Brewery Gives Workers Paid Time Off to Bond with Pups

Scotland-based craft brewery BrewDog gives employees with new dogs a week of paid “paw-ternity leave.” (Photo from Brew Dog)

BrewDog, a pooch-friendly craft brewery based in Scotland and Ohio, has taken the concept of maternity leave to a new level, by giving employees who adopt a puppy or rescue dog a week of paid “paw-ternity leave,” so that they can bond with their new pets.

“It’s not easy trying to juggle work and settle a new dog into your life, and many members of our crew have four-legged friends at home,” James Watt, BrewDog co-founder, told WalesOnline. “So we wanted to take the stress out of the situation and let our teams take the time they need to welcome their new puppy or dog into their family.”

Pups are also allowed to accompany their human parents to work at the brewery, which was founded in 2007 and now employs 1,000 people around the world. Watt and co-founder Martin Dickie often bring their pooches Simcoe and Dr. Gonzo to the office.

The program is believed to be the first of its kind. I think it’s a doggone great idea!

German Shepherd is Top Dog at 2017 Westminster Show

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Rumor is only one of two German shepherds to win Best in Show at Westminster. (Photo from Milwaukee Sentinel Journal)

For only the second time in its 141 year history, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show awarded Best in Show honors to a German shepherd last night at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

This was the 104th career win for the pulchritudinous 5-year-old pooch named Rumor, who hails from Wisconsin. Rumor, who was named after the Adele song “Rumor Has It,” is co-owned by Pamela McElheney and Kent Boyles of Edgerton at Kenlyn Kennels.

Clearly the crowd favorite, Rumor was hailed by show judge Thomas Bradley III as, “Just magnificent.”

The first and only other shepherd to win the Best in Show title was Manhattan, who took home the trophy back in 1987. Rumor came in second at last year’s show, then briefly went into retirement before coming back for one last show. She beat out Norwegian elkhound, a Pekingese, a miniature poodle, an a boxer, a Norwich terrier and an Irish setter named Adrian, who came in second.

Rumor’s handlers revealed that this will be her last competition. Once she settles into retirement, she will focus on raising a family.

Blue Buffalo, PetSmart, Wellness Issue Pet Food Recalls

Photos from Wikimedia Commons

Three major pet food retailers have just issued voluntary recalls of certain lots and/or varieties of popular foods for varying reasons. The brands include:

Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo has recalled 12.5 oz. cans of Homestyle Recipe Healthy Weight, Chicken Dinner with Garden Vegetables dog food from a single production run, due to possible aluminum contamination. The UPC is 8-40243-10017-0, with a best by date of Aug. 3, 2019.

For more details, click here.


PetSmart has recalled select cans of Grreat Choice Adult Dog Food with Chicken & Rice due to metal contamination affecting production lot 1759338, with the UPC Code 7-3725726116-7. The affected products have the best by date of 8/5/19 on the bottoms of the cans.

The food was sold at PetSmart stores and through online retailers, and on Oct. 10, 2016 and Feb. 7, 2017. The company claims that the recall doesn’t include other Grreat Choice products.

Fore more details, click here.


Wellness is recalling a number of varieties of 12.5 ounce canned cat food after foreign objects were discovered in non-Wellpet products produced in the same facility.

The varieties and best by dates are:

  • Wellness Canned Cat 12.5 oz. Chicken and Herring – 08/04/2019
  • Wellness Canned Cat 12.5 oz . Chicken – 08/03/2019 and 08/04/2019
  • Wellness Canned Cat 12.5 oz. Chicken and Lobster – 08/04/2019
  • Wellness Canned Cat 12.5 oz. Turkey and Salmon – 08/05/2019
  • Wellness Canned Cat 12.5 oz. Turkey – 08/04/2019 and 08/05/2019
  • Wellness Canned Cat 12.5 oz. Beef and Chicken – 08/05/2019
  • Wellness Canned Cat 12.5 oz. Beef and Salmon – 08/05/2019

For more details, click here.

USDA Sparks Outrage by Removing Animal Inspection Reports from Online Database

Due to the recent scrubbing of public information from the USDA website, the public can no longer view reports about puppy mills and other facilities that may be abusing animals. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

On Feb. 3, the United States Department of Agriculture caused a furor among animal lovers when the agency removed from its website a searchable public database containing inspection reports about animal-related facilities.

As a result, the public can no longer obtain information about potentially unscrupulous breeders, who may be abusing animals. This also enables pet stores that sell puppy and kitten mill pets to remain under the public radar, and to sell these pets with impunity.

According to the ASPCA, the information included reports about approximately 1,000 facilities regulated by the Animal Welfare Act, which also pertains to zoos and research labs, in addition to commercial pet breeding operations. A petition being circulated by the ASPCA states: “A searchable database of inspection reports for commercial dog breeders was purged, as well as information documenting enforcement actions taken against them.”

