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Pet Poison Helpline

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
Poison Prevention Week: Know Your Poisons

Poison Prevention Week is March 18-24 , a good time to check around the house for items that might hurt your pet(s). The Pet Poison Helpline website (@PetPoisonHelp on Twitter) is a great resource and yielded these Top Ten Lists.

The Pet Poison Helpline fields emergency calls from both pet guardians and veterinarians in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. While the service charges a small fee ($39 U.S.), they have veterinary poison specialists on hand all the time. The information on the website is free.

If your dog or cat eats something poisonous call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately! The sooner a dog poisoning or cat poisoning is diagnosed, the easier, less expensive, and safer it is to treat your pet.

The Top Ten Dog Poisons

  • Chocolate
  • Insect bait stations
  • Mouse and rat poison
  • Fertilizers (even compost)
  • Xylitol-containing products (i.e., sugar-free gums and candies)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin® in brand name or generic form)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol® in brand name or generic form)
  • Silica gel packs
  • Amphetamines (such as ADD/ADHD drugs)
  • Household cleaners

The Top Ten Cat Poisons

  • Lilies
  • Topical flea and tick medicine designed for dogs only
  • Household cleaners
  • Mouse and rat poison
  • Paints and varnishes
  • Veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Rimadyl®, Deramaxx®)
  • Glow sticks/glow jewelry
  • Amphetamines (such as ADD/ADHD drugs)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol® in brand name or generic form)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin® in brand name or generic form)

Pet Poison Prevention Week

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

March 18-24 is National Poison Prevention Week. Much about poison prevention is aimed at parents with small children, but don’t for­get your pets. Household pets are naturally curious and often can’t resist smelling or tasting items in the home or yard. Knowing which household and garden items are particularly dangerous to pets can go a long way to ensuring their safety. Here are a few tips:

  • Tidy up your living room. Many things commonly associated with your main living space can poison pets like toxic house plants, potpourri or other frangrance products, chewing gum, or smoke cessation gums.
  • Keep your kitchen garbage can shut with a tight fitting lid or hidden in the pantry. Many human foods like raisins, chocolate, or alcohol are poisonous to pets. Dogs may also try to dig discarded meat bones or raw meat packaging out of the garbage.
  • In the bathroom, keep all medications out of reach. Also, never try to treat your pet with human pain killers as some common human pain killers like acetomenaphin are extremely toxic to pets. In addition, keep all bathroom cleaners locked away. If licked or swallowed, they can cause severe chemical burns.
  • In your yard and garden, keep pets away from areas that have been sprayed with herbicides until dry. Also keep dogs away from fertilizers and other pest control agents. Some that contain blood meal or bone meal can be tasty to dogs.

For more information and tips on keeping your pets safe, visit

SOURCE Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)

Woofwerks Quality Dog Collars and Leashes

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Woofwerks Founder Jack Wright and Tucker

My springer spaniel, Tucker was 16 years old when he died. It left a huge hole in my life, actually in my heart. As in his life, his death inspired me to change my course and finally do what I wanted and not just what I needed.

Thus began Woofwerks and the quest to design and craft the very best quality leather collars and leads; products that are worthy of capturing his spirit and even carrying his name. So the goals were straight forward:



  • The finest English bridle leather
  • Highest quality fittings in non-corrosive brass and nickel
  • Superb US leather artisans to craft
  • Elegant design and style
  • Fair cost-to-quality ratio
  • Extreme durability

The durability was and is a crucial component. I want these products to endure and become a vivid memory of your dog’s life and great times shared. With care and conditioning they will stand the test of time.

We all buy fabric collars and leads and they are fun, but they aren’t designed to hold up and the elements take their toll rapidly. It’s like having a fabric chair and a leather chair in your living room. In five or six years the fabric chair has been replaced and the leather chair has softened and developed a beautiful patina. That’s in a living room, and chairs don’t jump in the lake, roll in the mud or wrestle with each other!

The other really important element in my goals is to support America and the American worker. The majority of us are fighting every day to pay the bills, build a life or in many cases keep the life we thought we had. We all need to come together and support the American worker and thereby each other. It’s just good business and the right thing to do.

I’m proud of what we make and those that craft it. It may just be a collar to some, but when I hold Tucker’s collar some 20 years later it means so much more to me.

- Jack -

Preparing for Holiday Boarding

Monday, December 19th, 2011

As many Americans prepare to travel away from home for the holidays, it’s important to take the time to prepare your pup for a boarding stay. We offer this checklist to help you make that experience a positive one for you and your dog.

The Before-boarding Checklist

Take these precautions before you board your pup:

Update vaccinations –  Make sure all vaccinations are current at least a week to 10 days before boarding your dog. Dogs occasionally show symptoms of canine cough or bordatella from the vaccine, and a boarding facility won’t be able to tell the difference between shot-related symptoms and the real illness, explains Boyer.

