Category Archives: The Pet Page

Vol. 14, No. 25 – Sept 8 – Sept 21, 2021 – The Pet Page

SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.
SPAN Thrift Store is providing $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.
Two upcoming clinics in September are:
Tuesday, September 21st at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main), and a second at Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036 on Tuesday, September 28th.
Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙ Are Cats Ticklish?
By Jennifer Nelson

Your cat is lying next to you on the couch pawing and playing when you decide to reach over and give her belly a little tickle. Wait, are cats ticklish? “Cats can be ticklish but, since they don’t laugh, they show it in different ways,” says Dr. Angelica Dimock, managing shelter veterinarian at Animal Humane Society.

“Ticklish areas include chin, cheeks, belly, and paws,” says Dr. Dimock. But other areas may seem like they are ticklish but have a medical explanation. If you pet a cat along its back in a certain spot, you may see its skin twitch. That’s not a ticklish reaction but rather it’s a nerve reflex. Dr. Dimock says the base of their tail is another spot that some cats react to and can seem like it’s a tickle spot, but again, it’s more like a reaction that they have an itch.

“Cats may be itchy due to fleas, allergies, skin infections, or a disease called feline hyperesthesia syndrome,” she says. Lastly, if you pet their tail base and they move their hips upward, this is a scent gland area, and they are marking you (or it could be an in-heat female who is looking for a mate!).

Tickling a cat may not be as fun for your cat as it is for humans. Cats can become aggressive if they don’t like the feeling of being tickled. If you do try a tickling session, knowing your cat’s warning signs when they’re not happy can help prevent any injuries if they become angry or aggressive. Some common warning signs include ears back, wide eyes, freezing up (stop moving), and vocalizing. If your cat gives you any of these indications, it likely means ‘please stop, I’m not enjoying that.’

Since cats usually don’t make any bones about telling you they’re unhappy, you should be able to get a feel fairly quickly if they enjoy tickling and where. Typically, if they’re enjoying the touch they may purr, knead with their front paws, make soft movements with their tail, seem relaxed or even nudge your hand when you stop.

Tickling, especially under their chin and on their cheeks, mimics the bonding behavior that cats do with other cats so while your pet can’t laugh, she can express perfectly well if she likes your brand of tickling.

∙ Stephan Carey, associate chairperson in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, answers questions about the warning signs of kennel cough and explaining how its outbreak is connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease, known as CIRD or “kennel cough,” is a complex of highly contagious bacteria and viruses that cause transmissible upper respiratory tract disease among dogs in group settings. As the name suggests, it can happen in kennels, boarding facilities, doggie day care centers and animal shelters, but it can really occur anywhere dogs are commingling, including veterinary clinics, dog parks and dog shows.

It is common to see mild increases in the numbers of outbreaks during the summer months every year because of increases in travel — so, increased kenneling for pets — and increased social activity among dogs at dog parks.

COVID-19 has affected all walks of life — for humans and animals alike. How has it played a part in increased kennel cough cases?

In 2020, because of the COVID-related shelter-in-place and social distancing restrictions, we saw a marked decrease in the numbers of outbreaks of CIRD. This is very similar to what happened to the 2019-2020 flu season in people. Normally the influenza season in the U.S. runs from late September through April. In 2020, the flu season was cut short by about one month because of the implementation of COVID restrictions (social distancing, hand hygiene, decreased travel) in early March. We saw the same effect on CIRD/kennel cough cases in the summer of 2020.

This year, we have seen a notable increase in CIRD outbreaks, particularly during the latter part of the summer. While we would expect a mild increase in most summer seasons, it’s particularly notable this year nationally. There have been large outbreaks reported in New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, California, Missouri and Minnesota, and this is happening in other parts of the U.S. and in the UK as well.

The biggest contributor to this uptick is likely the increased commingling of dogs because people are going back to work and enrolling dogs in day care settings, because people are traveling and boarding their dogs in kennels, and because of increased social activities like frequenting dog parks. All of these are likely the result of the easing of COVID restrictions.

Another COVID-related factor is that many dogs likely had lapses in CIRD vaccinations during 2020-2021, as access to veterinary care was heavily impacted by COVID. Many of the CIRD vaccines need to be given annually to provide optimal protection and missing a year could increase the risk of transmission.

Like humans preventing the spread of COVID, vaccinations are among the most important things we can do to keep pets safe. While there aren’t vaccines for all factors causing kennel cough, there are vaccines for the most common, like Bordetella and Canine Influenza Virus — similar to the flu shot for humans. So, being sure that your pet’s vaccines are up-to-date, especially if you’re in situations where they’re going to be around other dogs, is the best thing to do.

The most common symptoms of kennel cough are deep coughs that sound as if something were stuck in their throats. Other symptoms include sneezing, running nose, eye discharge, lethargy, loss of appetite and sometimes fever.

If your dog is exhibiting any symptoms of kennel cough, contact your veterinarian immediately and keep them away from other dogs. Your veterinarian can determine whether a veterinary visit is recommended. In many cases, dogs have self-limiting infections, and the recommendation may be to simply isolate the pet rather than to make a visit to the veterinarian, which could potentially increase the risk of transmission.

In dogs with more severe signs or risk factors for complicated infections — such as puppies, dogs with chronic respiratory disease or immunocompromised dogs — veterinary care may be necessary. Your veterinarian can also advise you on the need for quarantine. If quarantine is advised, plan to keep your dog away from social environments, including day care and boarding, for at least 14 days after their symptoms have resolved. This is generally how long it takes for a dog to clear the infection and no longer be contagious to other dogs.

Vol. 14, No. 24 – Aug 25 – Sept 7, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙ My name is Laura Lindsay. I’m the new Ventura Chapter Leader for Love on a Leash, the San Diego-based national non-profit organization certifying pet therapy teams to provide comfort and healing to people in our community.

In Ventura, we’re looking to expand our chapter and grow the number of pet therapy teams to meet the increased demand for pet therapy services in this post-COVID environment. School is starting soon and life will become far more complicated for families across our county. Add to that a growing fear of the Delta virus, controversy around vaccines and vaccine booster shots, continued economic challenges for families and businesses in our community and that leads to increased stress. I anticipate there will be growing needs for our after-school Paws for Reading programs in our local libraries, visits with home-bound seniors in our senior centers, staff and patient visits in local hospitals and behavioral healthcare centers, visits adults with developmental disabilities, and scheduled wellness days to help reduce stress at our local colleges and schools.

We are standard poodles, Rocket and Winnie, we have been active pet therapy dogs in Ventura for several years.

In order to meet this demand, we need to do three things:

Identify any already-certified local pet therapy teams who are available and wanting to volunteer to work.

Identify local pet owners who would like to become certified pet therapy teams able to volunteer in Ventura.

Help educate the general public on the difference between therapy dogs, service dogs, and emotional support dogs; how utilizing certified Pet Therapy Teams can strengthen existing programs; and the value of pet therapy teams in helping to reduce stress in our local environment.

You can learn more about this organization at

Thanks for your time and for anything you can do to help this important cause.

