ATLANTA, May 10 (UPI/OddNews) — U.S. cable new outlet CNN marked National Pet Week by saying, among other pet-related statistics, an estimated $55.5 billion will be spent on U.S. pets in 2013.
CNN said 82.5 million U.S. households had pets in 2012 and $55.53 billion is expected to be spent on pets by U.S. residents in 2013.
A 2011 survey suggested 63.2 percent of pet owners in 2011 considered their pets to be members of the family.
The network said 70 percent of respondents in a 2006 Gallup poll identified themselves as "dog people." Twenty percent said they prefer cats.
However, there were 70 million pet dogs in the United States in 2012, compared with 74.1 million pet cats the same year.
May 13, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Unusual Stories | cat people, Cats, dog people, dogs, dogs and cats, dogs vs. cats, pet ownership, pets are members of the family | Leave a Comment
Pet Food Stamps, a New York-based nonprofit that will give qualifying pet owners throughout the U.S. (who must be receiving government assistance for themselves) funds to buy food for their animals from the website PetFoodDirect. Applications can be filled out here on the –> Pet Food Stamps website
WSJ: If you believe the economy is improving, you’ve likely never met someone who still can’t afford a can of cat food.
Marc Okon, who has worked as a stockbroker, entrepreneur and business consultant, has a friend from his old neighborhood in Bayside, Queens, N.Y. He’s known her since age 10. Her parents died. She fell on hard times. And the economy hasn’t come back for her yet.
"She told me she sometimes fed her cat before herself," Mr. Okon said in a telephone interview.
In February, as headlines raged about a strengthening economy, Mr. Okon started a privately funded nonprofit called Pet Food Stamps. People who are already on government assistance can apply for free pet food.
The group has been swamped with more applications than his staff of a dozen people can readily process. Most applicants send letters detailing how they lost their jobs to outsourcing, their homes to foreclosure or their health to disease or accident.
"I just heard from a lady in North Carolina who has an autistic son whose only companion is a Jack Russell Terrier," he said. "It’s cookie-cutter sadness. … Little details change but the gist of each story is the same."
Despite nominal improvements in the unemployment rate, the U.S. Department of Agriculture counts more than 47 million people in its food stamp program—nearly one out of every seven Americans.
Food stamps cannot be used to purchase pet food. But they can be used to buy Coca-Cola.
Last week, the National Center for Public Research complained at Coca-Cola’s annual shareholder meeting in Atlanta that the beverage maker lobbies heavily to keep soda on the list of wholesome things that food stamps can buy.
Taxpayers subsidize about $4 billion worth of soda sales each year, the group groused, even as the sugary drink contributes to an obesity epidemic that drives up government health-care costs.
But you know what they say? Food stamps go better with Coke.
Mr. Okon, 36 years old, said he spent his 20s chasing money, first as a stockbroker, then as the founder of a company that sold pay phones as cellphones displaced them. He also did consulting work that took him into the bowels of many other companies.
He said he briefly worked for a firm that sold dubious medical benefits to seniors in the South. "Their whole corporate philosophy was to manipulate seniors who didn’t have any type of insurance," he said. "I could only do that for about a week and half."
He is a man so disgusted with the lack of ethics he witnessed in private enterprise that he founded a nonprofit to hand out dog food.
"I’ve been around enough shady businesses and surrounded by salesmen-types who were always talking about the deal," he said.
Self-dealing helped destroy the economy—so focused on the bottom line and so unfocused on consequences for everyone else. Dogs and cats don’t know what hit them.
"Millions of pets are surrendered to shelters each year and euthanized because their owners can’t afford to feed them," Mr. Okun said.
And to top it all off, the people in charge of fixing the economy are the same ones who helped destroy it.
"The people in power were put there by fat cats, who have money and control," Mr. Okun said. "I see it getting worse and worse, decade after decade. I don’t know what’s going to change."
See CBS News Video: Non-Profit Provides Food Stamps for Pets
(CBS News) SALEM, Ore. – Tough economic times in recent years have led to heartbreaking decisions for many pet owners. But now, there may be more help on the way.
Marissa Jenkins’ 6-year-old Dachshund, Olivia, is more than a dog.
Marissa Jenkins is thankful for an organization that helps feed her dog.
"She’s been part of our family, she’s definitely not a dog," Jenkins said. "She’s a kid to us."
Recently, the Salem, Ore., family welcomed a new addition – and a new challenge.
"My husband lost his job in February and we just had a baby in December, and so all the costs of having a baby and a dog and a family is adding up," she said.
Now on food stamps, they turned to a non-profit for help to feed their dog because food stamps cannot be used for pet food.
Launched in February, Pet Food Stamps has received over to 160,000 applications from needy families across the country. Marc Okon is the charity’s founder.
"Hundreds of thousands of pets a year are put to sleep, simply because the owners can’t feed them," Okon said.
Okon says dog and cat owners on public assistance are eligible. He’s partnered with a company called Pet Flow to provide free delivery.
" It was a relief for us that we were able to get some help for our dog and because we couldn’t provide for her, somebody else could," Jenkins said, wiping away tears.
While Marissa is grateful for the free pet food, there’s an even more valuable benefit.
"We wanted our child to be able to grow up with animals and our dog is really great with her," she said.
Once back on their feet, the Jenkins say they will donate to the program to help other families in need.
