Dog Treat Recall: Nature’s Recipe Oven-Baked Chicken Biscuits

Posted on October 14th, 2012 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

“Nature’s Recipe brand is voluntarily recalling a limited supply of Nature’s Recipe® Oven Baked Biscuits with Real Chicken, manufactured in one of its U.S. production facilities.  This is being done as a precautionary measure, as the product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.  Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products.”  To read more about this recall and how it may affect you, please click here:

Nature’s Recipe Recall of Oven-Baked Chicken Biscuits


Watch Tip: Restraining Pets in Automobiles

Posted on August 1st, 2012 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Watch Tip LogoThis morning, as I drove to work, I passed a car with a medium-sized dog with at least half of his or her body hanging out a half-open window, completely unrestrained.  As the car made a left turn, I watched from my rear-view mirror, worried that the pooch was going to fly out of the window as the vehicle careened around the corner.  The dog did not, and I was grateful, but it is an example of the need for pet restraint and/or containment in a vehicle.

Loose Pets in Vehicles Pose Many Risks

There are many dangers in letting pets roam freely in automobiles, to them and to others.  The group, Bark Buckle UP, has a detailed and thorough website that includes not only why pets should be safe, but all types of pet travel tips and product reviews.  From their site: Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Tip: Keep Pets Safe Around Water

Posted on June 3rd, 2012 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Watch Tip LogoWarm weather is here, bringing increased activity in and around bodies of water; coupled with the common misconceptions that animals inherently know how to swim and that all dogs enjoy being in the water, this increases risk of tragic accidents.  Please be sure that you are taking the same care and concern with your pets that you would with small children, as the dangers are quite similar, and please kindly educate any family, neighbors, and friends on the proper pet water safety precautions, as outlined here.

Water Safety Tips for Pets

These tips are geared towards canine care, but could be used with those special felines that are offered closely supervised exposure to the outdoors, as we do not encourage allowing cats to roam freely. Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Tip: Lawn & Garden Chemicals

Posted on April 29th, 2012 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip LogoBeware of the deadly dangers of toxic lawn and garden chemicals. Don’t use them and prevent your pets from visiting neighbors who use them. Pesticides, insecticides and rodenticides can kill your pets, especially those that include sweeteners to attract their intended prey. If your neighbors complain about snails/slugs, mice/rats, flies and other pests, and they use toxic products to control them, keep your pets away!

Protect Your Pets: Learn this List of Toxics

  1. Snail baits with metaldehyde  Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Tip: Learn Your Pets’ Vital Signs

Posted on April 22nd, 2012 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip LogoBe better prepared for emergencies involving your pets by learning how to take their normal (healthy) vital signs: pulse rate, respiratory rate, and temperature. You’ll want to know both the resting and active rates. Keep that information in your pet first aid kit, so you will recognize a problem earlier. Optionally, ask your vet to provide that information at your pet’s next exam.

Review: “Pet First Aid & Disaster Response Guide” by founder Elaine Acker

This week’s tip was inspired by Acker’s book (cover pictured at right). You already know that Sunbear Squad encourages animal lovers to be good Samaritans for companion animals, especially neighbors’ pets and lost or abandoned animals in your area. We want every animal lover to be prepared, equipped, and knowledgeable, so we like to recommend helpful resources like this book ($18.95). This is one you want in your first aid kit. But please read it first; you’ll be glad you did.
Click on the book cover to purchase the book. Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Tip: Dog Park Tips & Warnings

Posted on April 16th, 2012 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Watch Tip LogoDog parks have become extremely popular with dog owners for a variety of different reasons, including exercise, opportunities for socializing dogs, and just plain canine fun.  But there are problems to consider, and precautions to be taken, so that “fun” trip to the dog park doesn’t turn into a tragedy.   Following are ten tips and warnings to take heed of, and to distribute to any dog parents you may know!

1.         Do your research first.

Check out the dog park before taking your dog for his or her first outing.  Whether it’s Fido’s first time at this particular park, or visiting a park away from home, it pays to know the “lay of the land” before the first outing, and see what amenities are available (drinking water? separate play areas for small and large dogs?).  Know what the rules of the park are – they will have signs posted, and often a website that goes over the rules in more detail. Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Tip: New Cat Introductions

Posted on March 18th, 2012 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip LogoIf you adopt an adult cat and you already have adult cats living in your home, manage the introduction process carefully to avoid fighting and eventually achieve harmony. Remember that cats are territorial animals and most will reject newcomer cats with extreme drama and noise. Follow these steps when introducing an adult, tame adoptive house cat to your home cat tribe. Your goal is “100% safe acceptance,” no clumps of fur found anywhere, no wounds of any kind, no emergency trips to the vet! If your cats actually become friends who sleep side by side, consider yourself lucky; it doesn’t happen often.