The USDA states in an announcement on its website that these measures were taken out of “an abundance of caution” in response to ongoing litigation against the agency by unknown parties, in deference to the Privacy Act. Those who wish to obtain information about animal facilities must now submit Freedom of Information Act requests, which may or may not be granted.

The ASPCA has called out the USDA, further stating in the petition: “Your tax dollars paid for these inspections, and there’s no reason this documentation should be hidden — unless the USDA is protecting cruel industries that genuinely have something to hide.”

In addition to the SPCA, is also circulating a petition in protest of this. I beseech my readers to sign these and any other related petitions. I sure as heck did!

Evanger’s Recalls Hunk of Beef Due to Barbiturate

hunk-of-beefEvanger’s Dog & Cat Food Company, Inc. has announced a voluntary recall of five lots of its Hunk of Beef canned dog food due to the presence of pentobarbital, a short-acting barbiturate.

After one pet illness was reported, the Wheeling, Illinois-based company, which was founded in 1935, decided to recall the five lots out of “an abundance of caution,” as reported in an announcement on the company’s website.

The announcement goes on to state: “We feel that we have been let down by our supplier, and in reference to the possible presence of pentobarbital, we have let down our customers.”

Pentobarbital can enter the pet food supply via the inclusion of rendered meats from animals that have been euthanized. Although the company has not named the supplier, Evanger’s said they have terminated their relationship with that company, with which they had been doing business for 40 years.

To learn more about the affected products and to view the FDA’s press release about this, click here.

Home Remedies for Pet Constipation

When Murphy suffered from a recent bought of constipation, a little bit of MiraLax did the trick. (Photo by Alissa Wolf)

Like humans, dogs and cats may experience occasional irregularity, as my Murphy recently did. While constipation can be a symptom of serious health issues such as hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, megacolon, intestinal parasites or ingestion of a foreign object — all of which should be ruled out by a veterinarian — the periodic inability to poop could just be a passing anomaly.

In Murphy’s case, I do everything right. I primarily feed him grain-free wet food, which is important for keeping cats hydrated, and provide him with fresh filtered water at all times, which he drinks liberally. But he does suffer from fur balls, which can lead to constipation in cats.

Signs of Constipation in Pets

For dog parents, the signs are easy to detect; your dog attempts to poop when you walk him, but cannot, and may develop gas, bloating and exhibit signs of pain. As for cats, this may be a little harder to detect, especially if you have more than one kitty. I became aware of Murphy’s issue when I noticed that he would make frequent trips to the litter box, but would not defecate. Plus, he would cry when he attempted to poop. So I tried some home remedies that worked.

OTC Laxatives that are Safe for Pets

Believe it or not, such over-the-counter people laxatives as MiraLax and Metamucil can do wonders for relieving the occasional bout of constipation in both dogs and cats. Even veterinarians, both traditional and holistic vets, approve of this.

However, administering the proper dosage is very important. As a guideline, I added ⅛ of a teaspoon to Murphy’s wet food once daily for four days. The dosages for pets vary by species and weight, so consult with your veterinarian to determine the proper amount to give your pet.

Natural Remedies to Help Cure and Prevent Pet Poop Issues

There are a number of natural foods and at-home products you can also use to keep your pets regular:

Coconut Oil: As I mentioned in my viral article on the subject, this miracle food has a variety of health benefits; relief of constipation is among them. Once again, proper dosage is important, as too much can cause tummy aches and diarrhea. It’s also important to start with a lower dose for three or four days, then increase this to the maximum amount.

For cats, puppies and small breed dogs, start with ¼ teaspoon placed in wet food once daily, then increase to ½ teaspoon. For larger dog breeds, you can start with 1 teaspoon per day, then gradually increase to 2 teaspoons. Just be sure to use cold-pressed 100 percent extra-virgin organic coconut oil.

Pumpkin: Another super food that is jam-packed with fiber, vitamins such as A and E, anti-oxidants and moisture, pureed canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!) has the dual benefit of relieving both constipation and diarrhea in dogs and cats.

Once again, administering the proper amount is important and will vary based on your pet’s size and species. Cats and small dogs might do well with one or two teaspoons per day (placed in canned food), while large dogs such as Great Danes and mastiffs might require as much as ½ cup.

Water Helps to Keep Pets Pooping Properly

Regardless of the remedy you choose, remember that hydration is the foundation for keeping your pets healthy and happy. Ensure that they have a supply of fresh, pure H2O at all times. If you are away from home for long periods of time during the day, you might consider a pet fountain or water tower.

It’s also a great idea to primarily feed your pets wet as opposed to dry foods/kibble, because this will further aid in keeping them properly hydrated.

Smucker Recalls Canned Cat Foods

cat-food-recallThe J.M. Smucker Company of Orville, Ohio, has issued a voluntary recall of certain varieties of 9Lives, Special Kitty and Ever Pet canned cat foods due to the detection of low levels of thiamine (vitamin B1).