“One can understand a society by how it treats the weakest among them… the sick, the elderly, the children and the animals!”
**If you can donate or perhaps work with this program, Pet Food Stamps, to help all families in need feed their pets, please do so.
May 3, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Dogs, Help Familie Keep Their Pets, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets | animals are family members, Cats, dogs, Food Assistance for Pets, for the love of a pet, Homeless With Pets, nonprofits, Pet Food Stamps, Pet Nutrition, Pets, Pets Are Family, WSJ | Leave a Comment
It’s no secret that Americans love their pets. According to the Humane Society of the United States, 39 percent of households own at least one dog 33 percent own at least one cat, and many own multiples and/or other types. And then there are the people and families with working dogs and companion animals who give their human a better shot at a full life. Furry family members bring joy and excitement to a household, relieve stress and actually help people live healthier and longer. Providing the best care possible for your pets helps ensure pets have a long, healthy life… and cuts down on the vet bills.
Unfortunately, with so much information available, it’s easy to become confused about what is really best for them. Dr. Ashley Gallagher, veterinarian at Friendship Hospital For Animals, petMD, Dr. Karen Becker and JOMP shed some light on some of the most common pet myths.
Cats’ curious nature and quick reaction times are likely the basis of the nine lives reputation, but in reality owners need to remember that both cats and dogs only have one life. That is why it’s important to schedule regular veterinary visits to ensure your pet has a long, healthy and happy one. If at all possible, going to the veterinarian shouldn’t only be reserved for times when your pet is sick. Your pet needs annual wellness check-ups, vaccines, dental exams and nutritional consultations, just like humans do.
Myth 2: (All) Table scraps are OK.
Did you know that one ounce of cheddar cheese for a 20-pound dog is like a human eating more than one and a half chocolate bars? That same piece of cheese for a 10-pound cat is like eating almost three full chocolate bars! Table scraps are basically empty calories for cats and dogs, unless they are meat, fish or veggies (that they can and should eat). And definitely make sure that the table scraps and little sneaks never include any of the No-No foods.
Pets need balanced nutrition for their specific life stage and special needs to remain healthy. A good food like Hill’s Science Diet or Royal Canin is great as a staple because it gives them nutrients that they might be missing and it is always good for emergencies if your pets well-rounded eaters. But the best regular diet is either a raw-food diet (not right for all pets) or home-cooked balanced meals for your pets. And make sure that your dogs are getting some bones in their diet.
Remember… in the wild they would be eating raw foods and up until a couple decades ago, when some big companies realized they could make money from making and selling commercial pet food, regardless of their nutritional value… commercial pet food, like commercial baby food and formula and convenience foods for humans, was born… none of which are best choice for animals, babies or humans. There are also some great natural supplements, like StemPet and StemEquine around for pets.
Dogs wag their tail for many reasons; the most common is that they are either happy or nervous. Cats will also wag or flick their tail when they are upset or thinking. Pets communicate via complex body language rather than vocal expression like humans. Learning to read what your pet is telling you will go a long way in helping to build a fulfilling relationship. Ask your veterinarian for advice if you feel stuck learning your pet’s body language cues.
Myth 4: Letting my dog out in the yard is enough exercise.
Dogs and cats both need plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation to stay healthy. If you just leave your dog out in the yard alone they might not get much of either. It’s important to take them for walks, play fetch or simply run around together. Not only will it make for a happier, healthier dog, but it will also help to strengthen your relationship. Cats should be kept indoors for their safety, but there are plenty of toys that work their brains and their bodies at the same time. Some people even take their cats for a walk on a leash. Visit your local pet store to find some toys that fit the bill.
Each pet is unique, so ongoing care, including precisely balanced nutrition, regular wellness visits to the vet and daily play periods are all good things that keep your pet healthy and living well for many years to come.
h/t to the Press Enterprise – Lifestyles page
May 1, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | Cats, chemicals, dogs and cats, pet myths, toxins | Leave a Comment
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been used in human medicine for years to treat a range of conditions including the bends, wounds that won’t heal, gangrene, burns, and even anemia.
- What happens with hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the lungs are able to gather up to three times more pure oxygen than is normally available, and blood flow delivers that oxygen throughout the body, stimulating the release of natural substances that promote healing.
- At the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the staff is using a hyperbaric chamber to treat a variety of animals with injuries and wounds that involve swollen tissue.
- A veterinarian in New York is using her chamber to speed healing in certain conditions including abscesses, post-radiation swelling and herniated discs.
- At the Animal Emergency and Referral Center in Ft. Pierce, Florida, pets lie on a soft blanket and nap while inhaling pure oxygen that goes to work immediately on wounds, swelling, burns, and other injuries/illnesses.
When your pet gets injured, whether it be from a near-drowning, being hit by a car or bitten by a snake, often what’s needed is a drastic treatment that can effectively reduce swelling and speed up the healing process. This comfortable, 1 to 2 hour treatment, now being offered in certain facilities, might be your pet’s best chance for recovery.
By Dr. Becker
Hyperbaric oxygen chambers are pressurized tubes, or in some cases rooms, where hyperbaric oxygen therapy is delivered. This technique has been used in human medicine for decades to treat a variety of conditions including air bubbles in blood vessels (arterial gas embolism), decompression sickness (“the bends”), carbon monoxide poisoning, wounds that won’t heal, crushing injuries, gangrene, a skin or bone infection that causes tissue death, radiation injuries, burns, skin grafts or skin flaps that can cause tissue death, and severe anemia.
