March 6, 2015
by Sam Bourne

NYPD Saves 10 Yorkies From Dirty Puppy Mill


When it comes to bringing a new dog into your home, many pet owners have preferences on where they adopt their pooches from. From private breeders to local shelters, people pay special attention to the conditions at these facilities as they pick where to go.

Recently, the New York Police Department raided a SoHo apartment that was operating as a puppy mill and rescued 10 dogs.

Giving pooches better shelter

The New York Post reported that NYPD officers saved 10 Yorkshire terrier puppies from a “filthy” apartment on Feb. 26, leading to the arrest of two people involved in the mill. The pooches were merely weeks old, found in the dwelling after multiple neighbors called the police and complained of incessant barking and rancid smells coming from the apartment.

Officers from the 1st Precinct were aided by a special crew from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals during an inspection of the apartment on Feb. 18. They were so surprised by the filthy conditions that they returned just three days later with an official search warrant. Neighbors believe the apartment was only used for dog breeding, as the pooches barked and yelped all day long without any signs of quieting down.

“It was extremely unsanitary, things falling apart, garbage thrown about the place,” a police source told the Post. “Definitely not fit for a dog or human.”

The NYPD arrested 46-year-old Luis Sanchez and 33-year-old Xenia Torres. Both suspects are facing charges of animal cruelty. All 10 of the Yorkies, with matted fur, were taken to a nearby ASPCA facility for medical evaluations.

This story highlights the dangers of puppy mills and the priorities that operators of these facilities place over the well-being of the dogs.

Fighting the cruelty of puppy mills

These large-scale commercial operations have little regard for the genetic qualities of the dogs they breed. Most of the time, their main motivator is making as much money as possible. As a result, canines from puppy mills can have unchecked hereditary effects that can cost thousands of dollars in veterinarian fees to treat.

According to the ASPCA, illnesses and diseases are very common in puppy mills, with most pooches prone to congenital conditions. Some of these problems can include epilepsy, heart disease, endocrine disorders, and upper respiratory infections. Puppy mill operators usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary areas without adequate pet care, food, or water. Some pooches may never even step outside until much later in life, leaving them unsociable and shy.

The ASPCA estimated that there could be as many as 10,000 puppy mills operating in the U.S. at a given time. In addition, the highest concentration of these facilities is in the Midwest. If owners want to get more involved in stopping the spread of puppy mills, they can help the ASPCA by signing up for Take The Pledge and petition to end the sale of puppies at stores.

If you’ve just adopted a puppy mill survivor, make sure to join PetPlus to purchase medications like Heartgard Plus to ensure that your pooch maintains their health.


February 27, 2015
by Sam Bourne
1 Comment

Stopping Terrorist One Whiff at a Time – Bomb Sniffing Dogs


Everyone can picture a pooch with their muzzle inches off the ground, sniffing for the remnants of a long lost scent trail. And while no human could even fathom a whiff, within minutes the pooch is off and running after some invisible prey with their human companion hot on their heels.

Dog owners might have some complaints about their furry friends’ weird habits, like lollygagging around an aromatic tree stump during what is supposed to be a brisk morning walk. That said, the canine sense of smell can be put to good use. Just ask members of the Transportation Security Administration at Detroit Metropolitan Airport how they feel about their bomb sniffing dogs.

Bomb Sniffing Dogs Are Keeping Travelers Safe

Skift reported the new TSA employees’ responsibilities at the airport in Romulus, Michigan, where an extra layer of security is added through specially trained bomb sniffing dogs, including black Labrador retriever Nestle. She’s one of the latest hires as a passenger screening canine who sniffs around suitcases, jackets and shoes to determine if there are any explosive odors to be detected.

The TSA has employed Nestle and other canines to locate potential threats at security checkpoints all over Detroit Metropolitan Airport. With four specially trained dogs, the safety administration hopes to add improved layers of protection to incoming and outgoing passengers at the facility. What separates these pooches from others is the extensive, specialized training they undergo prior to deployment.

According to the TSA, canines and their handlers participate in a two-month training course at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Each week, the teams engage in several hours of proficiency exercises in environments that simulate airport operations. This includes the smells and distractions commonly associated with mass transit hubs, including bus terminals and train stations. While active, these teams can screen more than 400 passengers in an hour, which can significantly improve the process as a whole with no reductions in security levels.

Dogs’ sense of smell is one of their most powerful assets, which makes them ideal for bomb sniffing, hunting, search and rescue, and many other useful roles.

