Cars and Dogs: Getting Hit Isn’t the Only Danger

When you think of cars and dogs, the first danger that comes to mind is collision. Clearly this is an all-too-common occurrence that can lead to severe or fatal injuries. But collisions are by no means the only risk to your pet. Here are other car-related dangers that you may not know about.


Dogs that chase cars are attracted to the movement. Unfortunately, this reckless behavior is often the precursor to being hit by other vehicles whose drivers didn’t expect an animal in the road. Dogs that leap, dart or jump out at cars can cause accidents as well-meaning drivers swerve to miss them. Even a dog on a leash can hurt itself or its owner if it lunges at passing cars. Training is needed to correct this problem and ensure the dog’s safety.

Hot and Cold Cars

Every year, animal control officers receive a high volume of calls regarding dogs left in hot cars. Even during moderately sunny weather, the interior of a parked car can soar to over 100 degrees in only a few minutes. On hotter days, the temperature may top 160. It doesn’t take long in heat like that for dogs to suffer heat stroke, brain damage or even death.

Winter poses similar threats. Leaving dogs alone in cold cars makes them prime targets for hypothermia. Trying to keep a dog warm by leaving the engine running and the heater on may cause carbon monoxide to build up inside the vehicle, causing a potentially fatal situation.

Unrestrained Riding

The sight of a car whizzing by with a dog hanging its head out the window could be an unfortunate sign of trouble to come. Dogs that ride in cars without a crate or harness can distract drivers by climbing into laps, getting underfoot or even just by being anxious. Riding in the front seat puts them at risk for harm from the airbag should it deploy. Should the dog become overly excited, it’s possible that it will try to escape through an open window even if the car is moving. In the event of an accident, unrestrained dogs become airborne and can cause impacts equal to hundreds or even thousands of pounds. These dangers make it smart to invest in some kind of safety system if you drive with your dog.

Car Fluids

Even when a car is parked safely in the garage, your dog may be at risk from leaking fluids. Antifreeze has a sweet smell and taste that attracts pets but contains poisonous ethylene glycol which can cause damage to the liver, kidneys and brain. The same chemical shows up in brake fluid. Petroleum-based liquids such as gasoline and motor oil can cause a condition called petroleum hydrocarbon toxicosis. If your dog ingests these, don’t encourage vomiting. Instead, call the vet and get your pet there as quickly as possible.

Recognizing and Treating Kennel Cough: A Guide for Dog Owners

Kennel cough, sometimes called Bordetella or tracheobronchitis, is an infection commonly seen in dogs that have been exposed to crowded kennels or shelters, excessive cold temperatures, travel-related stress or irritants such as cigarette smoke. These conditions make dogs more susceptible to contracting one of the many infectious agents that cause the disease. Here’s how to protect and treat your canine companion.


Bordetella bronchiseptica, mycoplasma and parainfluenza virus are just a few of the bacteria and viruses that can cause symptoms of kennel cough. Dogs with the disease develop inflammation of the larynx and trachea which can spread to other dogs via airborne particles. This is why the condition is so common in shelters and kennels; the close quarters make it easy for bacteria and viruses to travel.

Signs and Symptoms

Mild cases of kennel cough cause symptoms that include:

  • Persistent “honking” cough
  • Retching
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Eye discharge

Infected dogs generally continue to eat well and maintain their regular activity levels. However, if loss of appetite, lethargy, rapid breathing or other serious symptoms develop, dogs should be checked by a veterinarian to determine if another illness such as pneumonia is present.

Medical Treatments

A veterinarian diagnoses kennel cough by evaluating the animal’s symptoms and history of exposure. Vets may prescribe cough suppressants or bronchodilators to help dogs be more comfortable. Antibiotics don’t tend to shorten the duration of infection and so are generally not prescribed unless the case is more severe. Dogs that are likely to be exposed to kennel cough can be vaccinated against the disease.

Natural Remedies

Just as with human illnesses, there are many natural options for treating kennel cough. Humidifying the air in the area where the dog spends most of his or her time may ease symptoms. Adding essential oils such as eucalyptus to the humidifier or an oil diffuser can also be soothing.

