Angel Fund Helps Shed Light On Vishnu’s Heart Problem

 When Leticia Shaw’s cat, Vishnu, had a urinary blockage that required surgery about three years ago, the veterinarian told her that the condition sometimes can come back.

“Ever since then, I’ve been really anxious about that,” Leticia said.  She has gotten regular checkups for Vishnu to make sure that doesn’t happen again. 

During one of those checkups this spring at Little Tokyo Pet Clinic, Dr. Mary Chung told Leticia that Vishnu had a heart murmur.  She recommended testing and x-rays to determine how severe the problem might be.

“That’s when Dr. Chung informed me about Angel Fund,” Leticia said.  “I applied for a grant. The entire staff helped me with that process. Thankfully it was approved right away.  I thought it would take way longer than it did.” 

The tests showed that Vishnu has a cardiac problem.  “They were able to do all the cardiovascular checks.  But, basically, they just mentioned to me that he does have the problem – and once he has it, there’s no going back,” Leticia said.

“Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like it’s too serious.  They caught it pretty early and they have given me heart medications and instructions on how to keep an eye on him to make sure it doesn’t get worse.

“There are warning signs like he might stop eating or when he sleeps his heart might beat too fast.  So they gave me a couple of things to check.  But honestly, he’s been amazing.  He’s been super normal – he plays, he’s still himself. So hopefully it’s something that won’t get serious and we can just keep it contained.”

Leticia is grateful that she knows about the issue.  And, she said, “thank God, things are going pretty good.  I’m not seeing any signs for concern.”

She also expressed her gratitude for the Angel Fund grant and what it did to give her peace of mind and to help pay the veterinary bill.

Vishnu is seven years old and Leticia is optimistic that he has many years ahead of him.  “He’s just so carefree and I hope he lives to 20. I can’t see him having any other problems.  He’s now on a veterinary-prescribed diet and he can’t eat anything else.” But, she said, “the really scary problem for me was the urinary blockage.”

Leticia works as an IT manager for the Downtown LA Proper Hotel.otel.H  Besides Vishnu, she has three dogs.  She and her animals live in North Hollywood.

Angel Fund Grant Helps ‘Lucky Dog’ Get Surgery

Cheri Hanshaw, a fourth-grade teacher in Lancaster, owns a Shar Pei mix that she calls her lucky dog.  “Star is my lucky dog because she gets everything to happen to her,” she said.

The last couple of years, she said, Star has had veterinary bills of about $10,000, include more than $3,000 a year ago when she was hospitalized with pancreatitis.  The dog also has allergy problems.  “We’ve had one thing after another with her,” Cheri said.  “She’s usually at the vet’s every month.”

The latest iteration of her dog’s all too familiar relationship with veterinary medicine was recent surgery for a TPLO plate reaction, something that doesn’t happen often.  Cheri did some research, which showed that it only occurs to about one in 50 dogs.

“Basically she had an infection from the plate in her knee and ite had to be removed,” Cheri said.  “This is her second knee [to undergo TPLO surgery].  The left knee was fine and there was no problem after it was done a couple of years ago.  And we had surgery in November for the right knee.  It seemed fine and then after a few months, all of a sudden her leg started swelling up.”  

Star, who is eight years old, is a patient of North Valley Veterinary Clinic in Lancaster.  Dr. Eric Wright, who had done the TPLO surgery, told Cheri that the site infection could be treated with antibiotics but that it would continue to come back. “He recommended taking the plate out surgically so we don’t have to continue with these problems and spend all this money and then have to take it out surgically anyway,” she said.

Dr. John Chang, who assisted with the plate removal, told Cheri that he could see where an infection pocket was attached to a bolt on the plate.

The latest surgery took place in March.  Because of Star’s history of medical problems, Cheri sought help from Angel Fund to help pay for the surgery.  Dr. Misty Hirschbein, who sees Star for most of her appointments, told Cheri about Angel Fund and helped her apply.  A grant of $1,000 was approved. 

Cheri expressed gratitude to both Angel Fund and the North Valley Clinic, which matched the grant.  But she also had to take out a loan to pay what she still owed.  “I’m so in debt for this dog!” she said.

