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Thursday, February 23, 2017

New product may enhance your efforts in using positive reinforcement training with your cat


I'm always on the lookout for interesting ideas to help create a better life for companion animals. 

While I was in a local pet store picking up a couple of things this week, I stumbled on one new product—Inaba Ciao Churu treat paste—and I think it would be a terrific tool to accentuate your efforts in training your cat using positive reinforcement. 

Also, I touch on another possible use for this product, which is available locally at stores like Huron Pet Supply and Dexter Mill (where, as I understand, it got the stamp of approval from the mill cat, Leo!) as well as why you might want to seek out free samples found in better pet stores.




Lorrie Shaw is a freelance writer and owner of Professional Pet Sitting. She has been a featured guest on the Pawprint Animal Rescue Podcast, talking about her career working with companion animals and writing about her experiences. Shoot her an email, contact her at 734-904-7279 or follow her adventures on Twitter.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Second pet food company issues recall over potential pentobarbital contamination

On the heels of a nationwide recall of dog food by one company over concerns of pentobarbital contamination, yet another has issued one for the same reason. On February 14, a recall of a single lot of canned dog food product manufactured by Against The Grain was listed on the Food and Drug Administration's website. 

The product, Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner for Dogs, was manufactured in 2015, and sold in 12 oz. cans. The packaging bears a lot number of 2415E01ATB12, and the second half of the UPC code is 80001—the latter of which can be found on the back of the product label. The food was distributed to independent retail outlets in two states, Washington and Maryland, and has an expiration date of December 2019.  

No other pet foods in the Against The Grain product lines are thought to be affected, and no illnesses or deaths have been reported at this time. 

If ingested by pets, pentobarbital can cause dizziness, drowsiness, loss of balance, nausea, excitement and in some cases, death

The company is urging consumers to return any can of food with the lot number listed above to their point of purchase. Customers may contact the company with any inquires at 1-800-288-6796  between 11:00AM – 4:00PM (CST), Monday-Friday. Click here for the company's statement. 


Lorrie Shaw is a freelance writer and owner of Professional Pet Sitting. She has been a featured guest on the Pawprint Animal Rescue Podcast, talking about her career working with companion animals and writing about her experiences. Shoot her an email, contact her at 734-904-7279 or follow her adventures on Twitter.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Evanger's launches voluntary recall of one pet food product due to potential pentobarbital contamination

Illinois-based Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Company is voluntarily recalling specific lots of one of its products as it may be contaminated with pentobarbital. 

If ingested by pets, pentobarbital can cause dizziness, drowsiness, loss of balance, nausea and in some cases, excitement. Death can result in some cases. Evanger’s indicated on their website that a few weeks ago, 5 dogs had taken ill after consuming the product matching one of the lot numbers. 

Though the substance was found in only one lot of Hunk of Beef Au Jus (12 ounce cans), the company made the decision to recall additional lots of the product—5 in all—that were produced the same week. Evanger’s uses suppliers that are USDA approved. A few weeks ago, after learning of the illness of the 5 pets and subsequent death of one of them, an investigation was launched by the pet food company. It was first thought that a toxin or bacteria might be the culprit, but on January 29, they learned the cause. But how pentobarbital, a barbiturate, made its way into the manufacturer’s supply was something that Evanger’s wanted to know.  

Quoting from a statement about the matter on the company’s website (which you can read in its entirety by clicking here):


Something like this seemed impossible.  We were unaware of the problem of pentobarbital in the pet food industry because it is most pervasive in dry foods that source most of their ingredients from rendering plants, unlike Evanger’s, which mainly manufactures canned foods that would not have any rendered materials in its supply chain.  All of our raw materials are sourced from USDA-inspected facilities, and many of them are suppliers with whom we have had long-standing relationships.


In our investigation, we spoke with many suppliers to learn how it could even be possible that an animal that had been euthanized could ever possibly end up in the animal food stream.  What we learned was that pentobarbital is very highly controlled, and that, if an animal is euthanized, it is done so by a veterinarian.  Once this process has been done, there is absolutely no regulation that requires the certified Vet to place any kind of marker on the animal indicating that it has been euthanized and guaranteeing that product from euthanized animals cannot enter the food chain. This is a simple task, and goes a very long way to ensure safety in many areas.