Laura Lindsay Chapter Leader, Love on a Leash Ventura Chapter

(914) 610-8918


∙ SPAN Thrift Store is open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.

SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.

Two upcoming clinics are: Tuesday, July 31st at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036 and a second clinic on Tuesday, September 7th at Shiells Park, in the parking lot, located at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015.

Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙ The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that approximately 51,000 packages of Simply Nourish frozen dog food has been recalled by its manufacturer, Wet Noses Natural Dog Treat Company of Monroe, Wash.

The affected dog food contains elevated levels of Vitamin D, the FDA said.

Consumers are advised to stop feeding the products listed below to their dogs. Dogs ingesting elevated levels of Vitamin D may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss. Vitamin D when consumed at very high levels or over a long period of time can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction.

Consumers who have dogs that have consumed any of the products listed below and are exhibiting these symptoms, should contact their veterinarian.

Affected Simply Nourish frozen dog food products were distributed at select PetSmart stores nationwide.

The products are packaged in 2lb and 4.5lb packages across specific date ranges.

No illnesses have been reported to date, and no other products are affected, according to the FDA.

The recall was initiated after a routine nutrition test confirmed elevated Vitamin D levels on certain Simply Nourish frozen food products. Subsequent investigation indicates the problem arose as a result of the vitamin mix dosage being significantly reduced by the vitamin mix manufacturer, and this change was not detected or properly communicated. As a result, the dosage was not reduced.

Consumers who have purchased Simply Nourish Frozen Food are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-938-6673 from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PST.

∙ The Food and Drug Administration is warning pet owners that Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc.’s products have been “associated with the illness or death of hundreds of pets who had eaten the company’s dry dog food.”

The FDA said Tuesday it has issued a warning letter to the Evansville, Indiana, family-owned company because inspections of manufacturing plants revealed evidence of violations.

As of Aug. 9, the federal agency said it was aware of “more than 130 pet deaths and more than 220 pet illnesses that may be linked to eating brands of pet food manufactured by Midwestern,” which may contain potentially unsafe levels of aflatoxin, a byproduct of mold.

“The FDA is dedicated to taking all steps possible to help pet owners have confidence that the food they buy for their animal companions is safe and wholesome,” Steven Solomon, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in a statement. “Samples of dog food were found to contain high levels of aflatoxin.”

∙ When given the choice between a free meal and performing a task for a meal, cats would prefer the meal that doesn’t require much effort. While that might not come as a surprise to some cat lovers, it does to cat behaviorists. Most animals prefer to work for their food — a behavior called contrafreeloading.

A new study from researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine showed most domestic cats choose not to contrafreeload. The study found that cats would rather eat from a tray of easily available food rather than work out a simple puzzle to get their food.

“There is an entire body of research that shows that most species including birds, rodents, wolves, primates — even giraffes — prefer to work for their food,” said lead author Mikel Delgado, a cat behaviorist and research affiliate at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “What’s surprising is out of all these species cats seem to be the only ones that showed no strong tendency to contrafreeload.”

In the study, Delgado, along with co-authors Melissa Bain and Brandon Han of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, provided 17 cats a food puzzle and a tray of food. The puzzle allowed the cats to easily see the food but required some manipulation to extract it. Some of the cats even had food puzzle experience.

“It wasn’t that cats never used the food puzzle, but cats ate more food from the tray, spent more time at the tray and made more first choices to approach and eat from the tray rather than the puzzle,” said Delgado.

Cats that were part of the study wore activity monitors. The study found that even cats that were more active still chose the freely available food. Delgado said the study should not be taken as a dismissal of food puzzles. She said just because they don’t prefer it, doesn’t mean they don’t like it. Delgado’s previous research shows puzzles can be an important enrichment activity for cats.

Why cats prefer to freeload is also unclear. Delgado said the food puzzles used in the study may not have stimulated their natural hunting behavior, which usually involves ambushing their prey.

The study was published in the journal Animal Cognition. The research was supported by Maddie’s Fund and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

Vol. 14, No. 23 – Aug 11 – Aug 24, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙ SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use. SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.
Two upcoming clinics in August are: Tuesday, August 24th and Tuesday, August 31st, both at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard.
Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙ Federal legislation reintroduced in June would require more stringent health screening for dogs entering the U.S.

Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an AVMA announcement indicates less than 1% of the million-plus dogs entering the U.S. each year are inspected for rabies, influenza, hepatitis, and distemper.

“Diseases such as screwworm, canine distemper, rabies, canine influenza, leptospirosis, and canine melioidosis have been diagnosed in imported dogs, which were often distributed to homes and farms across the U.S.,” the AVMA announcement states. “Although the Healthy Dog Importation Act will apply to all dogs imported into the U.S., its implementation will have a heavy focus on dogs being imported for transfer (donation, sale, adoption, etc.).”

On June 29, U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon reintroduced the bill, HR 4239, which would amend the Animal Health Protection Act’s provisions on importing live dogs. Rep. Schrader is a veterinarian, and he co-chairs the Veterinary Medicine Caucus with one of the bill co-sponsors, Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, who is not a veterinarian.

“The Healthy Dog Importation Act would finally provide the proper oversight needed to make sure the dogs being brought into our country are healthy, and will not endanger our people, our pets, or our food supply chain,” Rep. Schrader said in the AVMA announcement. “By having key safeguards in place, we can detect potential serious safety concerns and prevent these dangers from turning into a public health crisis.”

The bill, first introduced in 2020, would add requirements that imported dogs arrive in good health and come with certification that a licensed veterinarian had inspected each dog and confirmed it has received all vaccinations and passed all tests required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for importation. Dogs arriving in the U.S. also would need to be at least 6 months old and accompanied by an import permit.

Those requirements would include exceptions for dogs imported for research purposes or veterinary treatment, as well as exceptions for dogs younger than 6 months old that are imported to Hawaii in compliance with state requirements.

The bill also would direct federal agencies to create an electronic database for documents and permits related to importing dogs. The AVMA announcement indicates that tool is intended to aid the screening process overseen by the USDA, CDC, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

∙ Veterinarians are making strides in learning more and more about man’s best friend, thanks to recent discoveries in the field of canine health, but a lot of questions still exist when it comes to mobility issues in our four-pawed friends.

A dog’s mobility may be compromised because of age, injury, or birth defect, and animals suffering from these conditions may experience serious pain. As such, pet owners should know how to recognize when their canine companion is lacking a certain spring in their step.

Dr. Daniel Eckman, a staff veterinarian in rehabilitation at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, weighed in on the problems that can come from mobility issues in dogs.

“Many of the common signs include reduced walking distances, persistent lameness, not being able to perform a sport that they previously could, and being painful when touched,” Eckman said. “Rehabilitation can be necessary at any point.”

Mobility issues can be breed-specific—some larger breeds, including Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds, tend to have joint problems, while Dachshunds tend to be more susceptible to back complications.

One of the most powerful tools owners can use in identifying these kinds of issues is observation, Eckman said.