Star was still healing a month after the procedure, she said. “We had expected it would be healed by now,” Cheri said. “But the infection is almost gone. 

“Star, the poor thing, has been living in a playpen since October.  She has not been able to go outside to be a dog.  She waits for us to come get her.  So when I’m doing my school work, I’ll pull her out so she’s closer to me and not so isolated.  I’m hoping she’ll be able to go back outside in a couple of weeks.”

Cheri lives with her daughter Kayla, who is a community college student.  Her son, Zachary, She has a lives independently.

She previously had borrowed from her mother and taken out a loan from her credit union to help pay for her dog’s care.  But Cheri is hoping things will change. 

“I’m looking forward to being able to take Star on hikes again and to do the things that we used to do, like going to the beach.  She’s almost there.”

If you would like to donate to the Animal Health Foundation to help more dogs like Star CLICK HERE or scan this QR Code

Angel Fund Helps Apollo Get Monthly Treatments

Ludovic Pathoux, who came to the United States from France in 2002, adopted Apollo, a beautiful white Pit Terrier, that he saw being neglected by a neighbor near his Los Angeles apartment some nine years ago. 

“In 2014, while I was walking my American Bulldog Georgia, I saw Apollo behind the fence of one of my neighbors,” Ludovic said. “He was lying in the sun for hours at a time and was left out both day and night.  I spoke to the neighbor about Apollo and his risk of getting skin cancer because of his exposure.”

The neighbor told Ludovic that she would like someone else to own the dog.  “Despite already having a dog and difficult finances, I decided to adopt Apollo,” Ludovic said.  “I simply fell in love with him and wanted to rescue him from his neglectful owner, even though I should not have had two dogs in my situation.”

Ludovic and the two dogs moved to an affordable cabin in the San Bernadino Mountains not long after Apollo joined the family.  A couple of years later, Ludovic moved to an apartment in Yucaipa with Georgia and Apollo.  A year later, he said, “my beloved Georgia died of cancer.”

Six months later, Apollo had a mole-like cancer on his leg that was removed by a veterinarian.  And a few months later, Apollo was diagnosed with a tumor on his spleen and a splenectomy was performed to remove it.  Georgia had a similar surgery a few years earlier.

In 2022, Apollo was diagnosed with chylothorax, a condition in which lymph fluids leak from his thoracic duct into the space around his lungs.  Dr. George Makar at Yucaipa Animal Hospital made the diagnosis.  Apollo is being treated there about once a month through thoracocentesis, a process in which a tube is inserted into his chest cavity after sedation to remove the fluids.  The treatments started a year ago at a cost approaching $750 a month.

“Fortunately the procedure does not worsen his health nor does it cause pain or suffering,” Ludovic said.  But the cost of his dog’s treatment is worrisome.   Ludovic has had difficulty finding work as an organizer, who can make sense of your garage, pantry or spare room.  (His website is

“I am not working every day so it’s up and down,” he said, and his erratic income prevents him from doing a lot of things he’d like to do, though he gives his dog’s health priority.  

With Apollo’s crucial treatments in danger, Ludovic found Angel Fund with help from the Yucaipa hospital.  He applied for a grant and Angel Fund provided $1,000 for Apollo, which was matched by the hospital.

“I sincerely thank the Angel Fund and Dr. Makar for generously helping me with this financial assistance,” Ludovic said.  “Apollo greatly enjoys human beings and despite the invasive monthly treatments, he loves to go to the vet and is very excited to be around the assistants and technicians who give him lots of attention.

“My unconditional love for him has motivated me to do everything I can to increase his life expectancy.”

One of the reasons Ludovic does not want to return to France is that he would not be permitted to bring Apollo with him, nor could he have taken Georgia.  He is intensely loyal to his animals. 

But he said: “I choose to stay in the United States because I am all right here.”  And he said, some 22 years ago “when I lived in Paris, I wasn’t happy.” 

Boydston Senior Grant Helps Lulu Find New Lease on Her Life

Noreen Sturges, who lost her 15-year-old canine companion Papillon last year, found a replacement a few months ago in Lulu, a female Maltese. “Lulu was rather matted, had a hacking cough and needed care and lots of love,” Noreen said.