Check requirements -  Call the boarding facility to inquire what its vaccination requirements are. Bring proof of the vaccinations with you when you arrive at the facility. Some places also require a clean fecal report as proof that your dog doesn’t have worms.

Visit your veterinarian –  Even if a facility doesn’t require a veterinarian’s clearance, it’s a good idea to schedule a checkup for your dog within 30 days of its stay, especially if your dog has chronic ailments or is elderly.

Double-check medication supplies –  Ensure medication supplies are adequate for the stay and bring the prescription in its original container. It’s extremely important that if for any reason your dog has a reaction, or another dog ingests the medication, the staff knows exactly what the prescription is as well as the dosage amount.

Keep up with flea prevention - Almost every facility will require you to treat your dog with a monthly flea preventive. Schedule a treatment just before your dog checks in to the kennel.

Questions to Ask

Steer clear of boarding facilities that don’t offer direct, fully explained answers to all your questions. Here’s what to know:

Can your dog eat its usual food? Dogs may have touchy digestive systems, says Dr. Martinez. Your dog will likely fare better if it can follow its usual diet, so when possible, carefully label its food before boarding.

What treats are given? A facility might serve your dog its usual food but offer unfamiliar treats. Often, treats contain more gluten and byproducts than commercial foods, and some dogs have trouble digesting the goodies.

How will the facility handle health issues? Ask if the kennel has a relationship with a veterinarian or if veterinary technicians are on staff.

Share the Right Information

Your dog is more likely to enjoy a safe, healthy stay if you also keep the boarding facility well informed. Let the kennel know the following:

Special needs –  If your dog is prone to anxiety, aggression or other issues, let the kennel know well in advance. Booking early can ensure that your dog receives the right boarding space.
Your contact info - Share your emergency contact number, along with a local number for someone not traveling with you. Provide contact information for your pet’s veterinarian.

Any allergies - Provide a list of your dog’s potential allergens along with its other known health information.

If your dog hasn’t boarded in a while, it could be good to take Fido for a half day or so of doggie day care in the facility. Reintroducing your pup to the facility will ease stresses during the actual boarding stay. Following this checklist can mean the difference between a positive boarding experience and a bad one.

10 Thanksgiving Foods Dangerous to Your Dog

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011


What foods should you avoid giving to your dog at Thanksgiving?

What foods should you avoid giving to your dog at Thanksgiving?

Thanks to for this article on keeping Fido safe at Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a time for family to get together, give thanks, eat wonderful food and then pass out in front of the TV watching football. It’s also a great time for clever dogs to sneak off with the trimmings.

While tossing your dog a carrot or two, or even a piece of cooked turkey here and there, won’t be too harmful, some other Thanksgiving goodies are bad for him.

Here are 10 foods you should not give your dog on Thanksgiving, or any other day for that matter.

1. Bones: It seems counter-intuitive, we know, but bones are bad for dogs. Carmela Stamper, D.V.M., a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA, said, “Bones are unsafe, no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian’s office later, possible emergency surgery or even death. Make sure you throw out bones from your own meals in a way that your dog can’t get to them.” (more…)

Military Reunions with Man’s Best Friend

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

We missed posting this on Veteran’s Day, but better late than never! Guaranteed to bring a smile :o )


November is Senior Pet Month

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Mary Ann, Ken, and Elmo

When Mary Ann Minick quips, “my life has gone to the dogs”, she’s only half joking. Mary Ann is the proud “mom” of eight four-legged, furry kids, most of whom are over the age of seven. As caregivers for these senior canines, MaryAnn and her husband Jim have learned a great deal about animal health and welfare. Their love of these animals led to the establishment of the All Pets Wellness Foundation, an organization designed to subsidize life-saving treatments for animals who would otherwise be put down or surrendered due to their owner’s lack of financial resources. 

Surfpet is pleased to welcome Mary Ann as a guest blogger and we are looking forward to her contributions to keep us informed on issues and news related to senior pets.

November has been designated as National Senior Pet Month, but in my home we celebrate every day.  As guardian to 13 senior dogs over the past nine years, I have come to understand what living with senior dogs is all about.

I’ve heard the misnomers and found they are, generally, not true. You’ve probably heard many but here are just a few things to consider when thinking about bringing a senior pet into your home. Though my direct experience has been with dogs, my friends say the same holds true for cats.

Feed a high quality diet. Good food is easier to digest and allows for optimal absorption of nutrients. This is especially important for older dogs who generally need fewer calories and, therefore, less volume. The higher quality of the food allows you to feed less while still maintaining the necessary nutrients.

Be careful not to over feed your senior dog. Older dogs will not be as active as they once were and will need fewer calories. As with younger animals, extra weight can cause all kinds of health issues. Age can exacerbate those issues.

Stay active. Older dogs may not be as active as they once were, but they still need their exercise. They will take shorter walks than their younger counterparts, but it is important to keep them moving as much as possible. Movement maintains muscle mass and muscle helps to stabilize joints. Combined with a good diet, exercise can help to reduce the effects of the onset of arthritis.

