Hurricane Sandy has, and still is, wreaking havoc across the Northeastern US. Those of us far removed from the storm’s path often feel the urge to help in some way. Here is a list of support organizations that you can donate to or contact to volunteer for relief efforts that was put together by Today News.
AMERICAN RED CROSS
The Red Cross is providing shelter, clothes, supplies, food and blood, as needed, for the victims of Sandy. You can donate blood, but in terms of items, you’ll be doing more for those in need by donating money instead of physical goods.
Text message: Text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. As in the case with other donations via mobile, the donation will show up on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your balance if you have a prepaid phone. You need to be 18 or older, or have parental permission, to donate this way. (If you change your mind, text the word STOP to 90999.)
Phone: 800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767); for Spanish speakers, 800-257-7575; for TDD, 800-220-4095.
To donate blood: Visit this Red Cross Web page.
Online: American Red Cross
The Salvation Army is providing meals and shelter. “At this point, in-kind donations, such as used clothing and used furniture, are not being accepted for hurricane relief. However, these items are vital to supporting the day-to-day work of your local Salvation Army,” the organization said Tuesday in a press release.
Text message: Text the word STORM to 80888 to make a $10 donation. To confirm the donation, respond with the word “Yes.”
Phone: 800-SAL-ARMY (800-725-2769)
Online: Salvation Army; here’s the organization’s New Jersey site, and its Greater New York site.
HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES
Many pet owners were able to take their pets with them, but for those who were not, the Humane Society’s Animal Rescue Team is assembling staff and equipment to help rescue pets in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Online: Humane Society of the United States
AMERICAN HUMANE ASSOCIATION
The association is helping animals that may need rescue or shelter.
Text message: Text the word HUMANE to 80888 to donate $10.
Online: The AHA’s website for donating is here.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
Habitat, an international organization, helps those in need rebuild their homes after disaster strikes.
As of Tuesday morning, Habitat’s online donation system was not available. If you want to make a donation, you can call Habitat’s Partner Service Center at 800-HABITAT (422-4828). Press “0″ when prompted and representatives will take your donation information over the phone.
This is Habitat for Humanity’s main website.
COMMUNITY FOODBANK OF NEW JERSEY
This group coordinates efforts with the state’s Office of Emergency Management, as well as with state and local nonprofit organizations.
Online: Community FoodBank of New Jersey
Phone: (908) 355- FOOD (3663), ext. 243.
This group provides emergency medicine and supplies. Donations are accepted on its accepts donations on its website.
DIRECT RELIEF INTERNATIONAL
The organization provides medicine and supplies to partner health centers and clinics.
Text message: Text the word RELIEF to 27722 to give $10.
Online: Direct Relief International is the main website; go here to donate online.
Describing itself as “a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families” and communities, World Vision provides flood clean-up kits, hygiene kits, blanket and food kits.
Text message: Text the word GIVEUSA to 777444 to donate $10.
Online: For World Vision’s Hurricane Sandy relief, click here.
Our pets are completely dependent on us when it comes to adverse weather or natural disasters. They cannot escape oncoming flood waters, take cover from storms or survive after disaster strikes without our help. Remember those pictures of rescued animals from Katrina? Well for every rescued animal, thousands died. Over 600,000 animals were left behind to fend for themselves.
OK, got your attention? Time to plan. Actually, you need two plans; one for if you are stuck at home without power and water for an extended period of time, and one for evacuation.
1 – The basics:
- Current ID tags or microchip. Even with a plan your pets may become separated from you – make sure someone can return them to you when found. If you evacuate, attach temporary ID tags to their collars that have both your cell number and a way to contact you at your destination.
- Have at least one extra bag of food on hand per pet. Simple – just buy two bags (or cases of cans, etc) next time you shop, when you get through one, start on the next – but buy another right away. Always keep the new one for backup.
- Water is as important as food – more important really. Pets, and people, can live without food longer than they can live without water. 1 gallon per person per day is the rule – adjust that to the size of your dog; big dogs will need close to a gallon, small dogs only a quart or two.
- Crate(s) or carrier(s) in case you need to confine or move your pets. Even a normally well-behaved pet may become frightened during the chaos of evacuation and disappear just when you are loading the car. Keep them on leash or confined as soon as you open the door.
- Cat litter and portable litter box.
- Current photos of your pets and of you with your pets to help prove they are yours. If you become separated you may need the photos to ask if anyone has seen your pet or post lost pet posters. (Don’t count on your cell phone – it may run out of batteries just when you need it).
- Copies of vaccination records in case you need to board your pets.
- A blanket, bed or favorite toy, if you have room for it, will help your pet feel more secure.
