National Pet Poison Week – Sunday, March 20 – 26, 2016

In early March of this year the ASPCA®’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) released its findings that over-the-counter medications and supplements made the top spot on the list of toxins most commonly ingested by pets in 2015. Prescriptions for human medications fell to the second spot.

The Top Ten list of Toxins of 2015 are:
1 – Over-the-counter medications and supplements
2 – Prescriptions for human medications
3 – Insecticides
4 – Human foods
5 – Household Items
6 – Veterinary medications
7 – Chocolate
8 – Plants – both indoor and outdoor
9 – Rodenticides (Poisons for mice and rats)
10 -Lawn and Garden Products

*For more information about the 2015 findings from the ASPCA (APCC)

It is important to poison-proof your home and educate yourself on items that are toxic to pets. As evidenced by the 2015 results all medications need to be kept out-of-reach for your pets. Also, there is an increase in calls in the spring and summer months due to increased outdoor activities and exposure to outside plants, herbicides, fertilizers, and pesticides.

National Pet Poison Week is a great time to find out more about the potential poisons and toxins your pet might be exposed – let’s keep our pets safe!




Easter, Rabbits & Small Children Are Not A Good Match

Look at that cute bunny! Your child would love that cuddly and furry real live bunny – you think it would make a wonderful addition to their Easter basket. STOP… carefully proceed with caution:  Young children like to snuggle, cuddle and carry their pets – this frightens and scares most rabbits. Unfortunately many children are scratched or bitten accidentally by a scared rabbit – the excitement of the bunny turns into a painful experience for your child. Rabbits are fragile and many are seriously hurt when they are accidentally dropped by children. A better choice is to buy your child a toy rabbit for cuddling and snuggling this Easter.

Rabbits are small pets yet they have huge requirements. Many uninformed new bunny owners when faced with the realities of how much care a rabbit requires decide to “return” the gift. They take their child’s Easter Gift to a shelter or perhaps worse, they release it outdoors to fend for itself.

The following two articles will give you a general idea of what having a rabbit as a pet entails.  If you decide that a pet rabbit is the best choice for you and your family, please consider adoption. There are so many pet rabbits whose owners did not do their homework and who made the decision to surrender them.



Pet Rabbits – Is One Right For Your Home?

Rabbit with CarrotBy Johna Mennone
LV-HRS Educator and Volunteer

Known for being irresistibly cute, rabbits have become the 3rd most popular pet in the United States. Although these charming and personable animals can be very tempting, their unique needs and behaviors aren’t suited for every home. So before rushing into that 10-year plus commitment, here are some things to take into consideration.

Bunny Housing
Though many believe a rabbit can live outside in a hutch or tucked away in a small cage, bunnies need space and a safe indoor environment to be at their happiest and healthiest. These sociable and highly communicative animals thrive on interaction, and should be kept in the house as part of the family.

Perhaps of even greater importance are the dangers of the outdoors. From hawks, to heat, flies to fear, all pose risks to the health and life of a bunny. Indoor housing is such a crucial aspect to a rabbits proper care, that reputable rescues will not adopt to those planning outdoor accommodations.

Countless rabbits are surrendered to shelters each year after the owner has discovered they are allergic to their bunny, or the food and bedding their bunny requires. If you have allergies to animals, or sensitivities to hay and grasses, you might want to take note. Consider testing your reaction by visiting the rabbits at your local shelter. It could save your nose and bunny from a lot of upset later on.

Providing for your bunny’s medical needs is an important aspect of their care, though finding a qualified veterinarian may prove difficult. Rabbits require an “exotics” vet, which are far less common and often more expensive. Given that bunnies have unique health concerns, which often need prompt attention, having a qualified vet within a reasonable distance is key. Before making the commitment, search for rabbit savvy veterinarians in your area, and ask yourself how far you are willing to travel and how much you’re able to afford.

Home Environment
Bunnies can make playful and affectionate pets, but it’s important to remember they are prey animals, sensitive to their surroundings. Given that they are quick to react to loud noises and sudden movement, they are more suitable to calm, quieter homes.

Children and additional pets are also a concern and great care has to be taken to keep your rabbit safe, both physically and mentally. A stressed rabbit is an unhappy and unhealthy rabbit. It’s important to keep in mind that even the most well behaved pet or child might chase a bun that runs, and even the most affectionate child can injure a bun unintentionally. So consider the environment you’d be introducing a bunny to and make their safety your priority.

Think Twice
Rabbits are the third most abandoned pet, filling shelters across the country. Sadly, most are surrendered because the owner wasn’t prepared for the level of care a rabbit requires. By doing your research beforehand, you can learn if a bunny is a good fit for you prior to making the commitment.

The Las Vegas House Rabbit Society is a non profit, all volunteer rabbit rescue organization supporting the community through education, spay/neuter programs and adoptions. To learn more about the LV-HRS, please visit


FBI Now Categorizes Animal Cruelty as a Group A Felony


In January 2016 they began tracking and collecting information about incidents of animal cruelty. This will improve the way crimes against animals are tracked nationally and could help strengthen state animal cruelty laws.

