Owners present pets to Philippines priest for blessing

A pet dog dressed as a crowned Miss Universe is photographed at a pet fashion show celebrating World Animals Day in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, October 6, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

MANILA (Reuters) – Elaborately dressed cats and dogs and even a palm-sized sugar glider were among the animals blessed outside a Philippine mall on Sunday in celebration of the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and World Animal day.

Pet owners raised their furry friends as a priest sprinkled holy water on the menagerie.

“They are like humans to us, so we need to have them blessed and make sure they do not get sick, and continue being with me,” said Filipino dog owner Ram de Castro, while carrying his pet dressed in Miss Universe-inspired red evening gown.

More than 100 pets were brought in for this year’s religious and blessing ceremony.

Anna Padrilao, a cat owner, said it was only right that her pet gets blessed because he is also a creation of God.

“Animals should be treasured the same way as humans”, she said.

World Animal Day, a day of action recognized worldwide for animal rights and welfare, is celebrated on Oct. 4, the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Reporting by Peter Blaza; Writing by Karen Lema; Editing by Alison Williams

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Watch: ‘Secret Life of Pets 2’ Exclusive Deleted Scene

With the globally beloved animal stars of The Secret Life of Pets 2 ready to make their DVD, Blu-ray and 4K debut on August 27, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has given us a sneak peek at the special features in store on the release. Check out the deleted scene “Wake Up” form Illumination Ent.’s blockbuster sequel below!

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is out now on Digital.

Don’t forget to enter our online giveaway for a chance to win this furry frolic on disc!

Synopsis: Terrier Max (Patton Oswalt) is coping with major life changes after Katie’s marriage and the arrival of a toddler, Liam. Meanwhile, Gidget (Jenny Slate) tries to rescue Max’s favorite toy from a cat-packed apartment with a little help from her feline friend, Chloe (Lake Bell), who has discovered the joys of catnip. And Snowball (Kevin Hart) believes, despite the other pets’ teasing, that he’s a superhero after his owner starts dressing him in superhero pajamas. But when Daisy (Tiffany Haddish), a fearless Shih Tzu, shows up to ask for Snowball’s help on a dangerous mission, he’ll have to summon the courage to become the hero he’s been pretending to be. The voice cast also features Eric Stonestreet, Nick Kroll, Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan and Harrison Ford in his first-ever animation role: a farm dog named Rooster.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is helmed by returning director Chris Renaud and co-director Jonathan del Val; produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy.

Animation Magazine

‘Secret Life of Pets 2’ Comes Home to Sit ‘n’ Stay

Heartwarming, gut-busting animated family blockbuster The Secret Life of Pets 2 is ready to be adopted on disc and digital this summer, through Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Illumination Entertainment’s warm and fuzzy sequel arrives on Digital August 13, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on August 27. DVD and Digital versions are packed with well over an hour of bonus content, including two brand-new mini-movies. Meanwhile, 4K and Blu-ray versions include an exclusive Captain Snowball Motion Comic.

In The Secret Life of Pets 2, terrier Max (Patton Oswalt) is coping with major life changes after Katie’s marriage and the arrival of a toddler, Liam. Meanwhile, Gidget (Jenny Slate) tries to rescue Max’s favorite toy from a cat-packed apartment with a little help from her feline friend, Chloe (Lake Bell), who has discovered the joys of catnip. And Snowball (Kevin Hart) believes, despite the other pets’ teasing, that he’s a superhero after his owner starts dressing him in superhero pajamas. But when Daisy (Tiffany Haddish), a fearless Shih Tzu, shows up to ask for Snowball’s help on a dangerous mission, he’ll have to summon the courage to become the hero he’s been pretending to be.

The voice cast also features Eric Stonestreet, Nick Kroll, Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan and Harrison Ford in his first-ever animation role: a farm dog named Rooster.

Bonus Features (4K, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital):