- Keep a Pet First Aid Kit ready to go.
2 – Evacuation
Know multiple escape routes from you area (in case one is blocked) and find possible destinations that take pets. If you can’t take your pets to your final destination, be sure you know what shelters are available near there.
3 – Build a kit
Emergency supplies and first aid kits for both your home and your car should be kept well stocked. We have kits ready for your pets. Here is a list to FEMA’s guide to building your emergency supplies kit for your family.
4 – Home Alone
Plan for your pet’s rescue in case you are not home during evacuation orders. Partner with a neighbor or two that will retrieve your pets if you are not home and vise versa. Place an Emergency Rescue sticker near your front door to inform rescue workers of what pets may be in the house. If you take your pets with you – be sure to indicate this on the sticker as you leave.
5 – Minimize Stress
There is never a better time to have calming remedies on hand for your pet than during a storm or natural disaster! Keep some on hand as part of your first aid kit: calming remedies.
We sincerely hope you never have to use your emergency plan or first aid kit. However, knowing you have a plan in place and supplies on hand will make any storm or natural disaster less stressful for both you and your pets.
Lions and tigers and bears, Oh My! Are you ready for all those critters and ghosts and goblins next week? While it is great fun for us to dole out candy to the cute little monsters in our neighborhood, most dogs and cats are not quite as entertained by the Halloween festivities. Halloween is second only to the Fourth of July as the holiday when more pets go missing than any other time of year. In addition, calls to the Pet Poison Helpline increase by 12% during the week of Halloween. So our motto this year for Halloween: Don’t get scared – be prepared! Here’s the plan:
- Prevent Poisoning:
The most common poisons for pets at Halloween:
- Chocolate (see our post about chocolate toxicity)
- Candy in abundance
- Candy Wrappers
- Raisins (yes, some neighbors are opposed to all that candy and still give out raisins instead)
- Xylitol (an alternative sweetner in some gums and candy)
While the adults in the family are surely wise enough to keep the candy out of reach of the four-legged kids, the two-legged kids may not be. Talk to your kids, but don’t rely on them to remember your warnings when the festivities begin. If you can’t keep a close eye on all that lands within your pet’s reach, it may be best to confine them to a room of their own until the party is over and clean up is done.
- Glow Sticks & Glow Jewelry: These are becoming more and more popular every year as Halloween rolls around. Many pets – especially cats – are attracted to the perfect chewing texture of glow sticks and tubes. The contents, while not toxic enough to cause death, can be very irritating to the mouth and mucous membranes. If you see your kitty foaming at the mouth after the kids get home with their loot, look around for chewed up glow sticks.
- Fire Safety: The glow and flicker of candles are perfect for setting the mood on Halloween, but we all know the dangers they present. Cats seem especially prone to knocking into candles as they jump up on tables to avoid little tricksters and treaters. Cats have also been know to start their own tails on fire as well. Think strategically when placing candles out; and again, the pets are likely better off closed into a back room, (sans candles), while the festivities are going on.
- Foil Escape: Here is one more reason to make your pet comfortable in a closed room during the Halloween rush. You may think your cat is safely hiding under the bed or in the closet, but one quick dash for the door and she’ll be outdoors with the throng of costumed kids. Dogs that typically enjoy greeting visitors at the door can easily become overwhelmed by all the strange-looking strangers: not only is escape a possibility, a dog that has never bitten in his life may feel so threatened by the witches and warlocks knocking at your door that he finally lashes out. Avoid the risk and make them a comfortable, safe place of their own to spend the evening. Remember to give them some calming support with remedies or treats designed to sooth their nerves.
- Prankster Alert: Halloween seems to bring out extra mischief in too many tricksters, and all too often cats become victims of their antics. Even if your kitty is accustomed to yard time, make sure they are well supervised or, better yet, keep them indoors for the days leading up to and during Halloween.
- Costume Control: While you may love the way your pup or kitty looks in their costume, they may not share your enthusiasm. Some pets love dress-up, others are mortified – heed your pet’s signals and don’t force the issue if he runs when you get out the hot-dog costume or the witch hat. If your pet does enjoy donning their get-up, just make sure it fits correctly and does not inhibit their movement, breathing, vision or hearing.
Stay safe and have a fun and festive Halloween! We would love to see pictures of your posing pets on our Facebook page! – https://www.facebook.com/WholeLifePets
Jason Edward’s dog Duke lays on a big sloppy wet kiss.
Do you smooch your pooch? On the mouth? Apparently plenty of us do. Some researchers in Japan decided to study the exchange of bacteria between smoochers and their pooches, and the results are not so encouraging.