Herbs that have been used successfully to treat kennel cough include licorice, sage, blackberry, elder blossom, thyme, fenugreek and slippery elm. Before employing any of these remedies, however, consult with a trained herbalist for instruction on combinations and dosage. Dogs will need much less of an herb than humans and proper preparation is important in order to get the most out of each remedy.

Other natural options to consider include raw honey, which is known for its disease-fighting properties; coconut oil, which contains medium-chain fatty acids that are reported to fight bacteria and viruses and vitamins C and E, both of which are important for immune health in dogs as well as humans.


Depending on the age and health of the infected dog, kennel cough can take anywhere from ten days to six weeks to clear completely. The agent causing the infection may remain in the dog’s system for as long as 14 weeks, during which time the dog is still contagious and should be kept away from other animals.

How to Protect Your Cat Against Outdoor Dangers

Many cat owners feel their felines need to spend time outdoors to get fresh air and exercise. However, experts agree that outdoor cats are more subject to dangerous situations than indoor cats. Even cats that only go outside once and a while can encounter hazards. Consider these cautions before deciding whether or not to let your cat have some outdoor time.

Contact With Feral Cats

Feral cats can carry a variety of diseases that threaten the health of domestic cats. Feline leukemia, distemper and upper respiratory infections are just a few of the illnesses your cat could contract from feral cats. Ferals can also be unfriendly or territorial, leading to fights that could leave your cat with a painful injury. These health concerns require vet visits that can be expensive for you and traumatic for your cat.

Dangerous Situations

Cars are the most obvious danger to outdoor cats and pose the greatest risk of fatal injuries. However, cars aren’t the only hazard. Dogs that run loose in the neighborhood and wild animals such as coyotes can pose a threat to cats. If chased by one of these animals, your cat may go up a tree for safety and be too frightened to come back down. Unfortunately, he or she can’t rely on humans to be helpful in these situations. It’s a sad fact that some people take pleasure in being cruel to animals. Humans may also unwittingly harm outdoor cats by leaving garbage and chemicals where they can easily be ingested and cause illness or poisoning.

Parasite Infections

Fleas and ticks are much easier for cats to pick up when they spend a lot of time outside. These pests are often carriers of infections such as Lyme disease which negatively affect your cat’s quality of life. Ear mites and various kinds of worms are also common parasites that outdoor cats can pick up. Even though it’s unlikely that these will be life-threatening, your cat will still suffer unpleasant symptoms and can bring infections home to other family pets.

Lost Cats

Outdoor cats are roaming cats, and when a cat roams, he or she is liable to get lost. Make sure your cat has a collar with an ID tag and wears it at all times. Since collars can sometimes get lost, consider also getting your cat microchipped for identification. In case of an emergency, keep current photos of your cat on hand. This will allow you to make “Lost Cat” fliers quickly should your cat go missing.

If you’re concerned about these potential problems but still want your cat to be able to enjoy the outdoors, another option is to build an enclosure near the house. This gives your cat a place to play and explore without the dangers associated with roaming free.

5 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe This Winter

Winter weather can be dangerous for pets. Cold temperatures, snow storms and other hazards pose a threat to health. As a pet owner, you need to be smart about your pets’ special needs during the chilly months of the year.

1. Don’t overdo. Just like people, pets have various levels of tolerance to cold. Unless your pet is a breed with an insulating coat, having fur doesn’t automatically equate to being warmer. Age, health condition and level of activity all influence how long your pet can stay outside in the winter. Degenerative diseases such as arthritis can act up in the cold, making usual activities such as walks difficult for older pets.

2. Watch Fido’s Feet. Your dog’s paws come in contact with cold pavement, snow and ice throughout the winter. If he or she suddenly starts limping while on a walk, stop and check for ice or pieces of rock salt that may be stuck between the paw pads. Always wipe down your dog’s feet after a trip outside to remove irritants and potentially harmful chemicals. Walking on any surface that has been treated with a de-icing agent can cause dry, cracked paw pads. If you see evidence of this, contact your vet about treatment options.

3. Have a Warm Space. Pets may change their preferred sleeping areas when the weather turns colder. Make sure that wherever your furry friend decides to bed down is warm and comfortable. If your pet likes to spend time outdoors, provide a heated shelter such as a dog house and make sure there is always fresh water available in a bowl designed to keep the liquid from freezing. Ask your vet if it’s necessary to feed your pet more to help him or her maintain the right body temperature.