  • Mini Movie: Minion Scouts – When Margo, Agnes and Edith return from Badger Scout camp, three of the Minions are entranced by the girls’ merit badges. Their own attempt at scout camp results in attracting a bear, eating poison berries and eventually blowing up a dam, creating a massive flood. But, when they arrive back home, the girls share their badges, encouraging the rest of the Minions to try their hand at scouting.
  • Mini Movie: Super Gidget – When Max is kidnapped by an army of squirrels, Super Gidget is the only one who can save him. It turns out that Max’s captor is a flea with the power of mind control. Gidget must use her pluckiness, strength and smarts to save her one true love…until it turns out it was all just a dream.
  • The Making of the Mini Movies – Every Illumination film is accompanied by mini movies that are a production all their own. Each film’s directing partners will explore how the mini movies were made.
  • Deleted Scenes: “Wake Up” – Max and Duke have a new morning routine with Liam. “Duke Explores the Farm” – Duke has a funny interaction with a goat. “Snowball Karate” – Snowball does his superhero warm up. “Secret Confessions” – Dogs gather to talk about their deepest secrets.
  • A Tapestry of a Tail: The Making Of – The plot of The Secret Life of Pets 2 involves multiple storylines ultimately coming together to create a larger than life tale. We talk with the filmmakers, editor and cast about the delicate dance of juggling multiple narratives in one movie.
  • How to Draw – Hosted by Head of Story, Eric Favela, follow the step-by-step tutorial to learn to draw Max, Snowball and Chloe.
  • Frame by Frame: How to Make a Flip Book – In this DIY-style vignette, Head of Story Eric Favela will teach viewers about the essence of animation and how they can create their very own flip book animations at home.
  • Character Pods – Get a closer look at your favorite characters of The Secret Life of Pets 2 with these delightful character pods that might just give away a few more pet secrets. Patton Oswalt – Max; Kevin Hart – Snowbal;l Eric Stonestreet – Duke; Jenny Slate – Gidget; Tiffany Haddish – Daisy; Lake Bell – Chloe; Nick Kroll – Sergei; Dana Carvey – Pops; Bobby Moynihan – Mel; Harrison Ford – Rooster
  • A Party Fit for a Pet – Using stop-motion animation, this step-by-step guide teaches you everything you need to know to throw the very best party for your pet!
  • Pops’ Puppy Training School with Kevin Hart – Join Kevin Hart as he shows off his dog training skills.
  • Pets Yule Log – Sit back and relax in front of this exclusive The Secret Life of Pets 2 themed animated ‘Yule Log.’
  • ‘Panda’ Lyric Video
  • ‘It’s Gonna Be A Lovely Day (The Secret Life of Pets 2)’ Lyric Video

4K & Blu-ray Exclusive:

  • The Further Adventures of Captain Snowball (Interactive) – This animated ‘Motion Comic’ expands the world of our furry hero, Captain Snowball. Using a ‘superhero’ comic book style and custom animation, we discover more about the secret world of our caped crusader with a little help from our viewers. At key moments in the story, the viewer is presented with a choice: left, or right? Fight or flight? Their choice determines our hero’s next move!

4K, Blu-ray & Digital Exclusives:

  • My Buddy and Me – We interview the Illumination cast and crew talking about The Secret Life of Pets 2 while holding (or trying to hold) their pets.
  • Pets with Jobs: A Documentary – We find and profile animals with special jobs – a service dog that detects when its epileptic owner is about to have a seizure; ponies that provide comfort to children with cancer; police dogs that go the extra mile to catch the bad guys. Meet some of the many animals who make the world a better place every day!
  • Relax the Cat: The Secret Life of Pets Massage – A professional pet masseuse shows the cast how to read signs of tension in their pet and use massage techniques to keep their furry babies relaxed and happy!
  • Production Pets – It takes hundreds of people to make an animated movie and a lot of those people have pets that can’t wait for them to come home. This piece is dedicated to all those faithful companions.

Animation Magazine

One Downside of Legalized Pot: Poisoned Pets

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) — People who use marijuana know that the drug should be kept out of the reach of small children. But many may not realize that it can also be dangerous for their beloved animals.

As more states legalize marijuana, the drug poses an increased poisoning risk to pets, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) warns.

In June, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize pot.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the substance in marijuana that makes people high — is toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, depression, sleepiness or excitation, low blood pressure, low body temperature, seizures and problems with coordination.

Death is rare, but a few cases have been reported, as the number of marijuana poisonings among dogs has soared, according to the AVMA.

In 2019, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Animal Poison Control Center reported a 765% surge in calls about pot ingestion compared to the same period last year. The Pet Poison Helpline has reported a more than 400% increase in marijuana-related calls over the past six years.

The AVMA also said a number of its member veterinarians have reported seeing an increasing number of pets with signs of marijuana intoxication.

Edible marijuana products — such as brownies, candy bars and other baked goods — are a particular concern, because THC is highly concentrated in the butter used for the products, the association explained in a news release.

Smoking marijuana can also pose a risk, and people who smoke the drug should do so away from their pets, the AVMA said.

It’s also important to make sure the drug is secure and inaccessible to pets.

Even if you don’t have marijuana in your home, legalization could increase the risk that your dog will find a discarded joint or edible product outdoors. To reduce the risk, keep your dog on a leash and prevent them from grazing while out on walks.

If a pet shows any signs of marijuana toxicity — off-balance, rigid or nervous, drooling, dribbling urine, vocalizing or having seizures — get them to a veterinarian as quickly as possible, the AVMA advised.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCE: American Veterinary Medical Association, news release, June 26, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Don’t Forget Your Pets in Emergency Plans

SATURDAY, July 6, 2019 — Your beloved pets need to be part of any plan you craft for emergencies, such as hurricanes or floods.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says you should stock at least one week’s supply of food and fresh water for your pet. If your pet takes medication, stock a one-week supply of that, too.

Have copies of your pet’s vaccination records and other medical records in your pet’s preparedness kit. If you have a pet insurance policy, be sure to include information about it.

The kit should also have photos of your pet in case you and your pet become separated, the agency noted.

If there is a warning about a weather emergency, bring your pet indoors as soon as possible. Remain indoors, preferably in a location with few or no windows, until you can confirm it’s safe. Take your emergency kit and disaster supplies with you if you switch locations.

If you have to evacuate, bring your pet with you. Ask your local emergency management agency which emergency shelters allow pets.

If you’re unable to take your pet with you when you evacuate, put a Rescue Alert Sticker on your home’s door to alert emergency crews that your pet is inside.

