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Free to Readers

MARCH 2009

18 22

6 10 Feature Articles

In Every Issue



Thinking of Having a Baby?

Happy Saint Paddy’s Day! Springtime is here!

Barking may not be your only problem?


Sit and Stay for a Legal Treat


Benefits of Mobile Pet Grooming A mobile groomer brings a full-service pet grooming salon right to your doorstep.



Pet Loss in the Work Place Pets are our children. How do you deal with the loss of them in the work place?

22 28

This month’s winners of the contest.


Chip’s Corner Oh, No! Puzzle Pooch?


Ask A Vet How soon do you start treating for fleas?


Cat Horoscopes How well do you know your cat?

Upcoming Events

Understanding your dog through body language.


Subscription Form

5th Annual KC Pet Expo


Ad Index

Evaluate Your Pet Food Why the variety among pet foods?


How Cute is Your Pet?


Don’t Whisper — Translate

Visit the KC Pet Expo celebrates its Fifth Anniversary this year on April 18 & 19.



Underneath the Dog Cape Its mission is to help kids with disabilities assist people with disabilities

Dog Horoscopes Do you really know your dog?

We love our pets, but does the law love them too?


Welcome Pet Lovers

MetroPet Resources 12

Scoopy the Poo

Celebrate the Green by Going Green Check out pet friendly and Earth friendly products! M ARCH 2009 •


Staff & Contacts

Publisher’s Message

Happy St. Paddy’s! 2009 has started out with a bang. MetroPet is ready to celebrate the green and all the other exciting events planned for March and beyond!

WHAT IS METROPET? MetroPet was created to provide pet lovers with local resources. This means that when you need a day care provider or groomer, check out our advertisers. During February, MetroPet was at three different non-pet events and we handed out over 3,000 magazines to area residents. As we handed out the magazine, we explained the purpose of the magazine was to provide readers with quality information from local writers and qualtiy products from local resources.


Publisher Barbara Riedel

Editor/Production Manager Dan O'Leary

Layout/Graphic Design Alison Fieber

Web Master

When you need a product or service for your pet, visit Please mention that you saw their ad in MetroPet magazine, so they will know their advertising dollars are working. Our advertisers provide quality services which enhance our lives with our pet companions. Getting this kind of value for your dollar, is money well spent.

Jon Dunn

Advertising Sales


Contributing Authors

During the next few months you will continue to hear MetroPet on the radio (Mix 93.3, 94.1 KFKF, Star 102 and Q104). We will announce upcoming events and pet care tips. In addition, you will see us at both pet and non-pet events. In April, we will be at the Pet Expo on April 18-19 at American Royal Center, see article on page 28. See other upcoming events on page 34 in this issue and at

Barbara Riedel, Publisher

P.S. This magazine is FREE to you — because of our advertisers support. Please tell them you saw their ad in MetroPet. Happy Spring!

Michelle Chappell, DVM, CVA Sarah Dixon Anna Gepson Pat Hennessy Anita Larson Suezanne Law Pat Riha Lea Ann Shearer Joel Zand

Photographer Dan O'Leary

Contact MetroPet PO Box 480065 Kansas City, MO 64148 Phone: 913.548.1433 Fax: 816.941.4655 Publishing Policy: Articles printed in the MetroPet Magazine express the opinions of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the formal position of MetroPet Magazine. Acceptance of advertising does not necessarily constitute endorsement by MetroPet Magazine. Articles: Readers are invited to submit articles for consideration for publication to All materials are subject to editorial review. © 2008 MetroPet Magazine. All rights reserved. Request reprint permissions at


MetroPet Magazine M ARCH 2009

MetroPet Magazine is owned and published by ROI Marketing Services, all rights reserved.

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are full he can understand your directions, but also remember to practice the hand signals so he can be successful when baby’s sleeping, too. And if your dog has ever, ever shown aggression or even discomfort towards humans of any age, consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist now — before bringing up Baby takes precedence over training the family dog.

Help your dog learn to associate all things Baby with good things for him, rather than with chaos and change. NEW SENSES

Thinking of having a baby? Barking may not be your only problem by Suezanne Law


aby’s homecoming should be a joyous event for everyone in the family. But unfortunately, the pitter-patter of little feet — not to mention the crying, chaotic schedules, and cranky parents that follow close on their heels — strikes fear in the heart of many a brave dog. Too many dogs lose their homes when, in a sleepdeprived haze their families decide that something has to give. You don’t have to make such a heart-breaking decision if, while you plan for Timmy’s arrival, you help Lassie get ready too. Here are some important things to consider.

BRUSH UP ON YOUR DOG’S SKILLS Make sure his Stay stays put and his Come comes running the first time you say each cue. Make sure your dog responds to verbal cues so that when your hands 6

MetroPet Magazine M ARCH 2009

Babies bring all manner of new sights and sounds and smells with them when they arrive. Some of these stimuli will excite your dog, some will intrigue or possibly annoy him, and some may scare his little furry pants off! But all these things are a natural part of babyhood, and as such, they are not going to go away anytime soon. Help your dog learn to associate all things Baby with good things for him, rather than with chaos and change. Buy baby sounds CDs and make them the soundtrack to your daily routine: begin with the volume adjusted low so the sounds are just barely audible, and as everyone in the family becomes accustomed to the noise, begin increasing it until you reach the ear-splitting levels of real life. Also, as you begin setting up the baby furniture, introduce your dog to it in ways that teach him appropriate behaviors to practice once it is occupied by your little bundle of joy. And reward him for picking up toys or items that smell like him while directing his interest away from Baby’s things — remember dogs will always do what’s most rewarding to them at the time, so practice good housekeeping, too!

HEAVY PETTING Teach your dog to enjoy a little “heavy petting” so that he remains comfortable when chubby hands pull and poke and pat. Firmly stroke his fur while offering him some tasty chicken. Gently tug on his ear while he munches on bacon. Let him slurp peanut butter off your palm while pull his tail this way and that. At the

same time, teach your child gentle touches to share as he grows up alongside his new best friend.

A NEW ROUTINE Schedule changes confuse and disturb many dogs, so begin living your schedule as though Baby were home several weeks in advance of his arrival. Buy or borrow an appropriately sized baby-doll and practice feeding, changing diapers, and playtime so that your dog knows what you expect of him in each of these situations. Get up in the night, turn on the lights, and rattle around in the kitchen if you will be preparing bottles so that your dog doesn’t mistake you for an intruder. And think about how you will prepare your dog (and Baby, too) for your eventual return to work if that is part of your plan.

This new life-style will effect more than just you. Be ready for it by preparing everyone in your life!

Get up in the night, turn on the lights, and rattle around in the kitchen if you will be preparing bottles so that your dog doesn’t mistake you for an intruder. WELCOME HOME MOM! And finally, when Mom comes home from the hospital, have someone else carry the two-legged baby so she can properly greet her four-legged one! If she has had a difficult delivery, or if she has had surgery, leash Fido so Mom can enter safely and sit down before saying hello. Never, ever punish your dog around your child. Your dog should see your child as just another wonderful human in his life, but if he receives punishment every time the little nipper comes out to play, he may become a little nipper (or, rather, biter) himself. Suezanne M. Law is a canine-human relationship counselor and accredited dog trainer. She opened Sympawtico Dog Training, LLC to better tailor her training curriculum to the needs of her community. Visit her at M ARCH 2009


Canine Signs

Pisces (Feb. 19 - Mar. 20) The Interpreter Country walks have a tendency to turn into swimming galas as this dog rolls in every puddle and will run for miles to find a stream. The Pisces Dog becomes extremely excited at the sight of rain and when an owner takes a bath or shower, it is not unusual for the Pisces Dog to join in the ablutions. They will also come running with every flush of the toilet.


