Monday, April 22, 2013

Celebrate Earth Day with your dog

We all want to give back to the Earth, if not regularly then at least once a year.  And what better day to do it on then Earth Day? 

Earth day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson on April 22, 1970.  It is now celebrated in 192 countries with over 1 billion participants, making it the largest civic observance in the world. 

So how can you get involved and have fun with your dog at the same time?

5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day with your Dog

1.      Start buying and using biodegradable poop bags- The bags decompose in about the same amount of time as an apple. 

2.      Recycle by donating to a rescue or animal shelter- Instead of throwing out old blankets or sheets, donate them to a local rescue or shelter (of course, please wash them first).  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and shelters are always grateful for donations.  Your old newspapers may also be appreciated since they are used as cage liner.  Check out the Riverside Animal Shelter’s wish list. 

3.      Make a toy out of an old sock (or a sock missing its mate)- “Making a toy out of an old household product is a great way to re-use rather than consume”-Cesar Millan.  If you need help making your own dog toy, visit

4.      Cook your dog a natural, holistic meal-  Eating organic is good for your health, your dog’s health, and the planet.  Need Recipe ideas? Check out If you don’t have time to cook a meal for your dog you can change your dog’s food to a more holistic food, without low-grade animal by-products and preservatives.  Do this by avoiding food with meat by-product, wheat (or grain), corn (or corn meal), or gluten. Check out to further understand dog food labels and all other dog food questions.

5.      Go Chemical Free- Buy and use household cleaning products that are chemical free.  This is not only healthier for you and your pets but also reduces the amount of harmful runoff into our ground and water sources.  Instead of using bleach to clean you can use vinegar and water, “It’s a green alternative that removes odor and kills mold and bacteria” –  In addition, you can buy and use pet shampoos, conditioners, and other grooming products that are biodegradable and do not contain harmful pesticides or chemicals. 

For more ways to celebrate Earth Day while helping animals in need, check out The Best Friends Network Or, check out the Earth Day Network for more opportunities to take part in Earth Day activities in your community.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pet Expo this Weekend

Looking for something to do this weekend?  Well you’re in luck because the pet expo is coming to town!  Not just any pet expo, America’s Family Pet Expo, which means dogs, cats, birds, fish, hamsters, bunnies, and more.  It’s sure to be a fun-filled weekend for you and the other pet lovers in your life. 
Due to its long and slightly awkward title, this expo has adopted a couple of other names such as The Original Pet Expo and the OC Pet Expo, but rest assured, they are all the same the event.  Taking place at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, the fun kicks off Friday morning at 10 a.m. and goes until Sunday night at 6 p.m.

Each day is identical, as far as the schedule of events and exhibits, so you don’t have to worry about missing anything regardless of the day you visit.  And there is no shortage of things to see or do at this expo.  There will be Dog and Cat breed exhibits and presentations, dog training and grooming demonstrations, bird and exotic animal education and presentations, as well as fish, llama, bunny, and guinea pig presentations.  The events are sure to entertain with Splash Dogs, Wiener Races, Repticon Reptile Show, Free Flight Bird Show, Hamster Judging, Police Dog Demo, and more.   And there will be plenty of activities for the whole family such as human hamster balls, face painting, Win a Beta Fish toss, petting zoo, and pony rides. And of course, there will be pets available for adoption, so be prepared to fall in love. 
In addition to the events and exhibits, patrons can check out the Kid’s Aquarium Contest in the Fish section of the Expo.  In this competition, kids are encouraged to explore their creative side and design an aquarium that reflects their personality.  After submitting their aquarium creations, a ten gallon aquarium kit is donated for each contestant.   Each contestant then gets the opportunity to bring his or her creation to life by putting together a fully-functioning, personalized aquarium.  The kids are also taught about aquatic care and responsible pet ownership.  At the end of the expo, each kid (contestant) gets to take his or her aquarium home with a ribbon.   This contest encourages creativity while cultivating self-esteem and responsibility through a fun and educational experience.   Children ages 5 - 16 are encouraged to enter.  And although the contest is already closed for this year’s expo, it may be something to keep in mind for your child at next year’s expo.  Check out the America’s Family Pet Expo website for more information.   

So be sure to stop in and check out the pet expo this weekend at the OC Fairgrounds, located at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa.  Parking is $5 per vehicle, General Admission is $13, Seniors are $11, Children 6 – 12 are $8, Children 5 & under are free, and Active or Retired Military with valid ID are free as well (but that does not include dependents).  The fun begins Friday, April 19th, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and continues on Saturday, April 20th, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., and wraps up on Sunday, April 21st, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.  For more information, including directions and a time schedule, check out the America’s Family Pet Expo website. 



