The EPA is investigating some flea & tick products that may have caused some health problems in cats and dogs.   We live in the country where our dogs can pick up fleas and ticks most of the year.  To be honest, before we started using a spot-on tick product, I could pick 50 ticks off one of our dogs at one time – ugh!  I hate ticks!    So we do use Frontline on our labs and we have not had any problems with it.  However, I am always looking for more natural products that are effective.   We have tried garlic products in the past but became concerned when I read about garlic as a possible blood thinner.  Do you have a suggestion?  Please let me know!

Here is the EPA Alert:

Increased Scrutiny of Flea and Tick Control Products for Pets
Updated June 23, 2009

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is intensifying its evaluation of spot-on pesticide products for flea and tick control due to recent increases in the number of reported adverse reactions in pets treated with these products. Adverse reactions reported range from mild effects such as skin irritation to more serious effects such as seizures and, in some cases, death of the pet.

Flea and tick products can be appropriate treatments for protecting your pets and your family’s health because fleas and ticks can transmit disease. While many people use the products with no harm to their pets, EPA recommends that pet owners take precautions when using these products. People should carefully follow label directions and monitor their pets for any signs of an adverse reaction after application, particularly when using these products for the first time. Also, before use of these products on weak, aged, medicated, sick, pregnant or nursing pets, or on pets that have previously shown signs of sensitivity to pesticide products, EPA recommends that a veterinarian be consulted. Additional safety tips are available for taking care of fleas and ticks on your pet.


I came across this article today.  There is much dispute across the country if states should pass mandatory spay/neuter legislation.  Here is a link directly to the AVMA website http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/may09/090515j.asp

 What is your opinion?

“A new American Veterinary Medical Association report disputes claims that pets should be spayed or neutered for population control reasons, or that spay and neuter is always healthy for pets. The report finds adverse effects from spay and neuter include increased risks of prostate cancer, bone cancer, bladder cancer, hemangiosarcoma, obesity, diabetes, aggression, ligament rupture, and complications from surgery.

After reviewing the risks and benefits associated with spay and neuter of cats and dogs, the report concludes:javma_cover

Pets should be considered individually, with the understanding that for these pets, population control is a less important concern than is health of each animal….veterinarians and owners must consider the benefits and detriments of gonadectomy for each animal… It behooves us as veterinarians dedicated to the provision of the best possible care for animals to educate clients and evaluate each animal carefully when making recommendations regarding gonadectomy.

That’s the latest word from America’s leading association of veterinarians. The best interests of the individual patient are what should determine when or whether a pet should be spayed or neutered. This is a medical decision, to be decided by a pet owner in consultation with their veterinarian. One size does not fit all, and should not be mandated by the state.

28 March, 2009 (20:26) | Spay/Neuter Health

Many pet parents know about the dangers of pets eating chocolate, but we learned last year about the more dangerous XYLITOL, a sugar substitute found in sugar-free products like chewing gum and candy.  XYLITOL is much more dangerous to our pets – please be careful to put these products out of reach of your precious ones!

More tips here….

Keep Your Pet Safe

published: 06/07/2009
How do you know which foods and household cleaners are safe for your pets? “If you have any doubts, ask your veterinarian,” says Dr. Steven Hansen, head of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center. Some facts may surprise you. 

Chocolate. Don’t offer it as a treat, but don’t panic if your Lab eats a bar of milk chocolate—the worst she’ll likely get is a bellyache. Caution: Chocolate is more dangerous for smaller dogs. They may need a trip to the emergency clinic.

UNSAFE Xylitol sugar substitute. You’ll likely find this ingredient in your favorite sugar-free gum, candy, or cough drops. If your pet eats Xylitol, head to the vet immediately. Make sure you put candy where pets can’t get to it.

Commercial chewies made to be ingested and pet toys are usually fine. Dr. Hansen says to buy appropriate sizes and use as recommended. Watch for wear and replace as necessary. 

UNSAFE Letting a pet chew on socks, underwear, and nylons is risky business. Materials such as elastic can cause a blockage in the digestive tract if ingested. Keep laundry in hampers, and always watch for what your dog has in his mouth. 

