Category Archives: In the News

Products, issues and controversies in the news.

Do Tennis Balls Wear Down Dogs’ Teeth?

I recently heard a warning about not allowing dogs to chew tennis balls because the “fuzz” will sand down or wear down a dog’s teeth. I’ve done some probing and asked around, and it appears to be true. Puppies in particular are vulnerable to having their teeth worn down if they chew tennis balls. The synthetic fibers in tennis balls can act as sandpaper, wearing down dogs’ teeth in the back, where owners are unlikely to see the damage. But, a dog has to really chew a lot to start wearing down his or her teeth. It would have to be pretty obsessive.

Tennis balls can also cause bowel obstructions if your dog chews them apart. Signs of bowel obstruction are vomiting, especially after eating, diarrhea, and weakness.

Another tennis ball danger for dogs over 80 pounds is choke. Large dogs with large throats can sometimes aspirate the ball, getting it lodged in their throat. A tennis ball is 2.5″ wide, so if you have a large or giant breed dog, get a ball that’s bigger than that, or play fetch with another type of toy.

If your dog just fetches and carries a tennis ball around, it’s probably not going to harm him or her, but if there’s focused chewing (like my Lab did), it’s best to find other things to satisfy your dog’s natural desire to chew.

Here are some inexpensive alternatives:

  • A tennis ball inside an athletic knee sock, tied in a knot at the top of the tennis ball. This gives the dog the same size and chewiness of a tennis ball, without the fibers.
  • A raw bone. Bones are a natural part of a dog’s diet, and as long as they are not cooked, they are safe and even desirable to feed. Our Irish Setter eats a chicken wing or two at every meal and has never had a problem. Make friends with a local butcher and get some natural bones your dog will love. Many dogs want to make “progress” on what they’re chewing, which is why they bite pieces off or shred toys. Bones will satisfy both their need to chew and their need to chew “through” something.
  • A marrow bone. Once the dog chews through the marrow in the middle, you can fill it with peanut butter, spray cheese, or anything you like. it provides a chew that will keep your dog busy. And its dishwasher safe.
  • A racquetball. It has the same feel and similar size, but without the fuzz.

Whatever you decide, be sure your dog has something to chew on. Dog have a natural desire to chew, which should be satisfied with approved toys or treats supplied by you. Otherwise, you could come home to find your kitchen cabinets chewed, or you could start to notice aggressive, frustrated behavior from your dog.


Posted by on May 3, 2012 in In the News


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Quill – The Life of a Guide Dog

There’s an exceptional movie coming out in May that all dog lovers are going to want to see. The documentary-like story centers around a yellow Labrador Retriever guide dog for the blind named Quill. You’ll follow Quill from the litter, his selection to become a guide, his life with a foster family until his first birthday, followed by highly specialized schooling in guiding the sightless. You’ll then go with him as he is then paired with a blind man named Watanabe Mitsuru who is at first reluctant to rely on Quill. But Quill’s great patience, gentleness and skill eventually wins him over and they become inseparable friends.

Critics are raving:

  • A warm-hearted, visually charming, and ultimately thought-provoking tribute to the ways, little and large, that these creatures improve our lives. —Georgia Straight
  • One of the smartest, most realistic dog films ever made. —Exclaim
  • Audiences are unlikely to resist Quill in this simply rendered and indisputably sweet film. —EYE Magazine

Opens in Chicago and New York May 18. May open to a wider audience after that. Check the website at for additional release dates.


Posted by on April 16, 2012 in In the News


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The Dog Days of Daytime are at ABC

The dog days are not over, especially if the hosts of ABC’s “The View,” “The Chew” and “The Revolution” have anything to say about it. On FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, it’s “Doggie Day in Daytime” on ABC, as Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd of “The View,” Chefs Mario Batali, Michael Symon and Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly and Daphne Oz of “The Chew” and Ty Pennington, Tim Gunn, Harley Pasternak, Dr. Jennifer Ashton and Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry of “The Revolution” celebrate man’s best friend.Joy Behar from “The View”

It’s BARK!: “‘The View’s’ 4th Annual Mutt Show presented by Pedigree” (11:00-12:00 p.m., ET), featuring David Frei of the Westminster Kennel Club judging the “Best Mutt in Show” of five viewers’ mutts and another five adoptable mutts from the North Shore Animal League. One winner is awarded a grand prize trophy and another, the Pedigree Dogs Rule Award.

On “The Chew” (1:00-2:00 p.m., ET) the hosts cook up some fun and easy recipes while celebrating their “All in the Family” show. Special appearances by Michael Symon’s dog, Ozzie, and the Oz family pooch, Rosie, who test out some of the newest and coolest dog toys.

On “The Revolution,” (2:00-3:00 p.m., ET), Dr. Ashton, joined by her two dogs, leads a segment on dog health and conducts a Q&A with the studio audience, many of whom are seated with their dogs. Gunn unveils the do’s and don’ts of dressing up your dog, and Pennington has the perfect household guide to fixing “dog disasters,” including scratched furniture and torn carpets. Animal activist, model and actress Beth Stern joins the co-hosts to talk about the North Shore Animal League and the importance of adopting pets.

Check your local listings for details.