Lulu had belonged to a family that was no longer able to provide her with the care and attention she needed.  When Lulu was brought to Noreen’s home, “it was love at first sight,” she said.

Noreen hired a groomer to attend to Lulu’s matted hair.  After the grooming, Noreen took Lulu to Monarch Veterinary Hospital in Laguna Niguel not far from her home.  

Dr. Kelly Alcala examined her and found some serious dental issues that would require surgery and the extraction of some teeth. Lulu also had a hacking cough – “not like she would have had with a cold,” Noreen said.  Dr. Alcala told her that she thought decay from the dog’s teeth was getting into her digestive system and probably causing the cough, Noreen said.

The doctor suggested that Noreen apply for a Boydston Grant to help pay for Lulu’s treatment and surgery.  A grant of $500 was approved and Dr. Alacala did the surgery.  The dog is now thriving, Noreen said, and the hacking cough is gone. 

Lulu is eating her new diet voraciously.  “And she’s a love!” Noreen said. “Everything’s good now.”  The dog, she said, “is running around – up and down the stairs and all over the place.

“I didn’t think I could ever love a dog as much as my Papillon, “but I just love Lulu.”

She added that she is grateful for the help provided by her Boydston grant and the matching sum from Monarch Hospital, as well as for the work of Dr. Alcala.  “I just love her, too,” she said.

Noreen said that she and Lulu “are having a lovely time together.  She is quite a companion.”


Nestlé Purina Petcare Company Voluntarily Recalls Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets El Elemental Dry Dog Food in the U.S. Due to Potentially Elevated Vitamin D

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company is voluntarily recalling select lots of Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EL Elemental (PPVD EL) prescription dry dog food due to potentially elevated levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for dogs; however, ingestion of elevated levels can lead to health issues depending on the level of vitamin D and the length of exposure. Vitamin D toxicity may include vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, and excessive drooling to renal (kidney) dysfunction.

Purina is taking this action after receiving two contacts about two separate confirmed cases of a dog exhibiting signs of vitamin D toxicity after consuming the diet, to date. Once taken off the diet, each of these dogs recovered.

The affected dry dog food was distributed throughout the United States by prescription only through veterinary clinics, Purina Vet Direct, Purina for Professionals, and other select retailers with the ability to validate a prescription.

Bags of PPVD EL with the UPC Code and Production Code below should be immediately discarded.

ProductUPC CodeProduction Code
(*First 8 characters equal to)
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EL Elemental (PPVD EL)
8 lb and 20 lb bags
38100 19190 – 8 lb
38100 19192 – 20 lb
2249 1082
2250 1082
2276 1082
2277 1082
2290 1082
2360 1082
2361 1082

Pet owners who purchased bags of the product listed above are asked to immediately stop feeding and throw it away in a container where no other animals, including wildlife, can get to it. If signs such as weight loss, excessive drooling, vomiting, loss of appetite or increased thirst or urination have occurred in their dog while eating this diet, pet owners should contact their veterinarian.

No other Purina pet care products are affected.

Veterinary and other retail partners should remove and destroy the affected product from their inventory.

We apologize to pet owners and veterinarians for any concerns or inconvenience this situation has caused. As pet experts and pet owners ourselves, the health and well-being of pets is our top priority.

Please contact our team directly Monday – Saturday, 8am – 5pm CST at 1-800-345-5678 or via email at usExternal Link Disclaimer for questions or assistance in getting a refund.

Company Contact Information

Consumers:Purina 1-800-345-5678

Product Photos

  • Product image, front label, Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EL Elemental Dry Dog Food
  • Product image, back label showing Production Codes and UPC, Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EL Elemental Dry Dog Food

Warning signs and treatment for Poodle Glaucoma

A standard poodle is a beautiful addition to your family. They are considered child-friendly and loyal companions. Whether you own a poodle or have the option of adopting the perfect pup into your home, researching medical history for inherited conditions is very important. Knowing what risk factors and symptoms to watch for in a disease like glaucoma is crucial to reducing the onset of symptoms. Remember that purebred dogs are more likely to suffer from diseases and other medical conditions. Therefore, being a responsible pet owner might look like investing in pet health insurance. This type of insurance will give you a security blanket to optimize medical procedures to reduce pain and damage.