When dog owners notice some of the key symptoms associated with mobility issues, the exact location and cause of the pain can be identified by consulting your veterinarian. To determine if there are any infections or imbalances that could be contributing to the immobility, your veterinarian may order radiographs or clinical blood tests, such as a complete blood count, urinalysis, and a biochemistry profile.

Another way to support pets during this process is working with a certified animal rehabilitation practitioner to develop rehabilitation plans and/or home exercises, according to Eckman.

“Physical exercises can be used to increase the range of motion of joints,” he said. “They also can increase strength and limb awareness. Other techniques like joint mobilizations may increase the range of motion and decrease the pain of joints. Massage can reduce muscle fatigue and restrictions. Therapeutic ultrasound, laser therapy, and extracorporeal shockwave also can reduce pain and treat various conditions.”

There are many exercises that can be done at home that offer a great workout for pets who need to be active while not adding insult to injury.

“Low-impact exercises may be walking on softer surfaces such as grass or dirt; you could also incorporate sand. Try to avoid concrete or asphalt when possible,” Eckman said. “Animal rehabilitation facilities may use a water treadmill to allow lower impact but increase resistance.”

As your dog ages, joint and cartilage problems can be difficult to treat; however, owners can work to ease or even delay the onset of these mobility diseases through diet.

In addition, supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and green lipped mussel—which have been proven to reduce inflammation and pain, improve function, and slow progression of joint damage and arthritis in both humans and animals—and diets that are protein rich and include omega-3 fatty acids, such as those derived from fish, can also support increased mobility.

“Good, quality nutrition, keeping pets lean, and avoiding high-impact and or dangerous sports are some of the best preventions for arthritis and mobility issues,” Eckman said. “Finding and treating underlying conditions as soon as a problem is noted is also important, as is working with a veterinarian on best treatments and practices for their individual pet.”

Although a dog’s mobility naturally declines as they age, their quality of life doesn’t have to. Managing your dog’s weight and incorporating a flexible, low-impact exercise routine into a comprehensive support program can allow our furry friends to enjoy their golden years.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the web at Suggestions for future topics may be directed to

∙ Make sure your dog has good traction on stairs and floors.

Veterinarian Dani McVety, founder of veterinary hospice Lap of Love, told Insider that all dog owners should make sure their pets have good traction on smooth floors.

“Tile or wood floors can be difficult for dogs to walk on,” McVety said. “Use rug runners, bath mats, or yoga mats to give them a ‘runway’ to walk on.”

Owners looking to add traction to slippery floors should use rugs or mats that won’t slide around and are easy to clean.

Clip the hair between your dog’s toes to improve their grip
Fluffy dogs with longer coats can develop thick tufts of hair between their toes, and McVety advised keeping these strands short to help your pup correctly use their paws.

“By using a beard clipper for people, you can clip all the hair around their toes and help expose their pads,” McVety said.

Make sure to comb out the hair beforehand and be extra cautious not to nick your pup’s paws during the clipping process.

Vol. 14, No. 22 – July 28 – Aug 10, 2021 – The Pet Page

SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.

SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.

Two upcoming clinics in August are: Tuesday, August 10th at Shiells Park, in the parking lot, located at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015, and a second one on Tuesday, August 24th at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036.

Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

Can Dogs Get Poison Ivy?

You and your pooch just spent a perfect summer afternoon hiking when you look over and see her rolling around on the forest floor in a cluster of what appears to be poison ivy. The telltale shiny, notched three-leaf vine clusters are known to make humans red and itchy. But can my dog get poison ivy, too?

“Yes, dogs can get a rash from poison ivy,” says Dr. Aziza Glass, Freshpet veterinarian in Houston, Texas. Although some of our furry companions may fare better than others. “Some dogs’ fur protects and keeps their skin from being in contact with urushiol oils that cause the itchy rash,” says Dr. Glass. If you have an old English sheepdog, he’ll fare better than a Chinese crested since dogs with thin, hairless, or short coats are more at risk of developing the rash.

If you’re fairly certain the offending plant was poison ivy or poison oak, the best thing pet parents can do is give their pooch a bath right away. “Be sure to have gloves on when bathing them as their coats may retain oils from the poison ivy,” says Dr. Glass. Also, use an oatmeal shampoo or an anti-inflammation dog shampoo that will not only remove the urushiol oil but also help to soothe their skin.

You’ll need to wash any towels you use, your clothing, and anything else your pup has come into contact with before the bath, like his collar, leash, bedding, or the back seat of your car. This will help reduce the transmission of oils to you, back to him, or anyone else in the family.

What are the Symptoms of Dogs with Poison Ivy or Oak?

If your dog has come into contact with poison ivy, physical signs to watch out for include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Scratching where the rash developed
  • Blisters
  • Restlessness, lethargy, panting heavily, or trouble breathing may indicate an allergic reaction that requires immediate veterinary care
  • Check areas of thin, short, or no hair where your dog is most likely to develop the rash such as the armpits, groin, belly, and even the nose.

Even more dangerous for your dog than developing the rash is eating the plant. “For many, it will give them an upset stomach. But for some dogs this can cause a severe allergic reaction that could cause your pet to go into anaphylactic shock, causing airways to constrict and prevent breathing,” says Dr. Glass.

This is an emergency that requires immediate veterinary care. If you suspect your dog has ingested poison ivy, watch him closely to see if he’s vomiting or has diarrhea. Contact your vet for advice.

After you’ve washed your pet, continue to monitor his behavior and check whether he’s still touching the rash. “If your dog is still scratching or trying to lick the rash, you can apply a cold compress to the rash area or keep a fan on your pet. The cool air will help to soothe the skin and reduce irritation,” says Dr. Glass.

If needed, apply the appropriate size recovery cone or cloud collar to prevent him from further irritating the rash area.

If your dog has been in contact with poison ivy, know that he can also pass it on to you or even your other pets. You can contract the rash from petting a dog’s coat who’s been exposed to the plant and still has some sap or oil on his coat. Your other pets can get it too if one of them rubs up against the pup with poison ivy or oak. This makes it crucial that you wash your pet and everything he’s come in contact with before the bath, including other pets, bedding, or furniture just to be safe.

The hallucinogenic portion of marijuana (and other things) is extremely toxic to dogs and cats.

By Dr. Cathy Lund owns City Kitty Veterinary Care for Cats, in Providence.

We love our pets. That’s why we take care of their illnesses and protect them with vaccinations, and why we seek out quality foods and engage their mental health with visits to the dog park.

But giving them drugs or treatments that we think are safe can harm our pets. It is troubling when The Providence Journal publishes an interview with a local dog trainer that makes it seem as though marijuana is both safe and effective for many medical problems of dogs and cats.

Tell that to the young couple who rushed their 3-year-old Labradoodle to the veterinary emergency center after the dog collapsed from intractable seizures. The dog survived, but may have liver damage, all from eating two marijuana cookies. The couple had no idea that marijuana is toxic to pets, and certainly wouldn’t have given their beloved dog those “treats” if they had known the truth.

The hallucinogenic portion of marijuana, THC, is extremely toxic to dogs and cats. Our pets have many more receptors for these compounds in their brains, which is why the chemical can overwhelm their bodies. They can die from ingesting too much of this drug.