Finding the cream of the crop

While all pooches have exceptional noses, some happen to be superior to others. DogTime explained that specific breeds are best suited for sniffing tasks. Examples of champion-sniffing dogs include:

  • German Shorthaired Pointer: These pooches have exceptional scenting and trailing abilities that make them perfectly suited for hunting trips in open fields. With their noses pressed low to the ground, Pointers can follow scents intensely without looking up.
  • English Springer Spaniel: These popular sporting canines are bred to either be show or field dogs, depending on owners’ preferences. The field Springers are prized hunters for their sense of smell, which allows them to detect a range of scents such as explosives, narcotics, counterfeit money and human remains.
  • Beagle: Fresh off a Westminster victory, this hound breed has as many scent receptors as the larger German Shepherd. These pooches are even used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to detect contraband in airports. Beagles on the job have recognized almost 50 different odors for the USDA.

Even with strong noses, canines need to be well cared for to maintain their sniffing abilities. Owners should sign up for PetPlus to purchase dog medication and other products that promote fit pooches.


February 23, 2015
by Sam Bourne

Why Are Some Pooches Winter-Loving Snow Dogs?


With winter in full swing, snow has begun to accumulate around the cooler climates in the U.S. As the powder covers the ground and creates piles ripe for playing, you’ll probably notice some snow dogs frolicking around and enjoying the seasonal flurries.

But why do so many pooches transform into snow dogs once winter rolls around? Is it the texture of the powder or the feeling of snowflakes on their noses? Or could it be something deep within their DNA?

Understanding the Snow Dogs’ Mentality

Taking your pooches for walks into snowy areas can be great fun for everyone, but there’s never been a real connection made between the white stuff and dogs’ obsession with frolicking in the cold weather. In a new article at Scientific American, decorated professors weighed in on the matter.

According to John Bradshaw, Ph.D., visiting fellow at the University of Bristol, the novel nature of snow might be the key to this fascination. Typically, canines develop quick habits with the objects they play with, such as towels, tennis balls and squeaky toys. When it snows, the precipitation changes the sensory characteristics of everything dogs touch, especially scent. This can renew dogs’ interests in familiar surroundings and items, turning on exploratory behaviors.

Alexandra Horowitz, Ph.D., from the department of psychology at Barnard College, echoed similar sentiments about novelty. Her dogs exhibit signs of newfound pleasure when it snows, leading her to believe the changed landscape and topography of snow excites canines when they go outside. The “new” feelings and smells are so engaging for dogs that they become excitable and leap around the yard in joy.

These theories show that dogs enjoy playing in the snow as much as their families do and are happy to be frolicking through mounds of the powder because it offers them new experiences. However, before letting Fido investigate the latest mountain of snow created by the local plow drivers, owners should prepare for potential health complications.

Caring for Your Snow Dogs in the Winter

Dogs may love to run around outside in the cold, snowy weather, but it’s important that pet parents ensure that their pooches don’t fall victim to health conditions caused by winter. For example, the drier temperatures mean that your snow dogs’ skin and fur might be negatively affected by the blustery weather.

When they experience dry skin, treat your furry friends with Animax Ointment. The dog medication is a combination of antimicrobial, antifungal and corticosteroid ingredients used to treat skin disorders characterized by inflammation or dermatitis. Animax effectively treats an array of conditions, including eczema and seborrhea.

All of the frolicking can also put a lot of strain on your canines’ joints, so it’s smart to stock up on Deramaxx to control pain and inflammation. It’s particularly effective against osteoarthritis, which directly impacts joints. Deramaxx comes in beef-flavored chewable tablets that make it easy for your furry friends to consume with meals.

Don’t forget to sign up for PetPlus to purchase these helpful treatments at affordable prices.


February 23, 2015
by Sam Bourne

Who Pushes a Dog into Freezing Water?


Frigid temperatures might keep most people indoors hidden under wool blankets to stay warm. Snuggling up next to Fido can add some extra protection as the thermometer plummets below freezing.

But some brave souls will participate in local Polar Plunges, which involve diving into chilly waters to raise money for the Special Olympics. Recently, one dog owner came under fire for allowing his furry friend to take a dip with him.

Investigating allegations of animal cruelty

According to Mass Live, the Massachusetts Special Olympics organization tried to distance itself from Polar Plunge’s recent event at Spec Pond in Wilbraham. More than 100 residents were present at the event, despite the state’s current brutal weather conditions. However, photos emerged that showed one resident possibly pushing a dog into the water, raising concerns about animal cruelty.