In a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, the air pressure is up to three times greater than normal. This causes the lungs to collect up to three times more pure oxygen than is possible when breathing atmospheric oxygen. The pure oxygen is transported throughout the body via the blood stream, which encourages the release of growth factors and stem cells that promote healing.
Reduces Swelling and Speeds Healing in Animals
In Florida and a few other states, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is increasingly being used on pets.
The University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine has recently treated dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits and even a monkey with oxygen therapy. According to professor and DVM Justin Shmalberg, they have treated rattlesnake bites, infected wounds, and animals hit by cars. Essentially any kind of problem that causes swelling of tissue is a candidate for the hyperbaric chamber.
This summer, the school will begin clinical trials to determine if what they are seeing is “real” – that hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps reduce swelling and speed healing in animals. There isn’t much research on this type of treatment for pets, though ironically, most of the research for human oxygen therapy is the result of studies on rats and rabbits.
Dr. Diane Levitan, owner of a veterinary practice in New York, has a hyperbaric chamber in her facility and has seen improved rates of healing for certain conditions including abscesses, post-radiation swelling and herniated discs. Dr. Levitan is writing an article for a veterinary journal on her use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and agrees with Dr. Shmalberg that it’s important to establish the science behind the success of the technique for certain conditions. “It’s not a panacea,” says Levitan. “There are specific reasons why this is helpful.”
Pets are Comfortable and Relaxed During Treatment
The Animal Emergency and Referral Center in Ft. Pierce, Florida also has a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. They describe the treatment this way:
“Inside the chamber, pets lie on a soft blanket and rest or sleep while the oxygen goes to work on wounds, swelling, burns and other injuries or illnesses. The pets are comfortable and relaxed during dog/cat hyperbaric therapy treatment. The total HBOT treatment time is from 1 to 2 hours, and is usually repeated twice a day. Treatments continue until the doctors see a marked improvement. When your pet is beginning to use the affected limb, or is gaining strength and function, the animal hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatments are discontinued.”
This facility uses oxygen therapy for patients with post operative swelling, snake bites, wounds and burns, head and spinal injuries, near-drowning or asphyxiation, and smoke inhalation.
‘About the Size of a Loveseat’
As you might expect, some (probably many) human insurance companies don’t cover oxygen therapy because it’s “unproven,” however, people who have had success with treatments will seek it out anyway. And the same is true for pet owners. They research the treatment and then seek it out for an ailing pet.
The equipment used at the University of Florida is “about the size of a loveseat.” The DVM who initially arranged for the equipment at UF estimates he’s used the chamber 750-800 times in the last 18 months and feels it is very effective for any kind of trauma.
Since most vet practices can’t afford to buy a chamber (equipment for humans runs between $50,000 and $150,000 each), the manufacturer actually gives the chambers to clinics and receives a percentage of each treatment done. Treatments run about $125 per session at the UF clinic.
The equipment can be dangerous to use because 100 percent oxygen is involved. Animals are patted down with water before they go into the chamber so their coat doesn’t attract static electricity and start a fire. Tragically, last year a hyperbaric oxygen chamber in a Florida equine veterinary center exploded, killing a staff member and the horse inside the chamber, and collapsing part of the building. Apparently, the horse hit the side of the enclosure with a foot, which caused a spark that set off the explosion.
Although this type of accident is incredibly rare, some veterinarians view hyperbaric therapy as a treatment of last resort. I don’t agree. With proper training, the hyperbaric oxygen chamber is as safe as any other veterinary treatment equipment, but without side effects. Inhaling pure oxygen in this manner triggers the body’s own ability to heal, which is always the goal.
April 27, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets | Cats, dogs, Dr. Becker, Ferrets, hyperbaric oxygen chamber, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, rabbits monkeys | Leave a Comment
- Feline infectious peritonitis, or FIP, is a viral disease caused by certain strains of the feline coronavirus.
- Most cats who acquire a feline corona infection are able to overcome it, however, in 5 to 10 percent of infected cats, either a mutation of the virus or an abnormality in the immune system allows the infection to progress to FIP.
- FIP is seen in both domestic and wild cats, and most often in young cats living in multi-cat households or shelters. Any cat exposed to the feline coronavirus can develop FIP, however, kitties with compromised immune systems or FeLV, elderly cats, kittens, and purebreds are at increased risk.
- The most common route of infection is from mother to kittens. Symptoms depend on whether the FIP is the wet or dry form of the disease.
- Diagnosing FIP can be tricky because the symptoms are seen in many other types of diseases. In addition, there’s no diagnostic test for the condition. Once a diagnosis is made, however, the prognosis is poor. Cats with the wet form of FIP go downhill rapidly; kitties with the dry form may live a year or so past diagnosis.
- Prevention of FIP includes keeping your cat’s immune system strong and balanced. We absolutely do not recommend the FIP vaccine as a preventive measure, as it is ineffective and can cause significant immune system damage.
By Dr. Becker
Feline infectious peritonitis, or FIP, is a viral disease caused by certain strains of the feline coronavirus. Most strains, called feline enteric coronavirus, do not cause disease.