Interestingly, the non-hallucinogenic component of marijuana, CBD, may have some safe application in veterinary medicine, and when used under the appropriate guidance of your veterinarian, may be helpful in moderating pain and stimulating appetite.

We think of our pets as family members, and it is natural to believe that our foods and our medicines are safe. But how many of us know that chocolate, and even raisins, can be toxic to dogs, or that your cat might die from eating a single Tylenol capsule or a piece of a lily flower or stem?

Our pets are not people, and veterinarians are doctors for animals, trained to provide expert advice about what is safe and effective and what isn’t. Veterinarians know how important pets are to their families, and can discuss the pros and cons of various treatment options. What we will not do is recklessly promote the use of products that might injure our patients, simply because they are widely used in humans or perceived as some alternative, and therefore “safe” treatment.

No loving pet owner wants to hurt his or her pet, but we know it is tempting to try products or treatments out of a desire to find a cure or relieve pain. Your veterinarian is ready to provide the guidance and insight necessary to sort through what are often confusing and contradictory reports. As your pet’s health-care advocate, we absolutely want to keep your pets both healthy and happy.

Vol. 14, No. 21 – July 14 – July 27, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙ SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.
SPAN Thrift Store is providing low cost spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.
There are two upcoming clinics in July.
First one will be at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main) on Tuesday, July 20th, and a second one on Tuesday, July 27th at Shiells Park, in the parking lot, located at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015..
Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙ On May 18, the City Council approved a 5-year agreement with the County of Ventura to
provide animal control services for the City of Ventura.

The City has relied on Ventura County Animal Services (VCAS) to provide animal-related
services for over 30 years.

The agreement provides animal care services, field services, rabies control, animal nuisance hearings, animal license processing, administrative citation processing, and license canvassing.

Ventura County Animal Services (VCAS) provides two types of animal control services in
the City of Ventura. Those services are identified as basic services and field services. The
basic services include services that the City is legally obligated to provide for its residents
under state law.

All the basic services are described below:
Animal Shelter Services:
Animal License Processing: The standard City of Ventura license fees are $25 for spayed or neutered animals and $105 for animals that are not.
Administrative Citation Processing: A Ventura Police Services Officer is responsible for handling any administrative appeals from citations issued by Animal Control Officers.
Animal Nuisance Hearings:
Rabies Control:

In addition to the basic services, the City pays for field services at 20 hours per week of an
animal control officer’s time. These services are:
Field Services: These services include answering calls for service, picking up dead
animals, capturing and transporting animals, investigating nuisance complaints,
investigating animal abuse and mistreatment, license compliance, and rabies control.

∙Ventura County Animal Services opened the Simi Valley Animal Shelter on Saturday, July 10th, as a holding facility only, for the reclaim and drop-off of lost/found dogs and cats. This is the next step in their phased reopening plan. Pet adoptions at this location will resume at a later date. Animals not reclaimed by their owners during their stray hold period will be transferred to the Camarillo Animal Shelter or further services and to be made available for adoption. The Simi Valley Animal Shelter will be open Tuesday – Sunday from 12:00pm – 5:00pm.

VCAS looks forward to resuming pet adoptions in the future at the Simi Valley Animal Shelter as the final step in our phased reopening plan.

∙ How often do dogs need to see the vet?

Just like you need an annual trip to the doctor for a yearly exam and some preventive screenings—so does your dog. In fact, when you commit to adopting a puppy or older dog, you’re basically signing up for regular vet visits with your pooch.

It depends on your dog’s age and health conditions, says Dr. Amy Stone, clinical assistant professor at the small animal hospital at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. “Puppies, like human babies, go to the doctor quite a bit in their first year of life for immunizations and other young animal issues. Once they are fully immunized and probably spayed or neutered, they typically need to come in for a visit yearly,” she says.

If your dog has a health condition, they may need to be checked more often. Plus, depending upon their breed, Dr. Stone recommends starting biannual visits when your pup starts becoming more of a senior. In general, that’s over seven years for small dogs and over five years for large dogs. “Unfortunately, dog’s lifespans are much shorter, so this becomes important to keep them healthy for as long as possible,” says Dr. Stone.

What happens when my dog visits the vet?
The most important thing that happens during these vet visits is a physical exam. “That will guide the veterinarian into what other testing may be needed to monitor your dog’s health,” says Dr. Stone. Also, on the table? Blood work and parasite monitoring and any vaccines that your dog is due for at that time, along with weight and a general health assessment of your pup’s ears, eyes, teeth, belly, heart rate, coat, and a discussion of any trouble—whether health or behavioral.

What if my dog hates walking through the vet’s doors?
The best thing you can do is try and make vet visits as happy as possible. If the dog is food motivated, plan a vet visit when they’ll be hungry and then provide high-value treats–peanut butter and spray cheese–to reward staying calm and good behavior. Sometimes the different treats at the vet’s office are enough to entice a reticent dog. You can also try wearing your dog out before a vet visit. A long walk, a romp at the park, or even an hour at the dog park could tucker him out enough to keep him better behaved and less concerned at his exam. Call or go visit your veterinarian without your pet to make a plan if visits have been difficult in the past. There are also calming medications you can try for extreme cases.

Can the vet catch cancer or other problems during these visits?
Absolutely. “You certainly catch many things with regular appointment,” says Dr. Stone. “Kidney disease, endocrine issues (hypothyroidism, diabetes), and arthritis are just a few of the important diseases that can be caught early so that they are not debilitating for your canine companion,” she says.

So don’t put off your dog’s regularly scheduled exams. They’re an important part of keeping her healthy, happy, and disease-free. And visiting the vet for an exam when they’re healthy helps your pup get used to going and being handled by the veterinarian.

∙ HealthDay News- Does your teen have the family cat or dog as a nighttime sleep mate? Is that even good for a child’s sleep?

In a new study, sleeping with a four-footed friend appears to be fine for pre-teens and teens. For them, sleeping with a furry family member doesn’t appear to negatively impact sleep, according to new research from Concordia University in Montreal.

“It was a pretty rigorous study on kind of a quirky little subject, but the bottom line seemed to be that it didn’t seem to make a difference and kids were happy about having the pets with them,” said Dr. Carol Rosen, a professor emeritus in pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland. “Of all the things to worry about, this is probably one less thing to worry about.”

An estimated 30% to 50% of children and adults regularly share their beds with pets, according to the study. Up to 75% of households with kids have pets. Those who shared a bed with their pet often reported the highest overall subjective sleep quality.

Researchers suggested that the reason may be because these kids view their pets as close friends and find their presence comforting.

“There’s a range of things that are a little bit different, why someone might have those problems if they’re toddlers, preschoolers, school age or teenagers,” Rosen said.

Though it might be okay to let a child who needs comfort bring Fido or Fifi to bed, Rosen said if a “child’s really fearful or crying at night, then you probably want to talk to your pediatrician or think about seeing a sleep medicine specialist.”

