Beware of These Dangerous Items!

by Diane Burket

Occasionally, I board dogs through  This is a great service where folks can board their dog(s) in a private home—not a kennel.

It’s extremely important that I’m careful to keep dogs healthy and happy while they visit me. DogVacay has created this list of 16 dangerous items to keep away from dogs. Even if your dog has ingested these items in the past and didn’t get sick, it’s best to keep them away from these items in the future.  Please share with your dog-friendly friends.

Cruelty to Animals – 11 Signs & What To Do

by Diane Burket

I found this great post about Animal Cruelty and though I’d share it with you.  It’s critical that you shed light on this horrific crime.  Please—make calls, intervene, send letters….DO SOMETHING!
Be the voice for the abused.

“This message brought to you by Pets for Patriots, a 501(c)(3) charity connecting last-chance shelter pets with service and veteran members of the United States military.”
To learn more about us, visit

Learn the 11 signs of animal cruelty
& how you can help animals in need

Signs include severe fur matting, filthy coat, open soars or obvious wounds. May be flea/tick infested. Underweight with visible bones. May be limping or unable to walk normally, or have congested eyes or ears. In obvious physical distress, in need of veterinary care.

The animal has no obvious sources of food/water. It may be aggressive due to starvation/thirst, and perhaps lethargic as well.

Animal is contained in an area fully exposed to inclement weather or constant sun, or is in an unattended vehicle during warm or hot weather. In less than 10 minutes a vehicle’s internal temperature can cause heat stroke, permanent nerve/organ damage or death in dogs.

Feces/debris covers the animal’s living area.

Animal is left in a house or yard that appears empty. Be extra vigilant if a neighbor has moved or stopped visiting a residence where you know animals live. A dog howling or barking for several hours is sending a signal it needs immediate, life-saving care.

It has little room to move, and/or is unable to stand or turn.

This includes regular collars as well; a chained animal is an abused animal.

You may see training implements, such as treadmills or spring poles. More likely you’ll notice obvious signs of trauma, such as scars, open wounds, infections, even missing body parts, such as ears, eyes, partial tails.

Animal may be very aggressive or severely shy, e.g., cowering, hiding, fear-biting, even with or especially with its owner.

This can be a sign of animal hoarding; note the condition of the animals on the property.

Person is witnessed striking, kicking or otherwise physically abusing the animal.



1. BE PREPARED: Program the number for your local animal control, or animals shelter’s cruelty reporting line into your phone.

2. SPEAK UP/CALL 911: If you witness or suspect overt violence against an animal, say something! Call your local animal control (step#1) or 911 immediately. Violence against animals is often a predictor of violence against people.

3. DOCUMENT: Describe as many details of the situation to responding police or animal control, including date, time, location, number/type of animals involved, names of other witnesses. Take pictures/video with your mobile phone and remain on scene til law enforcement arrives only if you can do so safely.

4. PREPARE TO TESTIFY: A human witness is crucial for a strong, prosecutable case, which will be stronger if you don’t remain anonymous.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil
is for good men to do nothing
Edmund Burke

Missing Pet? Here’s an Action Plan To Help Bring Them Home!

by Diane Burket                    

You’ve lost your pet.
Now what do you do??!!

·       Never give up! Pets have been caught and/or found months after being lost!

·       Your pet is probably just as scared as you are.  Immediately, secure other pets so they are safe, then open all doors into your home, so if the pet tries to find a way to get inside, he/she can.

·       Walk around the perimeter of your home, carefully looking under bushes, inside sheds, garages, etc.  Be thorough in your searching, try to think like your pet might.

·       Most cats stay in their yard for at least the first 48 hours.  Don’t go too far for those first couple of days if you’ve lost a cat. Search your immediate area, looking under cars, decks and plantings, inside garages, up in trees, etc.  

·       Set up Live Animal traps—as many as you can borrow or buy. 

Some shelters will let you borrow a trap for as little as $1 per day. Put at least one in the area where the pet got out, as it’s likely to return to that spot again.  Use “smelly” cat food in the trap, put something that smells like them in the trap (bedding) and cover the trap with a towel to make it seem quiet and safe. Cats like small spaces and if they are hungry, they may go inside.  Check the trap very often and replace with fresh food. Put food and water outside in a spot close to where he or she got out.