Consider aqua therapy. Many veterinarians are now including this mode of rehabilitation therapy as part of their practices. Swimming your older dog or having them walk on a hydrotreadmill keeps him/her active while reducing the stress and impact on their joints.

Keep your dog’s mind alert. As important as keeping his/her body active, all dogs, including seniors need to be mentally active. There are many new puzzle-type toys designed to challenge our dogs mentally. This can be as tiring to them as running after a ball. Nina Ottosson produces a line of these thinking games which can keep your pet busy for hours at a time.

Give your older dog high quality Omega-3 Pharmaceutical Grade (aka Ultra refined) Fish Oil. Studies have shown that Omega 3s help to reduce inflammation present in arthritis and have myriad other benefits for other systems in the body including the heart and brain. It has also been found to be beneficial for dogs with cancer.

Supplement with a good quality glucosamine, chondroitin & MSM product. In addition to Omega 3s, this helps to cushion the joints affected by arthritis.

Older dogs can live good quality lives into their golden years. Be sure to have a senior bloodpanel and checkup done at least once each year. Some of the so-called “signs of aging” can often be easily treatable issues. So if your older dog or cat begins to urinate inappropriately, it could be the sign of a urinary tract infection and not kidney diseases, as is often assumed.

Most of all, senior pets are wonderful companions, especially for someone who is older or less mobile. The love and understanding you feel from these amazing creatures is immeasurable.

Until next time,
Mary Ann

Top Ten Tips for a Pet-friendly Howl-o-ween

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Trick or Treat!

Everyone likes a little trick-or-treat on Halloween, even the little fur balls in your life. But some trick-or treat activities may not be safe for animals. The ASPCA has several suggestions to help your pets’ Howl-o-ween be fun and safe.

  1. Candy is for trick-or-treaters only. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
  2. Loose candy wrappers, especially those made of aluminum foil or cellophane, can cause intestinal blockage and vomiting. Remind children not to share candy with pets.
  3. Fall decorations often include pumpkins and decorative corn. Animals should stay away from these popular Halloween plants as they may cause upset tummies in pets who nibble on them.
  4. Be sure to keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of your pets’ reach. If chewed, pets might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
  5. Decorative items such as ribbons, streamers, confetti and those stretchy, stringy cobwebs can all be dangerous if ingested by a curious pet.
  6. Use caution if you choose to add candles to carved pumpkins. Pets may knock over a lit pumpkin and cause a fire, or possibly burn themselves. Consider flameless candles.
  7. Pet costumes are quite popular, yet you should dress your dog or cat in a costume only if you know your animal enjoys it. For some pets, wearing a costume may cause stress. For more information on animal costume safety, read our Halloween Costume Safety Tips for Pets.
  8. During trick-or treat hours, all but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.
  9. If you allow your pet to help with answering the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that at the sight of an open door your pet doesn’t dart outside.
  10. Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If your pet escapes or becomes lost, a collar and tags or a microchip greatly increase the chances that your pet will be returned to you.

Have a safe and happy Howl-o-ween with your pet!

(Adapted from ASPCA web site)

Halloween Costume Safety Tips for Pets

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011


Everybody loves a cute pet in a Halloween costume. Pet costumes are very popular and are gaining more popularity every year.  You can make your own costume, or choose one of the many costumes that are available ready-made. Either way, when it comes to pets and costumes, keep the following in mind to help your costumed cat or dog stay safe.

First, don’t dress your dog or cat in a costume unless you know they enjoy it. For some pets, wearing a costume may cause stress.

If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume doesn’t annoy them. Costumes should not constrict your pet’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow.

Be sure to have a dress rehearsal and try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior while wearing their costume, consider letting your animal go au naturale or try a festive bandana.

Look closely at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could choke your cat or dog. Also, outfits that do not fit well can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

Follow these guidelines, and pets and pack leaders should have a safe and fun HOWL-O-Ween!

If you need a little inspiration, take a look at this video of the 2010 Halloween Dog Parade at Thompson Square Park in New York City – one of the larges pet costume parades in the country, and a NYC tradition for over 20 years.

Thomson Square Park 2010 Halloween Dog Costume Parade

Hot Tips for Cool Pets

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Hot Weather Tips for Dogs

We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but caution is due when temperatures rise, warn ASPCA experts.

“Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn if overexposed to the heat,” says Dr. Lila Miller, ASPCA Vice President of Veterinary Outreach, “and heat stroke can be fatal if not treated promptly.”

Take these simple precautions to help prevent your pet from overheating. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, get help from your veterinarian immediately.

Visit the Vet
A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is a must. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm if they aren’t on year-round preventive medication. This is also a good time to be sure your pet is protected from fleas and ticks.

Be Cool
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Make sure they have a shady place to get out of the sun. Be careful to not overdo outdoor exercising with them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.

Know the Warning Signs
According to Dr. Lila Miller, ASPCA Vice President of Veterinary Outreach, “Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.” Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with older or overweight pets, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.