Vol. 14, No. 20 – June 30 – July 13, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙SPAN Thrift Store is open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use. SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.
Three upcoming clinics in July are: Tuesday, July 6th at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036, a second one on Tuesday, July 20th at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main), and a third one on Tuesday, July 27th at Shiells Park, in the parking lot, located at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015.
Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙The White House announced the death of Champ, one of President Joe Biden’s dogs. Mr. Biden and first lady Jill Biden said in a statement that the 13-year-old German Shepherd “passed away peacefully at home.”

“He was our constant, cherished companion during the last 13 years and was adored by the entire Biden family. Even as Champ’s strength waned in his last months, when we came into a room, he would immediately pull himself up, his tail always wagging, and nuzzle us for an ear scratch or a belly rub.”

The Humane Society of Ventura County is proud to introduce Jenna Utter.

∙ The Humane Society of Ventura County is proud to introduce Humane Officer Jenna Utter, who was officially sworn in on June 10 by Judge Henry Walsh at the Ventura County Courthouse. A ceremony was later held at the shelter in Ojai, where Officer Utter’s badge was presented to her by Director of Investigations Jeff Hoffman, Senior Humane Officer Kendra King, and Jenna’s father, Steven Utter.

Officer Utter began her journey with the HSVC as an Adoption Counselor in November of 2019. Now badged, Officer Utter will continue training with Senior Officer King in the field, where she will be able to investigate cases of animal abuse and neglect. In addition to enforcing California’s anti-animal cruelty and neglect laws, Humane Officers educate the community about responsible pet ownership and offer resources to pet owners in need. Officer Utter has consistently proved her commitment to such duties and continues to represent the HSVC with class, kindness and pride.

∙Freshpet Inc. is voluntarily recalling a single lot of Freshpet Select Small Dog Beef & Egg Dog Food for possible Salmonella contamination. This lot was supposed to be destroyed, but it was inadvertently shipped to retailers in limited geographic markets between June 7, 2021 to June 10, 2021. There have been no reports of illness or adverse reactions reported to the company to date in association with this issue.

No other Freshpet products or lot codes are affected by this recall. These products may have been sold at Publix supermarkets in Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia, and at limited Target locations in Arizona and Southern California. Most of the dog food was intercepted at retailer distribution warehouses and was not delivered to retail stores.

The recalled item is FreshPet Select Small Dog Bite Size Beef & Egg Recipe that is packaged in 1 pound bags. The sell by date of 10/30/21 L2 is stamped on the package. The UPC number is 627975012939, and the lot code is 1421FBP0101.

Salmonella can sicken dogs eating this product. Symptoms may include lethargy, diarrhea which may be bloody, fever, and vomiting. Infected but otherwise health dogs can be carriers and can infect other animals or people. If your dog has been ill, see your veterinarian.

People can get sick from contaminated pet food in several ways. Dogs can shed the bacteria in their feces, which can contaminate their coats and the surrounding environment. Or if a person handles the food and doesn’t wash their hands properly, they could get sick. Human symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning include a fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea that can be bloody.

∙Daily Paws Can Dogs Eat Cantaloupe?
By Brendan Howard

The common refrain from the nation’s nutrition experts for decades, “Eat your fruits and vegetables,” can be just as true for dogs. While veterinary nutritionists still encourage dog parents to pick a complete and balanced diet to feed daily, they also give a thumbs-up to smart, healthy dog treats, according to board-certified veterinary nutritionist Sean Delaney, BS, DVM, MS, DACVN, whose website builds safe, complete recipes for veterinary clients.

“Fruits like cantaloupe are a rich source of dietary fiber that support gut health,” Delaney says. “And they provide natural antioxidants that likely fight oxidative damage believed to be a leading cause of aging.”

Cantaloupe has sugar, of course, but the melon is 90% water, so it has a fairly low glycemic index. That means there is less sugar per pound, and your veterinarian may recommend high-water fruits like cantaloupe if your dog is dealing with obesity or diabetes.

There’s nothing particularly toxic about cantaloupe. It’s mostly water and sugar. The big issue is the rind, according to Renee Schmid, DVM, DABVT, DABT, a veterinarian toxicologist who works with Pet Poison Helpline.

“Large amounts of cantaloupe may cause gastrointestinal upset, but it’s fine to eat,” Schmid says. “The rind, however, may be hard to break down and pass.”

That’s most likely to happen if a dog got into a bunch of discarded cantaloupe rinds in the trash, but even a small amount of rind can cause diarrhea, vomiting, or stomach upset. Ditch the rind and keep it out of your pup’s reach.

Seeds, too, are indigestible and can cause stomach upset, so scoop out that middle part of the cantaloupe. (We don’t usually eat that goop either.) The leaves and the vines of the cantaloupe plant, which are nontoxic, may still cause blockages or upset stomachs as well.

There’s also always a small chance that cantaloupe, or any human food, won’t agree with your particular dog because they eat too much of it or have a food allergy. Check with your veterinarian if a bad bout of diarrhea or vomiting doesn’t resolve quickly after introducing a new food or treat to your dog’s diet.

∙Maintain a regular routine to keep your dog from feeling stressed.
If you need to change your schedule, gradually do so. The Washington Post/Getty Images
Veterinarian Kurt Venator, chief veterinary officer at Purina, told Insider that dog owners should try and keep their schedules as consistent as possible.

“Having a predictable routine lets your dog know what will happen next, which reduces stress,” Venator said. “Changing their environment or routine can trigger anxiety in dogs.”

A dog-friendly daily routine should include exercise, playtime, and regularly spaced meals.

If you’re anticipating changes to your schedule, it’s better to ease into them, like gradually shifting your dog’s mealtime by 15 minutes each day.

Vol. 14, No. 19 – June 16 – June 29, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙Recently the Search Dog Foundation family officially handed the leashes of five incredible search dog graduates to their new handlers. The beginning of a career in service to the nation.

Two of the new teams are part of a pilot program that was launched in partnership with Los Angeles County Fire Department to provide human remains detection canines to their agency and California Task Force 2. Together, all five of these search teams will go on to certify and deploy to help with both the rescue and recovery phases of disaster search missions, ensuring that no one is left behind.

Introducing America’s newest search teams!

Now, these handlers and search dogs join the ranks of two- and four-legged heroes across the country who are ready to search for those in the aftermath of a disaster. In the next year, each handler and search dog will work together every day, honing their skills, growing their incredible bond, and preparing for certification to make them deployable with their fire departments and task forces.

∙SPAN Thrift Store is open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.
SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.
Three upcoming clinics are: Tuesday, June 29th at Shiells Park, in the parking lot, located at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015, a second one on Tuesday, July 6th at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036, and a third one on Tuesday, July 20th at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main).
Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙By Linda Carroll
While dogs can eventually learn to listen to their owners, some pups seem to be born with an innate ability to understand humans, research published Thursday in the journal Current Biology suggests.

At just 8 weeks old, some of the puppies in the study showed a startling willingness to lock eyes with humans they didn’t know and to take command cues, such as directions pointed out with a finger.