Friday, April 12, 2013

Doggone Allergy Season

Allergy season is a familiar term that some of us may be more familiar with than others.  But Allergy season doesn’t just affect us humans; it affects our four-legged family members as well. 
Like humans, there are many things that your dog can develop an allergy to.  Not only do trees, grass, weeds, pollen, dander and dust cause allergic reactions, but other things such as dust mites, mold, fleas and flea saliva, feathers, prescription drugs, cigarette smoke, food ingredients, perfumes, cleaning products, fabrics, rubber, and plastic materials can cause allergic reactions as well. 

When a dog is exposed to a potential allergen, such as pollen, his immune system develops antibodies to the pollen (though you never see this initial process).  The next time he is exposed to pollen his antibodies go into hyper-drive, as a defense mechanism, and tell the immune system to release histamines.  Histamines have many functions in the body, including the opening of capillaries and contracting of muscles, both of which contribute to intense itching.       
You notice the allergic reaction once your dog begins showing symptoms, the first usually being scratching.  Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include scratching, licking the paws, rubbing the face, red or irritated skin, watery eyes, and sneezing.  Scratching and excessive licking are the most damaging symptoms because they can lead to bigger problems such as inflammation, welts, sores, infections, excessive shedding, and hair loss.

Things you can do to prevent seasonal allergies

Though you can’t completely safe guard your dog from being exposed to allergens, there are a few things you can do to help prevent an allergic reaction:

·         Wiping or washing your dog’s paws and legs (and under carriage on shorter breeds) each time he comes in from outside.   

·         Keeping the house clean and dust free.  Vacuum your carpets, furniture, and rugs regularly.  Keep the dog bedding clean and dust free as well. 

·         “Shampooing your dog can help relieve the itch temporarily and help remove scales, scabs, some parasites, bacteria, and other potential causes of itching.” –Doctors Foster and

·         Using sprays and shampoos containing naturally soothing ingredients like aloe and oatmeal can help calm irritated skin.

·         Keeping your dog on a regular flea medication program.

·         Keeping the yard clear of debris, dead plants, and other things that attract dust and vermin carrying parasites.

·         Adding fatty acid supplements (such as fish oil) to your dog’s diet might relieve his itchy skin.  Adding this supplement can also avoid the confusion between an allergic reaction and just plain dry skin.

If your dog is having an allergic reaction, an antihistamine, such as Benadryl (or Children’s Benadryl for smaller dogs), can be given to your dog to help alleviate the symptoms.  However, Benadryl may not work for all dogs.  And because an allergic reaction can easily get out of hand and become a much bigger problem, you should seek advice from your vet first.   As previously mentioned, allergies can be caused by a number of culprits, but if you do your best to keep a clean environment in and around your home, you and your dog can enjoy Spring rather than avoid it. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

No Foolin' about Preventing Animal Abuse

If you saw animal cruelty happening in your neighborhood would you know what to do? Animal abuse is a common occurance in California. The state ranks in the top 6 highest number of cases in 15 (of 21) different abuse categories listed by The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), an organization that investigates animal abuse day in and day out, works mostly off of tips from the public.

The article "No Foolin' about Animal Cruelty", posted earlier this week, included a list of signs to look for to tell if an animal is being abused (through neglect or physical force). But now that you know what to look for, do you know how to stop it and prevent it from happening again?