The study, reported in the Archives of Oral Biology, our dogs may be passing on some not-so-friendly bacteria along with those oh-so-slobbery kisses. They found a high rate (66% – 77%) of 3 periodontal disease-causing oral bacteria in the plaque of the 66 dogs they tested. The one that sounds the worst – Compylobacter rectus, (guess what “rectus” insinuates), makes me hesitate when my dog comes at me with that big pink tongue.
I used to buy into common belief that a dog’s mouth was cleaner than a human’s, and while that may be true to some extent, that isn’t saying much. Human mouths harbor their own thriving population of germs, too. A typical human mouth contains billions of bacteria. If you haven’t brushed your teeth lately, you might well have more bacteria in your mouth right now than there are people living on planet Earth. Scientists have identified more than 700 different species of mouth-dwelling microbes.
So maybe it’s the other way around… perhaps your pooch should be more wary of smooching humans on the mouth – especially those good morning kisses full of “extras.” What about you – will you continue to let your pup give kisses on the lips?
Human bedtime rituals are many – a warm bath, a good read, a cup of calming tea, writing in a journal – the list is endless. But bedtime rituals for dogs seem to come in only one variety: circle, circle, circle… pause, perhaps paw the bed a bit, and finally plop down with a sigh. What’s up with that?
Instinct, apparently. Dogs may look quite different from their wild ancestors, the wolves, but they still share 99% of the genetic makeup of wolves and retain many of their wild predecessors’ instincts. There are several theories as to why wolves and dogs circle and dig before bedding down.
The most popular theory contends that circling tramples the grass or vegetation where the dog will lie down making it a bit more comfy. Ever fluffed your pillow before laying your head down? You get the picture.
Theory number two says that dogs (and wolves) circle and paw to stir up the dirt to uncover a cooler layer of dirt below. Many dogs can be caught digging in the garden or under bushes in the hot summer weather to create their own cool bedding spot. Perhaps the circle and dig behavior comes out most when dogs are warm and wish for a cooler spot to rest – even if their bed is padded, stuffed donut. Ever rotated your pillow looking for a cooler spot? You can relate.
The third theory has to do with pack behavior. Wild dogs and wolves will often bed down close together for safety and warmth. Each pack member has a certain place in the hierarchy and would need to respect the space of the higher ranking pack-mates. Perhaps the circling is their way of making sure that no one nearby will take offense at their presence – it’s easier to escape a snap or snarl while still on ones feet rather than lying down.
Whatever the reason our dogs do the circle dance, it is pretty darn cute to watch. Since we know that at least 57% of you let your dog sleep in the bed with you, you are likely quite familiar with their little bedtime rituals. Let us know if your pup has a quirky way to settle in by commenting below.
Where does your pup sleep or your cat nap? If your answer is in the bed with you, you are in good company. Nose to wet nose, tail to tush and toes to fuzzy toes; we love to sleep with our four-legged family members.
One survey revealed that 91% of pet guardians consider their pet a member of the family. So is it any wonder that 57% – over half of pet owners – said their pet sleeps in the bed with them? There are pros and cons to this bed-sharing habit of ours. Let’s take a look:
Companionship – Far superior to any teddy bear; a purring kitty or friendly fido is the perfect bed-mate. They are fabulous company and keep you toasty warm on cold winter nights. And they never complain about your cold feet.
Bonding – Many dogs and cats thrive on physical closeness. Dogs that have to stay at home while their humans are away all day can benefit from close quarters while they sleep. Those that might tend toward separation anxiety may be less worried during the day if they get their snuggles in at night.
Safety & security – Some people say they feel safer and more secure with their dog in the bed at night, so they sleep sounder.
Dominance Issues – Some trainers will tell you never to let a dog in your bed because they will think they are equal to or above you in the “pack hierarchy.” For most dogs, however, sharing your pillow will not lead to delusions of grandeur. If, on the other hand, your dog ever growls at you or another family member when asked to relinquish his spot on the bed; it is definitely time for some serious training. Even with a more docile dog it is a good idea to make it a rule that the dog must be invited onto the bed: ask her to sit and then pat the bed or say “up” – whatever invitation works for you. This just helps keep everyone clear about their roles and is equivalent to teaching your children good manners like saying “please” and “thank you.”
Zoonosis – While this is not a big risk, it does exist. (And, it’s such a great word one has to find a way to use it periodically). Yes, people have become ill as a result of sharing their space a little too closely with their pets, but it is not very common. Using good sense goes a long way to protecting everyone’s health – like don’t let the dog or cat lick an open wound on a person, and keep the pets clean and flea-free.
