Tis the season for gift giving, but there is never a good time of year to give a puppy as a surprise present.  The American Kennel Club (AKC®) reminds those considering giving a puppy as a gift to think twice.

“A dog is a serious commitment, and you should never surprise someone with a puppy they aren’t ready to keep for a lifetime,” said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “A dog needs to suit your lifestyle, and it’s important to consider the energy level, size, coat and temperament of a puppy – as well as your own readiness – before you make a decision.”

Consider wrapping dog supplies such as a leash or bowl to symbolize the gift of a puppy to come – this will give the recipient time to do their research and prepare for the commitment.

During their critical first weeks at home, puppies require a great deal of time, love, and attention. Therefore, every prospective owner should carefully consider their schedule and circumstances before bringing a new pet into their home. This is especially true during the holidays when parties, travel, or out-of-town visitors might adversely affect your ability to give a new puppy all the attention he or she deserves. If your holidays will be hectic, wait until after the hustle and bustle.

The AKC also reminds dog owners of the following tips to keep their four-legged friends safe and happy this holiday season:

- Holiday Dangers Facing Dogs & Puppies - 

  • Avoid using food such as popcorn or cranberry strands as holiday decorations. If eaten, they can cause blockages, which can require surgery to remove. Puppies are notorious chewers when young and will look to get anything they can.
  • Place ornaments, tinsel, glass bulbs, and things that sparkle and catch your dog’s eye higher up on your tree where he can’t reach them. Ornaments can cause major problems for your dog or puppy if ingested.
  • Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe can be poisonous to pets, so keep them out of your dog’s reach.
  • If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure your dog doesn’t swallow the pine needles or drink the tree water which can cause stomach irritation, or contain poisonous plant food. Try putting a gate around the tree to keep your dog away, or consider getting an artificial tree.
  • Puppies like to chew and explore, and exposed wires from holiday lights pose a threat to your curious little friend – if he chews on them, he could be electrocuted. Tape indoor wires to the wall and outdoor wires to the side of the house where your dog can’t reach them.
  • Be careful with candles around your house, as a wagging tail can knock them over and cause serious burns or even start a house fire.
  • Common holiday foods such as chocolate, butter, turkey skin, fat, and candy can make your dog very ill. Take care to keep these foods out of reach.

For more information on responsible dog ownership, visit the AKC at www.akc.org.

Eisai Inc. today announced the launch of Magnolia™Paws for Compassion™, a new program created to raise awareness of the beneficial impact that animals can have on people living with epilepsy and seizure disorders.

Living with a seizure disorder can be physically challenging and can take an emotional toll on many of the 2.3 million American adults currently living with epilepsy, as well as the 467,711 children and teens living with epilepsy and seizure disorders.1 This can lead to feelings of depression, isolation and loneliness for the person living with the condition, as well as stress, worry and anxiety for family members and caregivers.2,3 Research has proven that the companionship of trained assistance animals helps individuals with seizure disorders feel more relaxed, positive and better able to manage their condition.4


To raise awareness of this important tool to help families coping with seizure disorders, Eisai has partnered with celebrity animal behaviorist and star of the Emmy-nominated CBS television series Lucky DogBrandon McMillan, as well as the Epilepsy Foundation and 4 Paws for Ability (4 Paws), a non-profit organization focused on the training and placement of service dogs for children with a variety of conditions, including epilepsy.

“While most people are aware of guide dogs for the blind or deaf, many may not know about the invaluable impact that assistance dogs can have for those households coping with a seizure disorder,” said McMillan. “In my decades of experience as an animal trainer, I’ve seen firsthand the power that animals have to enhance people’s lives and this is even more true for those coping with a serious illness.”

Service dogs, which include seizure assistance dogs for people with epilepsy and seizure disorders, are rigorously trained to perform tasks for people with various needs. Seizure assistance dogs are typically trained for 12 to 18 months to help with physical challenges and to respond to a seizure in someone who has epilepsy.5

“Living with a seizure disorder can be physically challenging and emotionally isolating for both the person living with the condition and their caregivers,” said Nathan Fountain, M.D., Professor of Neurology and Director of the F.E. Dreifuss Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

“Assistance dogs provide functional assistance to help people gain back independence and are trained to bark or alert when a seizure occurs. This can be extremely helpful if seizures occur frequently or during the night when caregivers are asleep,” Dr. Fountain said.

In cases where a highly-trained seizure assistance dog is not needed, research has shown that interaction with therapy dogs or even household pets can increase socialization and provide emotional support.4,6  People with seizure disorders or their family members can learn more about how to maximize the benefits of animal assistance in their lives at www.MagnoliaPawsForCompassion.com.

