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Sean Casey Animal Rescue Adoption Event
Sean Casey Animal Rescue will host an adoption van at Willie's Dawgs from 12-5pm on Sunday, January 24, 2010. Cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies will be available for adoption. Willie's Dawg's is located at 351 5th Ave in Park Slope. For more info, contact Charles Henderson at 718-436-5163, or click here.


An Article Worth Reading

Since most of you are urban dog owners, I thought I'd pass along a link to this week's New York Magazine cover story, "The Rise of Dog Identity Politics." It discusses the human/animal bond, how we treat our pets, animal rescue, and a whole lot more.

If you have a moment, it's definitely worth reading. You can do so by clicking here.


Westminster: This February 15-16 in NYC!

If you've never been to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden, I'd definitely recommend it. You get to see so many unique breeds, and it's just a really fun experience. (And let's be honest, there's even some Best in Show-type weirdness going on behind the scenes, so that's fun to see, too.)

Last year's winner, a Sussex Spaniel named Stump

To get an idea what you can see on each day, here's the breakdown: All Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding breeds and varieties will be judged on Monday, with groups judged on Monday night. All Sporting, Working, and Terrier breeds and varieties will be judged on Tuesday, with groups judged on Tuesday night. Best In Show will also be judged on Tuesday night.

Tickets range from $40-$130. For more information, the schedule, and tickets, go to the Westminster site here:


ASPCA Lists Top Ten Pet Poisons of 2009

The ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center handles thousands of calls every year from pet owners concerned that their animal has ingested something harmful. In 2009, they received more than 140,000 calls about pets exposed to toxic substances, and they took the liberty of compiling a list of the most common. I've listed them—with examples—below.

Azaleas may look pretty, but they can be poisonous to dogs.

  1. Human Medications (e.g. painkillers, cold medications, antidepressants, and dietary supplements)
  2. Insecticides (those used around the home as well as misused flea and tick products)
  3. People Food (grapes/raisins, avocado, chocolate, and things containing xylitol, like gum)
  4. Plants (azalea, rhododendron, sago palm, lilies, kalanchoe, and schefflera, to name a few)
  5. Veterinary Medications
  6. Rodenticides (rat and mouse poisons)
  7. Household Cleaners (bleaches, detergents, and disinfectants)
  8. Heavy Metals (lead, zinc, and mercury in the form of paint chips, linoleum, lead dust, etc.)
  9. Garden Products (fertilizer)
  10. Chemical Hazards (antifreeze, paint thinner, drain cleaners, and pool/spa cleaners)

To read the ASPCA's entire list, including details, click here. And of course, it may be a good idea to keep the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center number on hand somewhere that's easily accessible: 888-426-4435. I've called them before and they were extraordinarily helpful.


Does Your Dog Hate Having His Teeth Cleaned?

Yeah, mine too. I realize it's a necessity, though, especially since according to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), 80 percent of dogs exhibit oral disease by age three, and it is one of most commonly treated health problems in small animal clinics. Bacteria buildup in a dog's mouth can also be at the root of other, larger problems, such as diseases of the heart, kidneys, and liver. Still, my dog clearly doesn't grasp all of these risks, because the last time I tried to clean her teeth, she dramatically gagged, dribbled the paste all over my carpet, and then hid under the bed.

So, since my attempts at cleaning her teeth weren't exactly going well, I was looking for an option to help supplement them. (I know there's the whole professional-cleaning-by- your-veterinarian option, but I'm putting that off until I'm told it's necessary, rightly or not.) My vet suggested dental chews to help clean her teeth between brushing sessions. I highlighted a few below in the hopes that it may be helpful to you. Obviously, I'd discuss with your vet prior to using. 

CET Oral Hygiene Chews
My own vet recommended these, and Riley loves them. According to the site, these "great tasting" chews "feature an exclusive dual enzyme system: a natural antiseptic plus an abrasive texture coupled with chewing fights plaque and tartar buildup."

Bluechews by Vetradent
Apparently, these are "wildly palatable canine dental health bars," which are "clinically-proven to reduce tartar by 61% and plaque by 22%. Bluechews have been awarded the coveted Veterinary Oral Health Council seal of approval for both plaque and tartar control."

Ark Naturals Breath-Less Brushless Toothpaste
Only Natural Pet Store
Despite the name, these are chews, not actual toothpaste. According to the company, these chews have "real toothpaste" on the inside. These chews have ridges that "are proven effective for teeth scrubbing"; they're highly digestible; they are wheat, corn, and soy free; and they are made with human grade ingredients.


New Dog Cancer Drug is Approved

The USDA has approved a new canine melanoma vaccine, Oncept, designed to extend the lives of dogs with oral melanoma. One of my dogs growing up ultimately died from oral melanoma, so I can appreciate as much as anyone the importance of this type of development.

According to the company's press release: "Melanoma is a common type of cancer in dogs and is the most common malignant tumor of the dog's mouth and can also occur in the nail and footpad. Canine oral melanoma may affect any breed and is a highly aggressive cancer. Normal treatment for canine oral melanoma includes surgery and/or radiation, but even after successful local treatment, the melanoma frequently spreads throughout the body, including the lymph nodes, liver, lungs and kidneys, and is often resistant to chemotherapy."

Since I'm not veterinarian and don't want to misstate anything, I'll continue to quote directly from the company release: "ONCEPT(TM) significantly extends survival time following primary tumor removal. Dogs with stage II or III malignant melanoma typically have survival times of less than six months when treated with surgery alone. In a controlled study, dogs vaccinated with ONCEPT(TM) following surgery had significantly better survival times than unvaccinated dogs (p<0.0001). Median survival time could not be determined for vaccinated dogs, since more than 50% of the treated dogs were still surviving at the time of publication of the study."

Exciting news, right? To read more about Oncept, read the release on CNNMoney here.