Gemini (May 21 - June 21)

Leo (July 23 - Aug. 22)

The Yapper Much like the “Elephant’s Child,” who always wanted to know more, this canine will be inquisitive and enquring. This dog thrives in new environments and will love it if the owner houses he or she with a friend for a few days. This is, however, a dog which tends not to be overly-faithful and, given the opportunity, may run away forever.

The Boss-Dog This canine rarely knows what it means to be afraid and makes for an excellent police dog, relentlessly pursuing criminals, entering blazing buildings without a second thought and tenaciously sniffing-out bombs. The Leo Dog, however, cannot bear to be ignored. The vanity of this canine knows no limit and he or she adores being the center of attraction.

Cancer (June 22 - July 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23 - Sept. 22)

The Home-Lover This canine possesses a nesting instinct and will establish their corner and then set about filling it with treasures which will be protected. If those treasures happen to belong to another then that is unfortunate, for it will literally hang on to anything that they feel is a personal belonging. In the eyes of this canine, possession is ninetenths of the law.

The Helper This dog is never happier than when they are doing something for their owner. This canine will take over some of the many chores which pile up during the day... bringing in the laundry, counting the socks, clearing the table. However, this truly helpful dog does not always get it right. As a creature of routine and habit, they will expect to be fed and walked at the same time every day.

MetroPet Magazine M ARCH 2009

Libra (Sept. 23 - Oct. 22) The Shop-Steward The Libra Dog will refuse to be banished to an outside kennel, unless the owner is also willing to take up residence within. Thus, this canine will only be truly happy with an owner who is prepared to put themself out for the sake of the dog. This dog will never stand for being treated like a dog while their owner is permitted to live like a person.

Scorpio (Oct. 23 - Nov. 21) The Paragon It will be important for any owner of a Scorpio Dog to remember that, as the human, you will always be bigger than this canine. Even when the Scorpio Dog attempts to tower over an owner by leaping upon the table, the human should remind themselves of that fact.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 21) The Problem Dog In short, life with a Sagittarius Dog will never, ever be dull. This dog is an independent creature, preferring to make a personal choice regarding who their living companions will be. The fact that an owner may have paid through the nose, and chosen this canine with great care when they were only a small pup, carries no weight whatsoever.

Capricorn (Dec. 22 - Jan. 20) The Social Climber Problems arise with a Capricorn Dog if their living standards fail to improve. The older this canine becomes, the more beset by deep

depression they will be once realization sets in that there is no possible opportunity for social furtherance. Under such circumstances, the Capricorn Dog is liable to adopt a defeatist attitude and will no longer try to please.

Aquarius (Jan. 21 - Feb. 18) The Friend The most humane of the species, people are most assuredly this dog’s “thing” and they will get on brilliantly with an well as with everyone else for that matter.

Aries (Mar. 21 - Apr. 19) Leader of the Pack The end relationship between the Aries Dog and their human will largely be one of compromise...usually on the part of the owner...but can be most enjoyable once the owner is “trained.” In short, the Aries Dog is basically a warm-hearted creature who will prove to be amusing, and he or she is incapable of sulking or holding a grudge for long.

Taurus (Apr. 20 - May 20) The Strong Silent Type This is one canine who loves to eat and is often aggressive around food. It is not unusual for the Taurus Dog to dig holes and lay away a goodly supply of kibble for a rainy day. Physically very strong when young, this dog is prone to get fat with age. In fact, it is somewhat rare to find an older Taurus Dog who is not overweight. For the sake of their health, it is sometimes necessary to put this canine on a diet in order to avoid obesity.

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Pet Law: Sit and Stay for a Legal Treat! by Joel Zand We love our pets, but does the law love them too? Today, the answer is often a resounding “Yes.” There are laws to help you avoid choosing between giving up your home or your dog, pet trusts that guarantee care for your animal when you die, and a variety of other laws. Here is a closer look at some of the most commonly referenced laws.

DOG BITES AND THE LAW If you are the victim of an animal or dog bite, you should seek medical help immediately. If an animal bit you, it may bite others too. Local public health officials will need to test the animal for rabies, and a bite victim will likely need shots. Rabies vaccines are generally effective only for a few years, and need to be repeated regularly. If your dog bites someone, or if you have been bitten by another dog, don’t wait to investigate your legal rights. Animal bite victims may be entitled to compensation for injuries, medical expenses, and more. States have different owner liability standards in dog bite cases. California and Nebraska, for example, impose strict liability on owners for bites, even if their pet had never bitten anyone before. Other states have a “one-bite rule” which doesn’t make owners liable for a dog bite unless a 10

MetroPet Magazine M ARCH 2009

victim can show that the dog had a history of biting. Contact a local lawyer if you have questions about bites and your rights.

DOG INJURY LAWSUITS: WHAT’S YOUR POOCH OR KITTY WORTH? If your pet is injured or killed by a neighbor, you could sue for damages. If the death was intentional, the perpetrator of the crime could also face jail time. But how much can you be compensated for your loss? Generally, not a lot of money. In Connecticut, owners can sue for the negligent killing of a pet, but there’s a catch. State law requires courts to treat Fido or Fifi as “personal property.” That means you are unlikely to get significant damages, but rather an amount equal to your pet’s “replacement value,” the same legal standard many insurance companies use for car accident claims or damaged items in your home after a fire.

trusts, you can set money aside to provide for your pet’s care during its lifetime long after you’ve died. An attorney can do that for you, making sure the appropriate legal language is added to your will to protect your pooch. Even if you don’t have a will, but want to provide for your pet, now is a good time to have one made specifically for your needs. continued-->

BREED-BASED BANS A number of cities and towns across the U.S. have laws banning particular dog breeds. San Francisco, Miami, Sioux City, Iowa, and other localities passed laws restricting the ownership or breeding of pit bulls. People who owned and licensed them before these laws were enacted may be exempt “grandfathered out” from complying with the law for their current dog(s). You should check whether breedspecific restrictions exist where you live. It is also wise to see if your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy excludes liability coverage for particular dog breeds and other animals. Many do.

PET TRUSTS Approximately 40 states have laws that allow you to create a legal trust for your pet. A trust manages the distribution of a person's property by transferring its benefits and obligations to different people, or if your state permits, to different pets! Leona Helmsley set aside $12 million in pet trust for her dog, Trouble. Tobacco heiress, Doris Duke did the same thing. If you live in a state that recognizes pet M ARCH 2009 •



M ETRO P ET R ESOURCE WHO? Scoopy the Poo — Lori & Alan Stiles WHERE? Lee’s Summit, MO Equipment Sales: 816-412-9000 Service: 816-524-0606 email:

HOW LONG IN BUSINESS? Since 2005 WHY ARE YOU DIFFERENT? We completely understand the trials and tribulations of dog waste removal. Therefore, our company provides two convenient options. If you clean your yard, we sell durable equipment professional pooper scoopers use. If you want your yard professionally cleaned each week, we provide affordable, dependable and superior service.