“As part of Eisai’s Magnolia program, we look to create support programs that address fundamental unmet patient needs,” said Christine Verini, vice president, Corporate Communications and Advocacy at Eisai. “Every person or family coping with an illness faces unique challenges along their journey, but interaction with animals has been shown to be valuable to those coping with a variety of illnesses. We are extremely happy to be working with 4 Paws and the Epilepsy Foundation to increase awareness about the benefits service animals can provide to individuals with epilepsy.”


  1. Epilepsy Basics FAQs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. http://www.cdc.gov/epilepsy/basics/faqs.htm#. Updated May 16, 2013. Accessed August 28, 2014.
  2. Marcus, Dawn A., MD. Complimentary Medicine in Cancer Care: Adding a Therapy Dog to the Team. Current Pain Headache Reports (2012) 16:289-291
  3. Urbanski, Beth L, Lazenby, Mark. Distress among Hospitalized Pediatric Cancer Patients Modified By Pet-Therapy Intervention to Improve Quality of Life. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing (2012) 29:272
  4. Seizure Assistance Dog. 4 Paws for Ability Website. http://4pawsforability.org/seizure-assistance-dog. Accessed November 20, 2013.
  5. Mission and Goals. 4 Paws for Ability Website. http://4pawsforability.org/mission-and-goals/. Accessed November 20, 2013.
  6. Mills, LTC James T., III, SP, Yeager, MAJ Arthur F., SP. Definitions of Animals Used in Healthcare Settings. U.S. Army Medical Department Journal (2012).

Merck Animal Health has launched a global awareness campaign to support Pet Diabetes Month™ this November. In its second year, the “A Healthy Pet = A Happy Family” campaign highlights that just like humans, dogs and cats can also suffer from diabetes. The campaign is designed to raise awareness to the signs of the condition among pet owners in an effort to encourage them to visit their veterinarians to have their pets screened and/or treated.

“Lack of owner awareness is the biggest risk factor associated with pet diabetes,” said Madeleine Stahl, D.V.M., associate director, Scientific Marketing Affairs, Merck Animal Health. “Pet diabetes can be easily and effectively managed if the owners know the signs and take action.”


Excessive thirst, frequent urination and change in appetite are some of the most common signs of diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats. Pets also may exhibit increased hunger while losing weight, cloudy eyes (due to cataracts) in dogs and weakness of the back legs in cats. Risk factors that may contribute to the development of diabetes mellitus include age (middle-aged to older dogs and cats are more susceptible), genetics, breed and obesity.

The prevalence of diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats ranges from at least one in 1001 to one in 5002. The number of dogs diagnosed with the condition has tripled during the past 30 years3. Today, dogs receiving the proper treatment have the same expected lifespan as a non-diabetic dog of the same age and sex. With treatment, a regular diet and routine, a diabetic cat can also have a happy, healthy life.

“If a dog or cat displays signs or is at risk, pet owners should talk to their veterinarian, as getting the condition under control early is paramount to survival,” said Dr. Stahl. “Lack of diagnosis and treatment can lead to severe and life-threatening health issues.”

When a pet’s diabetes is well-regulated, diabetic pets can continue to live happy, healthy lives with the families who love them. Today, along with proper diet and exercise, VETSULIN® (porcine insulin zinc suspension) plays an important role in successfully managing the condition. VETSULIN is the only veterinary insulin product approved for use in both dogs and cats. For more information about pet diabetes, please visit vetsulin.com or petdiabetesmonth.com.

To learn more about living with pet diabetes, watch a series of “Slice of Life” vignettes that profile the stories of real pet owners who are managing their pets’ diabetes. http://www.petdiabetesmonth.com/videos.asp

VETSULIN should not be used in dogs or cats known to have a systemic allergy to pork or pork products. VETSULIN is contraindicated during periods of hypoglycemia. Keep out of reach of children. As with all insulin products, careful patient monitoring for hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia is essential to attain and maintain adequate glycemic control and prevent associated complications. Overdosage can result in profound hypoglycemia and death. The safety and effectiveness of VETSULIN in puppies and kittens, breeding, pregnant and lactating dogs and cats has not been evaluated. See package insert for full information regarding contraindications, warnings and precautions, visit: http://www.vetsulin.com/vet/AboutVet_ProductLabel.aspx.