How FIP Develops
Most kitties with feline corona infection are asymptomatic during the initial stages. The immune system responds by producing antiviral antibodies to kill off the infection. But in about five to 10 percent of infected cats, it is believed either a mutation of the corona virus or an abnormality in the immune system response allows the infection to progress to FIP.
In FIP, the antibodies that should provide protection actually help infect white blood cells with the virus. These cells, in turn, spread the infection throughout the cat’s body. This results in a very powerful inflammatory response in tissues where the infected cells locate — frequently in the abdomen, kidneys, or brain.
It’s the interaction of the body’s immune system with the virus that results in disease. It behaves unlike any other viral disease we know of in either animals or people. Sadly, once FIP has involved one or more organs or body systems, the infection is quite progressed and almost always fatal.
Transmission of Feline Infectious Peritonitis
FIP is a disease of both domestic and wild cats. It’s most often seen in young cats living in multi-cat households, shelters, and catteries. Any cat exposed to the feline coronavirus can develop FIP. However, cats with compromised immune systems, those already infected with the feline leukemia virus, geriatric cats, and kittens are most likely to develop the disease. Males are more commonly infected than females, and purebred cats are at an increased risk, especially the Asian breeds.
FIP in symptomatic cats is not highly contagious, because by the time a kitty shows clinical signs of the infection, he is shedding only a small amount of the virus.
Fortunately, FIP is relatively rare in the general cat population. However, feline coronavirus is found in large quantities in the feces and saliva of cats during the acute stage of infection when there are no symptoms. It’s also found to a lesser extent in cats that have recovered, as well as carrier cats.
The coronavirus can be transmitted from one cat to another through physical contact and through exposure to feces. Usually, transmission occurs long before clinical signs are noted. The virus can also live in the environment for several weeks.
The most common route of infection, though, is when an infected mother passes the virus to her kittens. This usually occurs when the litter is between five and eight weeks of age.
The Two Forms of FIP and Their Symptoms
Kitties exposed to the feline coronavirus often have no clear symptoms, although there may be some sneezing, watery eyes, or nasal discharge. Sometimes a cat who has been infected will show mild intestinal signs like diarrhea.
Only a small percentage of cats exposed to the feline coronavirus go on to develop FIP. It can be weeks, months, or even years after exposure before symptoms appear.
Kitties that wind up with FIP often seem to their owners to develop symptoms very suddenly. This is probably due to the ability of cats to mask illness until they’re terribly sick. In addition, initial symptoms are often non-specific. They can include a lack of appetite, weight loss, fever, poor hair coat, and sometimes mild depression.
There are actually two forms of FIP, the effusive or wet form, and the non-effusive or dry form. Cats with the dry form tend to show signs of the illness more slowly. Those signs can include weight loss, depression, anemia, inflammation of the eye, and a stubborn fever that doesn’t respond to antibiotics.
Kitties with the wet form of the disease accumulate fluid in the abdomen and sometimes in the chest. Early on, symptoms may mimic those of the dry form of FIP. But effusive FIP progresses pretty quickly. The cat may suddenly develop a potbelly due to fluid accumulation in the abdomen. In addition, breathing can sometimes be labored due to a buildup of fluid in the chest.
Diagnosing feline infectious peritonitis can be difficult because many of the symptoms are common in many other diseases. In addition, there’s no simple diagnostic test for the condition.
Several tests can detect feline corona antibodies, but they can’t tell what strains are involved. A positive result on an ELISA, IFA, or a virus neutralization test simply means the cat has had exposure to the coronavirus, but not necessarily a strain of the virus that causes FIP.
There is an immunoperoxidase test that can find the presence of viral infected cells in the tissues. But it must be followed by a biopsy to evaluate the affected tissue.
Routine blood tests, including a complete blood count and serum biochemistry profile, can show elevated liver enzymes, anemia, and abnormal blood protein levels, which are typical of kitties with FIP.
Chest and abdominal X-rays may show an abnormal accumulation of fluid.
Blood samples from cats with very high blood protein levels can be submitted for serum protein electrophoresis testing. Cerebral spinal fluid samples can also be analyzed for protein content, which is typically elevated in FIP cats. But the only way to definitively diagnose FIP is by a surgical biopsy of an affected organ (often the intestines) or examination of tissues during an autopsy.
Veterinarians often rely on a presumptive diagnosis, which can be made with a high degree of confidence based on the cat’s history, symptoms, examination of fluids, and a high corona antibody titer.
Unfortunately, there is no cure at the present time for FIP. Once a kitty develops clinical signs of the disease, either the dry or wet form, the prognosis is very poor.
I have had some success in helping several kitties overcome this disease by supportive care and using homeopathic FIP nosodes, cytokine therapy, and IV vitamin C therapy, in addition to immune-modulating nutraceuticals.
I have also attempted to help many kitties that, unfortunately, end up succumbing to the disease. It’s a devastating situation for both the owner and the veterinarian.
The wet form typically progresses very rapidly. Many cats live only a month or two after diagnosis. Cats that have been diagnosed with the dry form may have another year or so with a good quality of life. Unfortunately, the dry form of FIP can progress to the wet form if the cat lives long enough.
