Winter Weather: Are You and Your Pets Prepared?


While the temperature continues to drop in many parts of the country, it’s important to make sure that your furry friends are staying safe and warm. That’s why the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center(APCC) has issued some critical cold weather safety tips so that pet parents can keep animals healthy and happy as temperatures drop and the snow piles up.

Things to Keep In Mind

• Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can lose their scent in the snow and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure your dog always wears an ID tag.

• If your large dog spends most of his time outside, take proper precautions during the colder months. Make sure your dog has an insulated and waterproof dog house and access to fresh water. Never leave your dog outside during a snowstorm or inclement weather including sleet, ice, snow, wind, or extreme cold.

• Bang loudly on the hood of your car before starting the engine. Outdoor, stray and feral cats sometimes sleep under car hoods to stay warm, but the fan belt can injure or kill a cat when the motor starts. Banging on the hood can help avoid catastrophe and give the cat a chance to escape.

• Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes.

• Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.

• Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.

photo source: Pexels
source: ASPCA


Massive Dog Food Recall Over Toxic Vitamin D Levels


Multiple brands of dog food are being recalled over elevated levels of vitamin D.

Elm Pet Foods and ANF are the latest dog food makers recalling products because of toxic levels of vitamin D, which can cause kidney failure at high enough levels.

Similar recalls have been issued by Sunshine Mills Inc., Natural Life Pet Products and Nutrisca over the last month.

Elm and others companies urge consumers to either dispose of or return several types of chicken and chickpea recipe dog food.

Dog owners whose pets have eaten the recalled food are urged to contact their veterinarian.

Symptoms of vitamin D toxicity include vomiting, weight loss, increased urination and excessive thirst.

Affected brands are:


• 4-pound Nutrisca® Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 8-84244-12495-7

• 15-pound Nutrisca® Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 8-84244-12795-8

• 28-pound Nutrisca® Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 8-84244-12895-5

Bags affected have a Best By Date code of Feb. 25, 2020, through Sept. 13, 2020. The “Best By Date” code can be found on the back or bottom of each bag.

The products were distributed to retail stores nationwide.

Natural Life Pet Products

• 17.5-pound Natural Life Chicken & Potato Dry Dog Food Bag UPC: 0-12344-08175-1

Bags affected have a Best By Date code of Dec. 4, 2019, through August 10, 2020. The Best By Date code can be found on the back or bottom of each bag.

The products were distributed to retail stores in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and California.

Sunshine Mills, Inc.

• 14-pound Evolve Chicken & Rice Puppy Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 0-73657-00862-0

• 28-pound Evolve Chicken & Rice Puppy Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 0-73657-00863-7

• 40-pound Sportsman’s Pride Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 0-70155-10566-0

• 40-pound Sportsman’s Pride Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 0-70155-10564-0

• 3.5-pound Triumph Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 0-73657-00873-6

• 16-pound Triumph Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 0-73657-00874-3

• 30-pound Triumph Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC 0-73657-00875-0

Bags affected have a Best Buy Date Code of Nov. 1, 2018, through Nov. 8, 2019. The Best Buy Date Code can be located on the back of each bag.

The above products were distributed in retail stores within the United States as well as some export distributors in Japan, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Israel, Canada and South Korea.

ANF, Inc.

• 3-kilogram ANF Lamb and Rice Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 9097231622; best by date of Nov. 23, 2019

• 7.5-kilogram ANF Lamb and Rice Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 9097203300; best by date of Nov. 20, 2019

The above products were distributed in retail stores within Puerto Rico.

ELM Pet Foods, Inc.

The recall includes Elm Chicken and Chickpea Recipe dog food. All bags in the Elm recall are yellow with the Elm Pet Foods Tag on the front of the bag and have a silhouette of a chicken at the bottom of the front side of the bag.