BENEFITS OF SCOOPY THE POO Scoopy the Poo is the only company in the world that sells professional grade dog waste removal equipment. Until now, individuals have had to struggle with equipment available at retail stores. Unlike retail equipment our product is sanitary, durable, efficient, affordable, and has an ergonomic back saver handle and height adjustable rake. We are currently receiving worldwide recognition that our equipment is superior to any other product on the market. In addition, our equipment has multi-functions such as yard debris cleanup and general dust pan use. You can now eliminate bending over to pick up leaves, grass clippings, pulled weeds, and clippings from hedges. Just rake it all into the bucket. As for our service, we maintain weekly communication with our clients by leaving notes on each visit. The output of dog waste (anything abnormal) allows us the opportunity to be the frontline of defense against any potential illness for our client’s dog(s). Output that is normal provides our clients with peace of mind that their dog is happy and healthy.

REASONS CUSTOMERS COME BACK! Our equipment is receiving fabulous testimonies of praise and adulation. The feedback is phenomenal regarding the ease of use with no mess and frustration. Individuals who have never cleaned their yard are telling us how easy the equipment is to use. As for our service, we enjoy building relationships with our clients and their dogs. We are in this business because we absolutely love dogs!

See our ad on pg. 11 12

MetroPet Magazine M ARCH 2009

Many people with pets first encounter legal problems when renting an apartment or buying a home. “No pet clauses” in rental agreements and condo association rules have become standard language. Pet owners, however, may have legal options to prevent them from having to choose between giving up an animal or giving up their home. New York City, for example, lets you fight a landlord’s attempt to evict you, even if there is a “no pet” paragraph in your lease. If you prove that your landlord, doorman, or building superintendent knew about your pet for 90 days, but did not act to get rid of it, you can fight an eviction attempt. Tenants and homeowners with therapy or “emotional support animals” have legal rights under the federal Fair Housing Act to have animals in a home that doesn’t allow pets. New York City lawyer Maddy Tarnofsky notes that this federal law makes “the idea of an emotional support animal... no longer laughable.”

POOPER SCOOPER LAWS Many cities have pooper-scooper laws fining owners if they don’t pick up their dog’s waste. “If you’ve ever stepped in dog doo,” said former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, “you know how important it is to enforce” the Big Apple’s canine waste law. Even if your city doesn’t legally require it — something that doesn’t often happen — picking up your pet’s waste is the responsible thing to do.

PET CUSTODY DISPUTES Divorcing couples generally resolve custody issues of their pets without heading to court. Today, however, that is not always the case. Some people sue to get a pet back after a bitter breakup. If you are getting married, resolving pet custody issues via a prenuptial agreement can be prudent. Don’t think of it as planning to divorce, but rather, a way of protecting you and your pet if married life doesn’t turn out so well. A well-written prenup can get you and your pet out of a potentially challenging time. Pets play an important role in our lives. Their unconditional love (for you and that bag of treats!) is worth defending when you’re in a legal crunch. Just remember that you and your animal companions may have more legal rights than you ever imagined. Joel Zand is responsible for Partnerships and Consumer Content at, and he is the attorney who created

How Cute is Your Pet? Enter your pet in our contest! Submit your pet’s photo at

Dolly and Darlyn — Dolly and Darlyn, our pets. Pomeranian and Main Coon! What a pair...they romp and play. Submitted by Carolyn. Tug — This is our new little boy, Tug. He’s a shipoo and the sweetest little guy. We almost lost him due to low blood sugar, but our local vet saved him just in time. This photo was taken after his first grooming! Submitted by Kathryn





M ARCH 2009 •


Thanks to the growing number of mobile grooming services, caring for your furry friends no longer requires time-consuming, gas-guzzling, stressful visits to the groomer. FULL-SERVICE RIGHT TO YOUR DOORSTEP

Benefits of Mobile Pet Grooming by Anna Gepson


ust like humans, dogs and cats require regular grooming to stay healthy. Without regular bathing, pets are more susceptible to ringworms, mites and other skin conditions, as well as, infections in the nose, mouth, eyes and ears. Matted or unbrushed fur can pull uncomfortably on skin and lead to hot spots; improper nail care can lead to difficulty walking and even early arthritis. Eyes & ears should be cleaned regularly for optimal health. Thanks to the growing number of mobile grooming services, caring for your furry friends no longer requires time-consuming, gas-guzzling, stressful visits to the groomer. 14

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A mobile groomer brings a full-service pet grooming salon right to your doorstep. It’s like a private pet spa on wheels. The mobile salon, filled with professional grooming equipment and operated by a professional groomer, is a great way to help you keep Fido and Fluffy clean and healthy. There are no cages and no other animals, creating a stress-free environment for your pet. Usually, the mobile unit is operated by one groomer, meaning that your pet is handled by the same person from start to finish. This allows the pet to develop a relationship with the groomer and ultimately look forward to being groomed. Wouldn’t it be great if your pet actually enjoyed the grooming process?

Most mobile groomers can provide the same services you would find in a traditional groom shop. They have the tools and expertise to: • Bathe and dry your precious pooch • Perform puppy cuts • Breed clips or shavedowns • Clean eyes and ears • Trim nails and brush teeth

Additional services offered: • Special shampoos • Skin and coat conditioners • De-shedding treatments • Remedies for fleas and ticks.

WHAT IF I HAVE A LARGE DOG? While some can accommodate any size pet (even those over 150 lbs.!), others have weight limits. If you have a very large dog, make sure the groomer can handle him or her.

WHAT IF I HAVE A CAT? Some mobile groomers are even brave enough to groom cats! Mobile grooming is especially good for cats that require sedation in a regular groom shop. In the low-stress environment of a mobile salon, most cats are much more relaxed and will tolerate being bathed and blow-dried, brushed, even shaved with no sedation whatsoever. The groomer can also trim the cat’s claws and clean their ears.

WHAT ABOUT MY OLD PETS? Mobile grooming is an excellent alternative for geriatric pets, as well. Since there are no traumatic car rides or uncomfortable cages, your older pet can benefit from a nice warm bath, blow-dry and brush in the safety of his or her own driveway. If the mobile salon is equipped with windows, the pet can look outside and see their front door, which can be very reassuring.

Happily, with mobile pet grooming services as an increasingly available option for time-strapped consumers, being a pet owner today is truly a dog’s (or cat’s) life. Anna Gepson is the owner/operator of Aussie Pet Mobile. You can reach her by phone at 913-461-9442, by email at or at

HOW DO THEY DO IT? Some mobile groomers operate a state-ofthe-art self-contained unit, complete with its own water and power sources. Others require access to your water and electrical supply, so be sure to ask if you’ll need to provide these services.

WHAT ABOUT SCHEDULING? Appointments are prearranged at a time that suits you. Most mobile groomers work weekends and some work evenings, as well. Many customers set up regular appointments (every third Friday at 9:00 a.m., for example). Once you and your pet are comfortable with the groomer, you can even have your pet groomed while you’re away. Imagine coming home from work or errands to a clean and happy pet… it doesn’t get any more convenient than that! M ARCH 2009 •


Dogs, as many pet owners know, are nonjudgmental animals. They do not seek perfect owners, or in this case, trainers. The dogs are eager to discover what pleases their individual trainers and then do just that.