Bed hogs & Snoring – While most people claim they get a better night’s sleep with Rover or Fluffy along side them, there are some four-legged friends that don’t make the best bed-mates. If your sleep is disturbed by the snoring pug or the lab who kicks when dreaming about chasing bunnies, then perhaps it is time to get them their own bed. Or, as in the case of one couple I know, get a bigger bed.
Allergies – Folks with allergies just should not sleep with their pets. As difficult as it is to make the bedroom off limits to those you love, when you are suffering from allergies it is best to at least sleep without drowning in dander. Get a Hepa filter to keep the air in the bedroom as clean as possible and give the dog and/or the cat a really comfy bed in the next room. Which leads us to…
Moving Them Out
If sharing the bed with your dog or cat becomes an issue and changes must be made, plan ahead and be patient. Get the dog a comfortable bed on the floor next to you and make it a great place to be – giving lots of treats and praise. It may take a few nights or a few weeks to convince the dog he no longer needs to be in the “big bed.” Cats are a bit more difficult to convince and may need to be moved to another room in the house. Splurge on a nice cat tree and place it by a window where she can look out and watch the night life.
Our last two posts extolled the virtues of fats in our dogs’ and cats’ diets along with the importance of balancing essential fatty acids. Today we will look at the dark side of fats – Rancidity.
Fats become rancid as they break down – mostly due to exposure to light, heat and air. Fats are made up of a combination of fatty acids. Different types of fatty acids are more stable than others, which affects the choice a manufacturer makes when deciding what fat sources to include in pet foods:
- Saturated fatty acids are the most stable type of fat. These are found in higher proportions in animal fats and tropical oils such as coconut and palm.
- Monounsaturated fatty acids are also relatively stable. These are found more predominantly in olive oil, canola oil, avocado and nut oils such as peanut, almond and pecan.
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids are the least stable of the fatty acids. Their chemical structure makes them highly reactive and they are destroyed by heat. The essential fatty acids Omega-6 and Omega-3 are polyunsaturated. Poultry fat, lean meat, egg yolks, sunflower, soybean and corn oil are higher in Omega-6 fatty acids. Marine fish oils, cod liver oil, and flax seed are sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.
As discussed in our previous posts, Omega-6 fatty acids are well supplied in most dry pet foods, but Omega-3 fatty acids are lacking. However, the omega-3 fatty acids are also the most fragile fatty acids and will become rancid more easily and quickly. Beware of foods that claim to include fish oil and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids as they may do more damage to your dog or cat’s health than good if those fatty acids are rancid.
Rancid fats are characterized by free radicals — compounds that are extremely reactive chemically. They have been characterized as “marauders” in the body for they attack cell membranes and red blood cells and cause damage in DNA/RNA strands, thus triggering mutations in tissue, blood vessels and skin. New evidence links exposure to free radicals with premature aging, with autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and with Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Alzheimer’s and cataracts. (from The Skinny on Fats, westonprice.org)
Rancid fats in the diet reduce the nutritive value of the protein, degrade vitamins and antioxidants, and can cause diarrhea, liver, and heart problems, macular degeneration in the eyes, cell damage, cancer, arthritis and death. (from See Spot Live Longer)
Some manufacturers are aware of educated pet owners’ desire to include omega-3 fatty acids in their dog or cat’s diet and have begun to market their foods with claims that they contain balanced omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids or that they include omega-3’s, etc. As one of those educated pet owners, however, you need to do your homework. If the fatty acid sources are being added before cooking or extruding, then they are lost in the final product. If these ingredients are being sprayed on after baking or extrusion, how are they being preserved to avoid rancidity? Call the manufacturer and ask!
Let’s say you’ve done your homework and you trust that the food you have purchased contains the omega fatty acids advertised. When was it manufactured – are the fatty acids still intact by now? How was it shipped and stored before reaching the store – was it exposed to heat? How will you store that food – will it be exposed to air and light? How long will the bag last? If it is in your pantry more than a few weeks, those fatty acids are likely oxidizing rapidly and you could be doing more harm than good.
The best way to improve the omega-3 fatty acid balance in your dog or cat’s diet is to add a supplement at the time of feeding. Use marine fish oil sources that are persevered with vitamin E and or rosemary to prevent oxidation – and store them in the refrigerator whether the bottle says to or not. Or, use canned fish such as sardines and use them up or store in the refrigerator for up to several days.
The dangers of rancidity and free radicals are not worth the risk of taking any chances with fragile fatty acids. The benefits of adding essential fatty acids to our furry family member’s diets is undisputable, and when supplemented with care we can be assured that they are reaping the benefits of this essential nutrient.
View Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements at Whole Life Pets.