4. Be Prepared for Storms. Your pet may love playing outdoors, but bring your animal inside if a storm is coming. Keep in mind that all pets may be in danger if the power goes out. Put together an emergency kit that holds everything that both the people and pets in your family need in the event of an outage, including food, water and blankets. Should you need to leave the house and stay elsewhere during a prolonged outage, make sure that the hotel you choose is pet-friendly.

5. Avoid Toxic Exposure. Winter chemicals such as antifreeze can be deadly to pets. Around Christmas, decorations including plants and icicles also pose potential threats. Keep all chemical containers firmly shut and out of reach of pets and children. Clean up any leaks or spills immediately. Elevate decorations so that they are out of reach of curious pets.

Follow these tips to give your pets a safe and healthy season this winter. As long as you play it smart, you and your furry friends can enjoy the cold without any problems.

Natural Botanicals Offer New Hope for Arthritic Pets

Arthritis is an inflammatory disease of the joints that can affect dogs and horses as well as people. A number of effective treatments are already on the market for this inflammatory disorder; however, not all animals respond in the same way to these medications. Recent advances in botanical medicine have created new options for pet owners that can provide added relief from aches and pains and can enhance mobility for dogs and horses. Here are some of the most promising new botanicals in the modern pet supplement marketplace.

Devil’s Claw

The scary name of this plant extract comes with some healthy benefits for your arthritic pet. Supplements containing devil’s claw can provide increased pain relief and can reduce swelling and inflammation associated with canine arthritis. Additionally, the antioxidant properties of this herb can help to reduce some of the most serious signs of aging in your horse or dog.

Cat’s Claw

This herbal supplement is usually available in freeze-dried form and is native to the Amazon rain forest. It is a pain reliever that has produced effective results in clinical testing of both dogs and humans.


A rich source of polyphenolic compounds and steroidal saponins, yucca extracts offer exceptional antioxidant properties and can reduce inflammation by preventing platelets from clumping together in the blood to cause swelling. Yucca has an added benefit for dog owners; it has been shown to reduce the smell and incidence of flatulence in canine companions.

Avocado-Soy Unsaponifiables

Derived from avocado and soybean oils, Avocado-Soy Unsaponifiables (ASU) products can help regenerate cartilage and connective tissue in most canine and human patients. If ASU products are not readily available, mixing soybean oil and minced avocado into pet food can sometimes provide a less-effective version of the same general effect.

Flaxseed and Pumpkin Seeds

Both flaxseed and pumpkin seed contain high concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids. As powerful antioxidants, these botanical extracts can provide added anti-inflammatory benefits and are often combined with fish oil supplements to provide a broad base of Omega-3 benefits for pets and people.


One of the most effective botanical treatments for canine and equine arthritis, phycocyanin is derived from the cyanobacteria family of blue-green algae and is a complex pigment that complements the activities of chlorophyll in these aquatic plants. Most commercially available phycocyanin is extracted from Spirulina, a type of algae known for its exceptionally rich protein content and its high concentration of essential fatty acids and minerals. Phycocyanin is a powerful anti-inflammatory and can reduce swelling and edema in horses and dogs, allowing them an increased measure of mobility. This botanical extract has also been shown to boost the function of the immune system and can provide added energy for aging pets.

Incorporating cutting-edge botanical supplements into your pet’s daily diet can provide your dog or horse with added energy and increased mobility. By reducing the pain and inflammation associated with canine and equine arthritic conditions, you can help your pet enjoy an active and healthy life for many years into the future.

Dietary Supplements for Dogs and Cats

Augmenting your pet’s regular diet with vitamins and minerals can provide real health benefits and may prove useful in treating a number of common conditions. The right supplements are formulated to precise standards to meet the specific needs of dogs, cats and other pets. Used properly, pet supplements can offer real benefits and can reduce certain side effects of aging in dogs and cats. Here are some tips on finding the right dietary supplements to suit your pet’s unique set of needs.