“Special Olympics Massachusetts and Law Enforcement Torch Run in no way condone this action and we are very shocked and disappointed that this happened at what has consistently been a great community event,” read a press release.

The plunging dog was captured by a resident’s camera and the picture was uploaded to Facebook, where it was circulated shortly after the event. Yet, the Wilbraham Police Department issued a formal response after investigating the matter and reportedly doesn’t believe there was any evidence of mistreatment of the pooch. Officers spoke with the dog’s owner and had members of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals observe the canine following the event. After being checked by a veterinarian, the dog was cleared of any potential harm.

The Polar Plunge allowed people to register and donate money to the MSO organization, and then jump through a hole in Spec Pond into the freezing water. While there were no animal cruelty charges, MSO spokesperson Chris Ritchie explained there would be changes made to the event in the future.

While this incident is isolated, owners should know how to keep their four-legged friends toasty when coming in from the outdoors.

Heating up your canine

Although summer and winter are two different beasts, they both present challenges to keeping pets safe and comfortable. But your pooch can weather the storm with some help from you.

VetStreet explained that small and old dogs are typically ill-equipped to handle extreme cold. If your canine likes spending their time outside throughout the day, you should provide them with a shelter that shields them from any high winds or precipitation. The structure should be well-insulated for your dog’s body heat to maintain the appropriate temperature.

In addition, the cold, wet ground and excess salt can damage your canine’s paws. Consider investing in specialized boots that protect the pads from toxins commonly found in de-icing products. It’s also important to wipe their paws after coming inside to ensure that there are no residual effects once they’re back home. Maybe you can toss a special jacket on their back to add extra protection for walks.

Sign up for PetPlus today to find dog medicine and other products geared toward maintaining a healthy pooch.


February 16, 2015
by Sam Bourne
1 Comment

Blind Dog Saved After Plunging Into Frozen Pond


Sometimes, the winter can be a hard time for dogs depending on their background, as some are better suited for the colder temperatures than others. Other times, it doesn’t matter if you’re an Alaskan Malamute or a Jack Russell Terrier – winter just happens.

For one elderly, blind dog in the U.K., the horrors of winter were made abundantly real when he fell through the ice and into the frigid waters of a Hampstead Heath pond.

Escaping the chilly grip of the water

Hampstead Highgate Express reported that a 15-year-old terrier fell  into the icy waters of the Model Boating Pond, sending passers bye into a frenzy to free him. To make matters worse, the blind dog was largely unaware of the full nature of his situation, or the attempts to save him.

Ron Vester, a local man who was on the scene with a camera, said that the blind dog struggled to find his way back to shore because he didn’t know which way to turn. Luckily, he managed to scramble his way to a wire mesh that was being used to hold up a bank of reeds along the water. With the help of passersby, Vester called a Hampstead Heath ranger and lifeguard to arrange the rescue mission.

Wearing waist-high waders, the lifeguard walked about 20 feet along the outer edge of the reeds and grabbed the dog from the water. The terrier’s owner was waiting on the shoreline with her coat, wrapping the shivering dog in warmth before taking him home in her car.

The elderly Terrier was lucky to have had people nearby who were ready and willing to rescue him. It’s important for owners to know some basic winter safety tips in case they experience similar scenarios during winter walks.

Protecting your best friend from the cold

It’s common to walk your dog through the chilly woods, even during the winter months. It guarantees your pooch daily exercise and saves you from dealing with a hyperactive, cooped-up canine. However, dog owners should be wary of thin ice on ponds and know how to handle emergencies like this on the spot.

If your dog falls through ice into freezing water, PAW Rescue recommended wrapping them in a towel immediately to capture as much heat as possible. This maneuver can help prevent hypothermia, which can quickly lead to death in animals. If your pooch isn’t breathing after you rescue them, lay them flat on their side and make several quick compressions on their chest to expel water.

In the event that you don’t feel a heartbeat, you’ll want to begin making one or two quick, firm compressions on the chest wall and start artificial respiration. This involves firmly closing your dog’s muzzle and blowing air into their nose, which you should adjust depending on the size of your dog. Execute about 15 breaths followed by chest compressions until your pooch regains consciousness, then bring them to the veterinarian for a follow-up.

Owners should sign up for PetPlus to purchase discounted pet medication to use during their dogs’ recovery from accidents like falling through frozen ponds.