“From a young age dogs are displaying humanlike social skills,” said the lead study author, Emily Bray, a postdoctoral researcher the Canine Cognition Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson and a researcher at Canine Companions in Santa Rosa, California. “Puppies, even before they have a lot of experience with people, can reciprocate the human gaze and can use information from humans in a social context, like pointing as a cue to find hidden food.”

To determine whether the tendency to interact with humans was innate, Bray and her colleagues ran several experiments with 375 8-week-old puppies who had little previous one-on-one experience with humans. The puppies were all Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, or a mix of the two breeds. All of the puppies in the study were bred to be service dogs.

The researchers placed a 4-foot-by-6-foot mat on the floor. At one end of the mat, a handler sat holding a puppy. At the other end sat a researcher, with two upside-down cups in front of her. One of the cups covered a treat.

In one part of the experiment, the researcher called out “puppy!” in a high-pitched voice and pointed to the cup covering the treat. Amazingly, some of the puppies would march right over to that cup, knock it over and gobble down the treat.

The ability to take directions without any training something not all the puppies in the study could do equally well suggested to the researchers that these particular puppies had an innate ability to understand humans.

In another part of the experiment with the same setup, instead of pointing to the cup with the treat, the researcher would call the puppy’s attention to a small yellow block and place it next to the cup with the hidden treat. Again, some of the puppies would go right to the correct cup, tip it over and grab the treat.

Noting that some of the puppies weren’t as good at understanding human communication, the researchers wondered whether the variation in the pups’ abilities could be explained by genetics.

In an analysis of the puppies’ social skills, along with their multigenerational pedigrees, the researchers found that genes could explain more than 40 percent of the variation in the dogs’ abilities.

The study may help resolve a dispute among dog researchers “over whether these abilities are innate or learned,” said Dr. Katherine Houpt, an animal behaviorist and a professor emeritus at the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine. “This certainly shows dogs have innate abilities.”

It might be argued that the breeds of dogs used in the study have been selectively bred to be very aware of humans, said Houpt, who wasn’t involved with the new research. “Because they’ve shown it’s so inheritable, they might have gotten different results if they used different breeds. It would be interesting to look at dogs that aren’t bred to be service dogs, such as terriers or basenjis.”

People who want to get a puppy that will grow up to be a close companion may want to look for social skills like the ones described in the study, Houpt said.

∙WASHINGTON, DC — More than 5,800 postal employees were attacked by dogs in the United States in 2020. From nips and bites to vicious attacks, aggressive dog behavior poses a serious threat to postal employees and the general public. To highlight the enormity of this serious issue, the U.S. Postal Service is providing the public with information on the do’s and don’ts of responsible dog ownership as part of its annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week public service campaign.

“Raising awareness about dog bite prevention and how to protect our letter carriers as we deliver the mail is paramount,” said USPS Acting Employee Safety and Health Awareness Manager Jamie Seavello. “Dogs are instinctive animals that may act to protect their turf and that why’s it’s important to inform the public about this campaign.”

Dog owners are responsible for controlling their dogs. The best way to keep everyone safe from dog bites is to recognize and promote responsible pet ownership. Most people know the approximate time their letter carrier arrives every day and having their dog secured as the carrier approaches their property for delivery will minimize any dog carrier interactions.

Pet owners should:

Remind their children not to take mail directly from a letter carrier as the dog may view the carrier as a threat.
When a letter carrier comes to the home, keep dogs:
Inside the house or behind a fence
Away from the door or in another room
On a leash
Also, Informed Delivery is a great tool for customers. It’s a free service that gives customers a digital preview of the mail and packages that are scheduled to be delivered so that they can take precautions and secure their dog when parcels are delivered to the door. Sign up at

Letter carriers are trained to observe an area where they know dogs may be present. They are taught to be alert for potentially dangerous conditions and to respect a dog’s territory.

If a dog attacks, carriers are also trained to stand their ground and protect their body by placing something between them and the dog — such as their mail satchel — and use dog repellent, if necessary. Even though postal officials ask customers to control their dogs, unfortunately dog bites still happen, which may cause injuries to our carriers and costly medical expenses for dog owners. Please heed the above best practices to help stop dog bites and protect your letter carrier.

Vol. 14, No. 18 – June 2 – June 15, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.
SPAN Thrift Store is providing low cost spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.
Two upcoming clinics in June are:
First one will be at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main) on Tuesday, June 15th, and a second one on Tuesday, June 29th at Shiells Park, in the parking lot, located at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015..
Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙One variety of Natural Balance Cat Food is being recalled for possible Salmonella contamination. The variety is Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Green Pea & Chicken Formula Dry Cat Food that is sold in two sizes. The contamination was discovered during routine state surveillance sampling by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The recalling company is Natural Balance Pet Foods of San Diego, California.

People can contract Salmonella infections by touching pet food that is contaminated with the pathogen, then eating or drinking without washing their hands. They can also get sick by having contact with cat bowls, feces, or their cat’s fur, since the animal can shed the bacteria in their stool. Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning in people include a fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cramps, and diarrhea that may be bloody. If you have been experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor.

The recalled products are both Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Green Pea & Chicken Formula Dry Cat Food. The 5 pound bag has UPC number 2363306234, lot code 1008080 06:42N811202:20, and best if used by date 10-Mar-2022. The 10 pound bag has UPC number 2363300235, lot code 1008080 06:42N811202:20, and best if used by date 10-Mar-2022.

If you purchased this product, stop feeding it to your pet immediately. You can throw it away in a secure package in a garbage can with a tight lid. Or you can take it back to the store where you purchased it for a full refund.

Then clean and sanitize pet food bowls and any storage containers that may have held the food with a mild bleach solution. Wash with dish soap and rinse well, then dry.

∙A study from the University of Guelph suggests that a cat owner and their training methods can play a big role in preventing aggressive behavior.

Lead author Kristina O’Hanley found that the cats in the study showed less aggression if they received positive reinforcement to manage unwanted tendencies. Cats would become aggressive to their owners, other people, and other cats more often when owners made loud commands like “no!” or held them by the scruff of their neck.

Data from animal shelters was used to analyze those early experiences, and then owners were surveyed about their later experiences with the cat in the home.

“Surprisingly, we saw few effects of early management of kittens in shelters on adult cat behavior,” O’Hanley said. “Most of the effects that we saw related to how the cat was managed in the home after adoption.”

The findings show that 35% of the cats included in the study had swatted at and bitten people and that female cats were more likely to show aggression toward owners and other cats.
In homes with many cats, there was a lower risk of feline aggression toward owners and other people.

∙New study shows that pets and their owners’ diet together
Reviewed by Emily Henderson

If a pet owner is on a specific diet, chances are their dog is on it, too, a new U of G study reveals. But when it comes to a grain-free diet, owners seem to choose it more for their dogs than themselves, the study also found. It demonstrates that many variables, not just dietary habits, influence the selection of dog food.

The international Pet Food Consumer Habit Survey is the first of its kind to examine factors involved in pet owners choosing grain-free dog food in both Europe and North America.

The study found dog owners who are on gluten-free, organic or grain-free diets are likely to look for the same characteristics in the dry dog food they purchase.