To find out more about glaucoma in poodles, Breed Expert has a great article

Purina Sued For Natural Claims

Truth about Pet Food

The lawsuit claims Purina markets their pet foods as “Natural” when they contain synthetic ingredients.

By Susan Thixton

lawsuit was recently filed against Purina Petcare Company in the state of New York. The lawsuit claims  Purina markets its pet foods “in a systematically misleading manner that many of its products are natural” – when the pet foods actually contain “multiple synthetic ingredients.”

The lawsuit states: “Defendant clearly claims the Products are ‘natural’ on the Products’ label, capitalizing on the preference of health-conscious pet owners to purchase pet food that is free from synthetic ingredients.” The court documents provide this example:

The lawsuit continues: “However, Defendant’s Products contain multiple synthetic ingredients.” Examples of synthetic ingredients provided were “zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate (or D-calcium pantothenate), thiamine mononitrate, l-lysine hydrochloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, and menadione sodium bisulfite complex.”

As a result of its deceptive conduct, Defendant violates state consumer protection statutes and has been unjustly enriched at the expense of consumers.”

Defendant’s labeling and advertising puts forth a straightforward, material message: the Products contain only ingredients that are natural. Reasonable consumers would understand Defendant’s labeling to mean that the Products contain only natural ingredients, and not any synthetic substances.”

Because the labeling claim uses the word ‘and’ rather than ‘but,’ and does not specify that the added vitamins, minerals and/or nutrients are synthetic, a reasonable consumer would expect that the ‘added vitamins, minerals and nutrients’ are natural as well.”

Do you agree? Does Purina’s label claim – “Natural Cat Food with added vitamins, minerals & nutrients” transparently tell consumers this pet food contains un-natural (synthetic) ingredients? Or is the statement misleading?

For more information on this lawsuit pet owners can contact the law firm listed on the court documents:
Joshua D. Arisohn
Julian C. Diamond
1330 Avenue of the Americas, 32nd Fl.
New York, NY 10019
Telephone: (646) 837-7150

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Association for Truth in Pet Food

Become a member of our pet food consumer Association. Association for Truth in Pet Food is a a stakeholder organization representing the voice of pet food consumers at AAFCO and with FDA. Your membership helps representatives attend meetings and voice consumer concerns with regulatory authorities. Click Here to learn more.

What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients?  Chinese imports? Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 5,000 cat foods, dog foods, and pet treats. 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. Click Here to preview Petsumer Report.

Find Healthy Pet Foods in Your Area Click Here

The 2023 List
Susan’s List of trusted pet foods. Click Here to learn more.

The 2023 Treat List
Susan’s List of trusted pet treat manufacturers. Click Here to learn more.

Learn More

Angel Fund Grant Helps Puff Get Second Intussusception Surgery

When Kyle Costa took his dog to Mar Vista Animal Hospital last May, he was told something he had heard before: Puff, a mixed-breed female who is not yet a year old, was diagnosed with intussusception, a dangerous inflammation of the intestines that is more common in younger animals.

Puff had had surgery for the condition earlier this year.  Kyle and his wife Pamela had put together enough money to pay for the first surgery but that was going to be difficult this time. 

Dr. Wendy Brooks suggested to Kyle that he could apply for an Angel Fund grant to help pay the costs.  The hospital assisted him with the application and he received $500 in assistance, an amount matched by the hospital.

That was a huge help, Kyle said.  “Angel Fund definitely got us where we needed to be,” he said.  “I didn’t want to let my dog go and, when I had no other options, Angel Fund really helped me out.  I’m very glad my dog didn’t have to die.”

He added that the staff at the Mar Vista clinic took great care “to make sure we were included in this [Angel Fund] program.”

He and Pamela rescued Puff last April when she was about two months old.  Intussusception can cause blockages and can have other severe complications.  It was a relief for both of them when Dr. Brooks’ surgery was successfully completed.   