Posted by on February 10, 2012 in In the News


Why Four Paws and a Wet Nose Equal a Soldier’s Best Friend

Guest post by Maya Szydlowski

Dogs of all breeds have been used in combat since the beginning of ancient times. Several breeds, in fact, originated due to the needs of war including some of our favorite gentile giants like the Mastiff and the Irish Wolfhound. Whether they were toted around for companionship or used on the frontlines, there is no denying how important canines have been to soldiers for centuries.

armyparatrooperdogAlthough hundreds of dogs remain on patrol and watch in and around several U.S. military bases, in recent decades, the relationship between the dog and the soldier has evolved. While dogs — in particular German and Dutch Shepards and Belgian Malinois, many originating from the Defense Department’s Military Working Dog Program — are still used for bomb sniffing and search and rescue endeavors in combat zones, they are hardly used as messengers and combat weapons like they once were. The Military Working Dog Program still trains hundreds of dogs for military protection and detection of bombs and other harmful substances, with an estimated 2,300 dogs that are currently on duty throughout the world. However, now in conjunction with their wartime service, dogs are also being used to help soldiers recover from the wounds of war – both physically and mentally.

The VA regularly provides service dogs to veterans suffering from loss of vision and those confined to a wheelchair, and new research has proven that canine counterparts are also a great way for soldiers to recover from PTSD – a crippling mental and emotional condition caused by the hardships of war. The dogs, sometimes former soldiers themselves, are able to provide the unconditional support needed to soldiers suffering from PTSD, with many reporting that their dog just seems to “know” when they need extra care or are having a flashback or bad dream.

Dogs that face combat, much like their human counterparts, are often viewed as war heroes – working equally as hard with incredible endurance and determination for months at a time. However, just like a human soldier, many returning war dogs face psychological hardships such as PTSD. But PTSD doesn’t mean the end of the road for service canines. Military dogs have proven to be highly resilient, providing insight into human soldier PTSD, and many make full recoveries and are able to return to service. For those that don’t fully recover, many take residence with veterans or other like counterparts whom understand their condition. There is no doubt that dog’s won’t continue to play an integral part in soldier life. Whether standing watch, sniffing out harmful substances, or offering a warm lick when needed, the dog has earned the title of “war hero,” and should be heralded as such.

Maya Szydlowski is a community manager for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s top dedicated VA lender.


Posted by on January 14, 2012 in In the News


People Giving Up Pets Because They Can’t Afford Them

I’ve read several articles in the news about people giving up their pets because of the tight economy. More than 80 dogs have been dropped off at a single shelter in West Virginia. Other shelters have seen a sharp increase in people dropping off pets because they can no longer afford them. And, because of the economic scares, fewer people are adopting pets.

It’s hard to understand giving up a family pet because money’s tight. I’d have to be missing some meals before I could give up my fur-kids.  I know there are situations in which the pet truly cannot remain with its owners, and for them I am deeply sorry. Knowing that adult pets are far more difficult to find homes for – and many of them are put down at shelters – I hope that if there’s no money for pet food, there’s also no money for cell phones, cable television, clothes, bottled water, movies and sweets. If there’s money for that stuff, there’s money for your dog.

The decisions we make in the emotional moments after losing a job or filing for bankruptcy are sometimes life-and-death decisions for our pets, who have no say in the decision making process.

Let’s not toss them aside too quickly.

Before you drop your dog off at a shelter, please think about what it really costs to keep your dog. If you already have a leash, collar and crate, what does it really cost? For a healthy dog, it only costs food and heartworm/flea medication. There may be areas in which you can save money that are often overlooked. Do you mow your own lawn? Do you have bottled water delivery? Can you reduce your cable/satellite or Internet service package? How often do you go to Starbucks?

In other words, are the discretionary things you spend your money on worth your dog’s life?

Our dogs give so much, and they don’t ask for much in return. Let’s at least provide a safe home for them with the people they love.


Posted by on January 5, 2012 in In the News


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Fido Friendly Restaurant Guide

Found this extra-cool blog that lists dog-friendly restaurants in the U.S. It’s called K9 Epicurian ( It’s part travel, part cuisine, part “where-to-take-your-dog-for -dinner-out.” Most of the restaurants featured are in California, but I’m sure they bloggers would consider well-written blog posts from other parts of the country. Very readable, entertaining, and fun.


Posted by on December 31, 2011 in In the News


Pricey Pup!

Pricey Pup at $1.5 Million

Think spending a few hundred dollars for the family pet seems outrageous?  The 11-month-old, 180-pound pup, aptly named “Hong Dong,” meaning “Big Splash” in Chinese, has become the most expensive dog on the planet after a wealthy coal industrialist from China recently procured him for a little more than $1.5 million.

The Red Tibetan Mastiff is an ancient guarding breed. With its unmistakable bright reddish-brown fur, it has recently become something of a status symbol among China’s uber-wealthy class. The price of Red Tibetan Mastiff pups has skyrocketed over the past few years from only few hundred dollars to six figures and higher.

Reputedly owned by Genghis Khan and Lord Buddha, the Red Tibetan Mastiff is viewed as a “pure Chinese” breed because of its well-documented history and nearly exclusive Chinese population. These dogs are also considered one of the oldest pure breeds in the world. Fewer than 20 are reported to remain in Tibet.

Thought to be holy animals that provide their owners with blessings of health and security, the breed is commonly identified as independent, intelligent and very protective of its owners and their property.

Personally, I’d rather adopt. Isn’t he gorgeous, though?


Posted by on December 30, 2011 in In the News