The following lot numbers are included in the recall: 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, and 1816E13HB. The cans also bear a expiration date of June 2020 and a barcode, 20109, which is found on the back of the product label. Manufactured the week of June 6 – June 13, 2016, the pet food was distributed to retailers and sold online in the following states: Washington, California, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida, South Carolina and Georgia.

The company is asking consumers to return any unused product to the point of purchase for a full refund, and to call 847-537-0102 between 10:00 AM-5:00 PM (CST), Mon-Fri with any questions. 

Click here to read the company statement on the Food and Drug Administration’s website.


Lorrie Shaw is a freelance writer and owner of Professional Pet Sitting. She has been a featured guest on the Pawprint Animal Rescue Podcast, talking about her career working with companion animals and writing about her experiences. Shoot her an email, contact her at 734-904-7279 or follow her adventures on Twitter.



Thursday, February 2, 2017

Staying focused on your dog -- not your smartphone -- and using the right equipment on walks can help avert tragedy

I run up against a lot of carelessness in my day-to-day adventures with dogs. That has nothing to do with the dogs themselves, mind you. It’s always the humans: the unnecessary distractions on the biped’s part (usually because of mobile phones, and more on that in a minute), people who insist on interacting with my charges, dogs off-leash, the ‘my dog is friendly!’ folks and most of all, the guardians that insist on using retractable leashes. Yes, that last one, oh, so annoying. And dangerous.


I’ve written about retractables in the past; while they seem like the perfect solution when walking a dog, the dangers are numerous and aren’t limited to the dog.


Admittedly, I use them in some situations, but they are extremely rare. When my dog, Bruiser had been diagnosed with cancer, his sleep and potty schedule was off kilter. I found a retractable (one with an LED flashlight attached!) quite useful so that he could have some autonomy to go potty at any hour of the day/night, while I could remain sleepily barefoot on the deck. I work with a lot of families whose pets are in hospice, and I recommend a retractable for this reason to help make their lives a little more manageable. Retractables are often used when a pet is recovering from TPLO or other surgery and need to be kept from exceeding their prescribed activity level while in their yard, while still indulging their need to walk around unencumbered.


I’m no stranger to expressing exasperation with many pet products, and this week has been no exception, I’m afraid.


Browsing Facebook, I noticed that there’s a new “leash” slated to hit the market. Not only is it retractable, so it can give your dog more physical space (in theory, a great idea), but it aims to help address some vexing issues, one of which the fact that humans are too distracted by their mobile phones to pay attention to their dog while they’re in a public place. No, seriously -- that’s what the company’s founder said in a video, seen by clicking here. I'll assert how horrified I was with the seemingly comedic lightness of the caricatured scenarios with dogs (off camera) making an abrupt and unwanted approach with another dog, getting hit by a car and 'scaring' a child. None of these situations are funny.


“Bad things can happen in the blink of an eye, and let’s face it: with smartphones, the distractions can be ridiculous.”


You don’t say!

(All of this is disappointing, as I am otherwise an ardent fan of the company's flagship product.)


I have more mindful solutions -- things I employ on a daily basis -- that can save you a few dollars and more importantly, a tragedy.


  • Use some self-control and turn your mobile phone off when you’re out and about your dog and pay attention to them.


  • Skip the retractable and opt for a 25-foot + dog lead. These trusty products don’t get enough press nor praise. You can keep the lead gathered up securely as you need (yes, you’ll need your full attention on things and both hands free) or allow your pet to roam more freely while still being safely tethered to you.

You’ll thank me one day, but in the meantime, your dog will stay safe and happy and likewise, everyone else will, too. Watch a long lead in action below.




Lorrie Shaw is a freelance writer and owner of Professional Pet Sitting. She has been a featured guest on the Pawprint Animal Rescue Podcast, talking about her career working with companion animals and writing about her experiences. Shoot her an email, contact her at 734-904-7279 or follow her adventures on Twitter.