Tuesday, May 17, 2016

National Dog Bite Prevention Week

This week, May 15th - 21st, is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. 

Pet Sitters International, the world's largest educational association for professional pet sitters is urging dog lovers to think twice. Like their article states, when we are walking dogs, we try to avoid other people and animals for everyone's safety -- humans and animals alike. I've turned around and walked the other way and sometimes had to run to avoid an unwanted situation many times. The nightmare is when there is a loose dog running at you while walking a client's dog; or a small child running toward you to pet the dog you're walking, which is a dog that doesn't like being around children. As you can imagine, over the course of fourteen years I've encountered all kinds of situations. 

All dog lovers need to remember that not all dogs that are being walked are being walked by their guardians. Their pet sitter or dog walker may or may not know how that dog will react in any given situation. It's safest for us to just avoid others.

Prevention is the key and Pet Sitters International has some good tips for all dog lovers in this article on how to prevent dog bites....and be on the look-out for the new leash badges!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Prescription Pet Foods

You know how the FDA has strictly enforced the idea that drugs are the only cure or treatment of illness and that no one in the food industry is allowed to make any wellness or health claims when it comes to food products? 

But did you know that the FDA allows the pet food industry the same privilege as a drug? The FDA allows prescription pet foods to claim they cure or treat diseases AND they can do so without any of the requirements of a drug -- such as having to prove the effectiveness or safety! Doesn't that sound crazy? It's true!

And because these "food drugs" have not been proven for effectiveness or safety, (which the FDA themselves state) the FDA has a new Compliance Policy Guidance  which states that prescription pet foods are now the responsibility of the veterinarians! Not the FDA, not the pet food companies, but the veterinarians are responsible for the efficacy and safety of prescription pet foods. 

Whoa, that's pretty heavy. 

This puts vets in the position that they must learn about the ingredients in these foods, and as Susan Thixton of Truth About Pet Food puts it:

"And should a veterinarian not invest the time to learn the risks of many ingredients used in prescription pet foods – because the FDA dumped responsibility of the safety and efficacy of these pet foods into the lap of veterinarians, it appears the the FDA just set them up for consumer lawsuits (should the prescription pet food cause additional illness to the pet)."

"...should the prescription pet food cause additional illness to the pet."  How can they not, when these foods are full of GMO ingredients, carcinogens and other ingredients I would never want to feed my animals? The problem is, how would you prove it? 

Is it worth the risk of giving your pets foods that have not even been proven to be safe, let alone actually be effective at what they claim?

The last time I gave one of our pets a prescription food was almost two decades ago. It definitely had an adverse affect on our pet, (a dog who had never been on a prescription food before) of which the symptoms disappeared immediately upon removing the prescription food. She had never experienced the problem before the food either. I told our vet about it but they didn't or couldn't believe it was the food and dismissed it, though it was very obvious to us. It was the food and I didn't even know much at all about pet foods then. After researching pet foods and the ingredients in them for many years now, it's easy to understand. 

Still today, when I read the ingredient list of the prescription foods that I see people feeding their pets, I just cringe. Now that the FDA has created this new Compliance Policy Guidance (CPG) on prescription pet foods and given all the responsibility to vets, maybe now they will re-evaluate being in the pet food business altogether. I certainly hope so.

For more details on this subject including the ingredients of prescription foods and the new FDA CPG, please click here.