RELATIVELY SAFE Soap-based cleaners such as those found in Swiffer products present no risk to pets. Nor is that “blue water” toilet cleaner a problem, although Hansen recommends keeping the lid down anyway.

UNSAFE Disinfectants and strong cleaning products are dangerous. Don’t store any cleaning products under the sink. Put them away in hard-to-reach cabinets.

UNSAFE “Easter lilies are lethal to cats,” Hansen warns. “It takes very little of this plant material to cause kidney failure.”

RELATIVELY SAFE Carrots, apple slices, and even pizza crusts are generally okay in moderate amounts, although sharing “people food” is not recommended. It can contribute to behavior problems (begging) and obesity.

UNSAFE Raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, and dough are off-limits. Because of the yeast, dough can expand inside a dog’s stomach and become a big medical problem that may need to be addressed surgically.

Silica gel and roach motels. The little gel packets put in boxes to keep products dry are harmless. And as for that roach motel, “it doesn’t have enough insecticide to be of concern,” Hansen says.

UNSAFE Cat litter. Many dogs like to consume the contents of the cat’s litter box, which may form a blockage that will require medical care. Put the litter box where the cat can get to it easily but the dog cannot.

UNSAFE If your cat gets in the garbage and swallows some yarn or the cord that holds a roast together, you might need to make a trip to the vet for possible surgery. Put craft projects away and get a lidded trash can to prevent these problems.

Dr. Marty Becker and Gina Spadafori are the authors of many best-selling pet-care books, including “The Ultimate Dog Lover” and “Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet?”

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This has happened to me a couple of times – you find a 1/2 eaten sock or shoe, or whatever.  You NEVER know what a dog might find interesting enough to eat.  That’s why I “baby-proof” my home and only give my labs safe toys, like kongs, rope toys or real beef bones.  No squeaky toys or stuffed toys without being supervised. 

Have you had any experiences like this?   What safe toys do you give your dog?  Let me know by adding a comment.

Here’s the article From Dogster.com 5/27/09:by Dr. Eric Barchas, DVM

Help! My dog, Duke, accidentally swallowed a milk ring. Should I take him to my vet?

Syracuse, IN

I field phone calls from people asking questions similar to this one every day. A receptionist or nurse will approach me and say, “Dr. Barchas, there’s a client on the phone whose dog just ate . . .”

What comes next is highly variable. The dog may have eaten a sock, or a rock, or a part of a tennis ball, or part of an aluminum can, or a piece of hardware, or a pair of underwear, or a string of Christmas lights, or a box of garbage bags–to name just a few possibilities.

Ingested foreign objects can be dangerous to pets in a few ways. First and foremost, they may get lodged in the intestines and cause an obstruction. This creates a life-threatening surgical emergency. Also, foreign objects may contain toxins that can lead to poisoning.

When a pet consumes a non-toxic foreign object such a milk ring, there are two basic choices. The animal can be brought to the vet immediately to induce vomiting or perform endoscopy, or the animal can be monitored at home for symptoms of gastrointestinal obstruction (symptoms include vomiting, lack of appetite, lethargy, tender abdomen, and sometimes diarrhea) until the object passes in the feces.

I don’t know what type of dog Duke is. However, if he is a medium or large sized dog, then the odds are high that the milk ring will pass through him without incident. Which I hope by now it has, since several days passed between when you wrote your question and when I received it. The dog who ate the string of Christmas lights passed them without incident (although I can’t imagine what they felt like coming out), so odds are high that Duke can pass a small piece of plastic.

As always, the safest course of action in these sorts of situations is to call your vet. Many factors can determine whether a foreign object passes harmlessly through the intestines or becomes lodged and requires life-saving surgery. Your vet can work with you to assess the best course of action for your pet’s unique circumstances.

It’s been sad hearing about the thousands of good people across the country losing their jobs due the economic downturn.  But it got too close to home this week.  My sister, a computer programmer with 30 years of experience, lost her job this week due to corporate “reorganization.”   She is a couple years older than me, and honestly I don’t want to even think about starting over again at my age.  But she needs to.  Sure, she got a severance package (not nearly long enough, and the feds took 75% in taxes) and will collect unemployment.  But then what?  With hundreds of thousands of people on unemployment and looking for work, will she find another job?  That’s hard to predict.

