upload your pet's photo in their database, and promptly notify Finding Rover if your pet is ever lost.

Pet flipping is so heinous because it exploits the cherished relationship between family and a beloved pet. Share this information with fellow pet lovers to spread awareness and halt this criminal trend.

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 pic with the most LIKES & shares is the week's winner and will receive a FANTASTIC package, which includes the Pet Corrector, the Green Interactive Feeder and Coachies from The Company of Animals.

TO 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's Wacky Wednesday prize is a great package from The Company of Animals that includes:

Company of Animals Gift PackageGreen Interactive Feeder
This "turf placemat" features sturdy blades of stylized grass that help slow down even the most eager eater, turning mealtime into a mentally stimulating experience. Simply scatter the desired amount of kibble across the sizable feeder and let your pet enjoy the challenge. With products like the GREEN, pets draw on their natural instincts for an equally challenging and rewarding experience.

Pet Corrector
Since its introduction, this ingenious device has become the number one training product for domesticated pets in the United Kingdom. When the pet parent presses the nozzle on the container, the Pet Corrector emits a blast of compressed air that makes a loud, hissing sound, a sound that has been shown to stop unwanted behaviors in dogs and cats. A dog may bark incessantly, chase cars or people, steal food, jump up on people or off-limits furniture, or just be overly aggressive. When used responsibly and with the proper training procedures, the Pet Corrector can interrupt, and eventually stop, these undesirable actions. This innovative product comes complete with a detailed guide filled with helpful training tips.

The Company of Animals expands their family of products once more, this time with a complementary training treat appropriately titled Coachies. The new, one-calorie morsels are perfectly sized for motivating and rewarding training pups. Coachies treats are 100-percent grain free and sugar free. Plus, each oven-baked morsel is made with the highest quality natural ingredients and doesn't contain any artificial colors or flavors.

Animal Radio® Facebook
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 Lillybrush, ESPREE, West Paw and more. Visit us on Facebook now.

Animal Radio® News with Tammy Trujillo

Lack of Laws For Groomers
A woman in New Jersey is trying to change the lack of laws governing groomers. Rosemary Marchetto vowed to do something after her 6-year-old Shih-Tzu Bijou died three years ago shortly after being dropped off to be groomed at a national pet store chain. The case was settled out of court with a check from the company, but Rosemary wants to make sure it doesn't happen again to anyone's dog. She's working with Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri to pass Bijou's Law in New Jersey. It would require groomers to be at least 18 years old, and pass a test by the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners to be licensed. Many grooming companies already have regulations in place, but they are voluntary. If Bijou's law is passed, it would be the first such law in the country and possibly open the door to other states to put similar laws in place.

MickeyMickey Saved - But Can't Be Adopted
Mickey the Pit Bull was involved in a high-profile case in Arizona where he was deemed 'vicious' by a judge after biting a four-year-old child in the face. There's more to the story though. Mickey was on a chain and the little boy tried to take a bone away from him. 75,000 people rallied for Mickey and Phoenix attorney John Shill defended him. The judge ruled his life could be spared if an appropriate sanctuary could be found. That's when Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio offered space at the Sheriff's Animal Safe House. Mickey has a doghouse, raised bed, food and water dishes and a bit of fake grass, but no other dogs or people to socialize with and he can't be adopted. You can watch Mickey on a live stream through a webcam outside his cell. Sheriff Arpaio's Animal Safe House usually houses animals that can be adopted after they are released from abuse and neglect cases.

Are Your Pets Microchipped?
A kitty named Spice is back home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She got out of the house on Halloween Night and somehow ended up in Portland, Maine. A man found her in a duffel bag at a thrift store. No one knows how she got there, 23,000 miles from home. She was taken to a shelter and the folks there were able to get in touch with her family. A company called Idexx Laboratories heard about her and paid the travel costs to get her back home. It would not have happened without that microchip.

Abcde and Pup-CakeSanta Sent Packing after Pit Bull Incident
Just after Thanksgiving at a mall in Mission Viejo in Southern California, an autistic 7-year-old girl, Abcde Santos, and her service dog Pup-Cake had waited in line with her mom for about 30 minutes to see Santa when an elf came up and told them Pup-Cake would not be allowed near Santa and that Santa was afraid of Pit Bulls. After being told that Pup-Cake was a service dog, he said Santa was allergic to dogs. After Mrs. Santos said Pup-Cake would not go near Santa, he still refused to see Abcde. The family complained to the mall, where execs apologized and Santa and the elf were sent packing. It's the second time that Abcde and Pup-Cake have been denied admittance to a business, basically based on Pup-cake being a Pit Bull. After the complaints, that business changed it's policies. Each time, the Santo family has used the incident to speak about prejudice against Pit Bulls as service dogs and how people with disabilities are treated.

Do You Sleep With Your Pets?
Research presented at the Sleep 2014 conference showed that 54-percent of pet guardians sleep with their pets and that 30-percent of those said they wake up at least once a night because of them, with 63-percent saying they have poor sleep quality. Some people said they sleep better WITH their pets, that it makes them more secure and they love the snuggling. Experts say sleep is a personal thing and if sleeping with your pet helps you, don't change a thing.

TommyLegal Ruling - Tommy Denied Human Rights
There is a legal ruling from the New York Appeals Court on the case of a chimpanzee named Tommy. Last October, the group The Nonhuman Rights Project filed a case stating that Tommy, who lives in an apartment, was unlawfully imprisoned and should be transferred to a sanctuary in Florida. Steven Wise said that chimps are close enough kin to humans so they deserve some human rights. Now the court has ruled and says that a chimp is not a legal person and cannot give back to society or be held legally accountable for their actions in a way that merits human rights. Tommy lives with Patrick Lavery who says Tommy has 'an excellent home' with TV, several rooms and outdoor enclosures and is happy. Wise's suit did not allege that Lavery has broken the law in his treatment of Tommy and Lavery said that he follows all federal and state regulations. The appellate court's decision upholds a state judge's 2013 ruling.

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NEWS UPDATE brought to you by Drs. Foster & Smith, affordable pet supplies. Low prices every day, so you save on every order.

Ear Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#785)

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