Riccardo and Duncan — 4 mths. old, wearing his cape.


the Dog Cape

Its mission is to help kids with disabilities assist people with disabilities

by Lea Ann Shearer

“Great dog! What is he being trained for?” is a frequent question trainers hear while on public outings with service dogs. As the director of Paws for Freedom, Inc. (PFF), a service dog nonprofit in Overland Park, KS, I strive to prepare my student trainers and recipients to answer this question. As I tell them before their first public outing, the sight of a person with a dog wearing a cape in public attracts attention!

WHAT IS PFF? PFF is the only service dog program of its kind in the metro area. Its mission is to help kids with disabilities assist people with disabilities. Through a partnership with Horizon Academy, a private school in Roeland Park, KS, eight middle and high school students are learning to train service dogs in an after school club called START (Student Trainer and Retriever Teams). The dogs learn to retrieve items, turn lights on and off and open and close doors. It gen16

MetroPet Magazine M ARCH 2009

Caesar, doing the “nose it” command with the pink/white button — with student trainer Alli P.

erally takes two years to train a service dog. After training, these dogs are placed with people who use wheelchairs.

DOGS GO TO SCHOOL? Horizon Academy is a private school for children with learning disabilities. The dogs go to school for one hour a day, five days a week. Once a week, the dogs go on public outings. Each student trainer is paired with one dog for the school year and is responsible for grooming and training. The student trainers receive animal assisted therapy through training the dogs. Dogs, as many pet owners know, are nonjudgmental animals. They do not seek perfect owners, or in this case, trainers. The dogs are eager to discover what pleases their

Group picture from June graduation. L-R — Hannah Glidewell, Libby Lunn, Allie, Julie Lunn, Ted Lunn, Lea Ann Shearer.

service dog is three to five years. The START Club allows me to have twice the number of dogs in training at one time. Ultimately, the wait list time for one of my service dogs is shortened. As one recipient described her service dog, a female lab named Fonda, in a letter to PFF, “She is my right hand and my friend. She gives me freedom.”

WHAT ARE IN THE PLANS TO COME? Student trainer Chris H. and his assigned dog, Cruiser

individual trainers and then do just that. They never tire of receiving praise, whether it is verbal, tactile, edible or all of the above! The student trainers’ communication skills and self-esteem improve throughout each school year. They also obtain important skills for future employment, such as dependability, consistency and following directions.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE PARTNERSHIP? Having the student trainers involved is a great help to my nonprofit. At first, one might think that they are the main group receiving the benefits of this partnership. This is true, but it is not the only purpose of the partnership. The national average wait list time for a person who needs a

Currently, PFF plans to graduate three service dogs in early summer 2009. PFF will have its fourth anniversary in February, 2009 and is actively seeking potential applicants for its service dogs. Through our volunteer program, presentations, START Club and website, awareness of my young program’s existence is growing. If you know of a person who might benefit from a service dog or has expressed interest in obtaining a service dog, please have him or her contact PFF. Whether your dog is your pet, your service dog or a service dog in training, what the dog gives you is truly immeasurable. Lea Ann Shearer, is the Director for Paws for Freedom, Inc. She can be reached at Paws For Freedom at (913) 9019400 or email: M ARCH 2009 •


but they do when the same employee requests time off after the death of a loyal pet companion. Don’t misunderstand. The loss of a beloved aunt merits workplace understanding and accommodation, but workplace policies and practices don’t reflect the reality that pets are family.


Pet Loss

in the Work Place

by Anita Larson


he evidence is all around us. Given the statistics in the chart below, it’s no surprise that nannies, daycares, spas, memorial centers and other businesses are popping up across the nation to exclusively serve the needs of our pets. Pet owners are “pet parents.” Pets are our children. Why haven’t employment practices kept up with the times? No one blinks an eye when an employee takes time off after the death of an aunt he sees three times a year,


When a precious pet passes on, a pet parent goes through the same stages of grief that she would go through after the loss of a human family member or close friend. Although there are many stages of grief and not everyone experiences them all or in the same order, frequently a pet parent will experience feelings of denial, anger, guilt, and depression. Grief is a very personal process. Regardless of the stages of grief a pet parent experiences or the length of the grieving process, the loss of a beloved pet is devastating. It is physically and emotionally draining.

GRIEF IS MONEY Grief is a costly in the work place. As Russell Freidman, co-director of the Grief Recovery Institute, notes “When your heart is broken, your head doesn’t work right.” Researchers at the Grief Recovery Institute once estimated that the minimum annual loss for U.S. businesses in productivity and on-the-job errors resulting from the death of a loved one is nearly $38 billion. The institute estimated an annual loss of $2.4 billion related to pet loss. This estimate seems low, but assuming it’s correct, dealing with an employee’s loss of a beloved pet in the workplace is a very important matter.


Pet Parents That…


Call themselves mom or dad


Celebrate pet’s birthday


Wrap their pet’s gifts

A business’s most valuable assets are its human assets. If pets are vitally important to your employees, what steps should employers and co-workers take when an employee loses a beloved pet? Here are a few to consider.


Sleep with pet

Never minimize the loss


Carry wallet photos of their pet


Have taken time off to be with sick pet


Admit to breaking off a romance due to a pet dispute

Be careful not to say “it’s just a pet”, it’s not. Such a reaction deepens the feelings of isolation and loss the pet parent is experiencing, and may create long term resentment on the behalf of the employee toward the employer. You should treat

MetroPet Magazine M ARCH 2009

the loss as the loss of a family member or close friend. Also, you should keep in mind that, unlike in the case of a human family member, a pet parent may have had to make the heart wrenching decision to have her baby euthanized. Even though this was the most loving decision, the pet parent may be experiencing

Pets are our children. Why haven’t employment practices kept up with the times? heightened feelings of guilt.

Actively listen Active listening means you stop emailing, ask the pet parent to have a seat, let her talk and really listen. When you speak, try to paraphrase what the grieving pet parent has said. Ask questions using “who,” “what,” “where,” and “how.” If the pet parent is not ready to open up, don’t force it.

Don’t avoid the pet parent Often people are uncomfortable with grief.

We don’t know what to say, so we avoid the person. Unfortunately, this only leads to feelings of further isolation and loss. If you don’t know what to say, just say that you are sorry about their loss and that you know they loved their pet dearly. You can admit that you don’t know where to begin to find the right words to express how sorry you are. Don’t say that you know exactly how the pet parent feels. No one can ever be sure how someone else feels. Finally, if you can’t talk to the pet parent, a handwritten note can be very comforting and supportive.

Don’t put a timeline on the process Often people place a time limit on how long they believe the grieving process should take. It’s different for everyone. There is no typical process or time limit. Don’t adopt a “snap out of it” attitude after a certain period of time. Patience, understanding and support are your best tools in helping a grieving pet parent.

Offer help Many people take food to a co-worker who has lost a family member or friend. When appropriate, do the same upon the loss of a pet. If a pet parent is having a difficult time, suggest grief resources. Your local pet memorial center is likely to have information on pet grief. They may also have a grief counselor on staff or sponsor a pet loss support group. Your workplace may have an Employee Assistance Program. If it will help, get the EAP contact information and provide it to the pet parent.

