Pet News

Shannon Johnstone's Landfill Dogs


By Dana Pinney


Each week for over 18 months now, photographer Shannon Johnstone has been bringing one dog from the county animal shelter and photographing him or her at Landfill Park in North Raleigh. These photographs offer a last opportunity for these dogs to find homes. She uses the landfill as a backdrop because most people don't realize that it is managed by the same government division as the animal shelter. Shannonsaid, "I think photographing here at the landfill sends a powerful message about how we as a society view homeless cats and dogs. If the animals don't find a home, they will end up euthanized and buried in a landfill.”


In March, Shannon photographed Winnie as a Landfill dog. A few days later, Winnie entered the Wags 4 Tags program and Veteran Lewis adopted her!



Shannon said, "I think Wags 4 Tags is such a wonderful program because of the give and take. The dogs mirror back a sense of belonging, loyalty and love. It is something we are all looking for in this world and I am thankful to Wags 4 Tags for taking a chance on the most overlooked dogs in our community for this program. To heal and to be healed -- there is nothing more beautiful."


Thank you Shannon for your generous heart and your beautiful photographs that capture not only the tender spirit of the dogs, but the humanity and hope you share behind the lens.


For additional information about the Landfill Dogs project and to view Shannon’s photographs, visit her website here.

Pets Have Teeth Too! 


By Carol Roberts, VCA Animal Hospital


Did you know that periodontal disease is the most prevalent disease threatening the health of dogs and cats? Bacteria, common in your pet’s mouth, can actually travel to his heart, liver and kidneys and cause life-threatening infections. More than 80% of pets three years and older have some degree of periodontal disease. Even if your pet shows no signs of trouble he could be at risk. Early warning signs of periodontal disease include: Bad breath, yellow/brown crust around gum line and bleeding gums. If not treated, these conditions can progress to pawing at mouth, changes in chewing or eating habits, tooth loss, subdued behavior and excessive drooling. Dental exams should be a part of your pet’s yearly physical. If you suspect your pet has periodontal disease contact your veterinarian for an examination.

Heartworm Disease Prevention 


By Kelly Barker, DVM, Guilford Jamestown Veterinary Hospital

Full-length article here at Triad Happy Tails Magazine

Heartworm disease CAN be prevented.  In my quest to provide the best medical/preventative care, I have come to realize that many pet owners don’t understand how heartworm disease occurs, therefore fail to understand how easily this disease can be prevented.  

How does the heartworm cycle begin?

The formation of heartworms in the lung vessels of your pet takes 7-9 months and begins when a mosquito becomes infected while taking a blood meal from an animal that has already developed heartworm disease (usually canines).  That same mosquito then bite your pet and injects the baby heartworms (larvae) into its body.  The larvae travel through the body until they reach the vessels around the lungs.  Here they camp out and grow until they take up all the space in the lung vessels and spread out into the heart.  At this point, your pet may be showing symptoms of heartworm disease (coughing, exercise intolerance, difficulty breathing when excited).  REMEMBER this takes 7-9 months!

So why is prevention important?

If your pet is taking his/her monthly heartworm prevention or receiving an injection of ProHeart every 6 months, and gets bit by that pesky little infected mosquito, the prevention will kill all of the larvae that might be circulating at that time.  Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent your pet from getting bitten by the mosquito, so it is VERY important to give monthly or biannual heartworm medication.  A yearly heartworm test is ALWAYS recommended to make sure your heartworm medication is working properly. 

But Doc, my pet lives in the city and doesn’t go outside much.

Whether you live in the city, mountains or rural areas, none are FREE from mosquitos, no matter how careful you think you are.  

For more information on types of heartworm prevention available or if you have additional questions about heartworm disease, please contact Guilford Jamestown Veterinary Hospital or your local veterinary clinic.


Five Foods You Should Feed Your Dog -  Naturally!

Do you feed your dog raw food?  Kibble?  Cooked or dehydrated food?  A mixture of more than one?  Regardless of what you feed, it’s always a good idea to take a step back every now and again and decide whether your dog could use a little nutrition boost.  Sound nutrition is the first step in providing a healthier lifestyle for your dog, so let food by thy medicine!  Here are five healthy food items you might want to add to your dog’s diet.


Green Tripe

Green tripe is truly a superfood that no dog should be without! Tripe is loaded with naturally occurring digestive enzymes and probiotics. Think how much money you can spend on supplements when those same wonderful, natural substances are in abundance in green tripe. Tripe is also loaded with B vitamins and has the perfect ratio of calcium to phosphorus – 1:1. It also contains the essential fatty acids Linoleic and Linolenic, in their recommended proportions. If you can’t find green tripe from your raw supplier, there are canned products available. Tripe stinks but you won’t regret feeding it: no guts, no glory!


Milk Thistle

Although milk thistle is technically a herb not a food, it’s an important part of any dog’s diet. The active ingredient of milk thistle seed extract as a flavonoid compound called silymarin. This little powerhouse has been shown to be safe and effective in treating a variety of liver diseases and other conditions. It specifically protects the liver against toxins and stimulates the growth of new liver cells to replace those that are dead or damaged. Milk thistle is a great herb to have on hand and should be given any time your dog is exposed to any toxins including drugs, vaccines, dewormers, lawn chemicals and the like. Milk thistle also has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. It can be purchased in powder, capsule, and liquid extract form.


Raw Eggs

Next to green tripe, raw eggs are another one of nature’s most wholesome foods for dogs. Eggs are not only economical, but they are one of the most complete and nutritious foods available. Eggs are a nearly complete source of amino acids (the building blocks of proteints), and contain lots of vitamin A, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B12, iron, selenium and fatty acids. Feed the egg with the shell on, and the phosphorus and calcium are perfectly balanced, making the egg a nearly complete source of nutrition for your dog. Whenever possible, try to find eggs from pasture raised chickens raised without hormones or antibiotics.


Coconut Oil

This superfood is comprised mainly of medium chain triglycerices which in turn are loaded with lauric acid, followed by capric acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid and palmitic. Most of the coconut oil benefits come from the MCTs. For example, the lauric acid in coconut oil has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. Capric and caprylic acid have similar properties and are best known for their anti-fungal effects. In addition, MCTs are efficiently metabolized to provide an immediate source of fuel and energy, enhancing athletic performance and aiding weight loss. In dogs, the MCTs in coconut oil balance the thyroid, helping overweight dogs lose weight and helping sedentary dogs feel energetic. According to Dr. Bruce Fife, certified nutritionist and naturopathic doctor, coconut oil gently elevates the metabolism, provides a higher level of energy and vitality, protects you from illness, and speeds healing. As a bonus, coconut oil improves any dog’s skin and coat, improves digestion, and reduces allergic reactions. Look for organic sources whenever possible.


Organ Meats

Organ meats are important for both raw feeders and those who feed kibble. The raw or home prepared diet would be incomplete without the powerful nutritional punch of organ meat and, due to consumer demand for higher quality protein sources, most high end kibbles avoid the use of byproducts and this includes organ meats. Compared to regular cuts of muscle meat, organ meats are more densely packed with just about every nutrient including heavy doses of B vitamins such as: B1, B2, B6, folic acid and vitamin B12. Organ meats are also loaded with minerals like phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium and iodine, and provide the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. It’s important to note that animals raised outside on grass contain even higher levels of these essential nutrients than their grain fed counterparts. Raw is best but you can also fry up some liver or kidney for your dog as a treat.


It doesn’t take a lot of effort or money to add these superfoods to your dog’s diet. Try them on your dog and watch him reap the rewards!


(SOURCE: Dogs Naturally Magazine, November 2012)

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