Bartlett Milling Company has initiated a limited recall of certain horse feeds due to potential Rumensin contamination. The products were distributed to customers and retailers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Rumensin contamination can result in health problems, including mortality, in horses. The products and lot number involved in the recall are:

  • 50 lb. bags of Bartlett Pasture Horse 10 Feed – Lot 288
  • 50 lb. bags of Cleveland Carolina Champion Horse Feed – Lot 288

The recalled products were packaged in typical brand-specific feed bags. Lot numbers are printed on the front and back of each bag.

Retailers have been contacted and instructed to immediately withdraw from sale the recalled product and to notify customers who purchased the product. Customers should discontinue feeding the product immediately. Customers who purchased this product should return remaining bags to their retailer.

For more information on the product recall, contact Bartlett Milling at 1-800-438-6016 from 8AM to 5PM Monday through Friday. Contact Bartlett at 1-336-655-1840 outside of regular business hours.

This recall is being conducted with the knowledge of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and the United States Food and Drug Administration.

The unconditional love from dogs is a perfect match for assisted living residents.

Across the country, assisted living residents are deriving great satisfaction from furry, four-legged friends accompanied by their owners who welcome the opportunity to give back to others.

“My mom has Alzheimer’s,” said Sue Travis, who visits The Peninsula, an assisted living/memory support community in Pembroke Park, Fla., with her dog, JR. “Whenever I visit, it becomes the basis of my conversation with my mother.”

Her mother was the impetus behind Sue becoming a pet therapist.

“Mom told me about a woman who brought her dog to visit the residents. I thought why can’t I do that,” she explained.

Both Travis and her dog, Junior, began visiting The Peninsula. When he passed away, she found another golden from a Golden Retriever rescue organization. In Junior’s memory, she named him JR.

JR loves interacting with residents, who look forward to his weekly visits. Intuitively, he knows which residents will reward him and he’ll visit residents’ rooms if they are unable to join the group.

At the suggestion of a rescue group trainer, Sue Roncoroni and her dog, Issy May, became trained for dog therapy. Roncoroni and Issy visit Spring Meadows of Lansdale, a personal care community in Lansdale, Pa., nearPhiladelphia.

Sue, a retired teacher, and Issy May are known to dress in costumes for their monthly visits.

“Pet therapy is much more than a dog having gentle disposition,” explained Roncoroni. “For their work in assisted living communities, dogs need to be trained to walk around walkers, not jump or do anything to throw someone off balance and especially follow the command, ‘drop it’.”

Issy May underwent special testing to become a therapy dog and JR is being certified by the local Human Society.

Gene Grizzle runs a pet therapy group that visits The Palace Royale, an assisted living community in Miami, twice a month. He organizes 12-18 dogs with their handlers including his own standard poodle, Rambo.

“Many residents had dogs of their own. These pets bring back memories,” said Grizzle. “It’s amazing how they open up and tell you stories.”

Grizzle’s group is affiliated with Therapy Dog, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Fall marks the peak season for fleas, evidenced by a 70 percent increase in flea prevalence over the previous season. To help stop the spread of fleas and ensure pets are protected this season and all year, Veterinary Products Laboratories (VPL), the makers of Ovitrol® X-Tend™ Flea & Tick Spot On® products for Dogs and Cats, has donated $15,000 worth of the flea and tick treatments to five animal shelter organizations located in regions known for having a high prevalence of fleas year-round; a total donation of $75,000. The donation will supply each shelter with enough product to protect 120 pets from fleas and ticks for an entire year.

Shelter organizations work tirelessly to ensure the humane treatment of animals and to find homes for thousands of homeless pets. To help scratch the itch of pesky parasites and prevent flea infestation this fall, five shelter organizations each received donations of 1,440, one-month doses of Ovitrol® X-Tend™ Flea & Tick Spot On®products for Dogs and Cats.

Ovitrol® X-Tend™ Product Donation Recipients:

  • Arizona Humane Society (Phoenix, Ariz.)
  • Humane Society of Greater Miami (Miami, Fla.)
  • Humane Society of Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.)
  • Seattle Humane Society (Seattle, Wash.)
  • The Greater Birmingham Humane Society (Birmingham, Ala.)

“We are passionate about helping our shelter partners by protecting pets against fleas and ticks while relieving the expense of preventive care,” said Betsy Watkins, director of the VPL division. “Providing comfort and protection to animals in need is humbling and we thank each shelter partner for the hard work and time they devote to ensuring the well-being of every pet they help.”