If you have large animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, goats or pigs, make sure they all have some form of identification, according to the FDA. Map out primary and secondary evacuation routes beforehand and identify the vehicles or trailers required to transport and support each type of animal.

Make sure that your emergency destination has food and water, and access to veterinary care and handling equipment.

If you need to evacuate and cannot take your large animals, you’ll have to determine how and where to move them to shelter or if it’s better to turn them outside, the FDA said in a news release.

Previously well-behaved pets may become aggressive or defensive after a major disruption in their lives and may not return to normal for several weeks. Monitor your pet and give it plenty of time to rest.

If your pet remains extremely anxious or has other behavioral or health problems, contact your veterinarian, the FDA advised.

More information

The ASPCA has more on disaster preparedness.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2019 – Daily MedNews

‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’: A Paw-sitively Perfect Second Act

***This article originally appeared in the June/July ‘19 issue of Animation Magazine (No. 291)***

Five years ago, the team at Illumination Entertainment, led by producers Janet Healy and Chris Meledandri, and directors Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney hit animation gold with their exploration into The Secret Life of Pets. The movie received great reviews and went on to gross over $ 875 million worldwide, becoming the animation studio’s biggest blockbuster to date.

This summer, Meledandri, Healy, Renaud and new co-director Jonathan del Val (animation director for the first Pets and The Grinch) offer fans another peek into the lives of Max the terrier, Duke the mutt, Snowball the rabbit and all the other animals they come to meet in a colorful new sequel.

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The new chapter of the animals’ adventures finds Max (now voiced by Patton Oswalt, replacing Louis C.K.) facing empty nest anxieties as his owner’s child gets ready for preschool. Meanwhile, Gidget (Jenny Slate) tries to rescue Max’s favorite toy, and Snowball (Kevin Hart) attempts to free a white tiger (Nick Kroll) from a circus.

“We started working on concepts for the sequel to Pets while we were finishing the first film,” recalls Renaud, an Illumination studio veteran, who directed the first two Despicable Me movies and The Lorax and exec produced the two Minion movies and The Grinch. Everyone involved loved the characters and felt there was more story to tell. Very early in the process we began focusing on pets and kids.”

Renaud says a sequel is always a bit daunting, because as a director you want to deliver what people liked about the first film but within a completely new and unexpected package. “This means new characters, sets and situations,” he adds. “As filmmakers, creating these new elements becomes the fun part of developing a sequel.”

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

One of The Secret Life of Pets 2’s cool visual elements is the introduction of a farm. Renaud says this new environment allowed the team to create a whole new world with new characters. “Additionally, animals on a farm have a very different perspective on life than our pampered city pets,” he notes. “We used this to create some great comedic and dramatic conflict.”

The sequel, which is penned by Brian Lynch (Minions), brings back Duke (Eric Stonestreet), Gidget (Jenny Slate) and Chloe (Lake Bell), and also welcomes new cast members Rooster the farm dog (Harrison Ford in his first animated role!) and Daisy the Shih Tzu (Tiffany Haddish).

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Janet Healy (Despicable Me movies, Sing), who also produced the first movie, adds “All the characters in The Secret Life of Pets 2 are in some way familiar, they represent the personalities and behaviors we see in our beloved pets every day. Just like we humans, these pets have close friendships, deep loyalties, big problems to solve and heroic deeds to accomplish. The pets in our franchise are a familiar and dear part of our families, and now they are a wonderful part of our film experience.”

According to Renaud, the movie utilized over 200 people in both France (at Illumination Mac Guff in Paris) and the U.S. Besides the Illumination team in Santa Monica, the writer and storyboard artists were based in the U.S. Everyone else on the production, from layout up through animation and final rendering, was located in Paris.

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Weaving It All Together

One of the most challenging aspects of the production was the moment when the creative team had to tie all three storylines back together. “Through the course of the film, Max, Gidget and Snowball are operating somewhat independently within their own narrative,” notes Renaud. “But, to make the movie work and create a satisfying ending, we had to figure out how to connect these disparate elements and provide a catalyst into the third act action.”

Renaud admits, “Sometimes you can get trapped into worrying about logic, but you usually find that you need less than you think. It’s the emotion and character stakes that carry the day.”

One of the director’s favorite sequences of the movie arrives in the end. “I don’t want to give anything away, but it truly turned out the way I had originally hoped,” he says. “The whole movie is really a metaphor for modern parenting, and I think this scene captured the genuine emotion of what parents go through as they recognize they can’t control or safeguard every aspect of their children’s lives.”

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Renaud points out that the first Pets movie clearly struck a chord with audiences around the world purely because it was about pets. “We really tried to capture animals as they are, in both attitude and animated performance,” he explains. “I also feel that the question about what your pets do when you’re not home was so simple and compelling, people couldn’t resist watching a movie that attempted to answer that conundrum.”

When asked to compare the sequel to the original, Renaud says the second movie may have a stronger, more nuanced and layered story. “In the first film, we found that we had to tell a very simple story just to have the space to introduce our huge cast of pets,” he says. “In this one, we can forgo the introductions and get right into storytelling.