What I do know is, by coincidence or fate (?), her husband joined our Trilogy family 2 weeks ago.   He is now his own boss with his own business (McCaslandHealthShop.com), with proven products that help people and pets live healthier lives, and a great training program so that he can jump right in and get started.   Trilogy is a 10-year old, debt-free company, whose business has actually increased in 2009.  People who are real animal lovers still want the best for their companions, and know and trust Life’s Abundance pet foods and all the Trilogy products.  I wish the very best for my sister and brother-in-law in their new business, and know they have what it takes to succeed.

If you are in the same situation, I feel your pain.   If a door was closed, maybe it’s time to open another one.   Look at your old job – were you happy?  If not, look for what truly makes you happy and go for it!   Many people have said losing their job was the best thing that happened to them -it forced them to take a risk and try something new. 

If you are an animal lover like me, and like to talking to people about their pets, maybe Trilogy is the answer for you.  We have a team that’s ready to help you succeed too! 

“Happiness is not an accident. Nor is it something you wish for. Happiness is something you design…” – Jim Rohn

Quitters Never Win and Winners Never Quit !


Thanks to my friend Teresa at Holistic Pet Food Blog for the following article on safe pet foods.  I have to add – you get what you pay for, especially when it comes to quality pet food.   I didn’t know that until 5 years ago when I started researching pet food ingredients – wow, what an eye-opener!  I personally found HealthyPetNet to be right for my pets.  Here’s the article:

“If you really want the very best, the very safest foods for your pet, look for dog food and cat food that comes from USDA APHIS-certified plants.  These are high-end foods!

USDA APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) Registered – APHIS registry certifies that the pet food company purchases all of their meats from USDA registered suppliers who follow all USDA regulations for safe meat handling. USDA is, of course, US-sourced. It can apply to both the meat and the grains used in the pet food.

Many of these foods are only available at natural grocers or specialty pet products stores.  If you don’t have one of these stores nearby, try HealthyPetNet as they are mail order. 

Natural pet products company whose pet food is USDA APHIS certified:


==> Fresh Mix Adult Dog Food 30 lbs for $41.99 to $51.99 = $1.40 – 1.73 per lb

Eagle Pack

==> Holistic Select Chicken Meal and Rice 16.5 lbs for $28.99 + $18.25 S&H = $2.86 per lb.


==> Life’s Abundance Health Food for Dogs 20 lbs for $35.25 plus $7.75 S&H = $2.14 per pound (autoship for 20% discount, reduce S&H by shipping multiple bags)


==> 20 lbs for $36, free S&H = $1.80

Natura Pet
==> They make Innova, Evo, Mother Nature, California Natural, Healthwise, and Karma.

Precise Pet Products

==> 30 lbs for $38.99 + 18.25 S&H = $1.91

This list is incomplete, please notify me via the comments when you find a pet food that is USDA APHIS-certified.”



You may have seen this story last Mother’s Day, but I just happened across it today.   You just have to watch this short news segment about a very sweet dog that nursed a litter of orphaned kittens (yes, KITTENS)!   And other inter-species mothering too.   It seems that the mothering instinct is stronger than anything else, even between predator and prey.


This reminds me of a similar experience we had once.  My husband & I raise labrador retrievers, and we had trouble with one litter when Midnight, the mother, needed emergency surgery, was in the hospital for a week & could not nurse the puppies.   It also happened to be the only time we had 2 litters at the same time.   We thought the other mother, Princess Bala, might accept the Midnight’s  puppies & nurse them too.  We were a little nervous at first but no need, Bala immediately accepted the other puppies!  We were amazed and delighted.  She nursed a total of 21 puppies until Midnight was able to take over –   she did an incredible job & saved the litter! 

Bala passed away in 2008 and we miss her every day.  But we still see her in her offspring – she was the mother of 4 of the dogs we have now, and grandmother of 1.  She had boundless energy and a happy disposition, but she was definitely the alpha of the pack!  We’ll never forget her.

Janet Makarick-Roberts