Offer bereavement leave Not all pet parents want to take time off work after a beloved pet passes on. In

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fact, some pet parents may want to work more to distract them from their loss. Some will experience grief in a way that reduces their productivity, increases errors, and makes it difficult for them to even go through the motions. Grief can manifest itself physically, too, such as through headaches and insomnia. Giving a grieving pet parent bereavement leave could save a business owner money through the avoidance of costly errors and could win long-term loyalty. If an employer worries employees will abuse the policy, there are frequently supporting documents. A receipt from a vet or a certificate of cremation or passing from a pet memorial center can provide support. Employers should not be overly suspicious or demanding. The statistics shown earlier in this article demonstrate that pets are truly members of the family. The following are some additional suggestions based upon an article published by Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS, in 2002 and posted on the website of The University of Houston-Downtown


MetroPet Magazine M ARCH 2009

EXPECT TEARS AND SADNESS • Expect to listen to the same story again and again. • Respect the pet parent’s desire for privacy, if indicated. • Include the pet parent in social plans if you have in the past. He can accept or decline. • Be willing to accept less than the employee’s best performance for a reasonable period. • Don’t judge how the pet parent grieves. Just remember that pets are children to many of us. A pet parent’s grief is not feigned, it’s real. Be sensitive, understanding and supportive! Anita Larson is co-founder of Precious Pets Memorial Center™ a premier provider of compassionate pet cremation services and memorialization merchandise located in Overland Park, KS. Anita is a graduate of the KU and proud mom of two Yorkies, Spanky and Alfalfa. A hobby writer, Anita’s articles have been published in national and international publications. She can be reached at 913-685-PETS (7387). For more details visit

Chip’s Corner

Oh, No! Puzzle Pooch P UZZLE P OOCH

FELL TO PIECES WHEN HE LEARNED HE WAS GOING TO MEET SOMEONE NEW ! Help put him back together again by drawing his ears, eyes, mouth, legs, and tail to create: 1. An anxious dog who is scared of you. 2. An angry dog who is dangerous for you to be around. 3. A friendly dog who is happy to meet you.




Read the article “Don't Whisper; Translate!” and discuss it with your parents if you need help!

Thanks to Dog 101 Productions & Sharon Woodrum of Personable Pets

M ARCH 2009 •


Don’t Whisper


by Suezanne Law

And soon he will beckon you outside to seize these sunny days.


an you smell it? Rain swelling the breeze; the quickening of seeds beneath the soil; the citrus scent of the sun? Spring is here, and whether or not your nose knows, your dog’s proboscis is all aquiver. And soon he will beckon you outside to seize these sunny days. You know the signs: the gentle nudging of your hand as you sit before the computer screen; a whine both plaintive and inviting; the wistful look, faraway and yet intimate as he wills you to put on your shoes and just go. In fact, many of us know our own dogs’ communication signals as well as we know the mannerisms of our human loved-ones. But understanding the broader aspects of the canine vocabulary can help us not only to communicate more effectively with our four-legged friends, but to stay safer when we are faced with an unfamiliar dog. And with an estimated 70 million dogs living in America, many of whom will also be out and about this spring, communicating well and keeping out of harm’s way is essential.

TELL ME WHAT YOU REALLY THINK Humans and dogs are different creatures, from different cultures, and they speak very different languages. While most human communication is built on a language of words, dogs communicate almost entirely with body language. Just like any other language, communicating well with dogs depends on your understanding of the most important aspects of the canine vocabulary.

A dog’s body language can tell you • What he is feeling at that moment • What he is inclined to do next • How you need to proceed to remain safer while interacting with him Common dog body language can be broken down into three main categories: relaxed dogs, anxious 22

MetroPet Magazine M ARCH 2009

dogs, and threatening dogs. While you will almost always be safe interacting with a relaxed dog, and threatening dogs are often clearly dangerous, interaction with anxious dogs poses the greatest risk due to our tendency to misunderstand and disregard the dog’s communication signals. It is essential, then, to bone up on your canine vocabulary. What follows is certainly not a complete doggy dictionary. Rather it should be thought of as a phrasebook for the canine tourist; but these simple tools will at least help get your interspecies conversation started.

A PICTURE — WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS When we communicate with other humans, we take into account their words, but also how they use those words, the tone and volume in which they speak, plus the nonverbal signals they give us their body language and facial expressions. Those five different types of communication signals tell us more about what the other person is saying than their words alone could ever convey.

Wanna Go? What: Puzzle Pooch dog body-language classes

and workshops are available for children and adults. Who:

Personable Pets Inc. Dog Training and Sympawtico Dog Training, LLC

When: Tuesday, April 7, 6:30 — 7:30 p.m. at

Tails R’ Waggin, by Personable Pets Inc. Dog Training. Cost is $10 per person, children 8 and under FREE!) Wednesday, May 13, 7:00 — 8:30 p.m. at the Sympawtico Studio in Lenexa, by Sympawtico Dog Training, LLC. Cost is May 13 $25 per family (up to four kids) For More Details: Visit or

Pre-registration is required.

We can also focus on the five most important signals they use to communicate • Muscle tension you observe in a dog’s body, along with his overall body posture: whether he is standing neutral, pushing away from you, or thrusting forward • Carriage of the dog’s tail: neutral and relaxed, tightly tucked, or high and tense • How the dog is holding his mouth: open and loose, clamped tightly shut, or puckered with teeth showing • The look of the dog’s eyes: soft and squinty, wide with fear, or direct, intent, and hard • The set of the dog’s ears: neutral and floppy, pinned low to the sides of his head, or high and alert. These signals will help you to determine whether the dog you are facing is relaxed, anxious, or threatening.

THE CASUAL CANINE Many of the dogs you will meet are relaxed and M ARCH 2009 •


greet the world with an easy confidence. They appear comfortable and happy, and their behavior is usually not at odds with human safety.

Communication signals of relaxed dogs include • An open, relaxed mouth • Soft eyes, coy eye contact • Neutral, relaxed ears • A relaxed body • Neutral posture, loose tail Though all dogs have teeth, and any dog can bite, relaxed dogs are less likely than either anxious or threatening dogs to bite first and ask questions later. Take care and be polite, but enjoy your interactions with these fun-loving ambassadors to canine culture.

THE CONCERNED CANINE Whether because of biology or experience, some dogs view the world as a dangerous place. Strangers, sudden movement, or unfamiliar noises can send these panicky pooches into a literal tail-spin.

To avoid conflict with anxious dogs keep an eye out for these body language signals • A tightly closed mouth, snake-like lip-licking, or uncontrollable yawning • Wide, fearful eyes, minimal eye contact; ears pinned flat to the sides of the dog’s head, worry wrinkles • A stiff, tense body • Lowered or pushed-back posture, tucked tail Not every anxious dog will show every one of these signals — but if you see a dog display even one sign of stress, that is a clue to how he’s feeling, and you would be wise to step back for a moment and assess the situation. Important: Most dog bites come from dogs who are fearful, rather than dogs who are angry, so it’s essential that you take the time to notice the anxious signals a dog may be giving you and behave appropriately to remain safe.

THE COMBATIVE CANINE Some dogs are just plain dangerous. Usually you can spot them, but sometimes their aggression seems to come out of the blue.