Fleas are the most common external parasite found on untreated cats and dogs, and become even more prevalent during the fall; biting and feeding on the blood of their host. Fleas can consume 15 times their own body weight in blood and may lay up to 40-50 eggs each day, leading to rapid infestation of both the host and its environment if left untreated. Flea infestation on pets can cause severe irritation and itching, which can lead to hair-loss, inflammation and secondary skin infections. Severe cases of infestation, like those often seen by animal welfare professionals, can result in serious blood loss, anemia and possible death of the pet.

“Fleas are more than just an itchy nuisance to pets as they can cause severe distress, and more importantly, can transmit diseases such as tapeworm and the bacteria that cause cat scratch fever,” said Dr. Tom Kennedy, parasitologist. “Topical treatments have proven successful to eliminate fleas and prevent subsequent re-infestation, offering animal welfare organizations and pet owners an easy solution to protect their pets.”

Ovitrol® X-Tend™ Spot On® products for Dogs or Cats offer pet owners a powerful and affordable solution to eliminate fleas and ticks. As a fast-acting, topical prevention and control method, Ovitrol® X-Tend™ topicals start killing fleas on dogs and cats within 15 minutes, while also killing mosquitoes. The effective formula is administered through an applicator, specifically designed to make application easy for pet owners, without mess. Each dose protects for an entire month. Ovitrol® X-Tend™ topical is available through licensed, practicing veterinarians for a suggested retail price of $29.99 for each 3-pack.

For more information about Ovitrol® X-Tend™ Flea & Tick Spot On® products for Dogs or Cats call 1-888-241-9546 or visit www.Ovitrolxtend.com.

Petco today announced Apple Pay is available for use at all of its more than 1,300 Petco and Unleashed by Petco retail locations. Petco is among the first national retailers to support transactions using this new form of payment. Available nationwide at Petco and Unleashed by Petco stores, Apple Pay will transform mobile payments with an easy, secure and private way for pet parents to pay for goods and services.


Image courtesy of Apple

“We’re pleased to be among the first retailers to offer Apple Pay technology to our customers,” said Jim Myers, Petco CEO. “We’re constantly striving to make the lives of pet parents easier and their pets’ lives healthier. While we know our customers enjoy spending time in our stores, we also know their time is valuable. Making transactions faster and easier through Apple Pay will help make our store experience better and allow pet parents to get back to what’s important – spending time with their pets.”

Petco and Unleashed by Petco stores have offered customers the opportunity to use mobile technology to complete transactions wirelessly since 2012. Known as “Tap and Pay,” the system allows certain credit cards and mobile devices to use Near Field Communications (NFC) technology to send a customer’s payment information without swiping a card. Thousands of Tap and Pay transactions are completed in Petco stores each week at more than 1,300 Petco and Unleashed by Petco stores nationwide.

Apple Pay will work with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch, upon availability. Apple Pay is easy to set up and users will continue to receive all of the rewards and benefits offered by their credit and debit cards. Transactions completed through Apple Pay allow customers to safely store credit cards on the iPhone and authorize payments through their device. Through mobile wallet technology, customers can pay for purchases by holding their iPhones close to a sensor at the cashier. The transaction can be completed in seconds, allowing customers to move more quickly through the line.

Security and privacy is at the core of Apple Pay. When you add a credit or debit card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on your device. Each transaction is authorized with a one-time unique dynamic security code, instead of using the security code from the back of your card.

For more information about Petco or to find a location near you, visit petco.com. For more information on Apple Pay, visit: http://www.apple.com/apple-pay/

PoundWishes, a non-profit and web site focused on ending the needless euthanasia of 3-4 million shelter pets each year due to health problems, shelter overcrowding or lack of resources, today announced it has granted 150 PoundWishes in its first six months of operations. PoundWishes connects local animal rescue groups with pet lovers nationwide to raise money to rehabilitate sick, injured or abused shelter pets. Launched in March, PoundWishes is the only group focused on providing shelters with donations to nurture these special needs pets back to healthy, happy and adoptable. The site also posts adoption listings.

PoundWishes was inspired by Mckenzi Taylor who was diagnosed with leukemia at age two and received help during her illness from The Make-A-Wish Foundation. Although she was very young at the time, she never forgot how that special recognition made her feel. Now a healthy 12-year-old, she worked with her parents to create PoundWishes so she could give back some of that feeling to the neediest of pets.

“Being sick can make you feel alone and invisible. I was lucky to have a lot of help but when I visited a shelter recently I recognized the look in the sick pet’s eyes and I knew I had to do something,” said Mckenzi.”I’m so proud we have been able to help so many pets so and I’m just amazed by the generosity of the people who have donated so these pets can have a second chance.”