Shiny Coats

Supplements containing healthy amounts of fatty acids that include Omega 3, Omega 6 and Vitamin E can promote thicker and more lustrous fur for cats and dogs. Fish oil supplements are among the most commonly available treatments for healthier coats and may also help in reducing inflammation for pets with arthritis. Incorporating these supplements into the regular diets of cats and dogs can help them enjoy a wide range of health benefits throughout their lives.

Healthy Teeth and Bones

Calcium supplements can sometimes be helpful for dogs and cats with dental issues. However, you should consult a veterinarian before beginning a course of calcium treatments for your dog or cat; overdosing on these supplements can cause serious problems for developing bones and may lead to skeletal developmental issues in some cases. Be sure to inform your veterinarian regarding your pet’s current diet when considering calcium supplements to ensure the best possible results for your dog or cat.

Greater Mobility

Arthritis supplements typically include glucosamine-chondroitin sulfate and are designed to reduce joint pain and increase mobility for older dogs suffering from canine arthritis. Many of these supplements are available over the counter in pet supply stores; however, some stronger formulations must be obtained through your veterinarian. Before beginning a regimen of glucosamine-chondroitin supplements, your pet should receive a thorough checkup to ensure that no other physical conditions are responsible for the symptoms your dog is currently exhibiting.


Supplements that contain antioxidants can boost the regeneration rate of cells and can restore energy to aging pets. Some of the most common ingredients in antioxidant supplements include the following:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Selenium
  • Alpha lipoic acid
  • S-Adenosyl
  • Beta carotene

These antioxidant supplements offer significant benefits for older pets and can help younger dogs and cats lead healthier, more active lives.


Mineral supplements can provide some health benefits for dogs and cats; however, these medications should only be administered with the knowledge and approval of your veterinarian. Excessive intake of some minerals can be dangerous for your pet; additionally, some mineral supplement formulations can potentially interact with medications or other items in your pet’s regular diet. A little caution can go a long way toward protecting the health of your dog or cat.

In most cases, pet supplements can provide an added boost of energy, increased mobility and improved health for dogs and cats. By choosing these nutritional products carefully, you can ensure a brighter future for you and your pets.

Four of the Most Common Health Issues for Dogs

Your dog deserves the same high-quality health care you would give to any other member of your family. Understanding the most common health issues in the canine world can help you to identify these ailments and address them quickly to ensure the safety and health of your beloved pet.


Dogs are vulnerable to a wide range of worm infestations, including the following:

  • Tapeworm infestations occur when dogs accidentally ingest fleas or lice that serve as hosts for the eggs of this parasite. Dogs with tapeworms may exhibit scooting behaviors and may not derive full nutritional value from the food they consume.
  • Roundworms are usually not dangerous to adult dogs. Young puppies, however, can sometimes suffer serious malnutrition or chronic diarrhea due to the presence of these worms in their digestive tract.
  • Hookworms can cause lifelong problems for affected dogs and may result in weight loss, bloody stools and other serious side effects.

Prevention is the most effective tactic for dealing with these parasitic infestations. Eliminating lice and fleas from your pet’s environment and administering preventive medications can help to keep your dog safe from the damaging effects of worms.

Ear Infections

Often caused by ear mites or allergies, ear infections can be painful for your dog and can potentially have serious implications for balance, hearing and overall health. Some of the most common signs of ear infection include the following:

  • Vigorous head shaking
  • Head tilting
  • Swelling or redness of the inner ear
  • Brownish or yellowish discharge from the ear
  • Scratching of the ears, sometimes to the point of bleeding

Cleaning and applying antibiotics and other medications can usually provide quick relief for most ear infections.

Gastrointestinal Upsets

Most dogs occasionally experience stomach upsets that can result in vomiting or diarrhea. If these issues become a chronic problem, however, a trip to the veterinary office is recommended to determine the cause of these gastrointestinal difficulties. Chronic or severe vomiting and diarrhea can be caused by a number of serious and minor ailments:

  • Parvo virus infections
  • Pancreatitis
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Mild or serious food poisoning
  • Stress
  • Heat stroke

If your dog runs a fever, refuses to eat or becomes dehydrated after an episode of diarrhea or vomiting, seek veterinary help immediately to rule out poisoning and to start treatment for the cause of these symptoms.