Avoid dogs who display any of the following warning signs • Puckered lips, a show of teeth • Direct, hard eye contact or whale-eye (a gaze in which a large crescent of the white of the eye is present) • Erect, controlled ears • A body, neck, and face that are stiff and tense • Forward posture, high or controlled tail Once again, a threatening dog may not display all of these signs at once, but any one of the signals should give you pause. The dog is communicating with you — it is wise to listen to what he has to say so that he doesn’t have to use his teeth to make sure you understand. Suezanne M. Law is a caninehuman relationship counselor and accredited dog trainer. She opened Sympawtico Dog Training, LLC to better tailor her training curriculum to the needs of her community. Visit her at


MetroPet Magazine M ARCH 2009

Ask the Vet by Michelle Chappell, DVM, CVA

Q. A.

How soon should I begin flea prevention — what options do I have? Fleas may already be a problem in households where the fleas have “over-wintered” on the cat or dog. I saw an indoor cat today loaded with fleas — probably a couple brought in on the owners shoe got them started. We started that cat on a new medication called Comfortis. It is a chewable tablet that can be crushed and given with food and kills fleas withing 15-30 minutes and lasts a whole month! I used this last summer when two other topical flea products didn’t work for my 4-legged kids, and was amazed at the results. I also like the fact that Comfortis won a “green chemistry” award (it is a byproduct of rum distillation — go figure!). You can reach Dr. Michelle Chappell, at Mariposa Veterinary Center by calling 913-825-3330 or by visiting

Red Cross First Aid & CPR American Red Cross First Aid/CPR Training Dogs and Cats March, 2009

Sunday, March 8 10:00am to 3:00pm

Sunday, March 22 10:00am to 3:00pm Location: Barkville Pet Boutique Cost: $40 per person. Please register in advance. For information contact Sarah Dixon at 816-527-8087 or Diana Park at 816-452-6267 (Dates and times subject to change.) M ARCH 2009 •


Feline Signs Pisces (Feb. 19 - Mar. 20) The Ship’s Cat This feline is extraordinarily sensitive to those with whom he or she lives, sharing their innermost problems. Many Pisces Cats are psychic, instinctively aware in advance of what owners are going to do and will quickly become scarce if the anticipated activity is something unpleasant... such as a worming pill or a dose of de-fleaing.

Gemini (May 21 - June 21)

Leo (July 23 - Aug. 22)

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof Problems often surface when this cat is expected to do something that they do not want to do... like staying in at night. Under such circumstances, the Gemini Cat will respond by collapsing in a heap of nervous exhaustion, refusing to move and expecting to be waited on hand-and-paw until the restriction is lifted.

The Top Cat A born entertainer, the Leo Cat will charm company, wrapping around a favored person’s leg before leaping into his or her arms without warning. Provided an owner can keep up his or her end and show that the pretence of this feline may be penetrated to reveal the cuddly inner-cat then, as a friend, there will be none better than the Leo Cat.

Cancer (June 22 - July 22) The Crazy Cat In a somewhat distant type of way, the Cancer Cat can be a loving creature to anyone who is around long enough and up late enough to get to see him or her on occasion. Akin to ships that pass in the night, an owner will pick up on dim signals that indicate the Cancer Cat considers his or her human as more than just a stranger.


MetroPet Magazine M ARCH 2009

Virgo (Aug. 23 - Sept. 22) The Kitten Cat This feline is fanatical about keeping clean and may spend more time preening than any other cat in the Zodiac. There are times when the Virgo Cat tends to drive their owner to the point of distraction, but banishment to the garden might ease the situation somewhat.

Libra (Sept. 23 - Oct. 22) The Copy-Cat With a Libra Cat in an owner’s lap (this feline's most stategic vantage point), there will be little or nothing an owner can get away with and privacy will be a thing of the past. This cat wants to be close to his or her owner all day, every day... watching, learning, thinking and copying.

Scorpio (Oct. 23 - Nov. 21) The Cat’s Pajamas This feline is deeply intuitive of others where feelings are concerned, possessing the gift of empathy, and the ability to read emotions. This feline senses when an owner desires companionship and when they would rather be left alone.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 21) The Stable Cat This feline be a mixture of fact and fantasy, unable to tell the difference between the two. He or she may be a cat today and a horse tomorrow... or even a dog the day after that. It will be the responsbility of the owner to sort out this confusion since the Sagittarius Cat will be even more befuddled than his or her human.

Capricorn (Dec. 22 - Jan 20) The Cat Burglar The Capricorn Cat is frequently frightened by things that do not normally both-

er other cats...shadows on the wall, the dark or high places, for example. In fact, it is likely that this feline feels most secure when sleeping under the bed or tucked behind shoes in a closet.

Aquarius (Jan. 21 - Feb. 18) The Hip Cat The tendency to be aloof is a quality often associated with the Sign of Aquarius, but there will be occasions when this feline becomes worried that the owner may not continue to provide if they don’t appear more dependent upon human generosity, and any owner should make the most of it when the Aquarius Cat comes down to play and amuse.

Aries (Mar. 21 - Apr. 19) The Stray Cat During the holidays when this cat decides to hang around, the owner will find shredded curtains, snagged clothing and upholstery, and dents in all the cushions. This will leave an owner with plenty of clearing up to do until the Aries Cat decides to drop by again.

Taurus (April 20 - May 20) The Earth Mother Laid-back, calm, tolerant and near impossible to ruffle, this feline could be described by some as boring and dogmatic. On the other hand, some believe that being around a Taurus Cat can lower blood pressure, cure migraines and add years to the life of an owner.

M ARCH 2009 •


5th Annual

KC PetApril Expo 18 & 19

More than 10,000 dogs are expected to participate in the DockDogs competitions in 2009. DockDogs events are broadcast on ESPN and its affiliates. by Pat Riha


he Kansas City Pet Expo celebrates its fifth anniversary this year on April 18 & 19 at the American Royal Center. In addition to the more than 60 non-profit rescue organizations and breed clubs, 100+ commercial vendors are expected to showcase products and services for pets and pet owners. The Pet Expo is presented by No More Homeless Pets KC, and benefits area animal shelters including Animal Haven, KC Animal Health & Publilc Safety, the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City, and Wayside Waifs.

Highlighting this year’s entertainment and educational programs are: • The DockDogs ® National Dock Diving Championship (Zone Qualifier), with more than 150 teams participating. • A regional Fly Ball Tournament sponsored by the 28

MetroPet Magazine M ARCH 2009

Tractor Supply Company and hosted by the Omaha 4-Play Fly Ball Club. • “Reptiles Up Close & Personal” a stage program and exhibition of reptiles by David Nieves. • A canine fashion show presented by K9 closet. • Acro-Cats — the multi-talented acrobatic and musically felines. This group had standing room only crowds last year!

Wanna Go? What:

5th Annual Kansas City Pet Expo


The KC Pet Expo was founded in 2005 by consumer tradeshow producers Patrick and Kate Riha.


April 18 & 19 2009

Where: American Royal Center Cost:

More than 10,000 dogs are expected to participate in the DockDogs competitions in 2009. Many of the DockDogs events are broadcast on ESPN and its affiliates, often drawing a larger viewing audience than “people” sports. For more information on DockDogs go to Pat and Kate Riha own Pat Riha Productions, a marketing and production company. This company produces a wide variety of events including the Metropolitan Lawn and Garden Show, the Mid-America RV Show, the Mid-America Boat Show and the KC Pet Expo. The 2005 Kansas City Pet Expo was selected by EXPO Magazine as the Best New Show, Consumer Show category. This years show will be held at the American Royal Center. It celebrates the joy pets bring to our lives and our responsibilities to our pets.