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

In Pursuit of Perfect Fur

In the five years since the first movie came out, CG animation technology has obviously improved. However, according to Renaud, no new tools were used to produce the animation. It’s just that the old tools kept improving. “For instance, we now review our animation hardware renders with fur on the characters. This is important because a character like Duke can have his whole facial expression wiped out by all of that shaggy fur!”

Since The Secret Life of Pets 2 comes out in the middle of a very jam-packed family movie season — sandwiched between UglyDolls, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, Toy Story 4, The Lion King and The Angry Birds Movie 2 — we asked Renaud how he feels about the growing competition. “In reality, every movie made right now seems to be an ‘all audience four quadrant’ family film,” he replies. “This used to be where animated films were unique. However, those days have passed since most parents are happy bringing their young children to the latest superhero movie, science-fiction fantasy or animated reboot. In my view, we have to strive to retain our distinction through unique visual stylization and strong comedy that can only be achieved through broader character animation.”

Snowball vs. Monkey pic

As Healy sees it, the Pets franchise has lasting appeal and will hopefully continue to capture the hearts of moviegoers. “We think this franchise is unique and special because it connects us to our beloved pets in an intriguing and humorous way,” she says. “People in every part of the world adore their pets and wonder what really goes on in their pets’ minds. When they see The Secret Life of Pets films they get a magical, fun insight. The Secret Life of Pets is far more thrilling and busy than we ever could have imagined!”

Renaud says he also hopes moviegoers will relish reconnecting with these lovable, hilarious characters. “I hope the audience will leave the movie theater glad that they had another chance to spend some time with these characters,” says the director. “I know we had a great time working with these guys again, and I’m hoping that joy and fun comes across in this movie!”

Universal/Illumination’s The Secret Life of Pets 2 begins its U.S. theatrical run on June 10.

Everything’s Illumination

Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment empire is showing no signs of slowing down.

After unleashing The Secret Life of Pets 2 in theaters this month, the studio will release Minions 2 in July 2020 and Sing 2 in December 2020. Here’s a look at the studio’s amazing box office record to date:

Rank Title Domestic Gross Release Date
1. The Secret Life of Pets $ 368,384,330 7/8/16
2. Despicable Me 2 $ 368,061,265 7/3/13
3. Minions $ 336,045,770 7/10/15
4. Seuss’ The Grinch $ 270,620,950 11/9/18
5. Sing $ 270,395,425 12/21/16
6. Despicable Me 3 $ 264,624,300 6/30/17
7. Despicable Me $ 251,513,985 7/9/10
8. Seuss’ The Lorax $ 214,030,500 3/2/12
9. Hop $ 108,085,305 4/1/11


Janet Healy

Janet Healy

Chris Renaud

Chris Renaud

Animation Magazine

Pets, owners flock to Madrid church for blessing of animals

MADRID (Reuters) – Dogs, cats and birds were blessed at a church in Madrid on Thursday on the feast day of St. Anthony, the patron saint of animals, with many of the owners making an annual pilgrimage for their pets.

St Anthony the Abbot’s church priest Angel Garcia expected up to 15,000 pets to be brought in for this year’s ceremony.

“St. Anthony cared a great deal about dogs and abandoned animals, healing and feeding them. That’s where the tradition comes from,” said the priest, who blesses each animal.

“We come here every year since I have her and we come together, right Rita?” Madrid resident Maria Diaz said to her dog as she was hugging it. “St. Anthony is going to bless you. Do not tremble!”

Diana Castillo, another dog owner, said she was keeping up a family tradition, started by her grandparents who would bring their pets to the ceremony, first celebrated 35 years ago.

“We are from Madrid for several generations and St. Anthony has always been a very important church for our family … I come here since we adopted her seven years ago and we come every year.”

Reporting by Sabela Ojea Guix, editing by Andrei Khalip

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Halloween: Keep A Close Eye on the Treats, Pets

Oct. 30, 2018 — At Halloween, a sweet treat for children can play a dangerous trick on an unsuspecting pet’s digestive system.

Scott Fowler, doctor of veterinary medicine for Atlanta’s Briarcliff Animal Clinic, has often seen multiple owners lined up with sick dogs who’ve gotten into unsecured Halloween candy, particularly chocolate.

“I’ve seen a ton of chocolate here this time of year, for sure. Adults give children candy, and they leave it out where dogs can find it,” Fowler says. “You get a line of people outside [the waiting room], with four to five dogs sitting there, potentially puking things up. And then you have to collect the puke and see what they had.”

But How Much Chocolate?

Chocolate is one of the most commonly ingested pet dangers, accounting for 7% of all cases reported to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

Fowler finds that a small or “fun-sized” amount of chocolate usually isn’t a cause for alarm. “We have a formula that compares the weight of the dog with the amount of what he ate,” he says. “Most candy bars have a decently low amount of chocolate. If a Labrador ate a mini-Snickers, it won’t do much. If a papillon or a chihuahua did, I’d be more concerned.”

Often the kind of chocolate can be as concerning as the quantity. “Darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate or white chocolate because it has higher levels of methylxanthines,” says Morieka Johnson, writer and host of the pet care blog and podcast “SoulPup: Tips & Tricks for Dog Lovers.”