Supportive care for FIP patients includes good nutritional and environmental maintenance, alleviating the inflammatory response of the disease, fluid therapy, draining fluid accumulation, and blood transfusions.
Preventing FIP in Your Own Cat
The best way to prevent FIP is to keep your cat’s immune system strong and balanced. This includes feeding a balanced species-appropriate diet; keeping vaccines and other drugs to an absolute minimum; providing a stress-free, enriched environment for your cat; regular wellness checkups with your veterinarian; either keeping your pet indoors at all times or providing a safe outdoor enclosure; and supervising walks with a harness and leash.
Of course, I always advocate rescuing cats rather than buying them, but if you do purchase a purebred cat, only do business with breeders who guarantee their kittens are FIP-free.
In a multi-cat household, it’s important to keep litter boxes clean and located in areas away from food and water bowls. Litter should also be scooped at least once daily, removing all feces, and dumped weekly or every two weeks, at which time the box should be completely and thoroughly disinfected with mild soap and water.
New cats to the household and certainly any cat that might be infected should be kept separate from other cats for a quarantine period.
There is an FIP vaccine available. However, I do not recommend it. It has little to no effectiveness in preventing FIP and is not recommended by the American Association of Feline Practitioners’ Feline Vaccine Advisory Panel. This vaccine causes substantial immune system damage and, in my opinion, should absolutely not be used.
April 23, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | Cats, Dr. Becker, feline infectious peritonities, feline vaccines, FIP, pet vaccines | 1 Comment
- In part 1 of a 3-part series on raw food diets for pets, Dr. Becker begins the discussion by reviewing the ancestral origins of today’s dogs and cats.
- From a genetic standpoint, domesticated canines and felines are essentially the same as their wild counterparts, who are carnivores.
- Dogs and cats have not evolved from meat-eaters to vegetarians, but you wouldn’t know it from the ingredients used in the vast majority of commercial pet foods on the market.
- Fortunately, dogs and cats are adaptable, resilient animals. Otherwise, the biologically inappropriate convenience pet foods they’ve been fed for the last century would wreak even greater havoc on their health.
- High-carbohydrate, low-moisture commercial pet foods have created significant metabolic and physiologic stress in our pets and have become the root cause of most of the inflammatory processes and degenerative disease we see in veterinary medicine today.
By Dr. Becker
Today and over the next couple of weeks I’ll be discussing my favorite topic, raw food diets for pets. I want to talk about some of the myths and truths surrounding raw food diets, but before we get to the good stuff, it’s important to have a foundation of understanding about basic nutrition.
One point that no one argues is that for optimal health to occur, animals must consume the foods they were designed to eat. I call this a species-appropriate diet. So vegetarian animals must eat vegetation for optimal health. And carnivorous animals must eat fresh whole prey for optimal health.
Origins of Dogs and Cats
A good place to start a discussion of our carnivorous pets is to go back to the roots of the dog and the cat prior to domestication. The domestic dog, whose taxonomic name is Canis lupus familiaris, is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, which is a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora.
Most scientists believe dogs were domesticated from gray wolves about 15,000 years ago. But DNA analysis published in 1997 suggests that the transformation from wolves to domestic dogs occurred more like 130,000 years ago.
Data suggests dogs first diverged from wolves in East Asia, and these domesticated dogs quickly migrated throughout the world. Of course, humans began selectively breeding dogs to create animals that suited their needs and their likes.
The earliest evidence of cat domestication is a kitten that was found buried alongside a human approximately 9,500 years ago in Cyprus. Researchers have gained major insights through DNA testing into the evolution of cats by showing how they migrated to new continents and developed new species as the sea levels rose and fell.
A 2008 study revealed that lines of descent for all house cats, of the species Felis catus, probably came from self-domesticating African wild cats up to 10,000 years ago. And as happened with the domesticated dog, humans began breeding cats to suit their fancy. Today, over 80 breeds of cats are recognized by one registry or another.
Today’s Cats and Dogs are Carnivores Just Like Their Wild Ancestors
Despite humans’ desire to create certain physical characteristics in dogs and cats – this is called their phenotype or how animals look externally – their genetic makeup remains essentially the same as their wild ancestors, which should tell you something about the foods they should still be consuming.
Of course, all animals are biologically equipped to assimilate and digest foods they were designed to eat. For example, earthworms are naturally designed to process dirt. The entire GI tract of worms, from the mouth to the other end where waste is excreted, was designed for this purpose.
Cows are designed to eat grass, and their GI tracts are set up perfectly for this. They have big, round, flat teeth used to grind grasses and an unbelievable range of motion in their mandibles, allowing them to chew, chew, chew, and chew. Cows have a lot of range of motion laterally in their jaws.
Dogs and cats do not have this range of motion in their jaws. Their jaws move up and down only, like a trap door or a hinge, because dogs and cats are gulpers, not chewers. They don’t have chewing teeth. Dogs and cats have incredibly sharp interlocking teeth designed to rip and tear flesh.
They also have very short GI tracts compared to vegetarian animals that need to ferment foods, as carnivorous animals consume foods with potentially very heavy pathogen loads. The bodies of carnivores are designed to get foods in and back out very quickly.