A quality control team discovered the issue during a routine review of production records at the manufacturing plant. The lots were distributed to retailers between Dec. 20, 2016 and Jan. 3, 2017.

Cats who consume foods that are deficient in this essential vitamin over a period of a few weeks may develop decreased appetite, vomiting, weight loss and neurological issues such as seizures.

So far, no sick kitties have been reported. But if your cat does display any of these symptoms, you are advised to take them to the vet immediately. If detected and treated early, these issues are curable.

You can view a full list of the recalled products by clicking here.

The FDA states that pet parents who have cans of food from the affected lots should stop feeding this to their cats immediately. If you have any further questions, you can call the J.M. Smucker Company at (80) 828-9980 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, or contact them via email at

Google Chrome App Changes Trump Pics to Images of Kitties

trump-kittensAnti-Trump kitty lovers who are traumatized by the non-stop pics of the president-elect on the Internet are in luck, as Google Chrome now offers an app that will automatically change the pics of Le Donald into photos of adorable kittens.

The Make American Kittens Again app, which can be added to a Google Chrome browser, finds photos of Trump and automatically changes them to kitty pics, according to Business Insider.

Although this doesn’t work with social media sites, the app performs its meow-velous magic on news sites such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and others.

This begs the question: Will Trump now embark on a Twitter war with kitties? Well, he is known to be catty. (Sorry…I couldn’t resist. LOL!)

Meownaste: Cat Yoga is the Latest Shelter Trend

The “mewest” trend. Cat shelters across the U.S. are now offering yoga with cats, to promote the kitties available for adoption, and to help raise funds for their care. (Photo from CNN)

In an effort to draw greater awareness to the rescue cats available for adoption, a growing number of pet shelters in the U.S. are now offering yoga classes with kitties. The classes are available in Des Moines, Iowa, New York City, Mobile, Alabama, San Francisco and other towns and cities, and are expected to grow in numbers as this feline-tastic trend catches on.

One place where this is really popular is the Good Mews Shelter in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, Georgia, which is home to about 100 rescue cats housed in a cage-free environment. Yoga aficionados get to bend and stretch amidst the felines, while their class fee is donated to the shelter.

Long-time shelter volunteer and certified yoga instructor Lisa Bass teaches the classes. She presented the idea to shelter director Lisa Johns, who thought it would be a great way to promote the kitties available for adoption while also raising funds for their care, and providing yoga lovers with a uniquely fun experience.

The classes are offered thrice monthly. In the three months since the classes started, they have become so wildly popular with the downward facing dog set that they sell out every time.

As a long-time yoga fan, I can attest to its many physical and mental health benefits. As my cats often join me when I practice at home, they can be distracting. But that’s the fun part, and I think this is a meow-velous idea that I hope other cat shelters get on board with.

NJ Closer to Cat Declawing Ban

New Jersey is about to make history by becoming the first U.S. state to ban the declawing of cats, which animal welfare advocates applaud. (Photos from Wikimedia Commons and Alissa Wolf)

As I reported back in June, New Jersey was on the verge of passing legislation to become the first U.S. state to officially ban the declawing of cats. The Garden State is on the road to doing just that after Bill A3899 passed the Assembly on Monday, to much fanfare. I am proud to say that the bill was sponsored by my very own Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington).

While there would be exceptions for legitimate medial purposes, veterinarians who declaw cats and people who seek these services could face a fine of up to $1,000 or six months in jail. Violators would also face a civil penalty of $500 to $2,000.

Animal welfare advocates and many of those in the veterinary medicine community have long derided declawing as highly inhumane. Not only is this akin to cutting off a human’s fingers just below the first joints, this can lead to a host of medical and behavioral issues. These include arthritis due to the effects on a cat’s natural gait; litter box avoidance due to the impact on their natural and innate need to dig; they may experience great stress due to their inability to defend themselves; and more.

Alternatives to Declawing

Clawing is normal, natural cat behavior that serves the purposes of relieving stress, enabling kitties to mark their territories, effectively stretch their backs and they just enjoy it.

In order to minimize destruction to furniture and other household objects, be sure to have lots of high-quality scratching posts around the house, placed in areas where kitties especially like to scratch. Make sure that these are tall enough for kitties to get a good stretch, and are composed of materials that are appealing to felines, such as rough sisal.

You might also consider taking your cat to a groomer or veterinarian for regular nail clippings, and ask them to teach you how to do this at home. Another option is Soft Paws, safe, comfortable vinyl claw caps that were invented by veterinarian Toby Wexler, and are available in a variety of fashionable colors and styles.

These enable cats to retract their claws, and can last for up to six weeks. Most cats get used to them quickly, and don’t even know they are wearing them. You can apply these yourself, or take your cat to a groomer who has experience with this, which is what I did with Murphy when he was a kitten.

Regardless, this is excellent news for kitties and those who love them, and I hope other states get on board with this.