A cause for worry with chocolate are mild stimulants known as methylxanthines, including theobromine and caffeine. They’re in coffee and cocoa beans as well as some medications. “Side effects [in dogs] include vomiting and diarrhea, excessive thirst, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and [in extreme cases] even death,” Johnson says.

It’s Not Just Halloween

Halloween isn’t the only holiday when dogs can get into food that’s dangerous for them. Edible presents may be left under Christmas trees, loved ones can exchange chocolates at Valentine’s Day and Easter egg hunts often involve candy at a dog’s eye-level, with dire potential results.

“Candy and human snacks can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and in some circumstances pancreatitis, a serious illness which may require hospitalization,” says Leni Kaplan, veterinarian and clinician with the Community Service Practice at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals in Ithaca, NY.

Paula Emde of Atlanta dealt with the consequences of a dog eating candy many years ago when Boutros, her German shepherd mix, got into three boxes of foil-wrapped, brandy-filled dark chocolates recently brought from Germany.

“We went out for the evening and left three 24-packs on the hutch, and when we got back, all of them were gone, with shreds of paper and foil on the floor,” Emde says.

She immediately called her vet, who advised her to induce vomiting by giving Boutros a spoonful of hydrogen peroxide and then monitoring him closely.

Beyond Chocolate

Chocolate isn’t the only kind of candy that can be harmful to pets. “Sugar-free gum can have xylitol, an artificial sweetener. It can cause low blood sugar. The body can’t recognize it, so pumps out more insulin to get rid of it,” Fowler says.

Grapes and raisins, while considered healthy snack alternatives for humans, can be problematic for dogs. “They can cause significant kidney and red blood cell damage in dogs,” Fowler says.

Veterinarians from the Veterinary Emergency & Referral Group (VERG), a 24-hour specialty and emergency veterinary hospital group based in Brooklyn, NY, recommend pet owners keep candy in a confined, elevated location like a pantry.

Kaplan suggests that any food items that create pet dangers be kept in secure locations. “Restrict access to chocolate, coffee, caffeine, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins and any food containing xylitol or psychoactive cannabinoids such as marijuana,” Kaplan says. “Pets must also be kept away from any beverages containing alcohol.”

One Lucky Pooch

In the case of Boutros, the vets considered the brandy a greater risk than the dark chocolate, even after inducing vomiting. “They were concerned that it would be a double whammy and told me that if he showed signs of being drunk, to take him to the emergency vet,” Emde says. “And after about an hour, Boutros started acting like he was drunk – he was staggering, his eyes were glassy and he was reeking of alcohol.”

Emde took Boutros to a veterinary emergency room, where he was given activated charcoal to absorb toxic substances in his belly and decrease absorption into his bloodstream. While vets often use a funnel to get the activated charcoal into a dog’s system, in this case Boutros’ indiscriminate eating habits were an advantage, as he gobbled it up mixed with canned dog food, much to the vet techs’ surprise.

Afterwards, Boutros was fine and his eating habits undeterred.

Fowler points out that the local vet isn’t your only potential resource. “For people whose animals have ingested something, the ASPCA has a pet poison hot line with toxicologists on call. [The owners] can ask them ‘Here’s the amount they ate, is this a major concern?’ and they will say ‘You’re likely looking at this potential situation, here’s the treatment we recommend.’” The number is (888) 426-4435.

Real Foods to Watch Out For

Fowler points out that items considered traditional table scraps for pets can be harmful, even if they don’t contain toxins. “At Thanksgiving, they get scrap food from the table. Things high in fat, like the uneaten bits of ham or steak, can cause upset stomach or pancreatitis, which can be severe enough that they have to be hospitalized.”

Even chewing can lead to problems that result in high vet bills. “Bones, like the center bone of ham, can fracture their teeth,” says Fowler. “Labradors come in who have been chewing on antlers and rawhides for years and can get fractures in their teeth. My rule of thumb is, if you hit something against your knee and it hurts, it’s too hard to give to a dog.”

Some dogs even gnaw on jack-o’-lanterns or uncarved pumpkins. “Pumpkin is safe for pets to eat as long as it is not moldy,” Kaplan says. If your pet eats moldy pumpkin, contact a veterinarian immediately. Pumpkin rinds are safe to chew on as long as the pet is being supervised and does not actually eat the rinds. If a pet swallows rind, Kaplan says, it could become lodged in the gastrointestinal tract which will require veterinary medical attention and surgery.

Cat owners seldom have to deal with their pets eating toxic foodstuffs, but that doesn’t mean they have no risk of emergency vet visits at the holidays. “It’s more likely that they’ll swallow foreign bodies like string, toys or tinsel from Christmas trees,” Fowler says.


Scott Fowler, DVM., Briarcliff Animal Clinic, Atlanta “Announcing the Top Pet Toxins of 2015.”

SoulPup: Tips & Tricks for Dog Lovers: “People Foods That Dogs Should Avoid.”

Veterinary Technician, “Death by Chocolate? Methylxanthine Toxicosis”

Leni K. Kaplan, DVM., Cornell University Hospital for Animals, Ithaca, NY.

Paula Emde, dog owner.