Another important aspect is developing the possible link between animal abuse/cruelty and violent crimes against people. There is evidence that many criminals abuse animals before they abuse people. Reporting, tracking and analyzing data can help police identify future violent criminals.

“With this information, law enforcement and victim services would be able to better target their intervention efforts with respect to both animal cruelty and those crimes for which animal cruelty serves as a marker,” said Dr. Mary Lou Randour of the Animal Welfare Institute, which worked closely with the National Sheriffs’ Association to advance their cause. “Identifying and analyzing animal cruelty crimes would provide an important tool for law enforcement.”

The National Sheriffs’ Association’s John Thompson urged people to shed the mindset that animal cruelty is a crime only against animals. “It’s a crime against society,” he said, urging all law enforcement agencies to participate in NIBRS. “By paying attention to [these crimes], we are benefiting all of society.”

The official definition of animal cruelty according to the FBI is:
Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly taking an action that mistreats or kills any animal without just cause, such as torturing, tormenting, mutilation, maiming, poisoning, or abandonment. Included are instances of duty to provide care, e.g., shelter, food, water, care if sick or injured, transporting or confining an animal in a manner likely to cause injury or death; causing an animal to fight with another; inflicting excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering, e.g., uses objects to beat or injure an animal. This definition does not include proper maintenance of animals for show or sport; use of animals for food, lawful hunting, fishing or trapping.


Do your pets sleep in your bed with you? Are you getting a good night’s sleep?

Good morning – the alarm rings and you wake up refreshed and ready to start a new day. Is that your experience? Or is your experience one of restlessness, turning and tossing, and perhaps bouts of insomnia – definitely not the restful and rejuvenating experience sleep is meant to be. If your experience is the latter – one question a sleep expert would ask you is – do you sleep with your pet?

In the United States it is estimated that 50 percent of dog parents and 62 percent of cat parents share their bed with their pets. Many sleep experts warn that this practice can lead to sleep deprivation. Increasingly we are reminded of the importance of getting a good night’s sleep for our general health and well being.

The Center of Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic did a number of studies after they found that more than half of the patients seeking consultations at its sleep clinic were pet owners who felt their pets were disturbing their sleep. However, a recent study surveyed 150 patients who visited the Mayo Clinic in Arizona: 56 percent of the study participants shared their bed or bedroom with their pets – of those, 20 percent reported sleep problems because of pets, however, 41 percent felt their sleep improved because of their pets. The participants said they felt more relaxed, secure, and enjoyed the feelings of closeness and companionship with their pets in the same room or bed with them. The conclusion of many researchers based on these results and similar studies is that sleeping with your pets can be beneficial.

My two cats sleep with me. The older one is absolutely no problem. Rowdy, the younger one wants to play at 4:00 AM and if his playfulness wakes me up I usually put him out of the bedroom and close the door. If I’m sleeping soundly and don’t hear him I am usually awakened by a loud crash – such as a potted plant pushed off a shelf….(what was I thinking anyway – a plant on a shelf ? Definitely too tempting for a kitten). I’m sure my sleep is somewhat disrupted because of sleeping with my cats but the closeness and companionship are worth it.

I loved this article by Bill Barol, Why It’s So Wrong – But So Right – to Sleep With Your Pets


Animals Recognized as Sentient Beings

Animals Recognized as Sentient Beings Dog Cat High-Five

2015 was a good year for animals – France, New Zealand and Quebec either created or changed their laws to reflect that all animals are sentient beings who feel emotion and pain. They are able to feel fear, sadness, pleasure, anxiety and love.

All animal lovers probably believe this to be true and do not require further evidence as proof. These changes, however, are exciting and evolutionary – they are definitely steps in the right direction. They reflect the changes in the way animals are being viewed:   as “beings” rather than as property or possessions.

The implications for animal abuse/cruelty cases and animal welfare are far reaching: prosecution of animal abuses will be easier and the punishment for animal abuse can be harsher.

Additional Information:
New Zealand:  “To say that animals are sentient is to state explicitly that they can experience both positive and negative emotions, including pain and distress,” said Dr. Virginia Williams, chair of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee, New Zealand. “The explicitness is what is new and marks another step along the animal welfare journey.”

“Expectations on animal welfare have been rapidly changing, and practices that were once commonplace for pets and farm stock are no longer acceptable or tolerated,” said New Zealand Veterinary Association president Dr. Steve Merchant.  “The bill brings legislation in line with our nation’s changing attitude on the status of animals in society.”

France – On 28th January 2015, the French National Assembly voted in favor of an amendment which modified Civil Law in the country. In response to the move to recognize the sentience of animals, Mike Baker, Chief Executive of World Animal Protection said: “We wholeheartedly congratulate France on the passage of the new amendment which formally establishes what we already know in our hearts: animals are ‘living, sentient beings’ that deserve protection. Recognizing that animals can feel pain and distress is an important step in preventing their suffering. This vote by the French Assembly will help ensure that animals are able to have a good life.”