The ancestral lifestyle of a carnivore includes lots of variety and seasonal variability, meaning certain prey was more prevalent at certain times of the year. They thrived consuming fresh, living, whole animals. But carnivorous animals do not eat clean foods. Dogs and cats did not evolve to consume sterile foods. They have digestive tracts that are designed to be resilient and handle the loads of naturally occurring bacteria that are present in the foods they eat. Their food in the wild was moisture-dense, meaning the prey they consumed was primarily water.
The carnivorous lifestyle required a tremendous amount of exercise and exertion. Food was not served to them, so they had to stealthily catch it. This provided intense stimulation of all the senses, plus nervous, skeletal, endocrine, and circulatory system involvement. Carnivorous animals had daily rigorous workouts in an attempt to catch enough food to stay alive.
Most Pet Food is Biologically Inappropriate for Dogs and Cats
What’s very important for pet owners to know is that “pet food” is a relatively new concept. So, “dog food” and “cat food” you buy from the supermarket has only been around a little over a hundred years.
However, animals have hunted prey or, in the case of dogs, scavenged — for millions of years. And although recent research suggests domesticated carnivores were able to adapt to some degree to starch in the diet as humans became planters and farmers of grains, dogs and cats have most definitely not evolved into vegetarians over time.
Over the last hundred years, major pet food companies have produced most of their products using a base of corn, wheat, rice, or potato. However, our carnivorous pets have not evolved to be able to process those foreign foods.
The good news is dogs and cats are adaptable and resilient unlike other species, for example, snakes. If we suddenly forced snakes to eat grains or consume vegetation, they would simply die, demonstrating rather visibly and quickly that they were not provided the correct food source.
Dogs and cats are among the most resilient animals on the planet. They are able to withstand really significant nutritional abuse, in my opinion, without dying. Degeneration does occur as the result of an inappropriate diet, but sudden death does not.
So one of the reasons we’ve been able to deceive ourselves into believing convenience pet foods are good for dogs and cats is because they don’t die immediately of acute starvation. For a hundred years our pets have been fed inappropriate diets that have kept them alive, but far from thriving like their wild relatives. Instead, we’ve created dozens of generations of nutritionally weakened animals that suffer from degenerative diseases linked to nutritional deficiencies – a link the traditional veterinary community has not acknowledged.
The Pottenger cat study is one example of how our current system of nourishing pets creates chronic disease.
The truth is that our pet population provides a place for recycling waste from the human food industry. Grains that fail inspection, uninspected pieces and parts of waste from the seafood industry, leftover restaurant grease, deceased livestock, and even roadkill is collected and disposed of through rendering — a process that converts all sorts of human food industry waste into raw materials for the pet food industry.
These raw materials are purchased by huge pet food manufacturers – makers of the big name brands your parents and friends have probably used for the last 50 years. These manufacturers blend the rendered fat and meat with a large amount of starch fillers. They add bulk vitamin and mineral supplements, and then they extrude the mix at high temperatures, creating all sorts of toxic reactions including advanced glycation end products and heterocyclic amines. They call this “pet food” and sell it to customers at an unbelievable profit.
Is the entire system flawed? Yes. But pet food industry giants are realizing that pet owners are becoming more educated about their flawed system, and they are trying to clean up their image. We are beginning to see words like “natural” and “no byproducts” on labels. We’re beginning to see “grain-free” and “naturally preserved” on labels as well. Manufacturers are hearing the grumbles of educated pet owners and are changing their marketing to try to regain lost customers.
Common Pet Food Myths Many People Actually Believe
I find it amazing that pet parents buy into marketing gimmicks that human parents would never fall for. For instance, how often have you heard a pediatrician say, “Never feed your baby anything but X brand of baby food, because feeding a homemade diet could be dangerous to your child’s health?” Never. But you do hear it often in the veterinary world.
Or how about this one: “Switching your brand of baby food could lead to GI problems, so feed only one brand or type of baby food to your children for the rest of their lives to avoid GI problems.” You would never hear this, either, from a competent pediatrician. And yet, you hear this type of advice all the time in the veterinary industry. It’s startling to me to know that entire generations of people actually believe pets must have “pet food” to be healthy.
And there’s a host of other myths you’ve probably heard. For example, pets can derive all the nutrients they need for vibrant health from a dry nugget that can be fed day after day, year after year. Or that if you don’t feed crunchy foods to your pet, his or her teeth won’t be clean. Or canned food is too rich, and raw food is just a recent trendy craze that could be risky.
A lot of people also believe their veterinarian wouldn’t recommend X brand of food if wasn’t good for their pet… that all cats should eat fish and drink milk… that veterinarians are the people to trust for the most up-to-date information pertaining to nutrition… or that disease, degeneration, and poor vitality have nothing to do with day to day nourishment. All myths.
So… What are the Facts?
Number one, carbohydrates are not a necessary component of a carnivore’s diet. Cats have no taste receptors for sweet flavors and have low rates of glucose uptake in the intestine. They should not be fed any type of grain that metabolizes into sugar.
Cats have no salivary amylase to break down starches, either, and dogs have very low amylase secretion.
Also, cats never hunted fish from the ocean – fish is not an evolutionary food source for them.
The intense heat used to process commercial pet foods diminishes or destroys the benefits of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in food. Processed pet foods require supplementation to replace lost nutrients.
The heating process also significantly reduces the digestibility of amino acids in pet food.