Puff is doing very well now, Kyle said.  “She’s really healthy and is full of energy.”

Kyle, Pamela and Puff live in Rancho Park not far from Mar Vista Animal Hospital.

TFP Nutrition Initiates Voluntary Recall Of 50 Lb. Bags Of Retriever Dry Dog Food

Company Announcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 21, 2023

TFP Nutrition of Nacogdoches, TX announced today that it is issuing a voluntary recall of Retriever All Life Stages Mini Chunk Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food due to potential Salmonella contamination. Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Dogs with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever, and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

The product was manufactured on October 4, 2023 and October 5, 2023 at the Nacogdoches, Texas facility. Affected product was distributed in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah and contains “3277 TFP” or “3278 TFP” on the second line of the date code.

DescriptionSizeProduction Codes
Retriever All Life Stages Mini Chunk Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food50lb.BEST BY 10 2024 3277 TFP
BEST BY 10 2024 3278 TFP

No dog or human illness has been reported to date with respect to the recalled dog food. All recalled product has been removed from store shelves and no other Tractor Supply Company products are affected by the voluntary recall.

This voluntary recall is being issued due to a single sample of Retriever All Life Stages Mini Chunk Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food that tested positive for Salmonella in a random sample test conducted by the Office of the Texas State Chemist.

Consumers who are unsure if the product they purchased is included in the recall, or would like a replacement product or refund, may contact TFP Nutrition via a toll-free call at 1-800-330-3048, Monday through Sunday, 8 am – 5 pm CST. Consumers may also go to Link Disclaimer for more information.

Company Contact Information

Consumers:TFP Nutrition 800-330-3048Media: 800-330-3048

Product Photos

  • -“Label for retriever Mini Chunk Savory Chicken Flavor, 50 lb.”

Plants safe for dogs and cats

Learn about pet-friendly plants and flowers to help brighten up your home, yard, and garden with these beautiful blooms.

Written by Shannon Perry & Alex Hunt 

— Medically reviewed by Dr. Erica Irish 

Updated October 13, 2023 From: at

Table of Contents

The essentials

  • Many common plants are toxic to pets — Most will only have mild effects if ingested, but a few, including daylilies and sago palms, can result in death.
  • You can have a green thumb AND be a pet parent — The list of non-toxic plants safe for dogs and cats is long, too! Keep our lists — and the ASPCA’s database — handy when shopping at the nursery.
  • Obsessive plant eating is cause for concern — Call your veterinarian if you notice your dog is eating grass more frequently than normal or has signs of stomach discomfort.

Pets love to sniff — and sometimes taste — what’s around them. The good news is that having dogs and cats doesn’t mean giving up a beautiful home and garden. If it’s time to spruce up your house or apartment, garden, balcony, or raised beds, this list of pet-safe plants, shrubs, and garden greenery will add pops of color and freshness while keeping your furry friends safe.

When shopping at the nursery or if you use a landscaper for your garden, make sure to mention the fact that you have pets. Most garden centers will make recommendations and help you find different varieties of pet-safe greenery and flowers for your home and yard.

Ultimate list of plants that are safe for dogs and cats

While the ASPCA warns that any ingested plant material may cause gastrointestinal upset for dogs or cats, it considers the below plants to be non-toxic. These are also among the most popular indoor plants, as defined by home-improvement giant Home Depot and #PlantTok and #plantfluencer life.

african violet

areca palm

boston fern (sword fern)



canna lilies

cast iron plant

chinese money plant

crepe myrtle




common lilac

magnolia bushes

nasturtium (indian cress)

nerve plant


parlor palms



polka dot plant

ponytail palm

rosemary (anthos)


spider plant

star jasmine


sweetheart hoya



wax plants (hoyas)

white ginger

Looking for more pet-safe plant options? Here are some other, non-toxic houseplants you can try. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to search the ASPCA database  to find the right plant for you and your pets to enjoy safely. WATCH VIDEO

Precautions about pets and plants

While all of the parts of the plants above are regarded as non-toxic if accidentally ingested, individual pets might have specific allergies or sensitivities, so it’s important to observe any changes in your pet’s behavior or health when introducing new plants to your household. Additionally, be cautious of fertilizers and plant food, as they can absolutely be harmful to pets if ingested.

