Monday, December 9, 2013

Victory for Right Whales. Outside the Litter Box? Don't Poison Your Pet. Leaded Fuel. Pet Food.


For "Mammal Monday":

A Small but Critical Victory for Right Whales


Phoenix and calf. Sea to Shore Alliance photo.

"Five years ago the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) enacted a seasonal ship strike rule to protect migrating, endangered North Atlantic right whales (NARW). This rule requires that vessels 65 feet (19.8m) or longer limit themselves to a maximum speed of 10 mph (16 kph) in designated zones (Seasonal Management Areas) during specified periods of time. For the Northeast, that meant January 1 – March 15 in Cape Cod Bay, March 1 – April 30 off Race Pt in Provincetown and April 1 – July 31 in the Great South Channel. The time frames for the mid-Atlantic and the Southeast reflect the months that NARWs are expected to be in those regions. This rule, proven to be effective so far, was important for the protection of this critically endangered species, the population of which is estimated at approximately 500 animals.

image However, the rule had an end date attached to it, December 9, 2013. A year ago, the NBWM hosted colleagues from Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, (Provincetown) Center for Coastal Studies, Humane Society of the U.S., Rhode Island Audubon and other members of the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium to announce a campaign to convince NOAA to drop the end date (also known as a sunset clause) from this rule. We debuted the campaign video ‘Act Right Now Save a Species’, held a panel discussion, and made a petition available for signature by any citizen. In the past year, over 145,000 comments were sent to NOAA and 75,000+ people signed the petition.

Today NOAA announced that it has dropped the sunset clause from the Ship Strike Rule, thus making the rule permanent.  Collisions between whales and vessels are typically fatal. Two of the skeletons that hang in our Museum, the North Atlantic right whale with fetus, and the blue whale were killed by vessel strikes. By forcing vessels to slow down during those times when NARWs are expected to be in a given area, both whales and mariners have greater opportunity to steer clear of each other. This is a win-win situation and has proven to be much less of a burden on vessel operators than previously estimated.

The issue of entanglement has yet to be solved. But on a rainy day, NOAA’s decision is indeed a bright beam of excellent news for an endangered species and for the dozens of people who dedicate themselves to studying and protecting the North Atlantic right whale."  From:


Why Do Some Cats Eliminate Outside the Litter Box?

Litter-Box Management Problemsimage

"If your cat isn’t comfortable with her litter box or can’t easily access it, she probably won’t use it. The following common litter-box problems might cause her to eliminate outside of her box:

  • You haven’t cleaned your cat’s litter box often or thoroughly enough.
  • You haven’t provided enough litter boxes for your household. Be sure to have a litter box for each of your cats, as well as one extra.
  • Your cat’s litter box is too small for her.
  • Your cat can’t easily get to her litter box at all times.
  • Your cat’s litter box has a hood or liner that makes her uncomfortable.
  • The litter in your cat’s box is too deep. Cats usually prefer one to two inches of litter.

Negative Litter-Box Association

imageThere are many reasons why a cat who has reliably used her litter box in the past starts to eliminate outside of the box. One common reason is that something happened to upset her while she was using the litter box. If this is the case with your cat, you might notice that she seems hesitant to return to the box. She may enter the box, but then leave very quickly—sometimes before even using the box.

One common cause for this is painful elimination. If your cat had a medical condition that caused her pain when she eliminated, she may have learned to associate the discomfort with using her litter box. Even if your cat’s health has returned to normal, that association may still cause her to avoid her litter box."  More at:


People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets

Cat sits at table in front of plate

"Chocolate, Macadamia nuts, avocados…these foods may sound delicious to you, but they’re actually quite dangerous for our animal companions. Our nutrition experts have put together a handy list of the top toxic people foods to avoid feeding your pet. As always, if you suspect your pet has eaten any of the following foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine:

These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.


Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.


The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Some ingestions may even be fatal.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies and candies. However, they can cause problems for your canine companion. These nuts have caused weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.

Grapes & Raisins

Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. In pets who already have certain health problems, signs may be more dramatic.

Yeast Dough

Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. Because the risk diminishes after the dough is cooked and the yeast has fully risen, pets can have small bits of bread as treats. However, these treats should not constitute more than 5 percent to 10 percent of your pet’s daily caloric intake.

Raw/Undercooked Eggs and Bones

Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option that might occur if your pet lived in the wild. However, this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract, if they are not the right bones.


Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbancy and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.

Onions, Garlic, Chives

imageThese vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies. An occasional low dose, such as what might be found in pet foods or treats, likely will not cause a problem, but we recommend that you do NOT give your pets large quantities of these foods.


Because pets, cats included, do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other milk-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset.


Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. In other words, keep those salty chips to yourself!"  From:



"Ami, The Chicago Dog Coach says, “Don’t be afraid to share your Christmas festivities with your dog, but make sure that you are aware of what foods and plants are toxic.”

Poisonous Plants- Holly berries The bright red holly berries are quite poisonous to dogs and other small animals with reports of only 20 berries being fatal to a large dog. Ivy can result in drooling, retching or vomiting, Mistletoe can cause retching, vomiting and salivation.

Christmas trees are considered to be mildly toxic to dogs. The tree oils can irritating to the mouth and stomach, causing excessive drooling or vomiting. The tree needles are not easily digested either and can cause GI irritation, vomiting, gastrointestinal obstruction or puncture.