Feeding their dog grain-free pet food was common among pet owners who prefer “premium” food, avoid grains or processed foods, follow vegetarian, vegan or ketogenic diets, or have strict diet routines.

Researchers surveyed 3,300 pet owners from Canada, the U.S., Germany, France and the U.K. Participants were asked where they get their information about dog food, where they buy it and the most important factors in their choices.

Just over 21% said they look for “no grain” as an attribute that influences their purchase.

The study said the pet food industry is highly influenced by human trends and what pet owners believe about nutrition. Researchers focused on pet food innovations for dogs and cats must consider consumer trends and try to supply the best food formulations for consumers’ beliefs, she said.

∙Are dogs really that good at sniffing out COVID? Another study leaves no doubt.
By Katie Camero

We don’t yet know what concerts, festivals and other large gatherings will look like after the COVID-19 pandemic is under control, but you may want to start adding dogs to the picture.

Canine presence is already normal at airports where dogs search for weapons, explosives, drugs or other dangerous materials. But they have been gradually making appearances at large events to sniff out COVID-19 following research that revealed their powerful noses could detect if a person was carrying the virus.

In its study, nine dogs were able to identify positive coronavirus samples with 96% accuracy on average after three weeks of training.

Researchers say using dogs can help catch people who are infected and don’t know it — otherwise known as asymptomatic carriers — before they spread the virus to others. This method is also cheaper than traditional testing practices. The study was published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.

“This is not a simple thing we’re asking the dogs to do,” Cynthia Otto, senior author of the study and director of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Working Dog Center, said in a statement. “Dogs have to be specific about detecting the odor of the infection, but they also have to generalize across the background odors of different people: men and women, adults and children, people of different ethnicities and geographies.”

The team trained eight Labrador retrievers and one Belgian Malinois to identify whether urine or saliva samples from hospitalized adults and children were COVID-19 positive. All samples were “inactivated” to prevent the dogs from getting infected.

A “scent wheel” with 12 ports containing coronavirus positive and negative samples, as well as some controls such as gloves, paperclips, empty cans and garlic on filter paper, was presented to the dogs. If they responded to a COVID-19 positive sample, the dogs were rewarded.
Although the canines detected positive samples with high accuracy, their ability to avoid false negatives was lower, likely because of the strict study criteria, the researchers said. “If the dogs walked by a port containing a positive sample even once without responding, that was labeled a ‘miss.’”

Dogs’ noses, with about 300 million scent receptors, are exceptionally good at their jobs. In comparison, humans only have about 5 or 6 million, according to the American Lung Association, which says “a dog can even detect a teaspoon of sugar diluted in a million gallons of water (the equivalent of two Olympic sized pools).”

Vol. 14, No. 17 – May 19 – June 1, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙ SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.
SPAN Thrift Store is providing $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.
Two upcoming clinics are:
Tuesday, May 25th at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main), and a second at Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036 on Tuesday, June 1st.
Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙ Sadly, Search Dog Cooper’s story began like so many others as he was mistreated and neglected at the hands of his original owner. When Silicon Valley Animal Control removed Cooper from that situation, they worked with Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue to find an appropriate foster home for the young yellow Lab.

Thanks to his foster family’s patience and kindness, Cooper learned that humans can be good and loving. Bouncing back from a rough start in life, Cooper showed immense joy when playing with toys—enough toy drive to warrant a call to the Search Dog Foundation.

Cooper passed his search dog candidate evaluation and soon found himself climbing rubble and searching for human scent… and enjoying every moment of it! Flying through training, Cooper was partnered with his new handler, Mike Bruce, with whom he quickly certified, and they now stand ready to respond when needed to help in the aftermath of a disaster.

Cooper’s journey from rescued to rescuer is only possible thanks to you.

SDF Family has helped Cooper and many dogs like him find their home and a job they love as a search dog, but we know there are many more out there, waiting for their chance at a new “leash on life.”

A search dog will never ask for anything—their unconditional love and unwavering bravery in the face of tragedy is what they readily give for nothing in return. But it doesn’t mean they don’t need our support and care.

You can give them the gift of both by making a donation today.
Together, we can change the lives of so many—both human and canine.
Address 6800 Wheeler Canyon Rd, Santa Paula but it seems like Ventura.
You can donate at

∙ The lead water technician for Real Water—a Las Vegas-based company that produces “alkalized” bottled water now linked to liver failure cases—testified that he had no relevant experience to be a water technician when he was promoted to the position last August.

Real Water’s lead technician, Casey Aiken, 40, is a former vacuum and timeshare salesman who began working for Real Water last June after losing his job as a strip club promoter. According to a taped deposition from late March that was obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Aiken was promoted from his job of loading bottled water onto shipping pallets to the company’s lead technician after “a couple hours” of training.

In late November, just a few months after Aiken’s promotion, five infants and children who drank the water developed acute non-viral hepatitis, which led to acute liver failure, health officials say. The children ranged in age from 7 months to 5 years. Real Water’s branded water was the only common link between the cases.

Health officials didn’t connect the November cases to the water until March, however, when state and federal investigations were underway. On April 26, the Southern Nevada Health District announced it had identified six additional probable cases and one suspected case, all of which are in adults. The health district is now investigating 50 additional cases, and there are now at least 10 civil suits against Real Water, all alleging poisoning. Aiken’s video deposition was taken in connection with those civil suits.

∙ By Chrissy Sexton staff writer
A study conducted at the University of Helsinki is providing new insight into what causes aggressive behavior in dogs. Based on a dataset of more than 9,000 dogs, the researchers found that aggressive behavior is most often triggered by fear.

Growling, barking, snapping, and biting are all signs of aggression among dogs, but these same gestures are also used for communication in non-aggressive situations, such as during play. It is important to recognize when a dog’s aggression is excessive, and poses a threat to both humans and other animals.

“Understanding the factors underlying aggressive behavior is important. In what kinds of circumstances does aggressive behavior occur and what is the dog’s motive for such behavior? In normal family dogs, aggressive behavior is often unwanted, while some dogs with official duties are expected to have the capacity for aggressiveness. At the same time, aggressiveness can be caused by welfare issues, such as chronic pain,” explained study co-author Salla Mikkola.

The researchers investigated aggressiveness toward both dog owners and unfamiliar humans based on several potential risk factors.

“Dogs’ fearfulness had a strong link to aggressive behavior, with fearful dogs many times more likely to behave aggressively,” said Mikkola.

“Moreover, older dogs were more likely to behave aggressively than younger ones. One of the potential reasons behind this can be pain caused by a disease. Impairment of the senses can contribute to making it more difficult to notice people approaching, and dogs’ responses to sudden situations can be aggressive.”

While small dogs are more likely to become aggressive compared to bigger dogs, their behavior is not usually considered as threatening. As a result, the researchers found, aggressiveness is often not addressed in small dogs.

The results indicate that male dogs are more aggressive than females, regardless of neutering. The study also revealed that dogs who spend time in the company of other dogs behave less aggressively.
“In the case of dogs prone to aggressive behavior in the first instance, owners may not necessarily wish to take a risk of conflicts with another dog,” said Mikkola.