Indoor and outdoor plants that are unsafe for dogs

While there are many pet-friendly plants for green thumbs, the list of poisonous plants is long. Consequences of ingesting one range from mildly irritating symptoms to potential fatality. The list includes trendy plants like Chinese evergreen  , sansevieria (also known as mother-in-law’s tongue or snake plant  ), golden pothos (also known as devils ivy  ), and common yard plants such as azaleas, hydrangeas, and hostas.

Here’s a list of some of the most common plants in and outside your home that pose a risk to your pup:

Most toxic plants for dogs

Aloe veraWhile a useful houseplant, it may induce vomitingdiarrhea, and tremors in dogs and cats.
Azaleas and rhododendronsThis family of plants is commonly used in landscaping, but the entire genus of these large flowering shrubs is considered poisonous for dogs. Toxins affect the intestines, cardiovascular, and central nervous system. Eating this shrub can result in vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and heart problems.
BoxwoodBoxwood is often found in wreaths or arches, or as greenery, but ingestion can lead to dehydration, drooling, digestive problems, vomiting, and diarrhea.
ChrysanthemumThough chrysanthemums, nicknamed mums, won’t kill your pet, this plant is a natural insecticide that may result in vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, rashes, and a loss of coordination.
Daffodil and jonquilDaffodils contain tyrosine, a chemical that triggers vomiting. Eating a daffodil can lead to cardiac issues, convulsions, vomiting, diarrhea, heart arrhythmia, and low blood pressure.
DahliaDahlias are toxic, though the reason why is unknown. Ingestion can lead to mild gastrointestinal problems and mild dermatitis.
DaisyDaisies are part of the chrysanthemum species so they are also toxic. Ingestion can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, incoordination, and dermatitis.
FoxgloveAll parts of the plant are extremely poisonous. Foxgloves contain naturally occurring toxic cardiac glycosides that affect the heart. Ingestion can lead to cardiac arrest and death.
HollyAll holly varieties including the popular Christmas holly, Japanese holly, English holly, and American holly, are toxic. Eating holly leaves can result in vomiting, diarrhea, lip smacking, drooling, and gastrointestinal injury.
HostaPopular because they thrive even with indirect light, hostas can cause stomach upset.
HydrangeaHydrangeas are poisonous to people and pets in large quantities as there are toxic substances in both the leaves and flowers. Eating this plant can lead to diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, and more.
IrisThese spring blooms add a pop of yellow or blue to your garden, but they add a level of danger for your dog. Eating irises can result in mild to moderate vomiting, skin irritation, drooling, lethargy, and diarrhea.
LantanaThis popular, quick-growing ground cover adds a pop of bright yellow, pink, orange, purple, or red to your yard, but in rare cases can cause liver failure in cats and dogs.
LiliesMany lilies, including daylilies and peace lilies, are toxic to dogs and cats. While dogs may experience gastrointestinal upset, the risk is greatest for cats — they’re at risk of acute kidney injury or even death.
PeonyThis early spring blooming shrub has pink, red, or white flowers, but peonies contain a toxin called paenol that can lead to vomiting, excessive drooling, and diarrhea.
Sago palmAll parts of sago palms are poisonous. They contain cycasin, a toxin that causes severe liver damage in dogs. The Pet Poison Hotline reports that severe liver damage can be seen within two to three days of ingestion and the survival rate is 50%.
TulipThe bulbs are the most toxic part of this plant, but every part of these popular spring flowers can hurt your dog. Ingestion can lead to convulsions, cardiac problems, difficulty breathing, gastrointestinal discomfort, and drooling.
WisteriaWhile beautiful, all parts of wisteria are poisonous — but especially the seeds. The seeds contain both lectin and wisterin glycoside and while ingesting one may not be fatal, as few as five seeds can be fatal to dogs and cats, and even cause illness in children.
YewAll varieties of the yew, a common evergreen, contain toxins that are poisonous to dogs. Every part of the plant is dangerous, as they have taxines, a bitter poison in the leaves and seeds. When ingested by your pooch, it can lead to vomiting, difficulty breathing, seizures, dilated pupils, coma, and even death.