·       Consider investing in a “wildlife camera”…or borrow one from a friend.

They are infrared and take pictures based on motion. 

·       Is your pet a tree climber or an under bed hider?  Try to anticipate where they might feel safest.  Some dogs and cats will run until they can’t run anymore; others will find a hole or “safe” place to hide under a porch, in a pipe, in the woods, etc.

·       Make telephone calls to these folks:

  1. Your Microchip company
  2. Your Veterinarian
  3. Nearby Vets who might receive an injured animal
  4. Local animal shelters
  5. Rescue groups in your area.  
  6. For missing cats…If there are feral cat colonies in your area, let the caretakers know of your missing cat and give them a picture. They might see your cat when they feed the colony. Often, they may offer to help and may have extra traps or cameras you can borrow. 
  7. Some Search and Rescue dogs are specifically trained to help find missing pets.
  8. is a great “Amber Alert” broadcast system for lost, stolen and found pets.  I personally used this system to find a foster dog.  It was very helpful.
  9. A friend used  

·       Use Social media!  Post a current picture of your pet and ask your friends/contacts to spread the word.  Be sure to put the Street, Town, and State in your posts.  Give people your email address to contact you.  Consistantly post updates so the search continues to be on their mind. Offer a reward for info leading to your pet’s safe return, if you can afford it. 

·       Post flyers with your pet’s picture.  Hand-deliver to your neighbors, mailman and friends.  Hang flyers at pet stores, near bus-stops, your neighborhood…or anywhere else you think your pet might wander over time. Re-visit neighbors every few days, just in case they saw something and didn’t connect it to your pet.  You can find some templates here.

·       Search outside after dark with a flashlight.

Pets eyes reflect, so you may see something at night. Go out at dawn as they may come out when the neighborhood is quieter. 

·       If you adopted through a Rescue, contact them immediately. They usually have volunteers in your area who are able and willing to help with tips or suggestions. 

·       Don’t give up! Repeat all these steps.  We personally know of pets missing for more than 6 weeks and recovered by using “Have a Heart” traps. Your pet is counting on you, so continue to have faith that you will be successful!


A big THANK YOU to Kathi Meenehan of Siamese Rescue in Virginia for providing much of these helpful tips!

Transitioning Your Pets From Unhealthy Dry Food to Healthy Wet Food

by Diane Burket

Yes….your children love to eat potato chips and other junk food.  That doesn’t mean it’s good for them.  Give them a steady diet of junk food and they cannot be healthy.  Same goes for your pets.  Dry food for pets is pretty much junk food—even the better brands are still not giving your pet an optimal diet. Dry food is not a natural food for pets.

Dry food is cooked at very high temperatures, leaving the kibble practically vitamin and mineral deficient.  There is a lot of harmful bacteria and mold in most dry foods.

Check out my post about killing your pets with dry food:

So how do you transition your pets away from unhealthy dry food?

First of all, do it when they’re healthy and have a good appetite.  Sick pets generally don’t eat very much, so changing food can be difficult and could cause undue stress.

For many animals, dry food is like crack—they’re addicted to it.  You can thank the pet food companies who coat the kibble with a tasty digest spray that is very addictive.  Some pets just love the crunchiness of dry food.   You say your veterinarian wants to sell you dry food?  Hmmm. Anything to make a profit.  There is very little food at a vets office that I would allow my pets to eat.  Do your research.  Find food that is very close to the type of food your pet would eat in the wild.

Be patient.  The transition will probably not happen overnight.  Dogs tend to transition easier than cats. Try mixing wet and dry food before switching entirely to wet food.  If your pet gets loose stools from the wet food, don’t worry about it.  Try another type of wet food and/or mix a little plain pumpkin in the food (not pumpkin pie mix).

An average cat should get around four to six ounces of wet food a day.  That is not set in stone. If you see your pet losing too much weight, increase the amount of food.  Too fat?  Cut back.
We find that 1 can a day for our 35 pound mix breed dog is perfect for her age and activity level.  More than that and she gets fat.

If your pet refuses to eat, give them dry food mixed with some wet food.  Allowing a cat to go for extended periods of time without food could result in fatty liver disease.  One of my cats doesn’t like to eat food in a bowl….so I put his food on the mat and he loves it.  Go figure.