The experts found significant differences in aggressive behavior among various dog breeds, which can point to a genetic cause.

“In our dataset, the Long-Haired Collie, Poodle (Toy, Miniature and Medium) and Miniature Schnauzer were the most aggressive breeds. Previous studies have shown fearfulness in Long-Haired Collies, while the other two breeds have been found to express aggressive behavior towards unfamiliar people,” said Professor Hannes Lohi.

“As expected, the popular breeds of Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever were at the other extreme. People who are considering getting a dog should familiarize themselves with the background and needs of the breed. As for breeders, they should also pay attention to the character of dam candidates, since both fearfulness and aggressive behavior are inherited.”

The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

∙ Dogs are great at reading their owners’ emotions and body language, so showering your pet with attention just before leaving may actually make them more anxious when you’re gone.

“Don’t drag out hellos and goodbyes,” Venator said. “Stay calm when leaving and give them a treat as you walk out the door to create a positive association with you leaving.”

Venator suggested that if you feel guilty heading out without saying goodbye, try having a play session 10 to 20 minutes before stepping out the door.

Photo by Denna Gledhill

Haole Boy had been wowing crowds since 2013, when he climbed on his owner John Murphy’s surfboard at Mondos and started surfing with virtually no instruction. He went on to work with A Walk On Water (AWOW) program, helping teach kids with developmental disabilities to surf and be comfortable on the waves. He died a year ago and this memorial has been set up on the Promenade near California St.

Vol. 14, No. 16 – May 5 – May 18, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙ SPAN Thrift Store is open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.

SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.

Three upcoming clinics are: Tuesday, May 11th at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036, a second one on Tuesday, May 18th at Shiells Park, in the parking lot, located at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015 and a third one on Tuesday, May 25th at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main).

Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.By Linda Carroll

∙ Beachgoers may have felt safe from Lyme disease, but a new study suggests those heading to the shore also need to keep a careful eye out for disease-carrying ticks.

Researchers in California were surprised to find just as many adult black-legged ticks carrying Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme, in areas of grass and scrub leading to the beach they did as in the woodland habitats in the northwestern part of the state.

“We went into new habitats and found them in numbers we didn’t expect,” said lead author Daniel Salkeld, a research scientist at Colorado State University. “A few years ago I would have said the ticks there wouldn’t have been infected because there aren’t any grey squirrels, which are the source for Lyme in California.”

People may not be looking for ticks when heading to the beach, but the tiny bugs could be hiding in coastal grasses or nearby scrub areas.

“I think they’ve been under our noses all along,” Salkeld told NBC News. “We just haven’t thought to look very closely.”

Fortunately, for Californians, at least, the ticks aren’t a year-round problem. They’re only there during the rainy season, Sakeld said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 476,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease each year.

Typical symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • A characteristic skin rash, called erythema migrans

Most cases of Lyme can be successfully treated with a few weeks of antibiotics, according to the CDC. Untreated, the illness can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system.

To take a closer look at where the ticks might be hanging out, Sakeld and his team dragged public and private areas, including California state parks, county and regional parks and national parks in Marin, Monterey, Napa, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties for the blood-sucking bugs.

The researchers found Borrelia burgdorferi in 4.1 percent of adult ticks in coastal scrub and in 3.9 percent of adult ticks in woodland areas.

Sakeld doesn’t know yet how the ticks are being infected. The reservoir of the bacteria “could be voles or rabbits,” he said.

The findings were published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

“This is a great study,” said Laura Goodman, an assistant research professor at the Baker Institute for Animal Health at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. “There is a bias in this country where people think they are only at risk when they go into the woods. But really, prevention and vigilance should be practiced everywhere outdoors, and we should be vigilant year-round.”

Lia Gaertner, director of education and outreach at the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, offered prevention tips:

  • Stay on trails and on sand.
  • Wear light clothing and use tick repellent.
  • Check and triple check your body — up to three days later.
  • Throw clothes into hot dryer once inside.
  • Shower.

“We tell people that if they find a tick attached to themselves, they should always save it so you can send it for identification and see what type it is and if it carries disease,” Gaertner said.

While black-legged ticks are predominantly a woodland and shrubland species, they can also be found in grasslands near the coast, said Richard S. Ostfeld, a tick expert and distinguished senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York.

∙ How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

By Jennifer Nelson

Is your pup smelling a little ripe? How often and when to bathe your dog can depend on several factors. “Dogs don’t need baths as often as humans,” says Dr. Callie Harris, a veterinarian at Purina, who is based in Atlanta, and judge of ABC’s Pooch Perfect, a new dog grooming competition show.

How often you bathe your dog can vary depending on his coat type, lifestyle, health conditions, and even the time of year. But a good rule is about once a month. Dr. Harris says you can let your nose make the call. “My personal gauge is when I am kicking my dog out of the bed. This usually means it’s time for a bath,” she says.

If you have a very young puppy, it’s a good idea to hold off baths for a bit. Young puppies can’t regulate their body temperature, so their first bath shouldn’t be before about eight weeks old.

Long haired breeds, like Shih Tzus or collies, and double-coated breeds, like labs, beagles, and huskies, obviously need more bathing to keep long or thick coats clean and matt-free. Short hair breeds who don’t get that dirty may need less washing.

Dr. Harris says to use dog-safe shampoo, and for those double-coated breeds, a de-shedding shampoo can help cut down on the amount of hair they shed. “No matter what shampoo you choose, make sure you thoroughly rinse all product out of your dog’s coat to prevent any skin irritation.”

Doggie conditioner is probably not necessary for most breeds, but long-haired dogs whose fur can mat easily may benefit. Check with your vet or a good groomer about the best conditioners for a long-haired breed. Conditioners also come in de-shedding formulas.

You can wash your dog too frequently, and it’s important not to. “Excessive bathing may cause your dog to have a dry coat or dry skin,” says Dr. Harris. Similar to how humans can develop dry skin from long, hot showers, you don’t want to overdo bathing your dog. If she already has dry skin, ask your veterinarian about special shampoo and conditioning products that are more hydrating and keep baths infrequent if possible.

What if Your Dog Hates the Bath?

For dogs who aren’t a fan of bath time, several tricks can make the experience less stressful:

  • Use a tub that is non-slippery and comfortable.
  • Try showering with your pup. He might like it more if you’re in there, too.
  • Make it calm and stress-free by placing your dog in the tub or sink gently.
  • If she doesn’t like running water, fill the tub up a few inches before you put her in.
  • Use a cup to wet your dog rather than a shower sprayer.
  • Start with wetting and sudsing her back legs first.
  • Give lots of treats.
  • Smearing peanut butter, cheese, or other favorite snacks in the shower or tub can help distract.

If your pup still isn’t loving the bath, establish a relationship with a groomer who is trained to bathe dogs successfully with minimal stress. Pet parents may not realize that bath time can be a great way to bond with your dog and provide positive engagement. Turning your pup’s bath time into a family affair by involving the kids may help, too.

As always, consult your veterinarian about questions and concerns at your pet’s next appointment.