Veterinary Emergency & Referral Group (VERG): “Brooklyn vets give tips to pet owners to avoid Halloween scares.” “Activated charcoal.”

© 2018 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Putting on the dog: Thai ad agency employees bring pets to work

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Nimo bounds out of a car in a rush to get to work at a Bangkok advertising agency, but Nimo is no ordinary employee.

Dogs are seen on Jirmas’ desk as she works in an office of a digital advertising agency which promotes bring-your-dog-to-work in Bangkok, Thailand September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

He’s a dog.

The brown-haired husky accompanies his owner, Thimpaporn Phopipat, to work everyday at digital advertising agency YDM in the Thai capital.

“Since I already love dogs, it really made me want to work here,” said Thimaporn, 29, a digital public relations manager who also takes along her chihuahua, Muu Pan.

Jirmas holds a dog as she works in an office of a digital advertising agency which promotes bring-your-dog-to-work in Bangkok, Thailand September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

The bring-your-dog-to-work trend is gaining momentum in Thailand, particularly at companies like advertisement firms that are known to require irregular work hours.

The policy can help to alleviate stress, as well as attract, and retain, employees, say some.

Other advertisement agencies in the Thai capital have dog-friendly policies but YDM, with nearly 200 employees and 20 pet dogs, is by far the largest to adopt the scheme.

Several studies point to the benefits of dogs in the workplace, but a May 2017 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health warned against hazards such as allergies and animal-borne diseases.

The same report said pets could help to buffer stress at work, however.

Slideshow (11 Images)

Even those who don’t bring their pets to work say other people’s pets help colleagues to bond better.

“Sometimes things can get chaotic, but it’s a good kind of chaos, because it makes me happy and relaxed,” said Jitramas Watana-ug, 31, a YDM account manager.

Agency owner Anuckanard Kongpanichakul, 42, introduced the dog-friendly policy when she founded YDM eight years ago.

“For me it is very joyful, it feels like this is a home,” Anuckanard said.

(The story corrects the spelling of agency owner in paragraph 12)

Additional reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Clarence Fernandez

Reuters: Oddly Enough

FDA: Pets May Have Bad Reactions to Flea Medicine

FRIDAY, Sept. 21, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Flea medicines protect your pet, but some animals can have serious side effects from products containing isoxazoline, U.S. health officials warn.

Although most dogs and cats handle this powerful pesticide just fine, others can have severe reactions, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.

Isoxazoline products have been associated with neurologic reactions, including muscle tremors, loss of muscle control and seizures. Most dogs and cats don’t have bad reactions to these products, but seizures can occur even if they haven’t happened before, the agency said.

The FDA-approved drugs in this class are:

  • Bravecto
  • Credelio
  • Nexgard
  • Simparica

Although these products can be safely used for most cats and dogs, the FDA advised that you check with your veterinarian to review your pet’s medical history to be sure these products are safe for your pet.

The FDA said that many types of tick and flea products are available. Discussing the various options with your veterinarian can help you make an informed choice that’s best for your pet.

Should your cat or dog develop any of the negative symptoms linked with isoxazoline, consult your veterinarian, the FDA advised.

Because the agency keeps track of the negative side effects of these products, you and your veterinarian can report cases to the manufacturer of the product, who will pass that report to the FDA. You can also report problems directly to the agency.

To report a problem or to get more information about the product you use, contact the following companies directly:

  • Merck Animal Health (Bravecto): 800-224-5318
  • Elanco Animal Health (Credelio): 888-545-5973
  • Merial (Nexgard): 888-637-4251
  • Zoetis (Simparica): 888-963-8471

If you or your veterinarian have additional questions, contact the FDA at [email protected], or call 240-402-7002.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Help Vets, Protect Pets and Kids This 4th of July

July 3, 2018 — As Americans come together to celebrate with food, friends, and fireworks, it’s also important to remember how to stay safe.

Last year saw the highest number of firework-related injuries, says the Consumer Product Safety Commission. There were at least eight reported deaths and an estimated 12,900 injuries. Of those, 8,700 happened in the summer.

Here are some tips on how not to become a statistic.

General Safety

  • Learn and follow all local laws about using fireworks. Read all caution labels and descriptions before lighting fireworks.
  • Make sure to have a responsible adult supervising all firework activities.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while igniting fireworks. Wear safety goggles, and only light one firework at a time.
  • Do not relight a “dud” firework; it could explode. Instead, wait 20 minutes after you try to light it, and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Have a bucket of water and a water hose nearby in case of emergencies.


Some veterans may have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that could be triggered by loud fireworks. Check with your neighbors before you light fireworks in your neighborhood.

  • If you have a neighbor who served in combat, make sure they aren’t surprised. Let them know you plan to set off fireworks.
  • Consider limiting your fireworks use. Maybe cut back out of respect.
  • Start small. Build up to the loudest bangs and pops.
  • Look for yard signs marking houses of military veterans.


  • Don’t allow children to handle any type of fireworks, such as firecrackers, bottle rockets, or Roman candles.
  • They’re fun, but watch out for sparklers. They can reach up to 1,800 F, which is hot enough to melt gold. If your child is playing with a sparkler, make sure to keep the flame away from clothing and hair.
  • Kids shouldn’t pick up pieces of fireworks after a show. They could still be ignited and could explode.
  • Find fun alternatives for kids, like glow sticks and light-up toys.