• 3-pound Elm Chicken and Chickpea Recipe; UPC 0-70155-22507-8

• Lot numbers: TD2 26 FEB 2019; TE1 30 APR 2019; TD1 5 SEP 2019; TD2 5 SEP 2019

• 28-pound Elm Chicken and Chickpea Recipe; UPC 0-70155-22513-9

• Lot numbers: TB3 6 APR 2019; TA1 2 JULY 2019; TI1 2 JULY 2019

• 40-pound Elm K9 Naturals Chicken Recipe; UPC 0-70155-22522-9

• Lot numbers: TB3 14 Sep 2019; TA2 22 Sep 2019; TB2 11 Oct 2019

Lot codes in the Elm recall were distributed in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Orlando brand sold at Lidl
In association with Sunshine Mills, Lidl recalled specific lots of Orlando brand Grain Free Chicken & Chickpea Superfood Recipe Dog Food.

The recalled products consist of the following lot numbers manufactured between March 3, 2018, and May 15, 2018: TI1 3 Mar 2019; TB2 21 Mar 2019; TB3 21 Mar 2019; TA2 19 Apr 2019; TB1 15 May 2019; TB2 15 May 2019.

Lidl has more than 50 stores across seven East Coast states.

photo source: Pexels

source: WDSU

Signs You Should Get Your Pet’s Thyroid Checked


The thyroid is a small but important gland in the neck. A cat’s thyroid or dog’s thyroid consists of two segments, one on each side of the windpipe. This gland produces the hormone thyroxine, along with several other important thyroid hormones. In a healthy pet, these hormones automatically work together to coordinate your pet’s energy levels, growth, body temperature and heart rate.

Cat thyroid problems and thyroid problems in dogs occur when the hormone levels become too high or low. According to Dr. Rachel Barrack, DVM, CVA, CVCH and founder of Animal Acupuncture in New York City, signs of a thyroid problem in dogs or cats occur gradually and can be easy to miss. “Symptoms are often subtle at first but become more overt with progression of the disease,” she says.

Pet owners can sometimes fail to recognize a cat or dog thyroid issue until their pet is at risk for more serious complications. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the subtle signs and symptoms. If you know what to look for, you can bring it up to your vet and possibly catch the disease in its early stages.

Thyroid Disease in Dogs and Cats

Thyroid problems are extremely common in pets. However, dogs and cats aren’t typically affected the same the way. Dogs are most commonly afflicted with hypothyroidism, or low thyroid hormone levels. According to Lori Pasternak, DVM and co-founder of Helping Hands Affordable Veterinary Surgery and Dental Care, hypothyroidism usually affects dogs around the age of 2 to 7 years old.

Hyperthyroidism, or high thyroid hormone levels, is more common in cats. While dogs and cats can be diagnosed with hyperthyroidism at any age, cats generally don’t show signs of hyperthyroidism until they are at least 7 years old. While either disease can occur in both species, it is rare.

Here are the key symptoms of cat and dog thyroid problems to look out for:

1. Changes in Behavior or Activity Level

According to Dr. Pasternak, the biggest sign of a thyroid problem is changes in your pet’s behavior or activity level. “Generally, when pets exhibit behavior changes, it is usually their way of telling us something is wrong,” she says.

Since the thyroid hormone helps regulate your pet’s energy level, a common sign of hypothyroidism in dogs (low thyroid) is that they tend to be less active or lethargic. Your dog may seem less playful at the dog park, or doesn’t want to play fetch, or just won’t walk as far as he used to. He might also be sleeping more than usual or won’t get up with you in the morning.

Cat hyperthyroidism (high thyroid levels) is the opposite problem—they tend to have more energy than usual. According to Dr. Pasternak, this can sometimes be tricky to pinpoint. “Most people think it is a good thing when their older cat starts becoming more active,” she says. “They don’t realize it’s a thyroid issue until the levels are so high that the cat starts to show more serious signs.” While increased energy might be a good sign in your older cat, it’s always best to run it by your vet to rule out a cat thyroid problem. Other symptoms commonly seen with hyperthyroidism in cats include increased thirst, urination, hunger and vocalization as well as intermittent vomiting.

2. Weight Gain or Loss

Another sign of thyroid problems in dogs is weight gain that’s not caused by overeating. Instead, your pet slowly packs on a few pounds despite you feeding him a normal diet. According to Dr. Barrack, this weight gain can even lead to obesity in your pet if the thyroid problem isn’t corrected.

Conversely, cats with thyroid problems often experience weight loss, despite having a ravenous appetite. As with increased energy, Dr. Pasternak cautions owners against mistaking increased appetite in an older cat for a good thing. When paired with weight loss, it’s always something you should bring up to your vet.

