Meko the Miracle Dog

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Although I know I've mentioned several of these No-No foods in previous articles, they certainly deserve repeating. Knowing about these foods that you should never feed to your beloved friend could save your dog or cat's life. The twelve foods are all considered toxic to your dog and cat and should never be fed to them.

1. Grapes, raisins, currants

2. Onions, garlic, chives

3. Wine, beer

4. Chocolate

5. Avocados

6. Walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts

7. Mushrooms

8. Xylitol(gum)

9. Bread dough (raw)

10. Fatty meat trim and turkey skin

11. Raw fish (sushi)

12. Caffeine


Go to to find more information about each item. Although I was aware of most of the items in the list, there were a couple I did not know about or had read that the particular item was beneficial for your pet (such as garlic - I've read that it is a natural repellent for fleas and other parasites that bother dogs). But it was enlightening to read the reports on each of these items and the reasons why they can be toxic for your dog or cat. And particularly around the holidays, watch well-meaning guests who may slip your dog or cat a tidbit that could be harmful to them. Your pets do not know any better but you do and it is your responsibility to keep them safe.


allwpresentsAfter I wrote my last blog, I started thinking about the types of gifts that would be best for our pets. Of course, crunchy cookies with healthy ingredients are better for us as well as for our pets. I haven't met a cat that doesn't enjoy a little catnip from time to time. And the best kinds of toys are stuffed ones without eyes or other glued on features that could easily be chewed off and swallowed. That is the most important thing to remember, any kind of toy you give your pet, especially dogs, will end up with body parts missing and chewed off.

Jacqs, Jim's dog, is notorious for chewing parts off the toys. She will take a toy she wants to work on and run off into another room with it and secretly (sneakily is more like it) start working on an ear or a tail of the selected toy. When she disappears like that, I always know what she is up to and go looking for the innocent toy, which is usually one of Meko's favorite toys. In that case, I recommend most kinds of bones.

Now, about bones, my girls, toy breeds, have had problems with a variety of bones over the years. Our Sammy, a little bigger Pomeranian, got a piece of bone stuck in her esophagus and had to be rushed to emergency in Boston when everything she was eating kept coming up. She survived fine but the vet recommended we not give her anything smaller than our thigh bone. In other words, when it starts getting too small, throw it out. They have had trouble with a long piece of flip chew getting stuck and not being able to swallow it. Fortunately we were able to pull it out of their throats and save them from choking. But that eliminated flip chews. And then there are the Greenies, seemingly harmless chews but our little Pom that we lost last year, Binka, had problems with this chew and threw up a couple of times. We eliminated those bones, also. They have been fine with the white Dingo Dentatreats but I always stay with them while my two girls are eating them and when they get quite small, I take them away. They are made of a wheat gluten, granted, not the most nutritious thing for your dog to eat but I give them sparingly (made one every other month) and they enjoy having something to do. I still prefer crunchy bones with good ingredients and Mother Hubbard are my favorites - fortunately my girls like them, too.

My friend has a Ragdoll cat that loves the Cat's Meow toy. Something that resembles a mouse moves back and forth, erratically, under a cloth on the floor and the cat attacks it. Hours of fun for your cat.

I think the best advice I can give when purchasing presents for your pets is to think about their health and what could possibly harm them in a worst case scenario. Although I don't like to think about the worst that could happen, when it comes to your pets, since they can be so unpredictable, it is best to be prepared.


Meko under the Christmas tree with the sleighYes, it is that time of year again, when the little ones start sniffing around the tree that is suddenly put up in the living room, searching out the cookies that they know are in one of the packages for them. By little ones, of course, I mean dogs. Cats are also curious by nature, but I'm not sure if they have the same interest in treats that dogs have, unless it is made of catnip!

But every Christmas, my girls, well, Meko actually, can't wait to open the presents that are under the tree with her name on them. And how does she know there are gifts under the tree for her? Look at the picture and tell me she doesn't think that everything in that sleigh has her name on it! Since we got this sleigh several years ago (from my sister, who painted it) and have designated it as the girls' toy sleigh, she elects herself 'protector of the sleigh' and will sit next to it for hours. She usually just sits next to it, quietly, like a little sentinel. Other times she can't wait any longer and will start making a quiet whine sound, barely audible, and then getting a little louder until I finally tell her to stop and leave the sleigh alone. Too cute!



Meko eating her foodAlthough I'm pretty sure I have blogged about this in the past, I believe an occasional reminder is ok, especially if I'm putting out information that is useful for our readers.

I know how difficult it is to find the right quality food to feed your pet, especially when you have a new puppy. The store brands, although convenient, aren't always the best choice (we do buy our dogs Newman's Own canned food from the supermarket and give them a small amount occasionally.) As I have learned more about the care and feeding of our dogs, I have found that The Dog Advisor website ( is one of the best sites for finding not only every imaginable dog food brand that is out there, but he also discusses what is in the foods and why you should or should not feed this food to your dog.

I looked for a comparable cat food advisor and found to be a pretty good site for that. You, the consumer, gets to rate the foods and then others use your ratings to determine if this is a product they would buy. The Goodguide also rates household items and other types of goods.

And of course, your vet may have a selection of foods to offer, but I would do some research myself, first, to find a brand that works for my pet. Some brands may include food products that your pet is allergic to, such as corn. With all the information on the internet, it can be overwhelming but also, when you wade through the sites that are based on more than just one person's opinion, the cream will rise to the surface and those sites that are actually helpful will be the ones you can rely on.



Wagon Train Chicken JerkyThe death toll is going up, and there is no known cause. So the FDA is asking for your help. They need details on blood, tissue, and urine samples from affected pets to try to figure out the cause of death for many pets, mostly dogs. If your dog is vomiting, has diarrhea, decreased appetite and activity, and increased water consumption after eating the jerky treats, see your veterinarian immediately. Some dogs have also suffered kidney failure. If your dog becomes sick, stop the treats immediately, consult your veterinarian, and save the product for further testing.

The problem could be coming from China, where they are manufactured (even though the packaging says USA, the product is coming from China).The USA Today article states that, "Poor food safety remains a major problem in China despite numerous recently publicized crackdowns...and some manufacturers continue to break the law by using fake, low-quality or toxic ingredients to boost profit margin."

To date, more than 3600 dogs and cats have been sickened from the treats coming from China and over 580 have died since 2007. The number of deaths and illnesses has risen since January.

If you care about your pet, please boycott these jerky treats and tell the store where you purchased them to stop stocking their shelves with this deadly treat.



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