Older dogs frequently develop arthritis in hips and other joints. This can prove painful and may reduce mobility for some animals. Vitamin and mineral supplements can often provide some relief from these symptoms. Your veterinarian can often suggest safe and effective treatments for arthritis symptoms that can help to restore mobility and reduce the symptoms of canine arthritis.

Your veterinarian can provide you with added insights into your dog’s health and can allow you to make the right choices regarding diet, exercise and preventive treatments. By working together to provide your dog with the right veterinary care and vitamin supplements, you and your vet can ensure a longer and happier life for your beloved pet.

Five Critical Elements of Responsible Pet Care

Ensuring the health and longevity of your pet can ensure a happier life for both of you. Many pet owners, however, neglect some of the basic necessities of pet care through a fundamental lack of understanding of the needs of their dog or cat. Here are five often-overlooked but necessary elements in responsible pet care.

Dental Care

Regular veterinary visits are a must for any dog or cat. Most areas require annual rabies shots to protect pets and other animals from the spread of this deadly disease. Other annual shots are designed to provide protection against various illnesses and to minimize the effects of fleas, ticks and other parasites on pets who routinely go outside. Dental care, however, may be overlooked in the regular round of veterinary care. Both dogs and cats can suffer from cavities, infections, gum disease and other dental issues that require immediate attention by a trained veterinary professional. Incorporating dental examinations into your regular routine can help protect your pets against serious issues throughout their lives.

Vitamin Supplements

While most of the nutrition pets receive comes from their daily diet of specially formulated food, dogs and cats may require added help during various stages of their lives. Vitamin and mineral supplements can provide added energy, healthier fur and teeth and increased bone and joint health for dogs and cats of all ages. Many supplements are available over-the-counter and can provide added nutrients for pets on an as-needed or regular basis.


Even if you have a fenced yard, your dog should be walked regularly to ensure that he or she stays active and fit. In areas where outdoor walks may be unsafe or impractical, running on a treadmill or playing ball in the backyard can provide healthy exercise for dogs of all sizes and breeds. Interactive toys can provide the same benefits for housebound cats and can create a closer bond between pets and their people.

Neutering or Spaying

As you probably already know, spaying or neutering your pet can prevent unwanted animals from entering the world and the adoption marketplace. These procedures can also have significant benefits for you and your pet in terms of health and socialization. Intact animals have a greater tendency toward aggression toward other pets and may try to escape your home or yard due to hormonal influences. Neutered and spayed pets are less likely to spray and often live longer, healthier lives thanks to this simple procedure.

Down Time

Providing pets with a safe area to which they can retreat when the noise and intensity becomes too much can ensure a safer environment for people and pets alike. For dogs, an indoor kennel or enclosure can serve as a safe haven from smaller children and unfamiliar guests. Cats often prefer to have an elevated shelf or area from which they can observe family activities at a safe remove. Making a space for pet down time can ensure that these domestic animals feel secure in the home environment and can engage fully with their human companions.

By adding these to your current pet care regimen, you can ensure the health of your dogs and cats and can enjoy many years of companionship together.

Strengthening the Bond Between Animals and Their Caretakers

Mark Pieloch is a scientist and entrepreneur who has a reputation for getting things done. His keen analytical mind made pharmacological research an ideal career choice. An animal lover since childhood, Pieloch knows how deeply the human-animal bond runs. He also knows about the loss of trust when a cat or dog’s human caretaker has to force feed medications or nutritional supplements. Combining his research talents with his desire to help companion animals, he set out find a way to make medications more palatable to improve the lives of dogs, cats, horses and their humans.

After earning his pharmacy bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, Pieloch pursued a master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan. After receiving this in 1983, he landed a job as a production planning analyst for Sterling Drug in McPherson, Kansas. Moving up the ranks to become senior production planning analyst, Pieloch left to join SmithKline Beecham Animal Health in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1985. After working his way up from research pharmacist to director of Pharmaceutical Development, he decided to leave SmithKline Beecham and strike out on his own.