Quebec:  The Quebec national assembly passed legislation that better protects animals and defines them as sentient beings. Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis, who spearheaded Bill 54, is hoping it will help transform Quebec into a tough animal welfare jurisdiction. The bill states that “animals are not things. They are sentient beings and have biological needs.” For many people, that might seem obvious, but until now an animal in Quebec has had the same legal rights as a piece of furniture.

More Information:



Warnings about peanut butter with xylitol have been circulating on various websites and social media posts recently. We checked to see what peanut butters contained xylitol and found that most brands do not contain xylitol. Five brands that do contain it are: Go Nuts, Co.; Hank’s Protein Plus Peanut Butter; Krush Nutrition; Nuts ‘N More; and P28.

Though this is good news for our peanut butter-loving dogs it is “bad” news for doggy parents because xylitol is a sugar substitute that is increasing in popularity. The Pet Poison Helpline (PPH), states that xylitol causes hypoglycemia and hepatic necrosis in dogs. The number of reported exposures has been increasing.

Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol normally found in small amounts in many fruits and vegetables. It is popular because of its many beneficial properties: sweet as sugar but contains fewer calories, does not promote diabetes, and has plague-fighting properties. Xylitol is found in chewing gum, breath mints and dental products like toothpaste and mouthwash. It is also found in nasal sprays, OTC sleep aids, multi­vitamins, prescription sedatives, antacids, stool softeners and many other products like ice cream and chocolate. It is sold in bulk as a substitute for sugar in baking.

Since this is an ingredient found is so many products we need to be extra careful about keeping our dogs safe from ingesting it in any form. It is also a reminder that foods that are safe for us are not always safe for our pets.

Awareness is important – check labels looking for keywords that can indicate that a food contains xylitol. Other words or phrases to look for are “sweetened naturally” or “natural sweetener.” Chemically xylitol is classified as a sugar alcohol and that is another phrase to check for. Also be careful of products labeled “sugar free” or “no sugar added.”

Signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs include weakness, lethargy, collapse, vomiting, tremoring, seizures, jaundice, malaise, black-tarry stool, and even coma or death. If you suspect your dog ingested xylitol, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately for life-saving treatment.



November is Canine Cancer Awareness Month

The devastating effects of canine cancer have been experienced by so many pet parents. It is difficult to grasp the pain and grief this disease has caused.

Chase Away K9 Cancer is a fantastic organization that works to not only fund research but also helps to support families going through this tough time with comfort, information and awareness.

Statistics show that cancer affects 1 out of every 3 dogs, and of those, over half will die from the disease. According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, it is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 10 and that fifty percent of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer at some point.

Watch for the signs and symptoms of cancer. The sooner the disease is detected the better the chances of recovery.

Cancer - SignsWe look forward to the day where no one loses a best friend to cancer.

For more information and resources:

Chase Away K9 Cancer was founded in 2006 by Cera Reusser to bring together people and dogs to combat and eventually defeat this horrible disease. It is a division of the National Canine Cancer Foundation. Donations received fund canine cancer studies and help raise K9 cancer awareness.

The National Canine Cancer Foundation is a national non-profit corporation dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health issue in dogs by funding grants directly to cancer researchers who are working to save lives, find cures and treatment for dealing with canine cancer. #


Good Reasons to Foster

In a recent conversation a friend shared that his children were begging for a dog.  He stated his concern that he was depriving his children the joy of having a dog as part of their family.  However, he also said that he wasn’t in a position to make a life-time commitment now.  I asked if he had ever considered fostering a dog.  There was silence and then he said, “I didn’t know you could do that!”  His kids are true animal lovers and fostering could be a perfect solution for his children and for one lucky dog.

There are so many good reasons to consider fostering – here are just a few:

  • Fostering gives you the joy of having a pet without the responsibility of a long-term commitment.
  • Fostering gives you the satisfaction of getting a pet ready for their furever home by sharing your home, time, and friendship.  It provides foster pets with opportunities for socializing and training that are not available in a kennel or shelter.  Foster pets get a chance at becoming cherished pets.
  • Fostering is a great opportunity for families to work on a project that is fun and teaches responsibility.  The addition of a pet brings joy to a home even temporarily.  There is a sense of accomplishment when your foster becomes part of a furever home.  Your family may decide to foster another pet.  Fostering can also help a family find out if it is ready for the responsibilities of having their own pet.
  • Fostering offers financial support.  The rescue or shelter usually is responsible for the financial needs of the foster pet such as any necessary medical treatments your foster pet requires during their stay with you.
  • Fostering a pet gives you a first-hand understanding of the personality traits of your foster.  The knowledge you gain about your foster pet will help the rescue or shelter find the best furever home for your foster.

Fostering is a major of time and effort.  Welcoming a foster pet into your home will require changes to your lifestyle.  AND saying Good Bye will be difficult.  Yet so many foster pet parents and families agree that the rewards of fostering outweigh the costs.

Check the  Animal Rescues & Shelters section for more information on individual rescues and shelters.

Fosters Save Lives