5 Ways to Prevent Animal Abuse
  1. Get to know and look out for the animals in your neighborhood – Being aware will make you more likely to notice sudden changes in an animal’s appearance, behavior, or regular habits.
Elle Hernandez of Riverside shares her friends expereince- "My friend moved to Arizona, where summer days reach 90 degrees by 9am. The next door neighbors had a Rottweiler that would bark at her dogs through the fence every day. The neighbors told my friend they were moving and did so overnight. A few days after they moved my friend started hearing barking coming from inside the house. Come to find, the neighbors had abandoned the dog, locked her inside the house with a bucket of water and a bag of food on the floor, and never said a word about it. No cracked window, no dog door for her to be able to potty outside; she was trapped inside the hot and empty house for days. I am happy to report that my friend rescued this Rottweiler before it was too late and found her a new home." And it was possible because she was aware of the neighborhood dogs and kept an eye/ear out for sudden changes.
  1. Make the Call – Most animal abuse investigations start with a phone call from a concerned neighbor. “It all comes from the public, it all starts with YOU – that’s why it’s so important to keep your eyes and ears open.” -
  • First, know who to call!
To report abuse in Riverside and unincorporated areas of Corona:
Riverside County Animal Services: 951-358-7387
To report abuse in the city of Corona:
Corona Animal Control: 951-736-2309
To report abuse in San Bernardino:
Animal Care & Control: 1- 800-472-5609
To report abuse in Orange County:
OC Animal Care: (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) 714-935-6848 and
(5 p.m. – 8 a.m.) 714-935-7158
To report abuse in Los Angeles County:
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (spcaLA):
1-800-540-SPCA (7722)
Or report abuse online:
  • Second, provide as much information as possible when reporting animal cruelty. It helps to first write down the type of cruelty you witnessed, who was involved, the date of the incident and where it took place.
In other words, Who, What, When, Where

  1. Set a good example for others – Be a responsible pet owner and always show your dog the love and care they deserve by ensuring their safety inside and outside of the house. Remember, you don’t have to physically intimidate your dog to get them to behave. Its mental dominance they respect, in a calm and assertive leader and that doesn’t require physical force. If you need help learning to discipline or train your dog without using physical force contact a qualified trainer who can help you learn techniques like Cesar Millan practices.
And most importantly, teach your kids how to treat animals with kindness and respect as well. Everything you do sends a message, and you never know what little eyes may be watching.
“Children who abuse animals are more likely to commit crimes as adults, but there are many factors that play into why children abuse animals, these can include witnessing violence or abuse in the home or community where the animal becomes a scapegoat for what the child is feeling”, said Steve Steinberg Mental Health Services Manager for the County of Riverside.
  1. Support your local shelter or animal rescue – It’s a great way to make a difference and give an animal a second chance at a good life. You can show your support by becoming a foster parent, volunteering your time, or donating (needed supplies, food, money, etc.). Every little bit helps, and every little bit makes a big difference in the life of an animal.          

    5.  Get involved – You can get involved by fighting for the passage of strong anti-cruelty laws on federal, state, and local levels by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade.

“We speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.” – G.T. Angell

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

No Foolin’ about Animal Cruelty

April always starts off with a light-hearted tone, thanks to April Fool’s Day on the 1st. But there is nothing light-heated about animal abuse and April is Animal Cruelty Awareness month. 
According to there are around 1,000 reported cases of animal abuse in the United States each year.   In their 2010 report, listing 21 different abuse categories, California was listed in 15 of those categories; 4 of which California was listed in the top 6 highest number of cases and 8 of which California was listed in the top 2 highest number of cases.  These categories include: beating, burning- caustic substance, choking/strangulation/suffocation, fighting, hanging, hoarding, kicking/stomping, and mutilation/torture. The statistics also show that dogs are the number one victims in these crimes, with cases three times the number of cases involving cats (which are the second most abused animal reported).

These statistics aren’t meant to depress you or upset you (though they can easily do both), they are meant to inform you and make you aware so that one day you might make a difference to an animal. 
You may have read about or heard of the organization named ASPCA before. Because they are a strong authority in the pet community it’s kind of hard to miss them; but do you know who they are and what they do exactly? ASPCA stands for The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The ASPCA was the first humane organization in the western hemisphere and they“work to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws, and share resources with shelters nationwide.”- ASPCA website.  The ASPCA investigates animal abuse day in and day out, but they work mostly off of tips from the public.  In other words, it all starts with you educating yourself on what to look out for. 
Courtesy of the ASPCA and our own local animal services, here is a list of signs and symptoms of animal abuse that you should look for in your neighborhood:

·         Tick or flea infestations (conditions left untreated can lead to death)

·         Wounds on the body

·         Patches of missing fur

·         Extremely thin, starving animals

·         Limping

·         An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal

·         Dogs who are repeatedly left alone without food or water, often chained in the yard

·         Dogs who have been hit by a car, or show signs listed above, and have not been taken to a vet

·         Dogs who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions

·         Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their owners

·         Animal hoarding

·         Any person, maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, wounds, or kills a living animal

·         Any person overrides, overloads, overworks, torments, or deprives an animal of necessary food, water, or shelter

·         Any person intentionally, for amusement or gain, fights any animal against another animal

·         Any person permits an animal to go without veterinary care for an injury


Check back later this week for ways to stop and prevent animal abuse.