Petco still not pulling all China-made pet treats from its stores after more than 1,000 dogs die from chemical poisoning

PetcoAfter years of reports that certain China-made pet treats were sickening and killing dogs, Petco has finally decided to pull the items in question from all of their stores nationwide.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has remained fairly quiet about the matter, urging consumers to visit their May 2014 news release concerning the investigations. May was the month in which Petco and its competitor PetSmart promised customers to eventually start banning the treats in question. As of this writing, PetSmart has yet to pull the China-made pet treats from their shelves in their entirety, saying that this should take place completely by March 2015. As such, this makes Petco the first national pet retailer to pull the treats.(1)

Most of the complaints involved chicken jerky (treats, tenders and strips), but others included sweet potato and duck, as well as treats in which chicken or duck jerky was wrapped around sweet potatoes, or yams, and dried fruits. The majority of these foods were imported from China.(2)

FDA in receipt of thousands of reports related to pet illnesses and China-made pet treats

The above-referenced FDA news release offers some alarming figures regarding pet illnesses that were reported by pet owners as linked

Cortisol-sniffing dogs ease anxieties of special needs children

CortisolIt’s often been said that the act of petting an animal can help reduce a person’s stress levels, but what about having a dog sniff you to help you essentially do the same? Bizarre thought? Not so much, according to several school children and those who are advocates of what might be the newest in stress management methods: cortisol-sniffing dogs.

That’s right. There are drug-sniffing canines and even ones that set out to identify smuggled rhino horns or elephant tusks, and now there are ones that can help identify when cortisol levels are out of whack.

Cortisol, more commonly known as the “stress hormone” that’s produced by the adrenal glands, is responsible for keeping both the immune system and blood pressure in check during times of emotional or physical stress.(1) With cortisol levels in check, people are better able to fight infection, have less likelihood of depression and do not have as much abdominal weight gain.

Therefore, ensuring that one’s levels are in check is important for overall health.

How cortisol-sniffing dogs help others

Enter the cortisol-sniffing dogs.

Students at the Calais School in Whippany, N.J., many of whom are autistic or said to have “oppositional defiant disorder” or attention deficit disorder, enjoy

Purina’s Beneful brand has poisoned and killed thousands of dogs according to lawsuit

Purina BenefulWe love our pets. Our dogs are members of the family. To many of us, they are one of the kids – the furry one. But are we as careful with what we feed our pets as what we feed our children? Frequently, ads for pet food claim that they have “real” food, but the ingredients end up being things like wheat gluten meal, animal by-products, and corn by-products. Nestle’s Purina Beneful brand, one of the most popular brands of dog food, is currently facing a class action lawsuit claiming their food caused serious health issues or even death in over 3,000 dogs. A little digging into consumer reviews of Beneful comes back with story after story of dogs suffering from massive internal health issues. Maybe it’s time to start looking more closely at the food you’re feeding your dog and start replacing the chicken by-product meal with actual chicken.

What’s the Deal with Conventional Dog Food?

There are many dog owners waiting for the decision in the class action lawsuit against Beneful. Reviews from dog owners who have fed their dogs Beneful have similar distressing symptoms. These dogs develop incontinence, internal bleeding, liver malfunction, and seizures. There

Dogs communicate with humans using newly developed wearable technology

Maybe you’re familiar with Cybercop and Cyborg Cop TV shows and movies, maybe not. But you are most likely not familiar with cyber dogs. They’re actually rescue dogs in an experimental phase of developing Cyber-Enhanced Working Dog (CEWD) technology. The purpose is to enhance communication between humans and dogs, especially for the service of search and rescue teams.

This work is going on at North Carolina State University, and it’s at the prototype stage with real dogs. The aim is to establish better two-way communication between rescue workers and dogs in the immediate future, and perhaps even create a cyber link for improved communication between dogs and trainers or even owners.

“We’ve developed a platform for computer-mediated communication between humans and dogs that opens the door to new avenues for interpreting dogs’ behavioral signals and sending them clear and unambiguous cues in return,” said Dr. David Roberts, an assistant professor of computer science at NC State and co-lead author. “We have a fully functional prototype, but we’ll be refining the design as we explore more and more applications for the platform.”

For search and rescue work, the harnessed pack of equipment, which fits comfortably on a medium- to large-size dog, can be equipped

Alternatives to dog ownership

If you don’t have the time, money, or stamina to own a dog full-time, there are still ways you can experience the health benefits of being around dogs. Even short periods spent with a dog can benefit both you and the animal.

  • You can ask to walk a neighbor’s dog, for example, or volunteer at an storage locker man dog. Most animal shelters or rescue groups welcome volunteers to help care for homeless pets or assist at adoption events. You’ll not only be helping yourself but also be helping to socialize and exercise the dogs, making them more adoptable.
  • Some animal shelters and rescue groups offer pet “rental” programs. Dogs that are available for adoption can be rented out for walks or play dates, or you can foster an animal temporarily until a permanent home can be found for him, or to decide if the dog is right for you.
  • A variety of different organizations offer specially trained therapy dogs and cats to visit children’s hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospice programs, shelters, and schools. During these visits people are invited to pet and stroke the animals, which can improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety.
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