 If a child is burned from an errant firework, remove clothes from the burn and run cool — not cold — water over the injury. Don’t use ice. If the child’s eye is injured, it’s important not let him or her rub it — this may cause more damage. Don’t try and flush the eye with water. Instead, get immediate medical help. 


More pets run away on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year, according to Sharon Harvey of the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

  • Leave your pets at home. Most pets’ ears are highly sensitive to loud fireworks, and pets may be prone to anxiety and try to run away.
  • Make sure your pet is wearing identification with a phone number on it. Microchipping can also help find your pet if it gets lost.
  • Take your pet on a walk before sunset. Any excess energy could make anxiety worse.
  • Confine your pet to a comfortable place along with a favorite blanket or toy.
  • Drown out the booming fireworks with white noise, such as a loud fan.
  • Veterinarians may prescribe anti-anxiety medications.


Consumer Product Safety Commission: “2017 Fireworks Annual Report.”

National Council on Fireworks Safety: “Recommended Safety Tips.”

Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center: “Easing the stress of Fireworks on Combat Veterans.”

KidsHealth: “Fireworks Safety.”

Parents: “Fireworks Safety Rules and Tips for Families.”

Fox Carolina: “More dogs run away on July Fourth than any other day of the year.”

Martha Stewart: “5 Veterinarian Tips on Keeping Your Pet Calm During the Fireworks.”

Children’s Hospital of Atlanta: “Keeping Kids Safe Around Fireworks.”

© 2018 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Pets Good Medicine for Those Battling Mental Ills

By Serena Gordon

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Feb. 16, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Can the adoring gaze of a dog or the comforting purr of a cat be helpful to people with mental illness? Absolutely, new research suggests.

Although furry companions won’t replace medications or therapy for mental health concerns, they can provide significant benefits, according to British researchers. Their review of 17 studies found that pets can provide comfort, alleviate worry, loneliness and isolation, increase physical activity and provide distraction from symptoms.

“The participants included in the review enjoyed keeping their animals and believed that they gained psychological benefits from these relationships,” said the study’s lead author, Helen Louise Brooks, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Liverpool.

The studies included in the review focused mostly on dogs and cats, but also included birds, rabbits and other animals. Brooks said that past research has shown it’s important that people be able to choose a pet that pairs well with their individual needs, living situation and limits based on their condition.

Study participants represented a range of mental illnesses — from those that were self-reported to serious conditions diagnosed by a mental health professional. The studies also included mental health issues associated with a physical health condition or with a developmental disorder. But the review didn’t specify the exact types of mental illness that participants had.

A major theme that the researchers found was that companion animals provided emotional comfort and offered unconditional, nonjudgmental care. Sometimes people with mental illness preferred their pets over the people in their lives, as illustrated by this example:

“The dog approaches Karin when she’s crying and comforts her by lying next to her and licking away her tears. The dog hears her, and wherever he is in the house, he comes to her. We can’t always comfort her. Sometimes Karin has said, ‘It’s a good thing we have the dog, otherwise no one would be able to comfort me.’ “

Pets also provide a sense of responsibility and can help distract from symptoms of mental illness, even the most serious:


“They are something that is very important in my recovery and helping me not get too depressed. Even when I was so depressed, I was kind of suicidal. I never got really bad, but I was suicidal at one time. The thing that made me stop was wondering what the rabbits would do. That was the first thing I thought of, and I thought, ‘Oh, yeah, I can’t leave because the rabbits need me.’ “

Other benefits cited by the pet owners included increased exercise and contact with nature, keeping people focused on the present instead of ruminating on the past, helping them be more open to social interactions, and giving them a sense of pride and a feeling of being wanted or valued.

“My best quality is that I love animals and I take care of animals. … Other than that, I can’t think of anything real outstanding.”

Of course, as anyone who’s had a pet knows, there are negative aspects, too. Sometimes caring for a pet can be difficult and costly. And pets don’t live as long as their owners do.

But Brooks said the participants included in the review “felt that the positive impact of pet ownership outweighed these negative aspects.”

Psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, president and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation in New York City, said this was a good study that confirms what people might have already suspected was true.

“In many ways, the benefits of having a pet for people with mental illness are very similar to the benefits that anyone with a pet experiences,” said Borenstein, who wasn’t involved with the review. “The relationship with a pet is really very beneficial for all people.”

If someone with a mental illness is concerned about being able to care for an animal, he said, they should discuss it with their psychiatrist or psychologist, who could help them figure out what type of pet might be best for them.

The study was published online Feb. 5 in BMC Psychiatry.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Helen Louise Brooks, Ph.D., lecturer, psychology, University of Liverpool, England; Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., president and CEO, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, New York City;BMC Psychiatry, Feb. 5, 2018, online

Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

The Holidays Can Pose Hazards to Your Pet’s Health

SUNDAY, Dec. 17, 2017 — While you revel in the decorations and good food of the holiday season, there are dangers lurking in the tinsel and treats that can pose threats to your beloved pet.