And digestibility of meat-based protein is proven to be superior to plant-based protein – the type used in most inexpensive commercial pet foods — for dogs and cats.
So in a nutshell, for 99.99 percent of their time on earth, dogs and cats have consumed a natural diet. For .01 percent of the time, they have consumed an extruded, processed diet. Dogs and cats evolved to consume a low-carbohydrate diet. But for the last century, the majority of pet owners have fed pets a high-carbohydrate, low-moisture diet. This has created significant metabolic and physiologic stress, and convenience pet foods have become the root cause of most of the inflammatory processes and degenerative disease that plague today’s dogs and cats.
April 1, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | Cats, commercial pet food, dogs, Dr. Becker, Homemade pet food, meat-eaters, Pets, raw food diet for pets, raw food pet diet | 2 Comments
March 26, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal and Pet Photos, animal behavior, animals, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, pet fun, Pets | catching a cat, Cats | 2 Comments
ALBUQUERQUE KRQE.com – h/t to TLA: Although the government has offered food stamps to struggling Americans for decades, there haven’t been any provisions for their four-legged family members. Until now. Marc Okon has launched Pet Food Stamps, a New York-based nonprofit that will give qualifying pet owners throughout the U.S. (who must be receiving government assistance for themselves) funds to buy food for their animals from the website PetFoodDirect.
In the program’s first two weeks, Okon says he has already fielded more than 12,000 applications. "It’s aimed at preventing people from having to choose between feeding themselves or their animals or having to surrender them to a high-kill shelter," Okon said.
ALBUQUERQUE KRQE.com: A new program to offer pet food stamps is getting a big response from New Mexicans.
The nonprofit Pet Food Stamps is not a government program but works just like human food stamps. Families who qualify for state assistance could qualify for assistance in feeding their pets as well.
Local animal shelters hope the assistance will ease their overpopulation problems.
"We distribute roughly 3,000 pounds of pet food each week in Albuquerque," said Dawn Glass, marketing director at Animal Humane New Mexico.
Animal Humane’s emergency food bank feeds about 400 families every month in Albuquerque, but the help is only for dire situations. There is no long-term help.
Now a new national group Pet Food Stamps is changing that.
"It’s aimed at preventing people from having to choose feeding themselves or their animals or having to surrender them to a high-kill shelter," explained founder Marc Okon.
Okon launched the New York based nonprofit two weeks ago, and It’s already seeing a huge response from New Mexicans.
"We’ve had tons of people that have submitted applications," Okon said. "I think about 300 to 400 people to be exact." And that’s in New Mexico alone. In just two weeks the program has had more than 12,000 requests for assistance.
To qualify families must prove they’re receiving state assistance. If approved they’ll get a monthly allotment to spend at national retailer PetFoodDirect..
Local shelters say they’re thrilled about the idea of long-term relief.
"If we can have an ongoing source for these families while they’re trying to get on their feet, that’s huge" Glass said.
Glass hopes it will also keep more families with their families instead of state and city facilities.
"When people are going through difficult situations, where they’ve lost their jobs or their home is foreclosed, the last thing they need to do is lose their very best friend," Glass added.
Applications can be filled out on the Pet Food Stamps website .
Because the organization is a nonprofit, it is also in need of monetary donations while they search for federal funds and grants.
*This is a long overdue program. With the federal food stamp program you can buy candy, soda, and junk food but you can’t buy pet food or a pre-cooked chicken or off the dollar menu at any fast food place. If you are truly homeless and living on the street or in your car being able to feed your pet, sometimes your only companion, or eat a warm meal when you have nowhere to cook, would be worth a lot. It is perhaps time to re-consider some of the restrictions and impose a few new ones.
**If you can donate or perhaps work with this program, Pet Food Stamps, to help all families in need feed their pets, please do so.
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals … and its weakest members.” …Ghandi
March 10, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Help Familie Keep Their Pets, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, Stop Animal Cruelty, We Are All God's Creatures | animals, Cats, dogs, dogs and cats, food stamps for pets, for the love of a pet, Ghandi, Help Families Keep Their Pets, Homeless With Pets, hungry pets, JOMP, Just One More Pet, Love, Pet Food Stamps, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | 4 Comments
After a heartbreaking tragedy, I swore off owning cats — my little trash-can kitty had other ideas…
Catster: Whoever came up with the phrase "never say never" was a genius. There have been so many moments in my life when I’ve had to eat my words because the thing I swore will never do again happened and made me feel like a total idiot.
This time it applied to cats. I had lost my two kitties to poison — given to them by my hope-he’s-being-attacked-by-lions-in-hell neighbor who decided to kill every feline that walked through his garden, stray or not. The fact that the truth came out after weeks of posting flyers and patrolling the area looking for them made it worse. Not knowing what happened was the worst feeling ever. When I finally found out, I was not just sad, I was exhausted and heartbroken.
It was after that ordeal that a decision was made: I needed a break from cats. No more sweet purring. No more meowing in full sentences. No more litter boxes. Of course all of that is easier said than done. Being cat-less for the first time in 20 years was no picnic. I felt like a drug addict going cold turkey. But it was "for my own good," I kept telling myself.
Here’s another stray kitten I saw by the trash receptacles.
And so it goes that one night after a fun dinner with friends, I was on my way home when I almost stepped on a weird lump on the sidewalk. The next day was trash pick-up day and there was garbage in, around, and above the trash cans, so I thought it was either a discarded plastic wrap or dog poop … when suddenly, the poop moved!
