Sunday, March 19, 2006

Time for Something Funny.

Okay, maybe the following is more true than funny. Make that funny AND true:

Dog Rules
1. The dog is not allowed in the house.
2. Ok, the dog is allowed in the house, but only in certain parts.
3. The dog is allowed in all rooms, but has to stay off the furniture.
4. The dog can get on the old furniture only.
5. Fine, the dog allowed on all the furniture, but is not allowed to sleep with the humans on the bed.
6. Ok, the dog is allowed on the bed but by invitation only.
7. The dog can sleep on the bed whenever he wants, but not under the covers.
8. The dog can sleep under the covers by invitation only.
9. The dog can sleep under the covers every night.
10. Humans must ask permission to sleep under the covers with the dog.

Excerpted from Ain't Too Proud to Beg by John T. Olson.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Visit me at Dogster Blog!

That's right, I'm now blogging over at I'll be back over here to talk about what's happening with the Haint sequel and other issues like global warming. But come on over to Dogster and join the big pack!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

10 part quiz on global warming

Wonder how your knowledge of global warming stacks up? Take the 10 part quiz set up by the Environmental Defense Fund.

Dangerous Foods

We've all heard about chocolate being bad for dogs. But what else should be on the no-no list? Here's a list from the Cold Nose News.

Thank you Fisher at the Wacky Weim Group on for bringing this info to my attention.

Why are grapes harmful?
As far as grapes and raisins go, no one is sure why they're harmful. It's been confirmed that even grapes grown without fertilizers or pesticides can be toxic to dogs. But not to every dog, and not every time. It's also not known whether small amounts eaten over a long time period could have a cumulative effect.What we do know is that the end result in nearly all reported cases of grape or raisin toxicity is acute kidney failure. (The term "acute" means that the condition is severe and comes on quickly.)

The dog ultimately can't produce urine, which means they can't filter toxins out of their systems -- a process essential to life.During the twelve-month period in which the effects of grapes were studied, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center handled 140 cases involving one or more dogs. Over a third of the dogs developed symptoms ranging from vomiting to kidney failure, and seven dogs died.

The ASPCA based their study on reported cases, so naturally there may be cases where a dogs health is entirely unaffected by eating grapes. But until they know all the facts, the Society advises against feeding pets grapes or raisins in any amount. An ounce of prevention...

So, your dog just scored himself a big box of raisins or some Valentines chocolates. What's a pet owner to do?The first line of defense, if the grapes or raisins were eaten recently, is to induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal (it absorbs toxins in the GI tract). Vomiting is also the first sign that your dog is in trouble, so skip right to the activated charcoal if vomiting has already occurred. (In a pinch you can make your own activated charcoal by burning a piece of toast until it's charred and crumbles easily.) Then call your vet right away.The vet will keep your dog on intravenous fluids for at least 48 hours and monitor blood chemistry daily. Normal blood work after 3 days usually means your dog is in the clear.Keeping a watchful eye out, of course, is the best way to keep your pet out of trouble. Like children, dogs (and other pets) have a knack for getting into mischief when we're not looking.

It's Not Just the Grapes...There are other foods your dog should be kept away from, and some of them may surprise you:
Who can resist chocolate? Like it your not, your dog.Chocolate is made with cocoa beans and cocoa beans contain a chemical called Theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. So on Valentine's Day, you're actually being kind to your best buddy if you eat all the chocolates yourself!Read my special report on chocolate to learn more, and see how different types of chocolate have varying effects on dogs health.

Cocoa Mulch
Mulch isn't food, but there's one type tempting enough for dogs to eat. Cocoa bean shells are a by-product of chocolate production (which is how mulch made it into the "foods" category) and are popular as mulch for landscaping. Homeowners like the attractive color and scent, and the fact that the mulch breaks down into an organic fertilizer. The coca bean shells can contain from 0.2% to 3% theobromine (the toxin ) as compaired to 1-4% in unprocessed beans.

Fatty foods
Fatty foods are hard for a dog to digest and can can overtax the pancreas, leading to pancreatitis. This can threaten your dogs health and is potentially fatal.NutsMacadamia nuts should be avoided. In fact most nuts are not good for the dogs health since their high phosporus content is said to lead to bladder stones.

Onions, and especially raw onions, have been shown to trigger hemolytic anemia in dogs. (Stephen J Ettinger, D.V.M and Edward C. Fieldman, D.V.M. 's book: Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine vol. 2 pg 1884.) Stay away from onion powder too.