In 1990, Pieloch founded Pharma Chemie, a company that develops and manufactures a wide range of great-tasting nutritional supplements that are sold under private labels around the world. As Pharma Chemie took off and continued to grow, he founded additional businesses, including Peak Nutrition, PalaTech Laboratories and FlavorTek. In 2003, Mark founded Pet Flavors, now called PF Inc., to research and develop palatable flavor bases attractive to cats, dogs and horses. By adding these desirable flavors to supplements and medications, pets simply eat their medicine because it tastes good.

Still active in research, Pieloch obtained a patent for Phycox in 2007. Phycox is a supplement containing phycocyanin, a proven, safe and effective treatment for canine and equine arthritis. In 2008, he launched Phycox (PSPC Inc.). The company develops and manufactures a full product line of supplements designed to ease joint pain and reduce inflammation.

Pieloch sold Pharma Chemie in 2012 to concentrate solely on PF Inc. and PSPC, Inc. He conducts ongoing research into making medicines and supplements tastier and easier to administer and to improve and support the physical health of companion animals.

The human-animal bond is unmistakable. In the United States, the number of households owning dogs is over 43 million; cats are in more than 36 million homes and horses are owned by over 1.5 million households. The pet industry has experienced exponential growth, offering everything from luxury clothing to high-end food products. Research shows that people who own pets are often healthier, have lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol levels and better mental health. Animals serve as guides and assist the disabled to live fuller lives. Most people consider their pets members of the family. They take them to the vet for preventive health care, medicate them when needed and do whatever they can to give them long and healthy lives. Mark Pieloch’s painstaking research and dedication to improving the lives of pets and the humans who love them keeps the bond between them strong.

Education Paves the Way to Entrepreneurial Success

Mark Pieloch is the founder of five highly successful pharmaceutical enterprises that focus on animal health. At a time when many businesses struggle to stay afloat, his current businesses, PF Inc. and PSPC Inc., have not only survived, but also thrived.

In 1975, after graduating seventh in his high school graduating class of 385, Pieloch went on to pursue advanced pharmacy degrees at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, graduating magna cum laude. His thesis was based on his research involving the ocular effects of Delta 9 THC for the treatment of glaucoma.

From 1981 to 1983, he began laying the groundwork for his future entrepreneurship by getting a master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan. He majored in Operations Management and International Business, again graduating magna cum laude. After college, Pieloch worked a variety of jobs in the pharmaceutical industry, including work as a pharmacy manager, registered pharmacist and research scientist. In 1985, he began working at SmithKline Beecham Animal Health in various capacities, working his way up to director of the Pharmaceutical Development division. He left SmithKline Beecham in 1990 and started his first business, Pharma Chemie, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Pharma Chemie mission was to provide high quality, palatable private label dog, cat and horse nutritional supplements that tasted good and were easy to administer. Pieloch started Pet Flavors (PF Inc.) in 2003, a company dedicated to developing the most palatable flavors to encourage dogs, cats and horses to readily accept medications. He continued his research and in 2007 obtained a U.S. patent for phycocyanin as a treatment for arthritis in non-human mammals. Derived from an extract of blue-green algae, phycocyanin is a proven COX-2 selective agent that relieves arthritis discomfort and reduces inflammation quickly without side effects. This led to his product Phycox Canine Soft Chews (PSPC Inc.) in 2008. Sold to the public only through veterinarians, Phycox is a highly palatable, safe and effective treatment for arthritis in dogs and horses.

Pieloch sold Pharma Chemie in 2012 to concentrate on his core businesses, PF Inc. and PSPC Inc. As other businesses floundered, both PF Inc. and PSPC Inc. prospered. A large part of the success of both businesses comes from his unique skills and background. Pieloch’s education and research skills ensure the continued advancement of the flavor and animal nutritional supplement segments of his businesses. His unflagging dedication to his mission drives him to succeed. Deeply respectful of the emotional bond between humans and their companion animals, Pieloch’s mission has always been to keep the bond strong by finding a way to make it easy to administer medicine and improve a pet’s quality of life. His education and business experience gives him the ability to navigate through recent economic downturns with flexibility and conservative spending.

First and foremost, Mark Pieloch does what he loves. Making the world a better place for pets and their humans using his exceptional research skills is what drives him. As a long time business owner, he knows that the unexpected happens and uses what he has learned over the years to bounce back from adversity. He defines what it means to be an entrepreneur.