$8.50 for adults, $6.00 for children 6 - 12 years of age; children 5 and under are free.

Details: Visit or call

816-931-4686 A $1 discount per ticket is available with a Price Chopper Shopper Card.

• Dog Agility demonstrations coordinated by Dog Obedience Group.

Celebrating 5 Years! The KC Pet Expo was founded in 2005 by consumer tradeshow producers Patrick and Kate Riha. As owners of two rescued shelter dogs, it was their goal to produce the Midwest’s largest pet event for the purpose of educating people about the various animals commonly adopted as pets, their healthcare and welfare. The motive behind the Pet Expo is to educate the public in making better informed decision in selecting a pet so that fewer pets end up in shelters or with rescue organizations.

Dock Dogs Fly The Zone Qualifier DockDogs Tournament at the KC Pet Expo will be the area’s first regional qualifying event for the National Championships later this year in three events: • Big Air: dogs race down a “dock” and leap after a tossed float. In simple terms, the dog that goes the farthest in the air wins! • Extreme Vertical: As in Big Air, the dogs leap off the dock, but in this case they are going for the highest leap. • Speed Retrieve: this event is about timing. How long does it take a competitor to get to a “decoy” and return it to the dock? The fastest dog wins. M ARCH 2009 •


Q. W



Let’s start with a better understanding of what protein really means. There are many types of proteins — structural (hair, skin), transport (blood), and contractile (muscle tissues). Proteins are composed of different arrangements of twenty different amino acids. Amino acids are the structural units of protein. Imagine a pearl necklace. The pearls on the necklace are amino acids. The amino acids are strung together by a peptide bond (i.e. the necklace string), creating a protein. Each pearl or amino acid has its own specific function. An example of an amino acid is Tryptophan (found in meat sources like turkey). Tryptophan is a precursor of niacin in dogs and the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin. Dogs and cats have a dietary requirement of ten essential amino acids, plus cats have a specific requirement for the amino acid taurine. Essential means that the body cannot make these amino acids on its own; therefore to properly function, the essential amino acids must come from the pet’s diet. Note that if one of the essential amino acids is deficient in amount, it is possible to combine two other incomplete amino acid sources to obtain the proper quantity of amino acids.

Q. S , W O

Evaluate Your Pet’s Food by Sarah Dixon


e’ve all seen the flashy commercials and colorful advertisements where pet food companies are showing off the fresh cuts of meat in their product. They highlight the meat because meat is important to our pets, especially our cats since they require animal tissue to deliver vital nutrients and fatty acids. But how much fresh meat, and more importantly, how much animal protein is actually in pet foods? We’ve all heard about protein and we’ve been given advice by professionals, our friends, and neighbors about how much protein a dog or cat should or should not have. We’ve read the back of the bag of pet food and most of us have discovered that next to crude protein, there is a figure of 24%, or 18%, or even 42% in a high-protein diet. Why the variation between pet foods? What does it mean to the health of our pets? These are common questions that I receive about this misunderstood nutrient. 30

MetroPet Magazine M ARCH 2009



In commercial pet foods, there are two common sources of amino acids (i.e. protein): animal protein and plant protein. I often speak on the importance of animal tissue as the main ingredient in pet food. It is a well known fact, biologically speaking, that animal tissues supply a more complete source of the essential and nonessential amino acids. In fact, the egg white is the gold standard used to compare all other protein source’s biological value (composition of amino acids). The egg white contains all essential amino acids in the right balance. Milk and animal meats (chicken, fish, and beef) are high in biological value, whereas oats, soy, corn, wheat, corn gluten and wheat gluten are deficient in one or more amino acids. Many pet food companies use cheaper sources of proteins like wheat-gluten, soy protein and corn-gluten as their main protein source. These proteins are deficient some essential amino acids such as tryptophan, lysine and methionine. To make up for this deficiency and provide a balanced amino acid profile, they combine the plant protein with animal tissue protein. So the food has all the essential amino acids — right? Well, technically speaking, yes two protein sources can be combined in the recipe to supply the essential amino acids. However,

there is an issue of digestibility. The plant sources corn-gluten and wheat-gluten are foundationally a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates require specific digestive enzymes (more proteins) to break down and become useable for the body. Cats, Consulting. PFNC’s mission is to educate pet owners about pet our obligate foods, diet, health, and nutrition. carnivores, Sarah has over seven years of indeDiet is the one factor of health do not research in the pet food that we can control for our pets. pendent metabolize industry, including four years of onecarbohyon-one consulting. Sarah enjoys drates efficiently. Dogs have a better capacity for carbohydrate working with pet owners and businesses about pet nutrition. She can be reached at digestion, but there are reports of dogs that are intolerant of or visit her website at wheat and corn products. If proper digestion does not take place, then the nutritional value to the body is diminished. This trade-off made by pet food companies that include vegetable proteins produce a food that can be labeled as having a sufficient amount of protein, but it is a food that potentially has poor digestibility.

CRUDE PROTEIN Pet food labels report a guaranteed minimum crude protein. Crude protein estimates the total protein content of a food. When measuring crude protein, the nitrogen content of a food sample is determined. Since proteins contain 16% nitrogen on average, the nitrogen value is multiplied by a factor to calculate the crude protein content of the food. Since crude protein level includes both true protein (amino acids) and non protein nitrogen, it does not provide information regarding the quality or availability of the protein in a particular food. Therefore it is important to keep in mind that when you are reviewing pet food labels for protein content, you are only reviewing a crude protein content calculation, not that food’s protein quality or availability.

HEALTHY EATING FOR HEALTHY PETS Diet is the one factor of health that we can control for our pets. You can learn more about your pet’s food by contacting the pet food manufacturer and requesting the nutritional analysis of the formula that you are feeding. The nutritional analysis will provide information about the nutritional value (amino acids) and the digestibility of your pet’s food. It is my hope this article provides you with motivation to review your pet’s food for the type of protein source used and that you open a dialog with your veterinarian about the subject related to protein quality and quantity. Consult your veterinarian before making any dietary changes for your pets. Sarah Dixon is the founder of Pet Food & Nutrition M ARCH 2009 •


Celebrate the Green by Going Green with Your Pets

by Pat Hennessy


t’s time to put on that green sweater or shamrock pin and become Irish for a day in celebration of the patron saint who brought Christianity to Ireland (even though most people think it’s about leprechauns with pots of gold or sending the snakes out to sea). While we are wearing our green with pride we can actually become green and take pride in caring for our planet. And our companion animals can come along for the ride.

(bacteria, mold, fungus, radon, etc.), not to mention typical household pollutants (dust, pet dander, smoke, etc.). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cited that indoor air can be up to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air and it is 1000 times more likely to reach your lungs than outdoor pollution. One way FRIENDLY PRODUCTS FOR THE to combat those chemiEARTH AND YOUR PETS is to use a good air While we are wearing our green cals We know using environmentally friendly purifier, one that actualproducts is better for the Earth, but it is also with pride we can actually ly eliminates the pollubetter for us and our furry and feathered Remember that become green and take pride in tants. friends as well. You can start your green jouryour pet’s lungs are caring for our planet. ney by taking a look inside your home for much smaller and dealhealthy improvements. ing with the same amount of pollution, so Take a good look at the cleaning products you would not only be helping yourself you you use. Are the ingredients safe for the environment and are they safe for you and would be helping your pets tremendously. An air your pets? Many products have harsh chemicals that produce strong fumes, are hard purifier can be especially helpful if you have cats on our skin, and not as effective as natural products at reducing bacteria and or birds, due to the dander and dust that accudeodorizing. You may like your carpet or tile cleaners, but are the ingredients safe? mulates and the associated allergies that follow. Remember that your pets are on the floor and they are absorbing, or even licking, those chemicals. After thoroughly going through your home to make environmental improvements, you need to Other products that you want to look at for pet friendly (and environmentally turn your attention outside the home. friendly) ingredients are pet shampoos and flea repellants. There are safe and natural products available that are effective and reduce your pet’s exposure to harmful chemicals that can cause skin irritation or contribute to other health issues. ARE YOUR LAWN PRODUCTS SAFE?