Potato poisonings among people and dogs are rare but have occurred. The toxin, solanine, is poorly absorbed and is only found in green sprouts (these occur in tubers exposed to sunlight) and green potato skins. This explains why incidents seldom occur. Note that cooked, mashed potatoes are fine for a dogs health, actually quite nutritious and digestible.

Artificial Sweeteners
iXylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, especially sugarless gum and candies. Ingesting large amounts of products sweetened with xylitol may cause a sudden drop in blood sugar in dogs, resulting depression, loss of coordination, and seizures. According to Dr. Eric K. Dunayer, a consulting veterinarian in clinical toxicology for the poison control center, "These signs can develop quite rapidly, at times less than 30 minutes after ingestion of the product" states Dr. Dunayer, "...therefore, it is important that pet owners seek veterinary treatment immediately."

Turkey skin is currently thought to cause acute pancreatis in dogs, partly due to it's high fat content.

Here are the rest of the foods listed by the ASPCA as harmful:
Alcoholic beverages Avocado (the only "fatty" member of the vegetable family)
Coffee (all forms of coffee)
Moldy or spoiled foods

The Bottom LineThanks to a more educated public, fewer fatalities from foods like chocolate are being reported these days. But it's important to keep up with what's currently known about foods and their effects on dogs health. Grapes and cocoa mulch, for example, were only discovered very recently to have harmful effects.

Check frequently with sources like the ASPCA, or sign up for the "Cold Noses News" to have information like this delivered to your inbox. (You'll also get a bunch of cool dog stuff along with your free registration).

Saturday, March 04, 2006

More News on Global Warming -- Ice is Melting Faster

This just in from one of the best and most knowledgeable voices on global warming...

Climate change: on the edgeby Jim Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York

A satellite study of the Greenland ice cap shows that it is melting far faster than scientists had feared - twice as much ice is going into the sea as it was five years ago. The implications for rising sea levels - and climate change - could be dramatic.

Yet, a few weeks ago, when I - a NASA climate scientist - tried to talk to the media about these issues following a lecture I had given calling for prompt reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases, the NASA public affairs team - staffed by political appointees from the Bush administration - tried to stop me doing so. I was not happy with that, and I ignored the restrictions.

The first line of NASA 's mission is to understand and protect the planet.This new satellite data is a remarkable advance. We are seeing for the first time the detailed behavior of the ice streams that are draining the Greenland ice sheet. They show that Greenland seems to be losing at least 200 cubic kilometers of ice a year. It is different from even two years ago, when people still said the ice sheet was in balance. Hundreds of cubic kilometers sounds like a lot of ice.

But this is just the beginning. Once a sheet startsto disintegrate, it can reach a tipping point beyond which break-up is explosively rapid. The issue is how close we are getting to that tipping point. The summer of 2005 broke all records for melting in Greenland. So we may be on the edge.Our understanding of what is going on is very new. Today's forecasts of sea-level rise use climate models of the ice sheets that say they can only disintegrate over a thousand years or more. But we can now see that the models are almost worthless. They treat the ice sheets like a single block of ice that will slowly melt.

But what is happening is much more dynamic.Once the ice starts to melt at the surface, it forms lakes that empty down crevasses to the bottom of the ice. You get rivers of water underneath the ice. And the ice slides towards the ocean.Our NASA scientists have measured this in Greenland. And once these ice streams start moving, their influence stretches right to the interior of the ice sheet. Building an ice sheet takes a long time, because it is limited by snowfall. But destroying it can be explosively rapid.

How fast can this go? Right now, I think our best measure is what happened in the past. We know that, for instance, 14,000 years ago sea levels rose by 20m in 400 years - that is five meters in a century. This was towards the end of the last ice age, so there was more ice around. But, on the other hand, temperatures were not warming as fast as today.

How far can it go? The last time the world was three degrees warmer than today - which is what we expect later this century - sea levels were 25m higher. So that is what we can look forward to if we don't act soon. None of the current climate and ice models predict this. But I prefer the evidence from the Earth's history and my own eyes. I think sea-level rise is going to be the big issue soon, more even than warming itself.It's hard to say what the world will be like if this happens. It would be another planet. You could imagine great armadas of icebergs breaking off Greenland and melting as they float south. And, of course, huge areas being flooded.

How long have we got? We have to stabilize emissions of carbon dioxide within a decade, or temperatures will warm by more than one degree. That will be warmer than it has been for half a million years, and many things could become unstoppable. If we are to stop that, we cannot wait for new technologies like capturing emissions from burning coal. We have to act with what we have. This decade, that means focusing on energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy that do not burn carbon. We don't have much time left.

Jim Hansen, the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, is President George Bush's top climate modeller.......................................................................................................