If you suspect that your dog has ingested something inappropriate, please call your local vet ASAP."  From:


From me: The ASPCA Poison Hotline # is: 1-888-426-4435  There may be a charge for the consultation, but an emergency vet clinic cost is a lot more!


List of 17 Pet Poisonous Plants




Some things that you never knew where poisonous to your pet:

"Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian talks about pets exposure to in and around the home. Part 1


On This Day:

GM engineers discover that leaded gas reduces "knock" in auto engines, Dec 9, 1921:

"On this day, a young engineer at General Motors named Thomas Midgeley Jr. discovers that when he adds a compound called tetraethyl lead (TEL) to gasoline, he eliminates the unpleasant noises (known as "knock" or "pinging") that internal-combustion engines make when they run. Midgeley could scarcely have imagined the consequences of his discovery: For more than five decades, oil companies would saturate the gasoline they sold with lead--a deadly poison.

Unfortunately, as more and more people bought GM cars, more and more people noticed a problem: When they heated up, their engines made an alarming racket, banging and clattering as though their metal parts were loose under the hood.

Midgeley found a couple of additives that did work, however, and lead was just one of them. Iodine worked, but producing it was much too complicated. Ethyl alcohol also worked, and it was cheap--however, anyone with an ordinary still could make it, which meant that GM could not patent it or profit from it. Thus, from a corporate point of view, lead was the best anti-knock additive there was.

In February 1923, a Dayton filling station sold the first tankful of leaded gasoline. A few GM engineers witnessed this big moment, but Midgeley did not, because he was in bed with severe lead poisoning. He recovered; however, in April 1924, lead poisoning killed two of his unluckier colleagues, and in October, five workers at a Standard Oil lead plant died too, after what one reporter called "wrenching fits of violent insanity." (Almost 40 of the plant's workers suffered severe neurological symptoms like hallucinations and seizures.)

Still, for decades auto and oil companies denied that lead posed any health risks. Finally, in the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency required that carmakers phase out lead-compatible engines in the cars they sold in the United States. Today, leaded gasoline is still in use in some parts of Eastern Europe, South America and the Middle East."



It was a catch-up day.  Of course, I had scooped the litter boxes on Saturday, even though it was the Sabbath, as the Bible tell us to tend to our critters first.  But there were boxes to deep clean, dishes to wash, floors to mop, laundry and pet blankies to wash. During the couple of days taking care of Punkie, I had let some things slide.

image Mindi had bought a $5, 3.5 lb bag of Kibbles'nBits to feed her dogs, as well as some homemade chicken and rice.  I don't know why she stopped at a store to buy the Kibbles'nBits, as she knows I won't feed any pet food from a grocery store unless it is Paul Newman's Own Organic pet food. image When I looked at  the reviews for Kibble'nBits, I found out it was the lowest rated, at 1 star: The first two ingredients are CORN and SOY, both GMO products!

The chicken and rice was made out a bunch of WHITE rice, (rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog, and Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic), hardly any chicken, and there were even some spiky bones in it.  This is what her husband cooked up to feed the dogs.

"Homemade chicken and rice dog food is a bland food source that is often recommended by veterinarians to help dogs recover from diarrhea. This protein and starch combination can also stimulate appetite when a dog is ill or recovering from surgery. While it's not recommended for long-term use, cooked chicken and white rice has enough nutritional properties to put your dog back on the road to wellness."  From:

Her dogs looked a lot better when she used to buy Diamond dog food. (Not that Diamond is highly recommended, 2.5 stars:

When I went to the feed store to get the electrolytes and NutriCal for Punkie, I bought a 5lb bag of Victor Dog Food.(  It is rated 4 stars, was $6, so it is cheaper, by the ounce, than the Kibbles'nBits.  Some was soaked in some sodium-free chicken broth and added to the chicken and rice.   Not as good as what I feed my Misty, but Mindi has a lot of dogs to feed, as they have more dogs at home.  But even so, she could feed them better than that, but she is like a lot of people who listen to the TV ads. It is the same for people and pets: 'Don't eat anything that you have seen advertised!'

I have known the two remaining poodles for all these years, and they now look terrible.  Their coats felt dry and unhealthy, and so I groomed them to try to make them look, and feel better.  Even their nails didn't feel healthy when I cut them.  Her husband also wanted me to cut down his Yorkie, "Puddin", while she was here, so I was grooming all morning.

The fourth dog is a Dachshund, so all I had to do to her was cut her nails yesterday.


Dizzy-Dick said...

Thanks for the warnings about food that can poison dogs. I knew some of it but learned a lot more. Thanks again and my pups thank you, too. We are very careful of what our dogs eat. My wife even cooks for them.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thanks for your comment, DD.

Claudia, Jay's mother, has a little Yorkie who won't eat anything but boiled chicken, so they say! (Except when she is staying with me, then she eats organic dog food, too.) They didn't know about the onions or salt, so little Maddie suffered. She wasn't doing so well on that all chicken diet, so now I make sure that they supplement her with doggie vitamins and minerals, too.

I feed my old Misty some of my people food, too. I don't cook especially for her, she just gets some of mine. Organic chicken, beef, buffalo, sometimes a small portion of it raw, just for her. To make sure she gets all the nutrients she needs, she also gets Spirulina and vitamins, too.

Happy Tails and Trails, Penny.