What is a PoundWish?
PoundWishes are posted by rescue groups to fund the urgent healthcare needs of the pets in their care. The PoundWishes granted so far include surgeries on broken limbs, medication for skin conditions and retraining and rehabilitation from the effects of abuse – whatever is necessary to get the pet ready for a new forever home.

PoundWishes is currently looking for new shelter and rescue partners and is actively building its pet lover community. The organization hopes to double its impact in the next six months by granting 300 more PoundWishes by the end of the year.  Pet lovers who want to get involved can visit www.PoundWishes.com.

India became the first cruelty-free cosmetics zone in South Asia.

Humane Society International/India’s #BeCrueltyFree campaign is celebrating an historic victory for animals as India bans the import of animal tested cosmetics. Coming just a few months after implementation of a national ban on cruel cosmetics testing in India’s labs, the import ban now makes India the first cruelty-free cosmetics zone in South Asia and an example for other nations to follow.

HSI's BeCrueltyFree India Makes History as India Bans Import of Animal Tested Cosmetics

The ban comes in the form of Rule 135-B that states, “Prohibition of import of cosmetics tested on animals. No cosmetic that has been tested on animals after the commencement of Drugs and Cosmetics (Fifth Amendment) Rules, 2014 shall be imported into the country.” The notification will come into effect on 13 November, 2014 (30 days from the date of notification).

Alokparna Sengupta, Humane Society International/India’s #BeCrueltyFree campaigns manager, said; “With today’s historic ban on the import of newly animal-tested cosmetics, India has made history for animals in South Asia. This is a huge achievement that could not have been possible without the compassion of our government, consumers and industry. We feel confident that if this vision is applied to other areas of product testing, this can be a defining moment in the modernization of India’s safety science, with potentially hundreds of thousands more animals spared pain and suffering.”

Gauri Maulekhi, Trustee, People for Animals, a #BeCrueltyFree India partner, said: “India has shown outstanding leadership by so swiftly advancing first a ban on cosmetics animal testing and now a ban on animal-tested cosmetics imported from overseas. By working so diligently with the #BeCrueltyFree India campaign, our policy makers have put India on the map as a country transforming its laboratories and regulation from outdated test methods to state-of-the-art science. Animals, consumers, scientists and companies have everything to gain from such modernization.”

HSI/India’s #BeCrueltyFree campaign has been instrumental in achieving the final import ban. In June, HSI met with the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan, to present a petition of more than 70,000 signatures supporting an import ban. Support from more than 30 legislators also has been critical, with special thanks to Mrs Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Shri Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, Shri L.K.Advani, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi andSupriya Sule.

India’s dual test and import ban mirrors that of the European Union and is the latest victory in a string of achievements for the #BeCrueltyFree campaign globally. Earlier this year #BeCrueltyFree campaigners inAustraliaBrazilNew ZealandTaiwan and the United States have all celebrated the introduction of bills proposing national cosmetic animal test bans. Efforts by #BeCrueltyFree China also resulted in China removing mandatory animal testing for many domestically produced cosmetics.

Otis, the golden retriever, was in his golden years when bone cancer pain threatened to shorten his life. As a participant in a clinical trial aimed at pet dogs, he was given a single treatment with a pain therapy called SP-SAP that was developed by a local company, Advanced Targeting Systems (ATS).

Advanced Targeting Systems Inc Otis

The story of Otis’ relief from cancer pain is well documented in a video accessible at www.ATSbio.com/vet. “Otis Gets His Wag Back” shows Otis before treatment and after. It is clear from Otis’ body language and gait there is change for the better, while the tumor has doubled in size.

Bone cancer at advanced stages often leads to animals being euthanized for pain-related issues. There are better options.  Pain shouldn’t be a life-threatening disease for your pet.  SP-SAP prevents chronic pain signals from reaching the brain. The pet’s brain no longer knows it is in pain from the cancer, but can still feel normal acute pain that can be treated with traditional pain care.

A study sponsored by ATS has promising results that were published in the November 2013 issue of the journalAnesthesiology. Pet dogs receiving SP-SAP displayed significantly less pain than dogs receiving traditional pain care, with no visible side effects and an improved quality of life.

With the hope of translating these results to humans, a clinical trial testing SP-SAP on terminal cancer patients has begun. Early results are promising, but additional patients are needed. See http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT02036281 for more information.

Benefits of SP-SAP:

  • Permanent relief from cancer pain
  • Single injectable dose
  • Successfully tested in dogs
  • In human clinical trials

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