3. Skin or Coat Problems

Skin and coat issues are also a sign of thyroid problems in dogs. Hypothyroidism typically causes dull hair, hair loss or a dry coat, according to Dr. Pasternak. You might notice that your pet’s skin flakes off more than usual when you’re brushing him. Or, he might start to experience patches of thinning hair.

Hyperthyroidism in cats causes the opposite problem. According to Dr. Barrack, your cat’s coat may start to look greasy and matted. Cats will sometimes stop grooming themselves and develop an unkempt appearance.

4. Intolerance to Cold
According to Dr. Barrack, aversion to cold can indicate hypothyroidism in dogs. You might notice your pet shivering in the cold or turning back toward the house to cut potty breaks short on cold days. He might also sit close to the heat vent, burrow under blankets or be reluctant to leave his warm bed.

5. Vomiting or Diarrhea

Over time, hyperthyroidism in cats can progress to a more serious symptoms, such as vomiting. “Left untreated, cats with thyroid problems can also develop secondary problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease,” warns Dr. Barrack.

If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your veterinarian. If your dog or cat does have thyroid problems, they can typically be treated with prescription pet medication. However, when left untreated, these problems can greatly affect the quality of your pet’s life.

photo source: Pexels
source: Pet MD

The Benefits of Opening Your Heart to a Senior Pet


Here at the ASPCA, we love animals of all ages, shapes, sizes and breeds. But this month, we want to spotlight a special group of lovable furry friends—senior pets.

November officially marks Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and to honor this special month, we want to make sure you know all of the benefits of opening your heart and your home to a senior pet in need.

While their younger counterparts may be adorable, older pets are just as cute and loving, and they are also just as ready to become beloved pets. They just need someone to give them a chance to live out their golden years in a loving home.

Not to mention, adopting a senior animal companion comes with some great advantages:

• Senior pets don’t require the constant monitoring and training that puppies and kittens do.
• Many are already housetrained.
• Since senior pets are fully grown, you’ll be immediately aware of important information like personality type and grooming requirements, making it easier to choose the perfect pet for your family.
• Since senior pets have already grown into their personalities, they are usually pretty easy going and set in their ways.

It is a sad fact that senior pets are often the last to be adopted from shelters, putting them at an increased risk for euthanasia. When you adopt a senior pet, you’re not only welcoming a lifetime of love into your home, you’re also saving a precious life—and what could be better than that?

If you’ve been thinking about adding a four-legged-friend to your family, we ask that you consider opening your home and your heart to an older dog or cat in need.

photo source: ASPCA

source: ASPCA

Cold Weather and Pets


When temperatures drop, pet care needs change. Don’t miss these five winter pet safety tips:

1. Keep pets indoors: If it’s too cold outside for you, it’s too cold for your pet. Severe cold puts pets at risk for frostbite and hypothermia. If for some reason a dog must be left outside during the day, proper shelter should be provided that protects your dog from the elements. Pets are happiest and safest during the winter months when they’re indoors with their families.

2. Consider a sweater: If your dog is sick, frail, or getting older, a sweater or a jacket can sometimes be helpful with keeping in body heat when venturing outdoors for a walk. Just be sure the sweater fits well and there aren’t any dangling pieces that could be choking hazards.

3. Wipe down your dog’s paws after walks: Pets are at risk for picking up ice, rock salt, antifreeze, and other chemicals on their footpads. It’s important to wipe off your pup’s paws after walks to prevent ingestion of chemicals and to ensure footpads don’t become raw or chapped.

4. Keep a lookout for neighborhood cats: Your kitty is hopefully being kept safe and warm inside, but other cats in the neighborhood may not be so lucky. Cats often seek warmth under the hoods of cars or in wheel wells. Knock on the hood of your car before starting it to make sure no neighborhood felines are in danger.

5. Make arthritic pets comfortable: Cold temperatures can worsen joint pain for pets with arthritis. Make an appointment with your pet’s vet to discuss arthritis supplements or prescription medications for worsening pain. Also, make sure your pet has a comfortable and warm place to rest indoors, protected from any drafts.