TAKE A FRESH BREATH Another aspect of your in-home environment is the air you breathe. Air pollution is not just an outdoor issue. There are many harmful pollutants in your home 32

MetroPet Magazine M ARCH 2009

You must be very cautious when selecting products for your lawn. Many of the products to kill weeds can be harmful to your pets. Ignore the picture on the front of the bag with the children and a dog playing on a beautiful lawn and

read the ingredients or the fine print instead. Some bags will say pet-friendly, but in smaller print it says to keep pets off of areas where the product is used, for several hours up to a couple of days. You may think your pets will be safe by keeping them off the lawn for a bit but remember dogs like to eat grass, especially the early spring sprouts, and grass that has been treated can be harmful. You may think it is good for the lawn to leave pet waste as fertilizer, but it is actually better for the environment and your companion animals if you remove it. Feces contain bacteria that create a breeding ground for fleas, so getting rid of it reduces at least one source of flea habitat. The bacteria in feces travel through the rain run-off process and end up in natural (unfiltered) water sources, such as streams and lakes, where it decomposes using up oxygen. During the warmer months the low oxygen levels, combined with the ammonia output, can kill fish. We can’t really pick up after wildlife, but we can clean up after our animal companions.

Last but not least, if you don’t think you’ve done enough with your pets, you can also help wildlife on your quest to be Earth friendly. Next time you have some stale bread or left over pizza crust or biscuits, crumble it up and scatter it around a tree. The birds and squirrels will love it and it’s better than just throwing it in the trash. While you are celebrating the day of the Irish, wearing your green, eating or drinking green, remember to “be” green the rest of the year. When you think of all the ways that our Earth benefits us: the water, the minerals, For your dog, sniffing a the air that we breath, and beauty to take that breath tree is like you reading the away — it is a bountiful gift. the newspaper... It is a small effort on our part to give back to our HELP YOUR LOCAL SHELTERS Mother Earth. Following St. Patrick’s Day, April brings us Earth Day (a day to celebrate Pat Hennessy, is the founder of N2paws, LLC, cleaning up the planet). If you want to celebrate Earth Day on behalf of com- an organization that provides companion anipanion animals, one way is to take your newspapers and cardboard flats to mal care through behavior education, energy your local animal shelter. They use the newspapers to line cages and crates work, and positive training methods. Pat is a and they use the cardboard flats for litter trays. If you have unused or slight- certified TTouch Practitioner, CPDT, and memly used bowls, beds, collars, leashes or toys, you can donate them as well. ber of the IAABC, IAATH, and AWA. You may conAs an extra gesture, you could save up your aluminum cans for a month, tact N2Paws via email, cash them in and donate the money to your local shelter when you take the phone 816-522-7005, or visit the website newspapers. You not only recycle, but you help homeless animals until they can find a new family.

STILL FEELING “GREEN”? If you are still feeling “green” and have a green thumb, do some planting to give back to the Earth. A vegetable garden is very rewarding because not only is it home-grown, but it provides healthy options for you and your pets (but be careful which vegetables they consume). If you have room you can plant a tree. Your dog will enjoy that — if it’s close to the house it could be a lovely shade tree, if it’s close to the street it could be an information gathering spot (like people standing around a water cooler). For your dog, sniffing a tree is like you reading the newspaper; they gather information about every animal that came by and left its mark (and it will prompt your dog to leave his mark for the next guy to read) M ARCH 2009 •


Upcoming Events Egg-Stravaganza Sunday, April 5 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. Sponsored by:

Woof’s Play & Stay Precious Pets Memorial Center For more info call 913-403-WOOF or 913-685-PETS.

Saturday, March 14 7:00 - 11:00 p.m.

Boulevard Brewery 2501 Southwest Boulevard, KCMO For more info contact Alexandra at 913-742-7307 or visit

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ADVERTISER INDEX Aussie Pet Mobile • Pg. 15 Bark Busters • Pg. 9 Brookside Pet Concierge • Pg. 21 Camp Bow Wow Olathe • Pg. 33 ChemDry • Pg. 19 Dog’s World of Fun • Inside Front Cover Heart of America Invisible Fence 816.941.7700 • 913.722.9948 • Pg. 5 Invisible Fence of Kansas City • Pg. 13 Homestead Pet Resort and Spa • Pg. 17 K9-Instincts • Pg. 19 Lee’s Summit Subaru • Pg. 20 Mariposa Veterinary Center • Pg. 9 N2 Paws • Inside Front Cover Pet Expo • Pg. 26 Pet Food and Nutrition Consulting • Pg. 29 Pete And Mac’s • Back Cover

Precious Pets Memorial Center • Inside Back Cover ROI Marketing Services 816.942.1600 • Pg. 25 Scoopy the Poo • Pg. 11 Stinkies • Pg. 24 Sydney’s Pet Spa • Pg. 31 Sympawtico • Pg. 7 Tails R’ Waggin • Pg. 23 Woof ’s Play and Stay • Inside Back Cover

Mail To: MetroPet PO Box 480065 • Kansas City, MO 64148 34

MetroPet Magazine M ARCH 2009

Wilks Radio Group KMXV-FM, Mix 93.3 • • Pg. 8, 27 KFKF-FM, 94.1 • • Pg. 8, 27 KCKC-FM 102.1 • • Pg. 8, 27 KBEQ-FM 104.3 • • Pg. 8, 27

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I-35 Frontage Rd

7,000 sq ft Outdoor Play

Bring your dog to Egg-Stravaganza Sunday, April 5th • 1:30-4:00pm 6465 E. Frontage Rd • Merriam, Kansas 66202 • 913-403-WOOF (9663)

Ready For a New “Do”?

$10 Off

Any “Had it up to Hair?” Shed Reduction Process Offer Expires 3/31/09

Coat Conditionings


With any professional grooming service Offer Expires 3/31/09

Ha iit Had Up to U Hair?

Shed Reduction Process Spaw Menu: • Full Grooms • Bath & Brushes • Shed Reducing Spaw Treatment

A La Carte Menu: • Tooth Brushings • Pet-icures • Ears Cleaned • Special Shampoos & Conditioners • Nail Trims

866-PETEMAC ★ PETEMAC.COM Lee’s Summit ★ 600 NE Pavestone ★ 816-246-1116 Northland (KC) ★ 5860 NW Prairie View Rd ★ 816-587-3900 Lenexa ★ 8809 Monrovia ★ 913-888-8889 Please present coupon to recieve discount. Cannot be combined with any other offer.

Metro Pet Magazine March Issue  
Metro Pet Magazine March Issue  

Metro Pet Magazine March Issue