What to do if your dog has ingested a potentially deadly plant, shrub, or flower

If you think your furry friend has ingested a poisonous plant, call your veterinarian as soon as possible. Delaying a phone call in a potential emergency can cause injury or even death. If you catch your pup munching on one of our aforementioned toxic plants, keep an eye out for symptoms of poisoning.

Dog owners may also call the ASPCA Pet Poison Control Hotline 24 hours at (888) 426-4435 or the Poison Pet Helpline at 855-764-7661 if they suspect plant poisoning.

👉 Check out our comprehensive list of all the foods that are unsafe for your dog to eat, plus pet-safe human foods.

Symptoms of plant poisoning in pets

Symptoms can vary as they are specific to each type of plant eaten. These are the most common symptoms you can watch out for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing

Plant poison prevention

The best cure for poisoning is prevention. Take note of any plants and shrubs in your yard or your house and identify any plants that may be dangerous. Then either remove these plants and shrubs or restrict your dog’s access to them. We’ve also rounded up a list of pet-safe pesticides and pest-control options for your yard and home.

Choosing pet-friendly plants can ensure the well-being of your furry friends while allowing you to enjoy the benefits and beauty of indoor and outdoor flora. Whether it’s the purifying Bamboo Palm or the colorful Snapdragons, incorporating non-toxic plants creates a harmonious environment for everyone in the household. Always research before purchasing a new plant, and monitor your pets for any adverse reactions, ensuring a safe and happy coexistence between pets and plants.

Frequently asked questions

What plants are OK to have around pets?

While many plants might not be an option, you can still have beautiful, colorful plants like snapdragons, marigolds, jasmine, and thyme in your yard and garden.

What is toxic in the garden for dogs?

When it comes to plants in your vegetable garden, there are some plants that you should keep your pup away from. Onionstomatoes, chives, and garlic can all pose a risk to your dog. Consider fencing these sections in or ensure your dog is supervised at all times. It’s also important to keep dogs away from your compost pile. As foods are broken down, they may become toxic to dogs if ingested — particularly with dairy products and various pieces of bread and grains.

How can I identify toxic plants to keep away from my pets?

Along with this article, there are plenty of great online resources to check which plants you should keep away from your furry friends. You can also consult your local nursery or plant store to see which plants they recommend keeping away from pets. Overall, it’s best to do as much research as you can before introducing a new plant to your home or garden.

What are the early warning signs of plant poisoning in pets?

Symptoms tend to vary by plant, but often the first universal signs are vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea, excessive salivation, lethargy, skin irritation, and loss of appetite. If your pet is experiencing any of these, contact your vet immediately.

Are there any houseplants that can improve indoor air quality for both humans and pets?

Yes! Plenty of the houseplants listed above provide air-purifying benefits, specifically: Spider plants, Boston ferns, areca palms, and cast iron plants.

© 2023 Betterpet – Advice from veterinarians and actual pet experts

American College of Veterinary Behaviorists Issues Statement on Adversive Training Methods


Done with Dog Daddy

By Coco Lederhouse October 16, 2023

Outfitted in a flashy Gucci tracksuit and sunglasses, and often seen walking beside his German Shepherds, Augusto DeOliveira, also known as “The Dog Daddy,” certainly commands attention.

Augusto DeOliveira “The Dog Daddy”, has gone viral on social media for his ability to control dogs.  However, numerous behavioral science organizations, including the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB), are warning owners that aversive training methods can be dangerous. 

His dog training practices have caught the attention of concerned animal welfare groups, trainers, veterinary behaviorists, and pet owners. On September 13, the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) issued a statement expressing serious concerns regarding DeOliveira’s training practices and warning of the damaging effects that his methods could have on dogs.

“The training methods we see in the videos are using physical force or correction,” said Dr. Kelly Ballantyne, president of the ACVB and medical director at Insight Animal Behavior Services in Chicago. “We know that those methods are a big threat to animal welfare, they have a high risk of causing or increasing fear, panic, and aggression. They also put the handler and any of those people nearby at high risk for a bite.”