I warm my cat and dog food with warm water. That serves 2 purposes—the food is more fragrant and they get the benefit of more water intake everyday.  Try petting your cat or dog while they’re eating.  Sometimes that encourages them to eat.
After transitioning our cats and dogs to a wet food diet, they all lost weight and became more healthy.  Their itching stopped, no more year-round shedding and we noticed a reduction in the amount of poop.  Thank you!  In addition, because they didn’t have dry food available 24/7, they were happy to try different types of wet food.  They were much more picky when they had dry food accessible throughout the day.  We used the remainder of our dry food as “treats”.  Much cheaper than treats and no one knew the difference!

We feed our cats and dogs 3 times a day.  That’s not always convenient for everyone.  If you’re not home during the day, freeze some food.  When you leave the house, let it thaw in a pet bowl. Your pets can eat it later in the day.  When we’re not home, we have a petsitter visit 2 or 3 times a day for our cats and we take our dog to a dog boarder.

Be patient with the transition.  Your pet’s health is worth it!

Our Larry – A rescue.
Lost 9 pounds.  Lookin’ good!

What To Do If You See a Dog Living Outside 24/7

Thanks to “Dogs Deserve Better” for a lot of this information!

Dogs don’t deserve to be left outside….on a chain….or in a pen.  
Absolutely no dog, regardless of breed or size, deserves to live its life on 
a chain or in a pen.  Dogs that are kept chained are more likely to have 
one of two things happen: 

1. Either the dog is neglected in some way…like lack of clean water, food,
vet care, proper shelter from the elements, and little to no contact, 

exercise, or affection, that causes the dog to become pitiful and lonely, 
sick, emaciated, or possibly die.

2. Because they are isolated on the chain and usually not socialized
properly, they become very aggressive and territorial with a lot of built 

up energy; they have no way to escape if they feel threatened.
Therefore, they bite, attack or kill anything or anyone that might come
near their small, chained world, or they break loose from the chain and 

bite or attack the first person (usually a child) or animal they see.

Dogs are pack animals; they just want to be with their pack. Their pack is their human family. If you won’t let your dog be inside with you where 
he/she truly wants to be, then at least give him a fenced backyard to 
have a little freedom, expend some energy, and protect innocent children.

If you keep your dog chained or penned, or know someone who does, Dogs Deserve Better can help you.
Please give the dog the life he/she deserves, while hopefully helping to protect children. 

So…what can you do??!!

Help to make it illegal to leave pets outside 24/7.  

You’ll find tons of info on this page:  

A simple way to help a dog that is forced to live outside is to send a letter to the owner.

Just get their address and send it anonymously.  You’ll find letters to the editor, letters for better legislation, letters to homes with outside dogs, etc….on this link.

If everyone would print just 1 letter, it would make such a big difference in so many lives!

A great video by Dogs Deserve Better.  

Extra Help For Senior & Handicap Pets

by Diane Burket


Is it time to buy a ramp for your aging dog?  Does he or she have a hard time walking up steps or getting in or out of your vehicle?  Save your dog and your own back by purchasing a lightweight ramp.  There are so many from which to choose…and many different price ranges.  It’s best to buy a ramp before your pet needs it.  That way, you can train your pup before they get older.

I use this attractive decorative pet step (above) for my cats and small dog. The cats use it to get to a high window perch….the dog likes to walk up and look out the window.  With the carpeting, nobody slips and the cats can get a good grip. The carpeted stairs are a great solution for them…so both young and old can have access to the window perch.

Oak Foot Stool 

To help our older cats get onto our bed, we use a padded foot stool, like the one above.
An inexpensive, lightweight dog harness is also a great way to assist your dog.  SUV’s and pickup trucks can be too high to jump in and out of and can harm backs and joints.  Or your dog may have a condition that makes it difficult to climb stairs.  Perhaps they’ve just undergone surgery.  You could use a towel, but that can be hard on your back and often slips and twists.  A simple harness can do the trick.

Years of jumping can damage hips, joints and back, so provide a ramp or harness for your pets now.  There are so many solutions to keep your pet mobile and independent.  

Some pets are perfectly healthy, but have leg mobility problems.  Try a pet wheelchair.  Be sure to do your research and buy the perfect wheelchair for your type and size of dog. Read the reviews.

Check out these wonderful handicapped & senior pet rescue sites.
Please support them, if you can.  Thanks!