I leaned closer and found out it was actually a very small, smelly kitten. Out of habit, I picked her up. She was probably around three months old. She didn’t meow or try to escape. I couldn’t just leave her there, so of course I brought her home. The plan was to give her a safe place to spend the night and then the next day take her to the vet. I wasn’t violating my new life code, I was helping an animal in need.
I lost count of how many times I woke up during the night to check on her. She looked so sick. Oh, I was soooo not ready for this. I convinced myself that she was probably going to meet my other cats up in heaven soon.
I took her to the vet the next day and explained the plan. They would check her and call me later with details, so I could make the decision. In the meantime, I walked to the office thinking of cat names.
My beautiful Marisol.
Four hours later, I received the call. Kitty was actually six months old, but very malnourished, which is why she looked younger. She did have asthma and pneumonia. But, good news, no life threatening illnesses like feline leukemia.
"What do you want to do?" said the vet.
"Wait a minute. So she’s going to be OK?" Before he gave me the answer, I yelled, "Save her please!"
Never say never? Yeah, right.
That afternoon, I picked up Marisol (her new name) and took her home. I’m not even going to tell you how much it cost me to bring her back from trash-can death. Or how many times I had to run with her to the emergency clinic with an asthma attack. It didn’t matter. I had a new cat in the house. A quiet and sweet kitty. My heart was slowly mending.
With her health returned, her real personality made its long-awaited appearance … and it was a very mischievous personality. No amount of bottle spraying or loud noises could shut down her insane desire to destroy everything dear to me. Using double-stick tape became the only way to save my belongings. She finally learned to meow by hanging out with other cats in the building. So now she had a voice to go with her rambunctious energy, but she was also incredibly loving. She knew just the right moment to come and purr on my lap.
So whenever I feel like my patience is taking a dive out of the balcony, I remember that little, smelly lump on the sidewalk. With my heart full of cat love again, I pick up the broken dishes and smile.
March 8, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal Abandonement, animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, NO KILL NATION, Outreach for Pets, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Success Stories, Toughen Animal Abuse Laws and Sentences, We Are All God's Creatures | Cats, for the love of a pet, for the love of an animal, Love, until you have loved a pet..., until you have loved an animal | 2 Comments
Video: Kitten Massage Therapy
It’s stressful being a kitten! So, after a long day of eating, napping, and terrorizing unattended clothing, it’s important to unwind.
March 6, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal and Pet Photos, animal behavior, animals, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, pet fun, Pets | Cats, cute, kittens | Leave a Comment
Save a Life…Adopt Just One More…Pet!
Everyday we read or hear another story about pets and other animals being abandoned in record numbers while at the same time we regularly hear about crazy new rules and laws being passed limiting the amount of pets that people may have, even down to one or two… or worse yet, none.
Nobody is promoting hoarding pets or animals, but at a time when there are more pets and animals of all types being abandoned or being taken to shelters already bursting at the seams, there is nothing crazier than legislating away the ability of willing adoptive families to take in just one more pet!!
Our goal is to raise awareness and help find homes for all pets and animals that need one by helping to match them with loving families and positive situations. Our goal is also to help fight the trend of unfavorable legislation and rules in an attempt to stop unnecessary Euthenization!!
“All over the world, major universities are researching the therapeutic value of pets in our society and the number of hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and mental institutions which are employing full-time pet therapists and animals is increasing daily.” ~ Betty White, American Actress, Animal Activist, and Author of Pet Love
Photos By: Marion Algier – The UCLA Shutterbug
There is always room for Just One More Pet. So if you have room in your home and room in your heart… Adopt Just One More! If you live in an area that promotes unreasonable limitations on pets… fight the good fight and help change the rules and legislation…
Save the Life of Just One More…Animal!
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Photos by the UCLA Shutterbug are protected by copyright, Please email at JustOneMorePet@gmail.com or find us on twitter @JustOneMorePet for permission to duplicate for commerical purposes or to purchase photos.
If you can adopt or foster just one more pet, you could be saving a life, while adding joy to your own! Our shelters are over-flowing… Please join the fight to make them all ‘NO-Kill’ facilities.
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- Canine Logo Equals Rape! Hello? May 6, 2013The University of Connecticut has replaced their old logo … … with something a bit leaner. (Click on any picture to see the largest version.) HellInAHandBasket.net: Okay, so some university in the New England states is trying to rebrand. So what? It would seem that a female student claims that the new logo will “intimidate […]justonemorepet
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Great Book for Children and Pet Lovers… And a Perfect Holiday GiftOne More Pet Emily loves animals so much that she can’t resist bringing them home. When a local farmer feels under the weather, she is only too eager to “feed the lambs, milk the cows and brush the rams.” The farmer is so grateful for Emily’s help that he gives her a giant egg... Can you guess what happens after that? The rhythmic verse begs to be read aloud, and the lively pictures will delight children as they watch Emily’s collection of pets get bigger and bigger.
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If You Were Stranded On An Island…A recent national survey revealed just how much Americans love their companion animals. When respondents were asked whether they’d like to spend life stranded on a deserted island with either their spouse or their pet, over 60% said they would prefer their dog or cat for companionship!