One veterinarian offers suggestions to maintain your pet safety.

“Keep your pet from chewing or ingesting ornaments, holiday lights, electric wire and ribbons, to prevent gastrointestinal obstructions and electrocution,” said Dr. Leni Kaplan, who’s with Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Consider confining your pet’s access to rooms with holiday decorations, especially when unsupervised. One easy option is to use baby gates,” she said.

Holiday fare can also be dangerous, not to mention fattening, Kaplan added.

“Restrict access to holiday snacks and treats like chocolate, coffee, caffeine, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins and any candy or food item containing xylitol, which are toxic to pets and potentially lethal at any time of the year. Store these items in places pets cannot reach or access,” she said in a Cornell news release.

“Do not share your food, to avoid unnecessary weight gain in your pet. Have healthy snacks on hand to share, including green beans, carrots, zucchini or celery. Fatty and greasy foods can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and, in some circumstances, pancreatitis, a serious illness which may require hospitalization,” Kaplan warned.

Stress is another concern.

“Evaluate your pet’s stress levels when hosting guests. Consider boarding pets during the holidays unless boarding is in itself a source of stress. Discuss with your veterinarian using anti-anxiety medications if indicated. Consider confining pets to a safe space, room or crate while entertaining visitors,” Kaplan said.

Also, make sure to stick to your pet’s normal routine as much as possible to enjoy a low-stress holiday season. “Build in time for walks, play and meals prior to the start of the holiday season,” she suggested.

Some flowers can be toxic to pets. While poinsettias do not pose a serious risk to pets, mistletoe and holly are dangerous. Lilies are toxic to cats, she said.

“Contact a veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet ingested any dangerous foods, items or if they are not acting right. If traveling, be proactive and find out where and when you can seek veterinary care during the holidays in case you need it,” Kaplan advised.

More information

The ASPCA has more on pet holiday safety.

© 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: December 2017

Recommended for you – Daily MedNews

Your Pets Can’t Put Your Aging on ‘Paws’

THURSDAY, Dec. 14, 2017 — In a finding that’s sure to ruffle some fur and feathers, scientists report that having a pet doesn’t fend off age-related declines in physical or mental health.

“Our results showed that in this sample of almost 9,000 people — average age 67 years — for those who owned a pet, no health benefits were found,” said study co-author Richard Watt, a professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London.

The British researchers pointed out that some studies have suggested that pets can improve psychological health, perhaps by easing loneliness or providing companionship. Other research has hinted at health benefits such as weight regulation and improved heart health, possibly from having to walk a dog or stress relief from petting a cat.

But the authors of the new study noted that there can be a downside to pet ownership, too: People can feel significant grief and distress after the loss of a beloved pet.

To get a better idea of exactly how much a pet can affect human health and well-being, the researchers recruited the large group of British seniors, 55 percent of whom were women.

One-third of the group had a pet — 18 percent had a dog, 12 percent had a cat and 3 percent had another pet.

About two years later, the seniors underwent various checks of physical and mental health.

Comparing those who had pets with those who didn’t, the researchers found essentially no differences in walking speed, lung function, speed getting out of a chair, grip strength, ability to raise legs or balance. These are all abilities that tend to become harder to do with age.

They also measured three markers of inflammation in the body, and found no differences between the groups.

The study also found no statistically significant differences in memory or depressive symptoms between pet owners and those with no animals. No differences were found between male and female pet owners, either.

But the study did not prove that pets don’t boost health among seniors.

Watt said that people in the United Kingdom consider pets a much-loved part of the family, much the way people in the United States do.

The analysis took into account such things as smoking and level of wealth. The researchers didn’t consider the size of the pet or how long the pet had been owned by the older person — both limitations of the study, Watt said.

Robert Matchock is an associate professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University who has published research on pets and human health. He, too, noted some other potential limitations with the new study.

For example, the study didn’t ask if the participants were the primary caregivers for the animals. It also didn’t ask about participants’ total involvement with the pet or the amount of time someone spent with a pet, he said.

In addition, “the current study did not examine traditionally measured variables associated with pet ownership, such as heart rate, blood pressure or cortisol,” a stress hormone, he said.

“This is an important study, and clearly more research is needed,” Matchock said. “But I wouldn’t discount, quite yet, the social support and unconditional affection that we can obtain from our pets.”

Dr. Aaron Pinkhasov, chairman of behavioral health at NYU Winthrop in Mineola, N.Y., described the research as an interesting article that tried to prove what people feel to be true — that pets are beneficial to their health.

However, there are so many confounding factors that it’s hard to definitively prove a health benefit from pet ownership, he said.

“But, intuitively, it makes sense,” Pinkhasov said. “I give letters for people to have therapeutic dogs all the time — they’re a source of joy and stimulation. But to go as far as to say the dog would help prevent a heart attack, I think that might be impossible to pinpoint.”

As Watt said: “As always with research, our study raises more questions than answers. More interventional research is needed to assess the potential effects of pet ownership.”

In the meantime, however, he said that, “as a dog owner, I am very happy with my loving companion.”

The findings were published in the Christmas issue of BMJ.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the potential health benefits of pets.

© 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: December 2017

Recommended for you – Daily MedNews