Instead, Dr. Ballantyne advocates for teaching animals through the reinforcement of desired behaviors and managing their environment to prevent undesired behaviors.

While aversive techniques may appear to stop a “bad” behavior, she explained that the effectiveness of the intervention isn’t determined by what happens in the moment, but if the behavior is changed over time. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior issued a position statement in 2021 on humane dog training that advises against aversive training methods.

Video clips on social media are just a snapshot in time, and it’s “pretty easy to get swayed by the quick fix,” Dr. Ballantyne said.

Zak George, an evidence-based dog trainer and educational content creator, has been a strong opponent of DeOliveira’s training approach. George has organized peaceful protests at DeOliveira’s appearances around the U.S. and worked to raise awareness among pet owners.

“Our collective aim is to illuminate the dangers and inefficacies of inhumane training techniques,” George said. These techniques create an atmosphere of mistrust between dogs and their owners, and are associated with increased behavioral issues and aggression, he explained.

Several other organizations, including the Animal Behaviour and Training Council and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals raised concerns about DeOliveira’s group training sessions in London earlier this summer.

Similarly, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the Pet Professional Guild Australia issued a statement in response to DeOliveira’s training techniques.

Both George and Dr. Ballantyne warned of trainers who use outdated language like “dominance” or “alpha.” Dominance theory, based on the perceived dynamics of a wolfpack, has been debunked even in wolves, Dr. Ballantyne explained. Using those terms to explain a dog’s actions is not supported by current scientific consensus on dog behavior.

“The issue we’re confronting in the dog training community isn’t confined to any one individual like Augusto DeOliveira,” George said. “His practices, unfortunately, aren’t outliers; they’re part of a troubling pattern prevalent among a significant number of trainers employing antiquated and harmful methods.”

In the current “buyer beware” environment, accountability is a challenge, George said. Many owners aren’t equipped to identify harmful practices, he added, “[They are] often misled by trainers who have mastered the art of pseudoscientific rhetoric. That’s why it’s imperative to rely on trainers who employ evidence-based, force-free methods—endorsed universally by reputable behavioral science organizations.”

Veterinarians play a key role in helping to guide clients towards trainers who use appropriate methods and are knowledgeable about dog behavior. The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists has information about choosing a dog trainer, U.S. dog training organizations with certification options, and a list of animal behavior profession.

© 2023 American Veterinary Medical Association All rights reserved

View this email in your browserWhat to REALLY Know About Chocolate Toxicity for Your PetThe Halloween season can be a great time to enrich your pet with walks and playtime in the falling leaves, bonding with your pet with the increased indoor time, and more. 

At the same time it can be spooky for more reasons than that horror movie your partner is always trying to get you to watch! 

Pet owners often misunderstand the real dangers that chocolate can pose to their pet. Here are the REAL things you need to know:

White chocolate poses no danger (think of a Zero bar). Milk chocolate (Hershey’s), which most Halloween candy consists of, poses a very minor risk. Dark chocolate (baker’s chocolate for example) poses a modest risk

For milk chocolate, a pet has to consume about 3 ounces of milk chocolate per 10 pounds of body weight before even a veterinarian would notice any troubling signs such as excitement (comes from theobromine in chocolate which acts like caffeine). It takes a massive amount of chocolate to be fatal.

So to round out with an example, an average 20-pound dog would have to consume two full-sized candy bars (think Snicker’s bars) to even show any clinical signs. A 70-pound Labrador Retriever would have to consume 14 Butterfingers. If your dog eats a piece of chocolate, don’t worry about it, and certainly save yourself a trip to the emergency vet! The worst thing that will happen to your dog is probably digestive upset. 

However, if your dog is a non-stop eating machine and somehow got into a treasure trove of treats, please seek your veterinarian for treatment.

I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween season and I’ll see you in November!


Dr. Marty Becker

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Packing for any trip involves planning for the adventures you expect to have. That can be challenging enough when it’s just you, but if you decide to bring your dog, it becomes even more complicated. Dogs need more than just food, water, and treats to have a fun and safe trip. Here’s what to pack for your dog on vacation, no matter the adventures you have planned.