Consider adopting a cat who has lived with other cats to minimize the amount of adjustment time and effort needed.

1. Create a private room for the new resident.

  • Provide the shelter or current owner with two items of bedding (small blankets, towels, t-shirts) a day or two in advance of pickup, with a request that the bedding be placed in your new cat’s sleeping space as bedding. When you pick up your cat, pick up the  bedding too. Put the bedding in your cat’s travel crate. Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Tip Classic: Scratching Persistently

Posted on February 26th, 2012 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip LogoListen and watch for pets who scratch or lick themselves persistently; they might be suffering severely from food allergies, mange, fleas or other parasites. Look at the fur: do you see red, rough patches or skin ulcers? This animal is in perpetual torment. Please take action. Talk to the owner or call the authorities.

“Look at the fur” ==> “Look beneath the fur”

When you watch a dog or cat who persistently scratches, you might make the same common assumption as many others do: the poor thing suffers from fleas or even worse, has developed allergies to flea saliva. If you part the hair and find pin-head sized dark things that dart or jump, and accompanying flakes of dark red “dandruff” (blood), you are correct.   Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Tip Classic: Secondhand Smoke Harms Pets

Posted on February 20th, 2012 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip Logo
Secondhand smoke is a threat to pets—did you know? It is even more toxic for pets than for humans because not only do they breathe the fumes, they lick the cancer-causing residue from their fur while grooming! Cats and short-nosed dogs are most affected, but all pets in smoking households are more likely to develop lung/nasal/mouth cancers and lymphoma.

If you smoke, be aware of the increased risk of cancer for your pets

Have you ever noticed the smoke residue that coats the walls and windows inside the home of a smoker? In addition to coating lung tissues, that toxic airborne residue infiltrates porous materials, such as clothing and pet fur. Secondhand smoke causes cancer in cats and dogs just like it does in non-smokers who are forced to breathe the same air. The smoke can also cause breathing difficulties and eye/skin irritations. Plus, with their sensitive noses, just imagine how dogs and cats must dislike the strong acrid odors. Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Tip: Learn Signs of Pain in Cats and Dogs

Posted on January 8th, 2012 by Anna Nirva


Learn to recognize signs of pain in dogs and cats so that you can take appropriate action and prevent extreme suffering. Cats typically mask pain and many dogs do as well. The signs may be subtle but you can recognize them if you are prepared. As you travel through your daily life, be ready to help an animal in distress. You may save a life.

All animals deserve treatment to relieve their suffering

You certainly believe that but be aware that many people do not; they will ignore suffering in their animals. For centuries prevailing wisdom advised that the lesser animals did not feel pain like people do, possibly because people didn’t understand how to read the subtle symptoms of pain. Maybe they were taught to discount what signs they did observe. Remember, veterinary science is a recent innovation.

Cat pain or illness symptoms are particularly difficult to discern and a cat might be critically ill by the time the signs are evident. This sadly happened to our dear adopted cat Lucinda a few weeks ago and this post is dedicated to her memory. By the time she quit eating a day before Christmas Eve, she was already terminally ill, but she didn’t act sick. She slept more over the next two days; sleeping and refusing food were the only signs that she didn’t feel good. We took her to the vet the day after Christmas Day; she seemed weak.  She was diagnosed with severe non-regenerative anemia, cause unknown; her hemoglobin reading was the lowest the vet had seen in all his years of practice. We had to say goodbye. The suddenness of her decline and death was stupifying. We were horrified that we hadn’t provided treatment sooner.

Cats hide pain or illness instinctively. They are unlikely to vocalize when experiencing distress, but some will as pain advances. Know your cat’s routines and habits; be aware of changes. Symptoms of pain or ill health in cats include:

  • Change in routine, personality or activity levels
  • Loss of energy/more sleeping  OR  anxiety/agitation/aggression
  • Sitting on all four paws tucked under body, hunched posture, withdrawn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid breathing or panting, inward expression
  • Favoring of a certain body part; tenderness; licking of sore spot
  • Fur looks unkempt

Read the Colorado State University’s “Feline Acute Pain Scale” to learn more about identifying signs of pain in cats.

Dogs are more variable in their expression of pain. Some dogs and breeds (notably the bully breeds) are stoic while some other individuals will provide many clear evidences of discomfort.

  • Whining or whimpering
  • Panting, rapid breathing, shivering, inward expression
  • Change in routine, personality or activity levels
  • Loss of energy/more sleeping  OR  anxiety/agitation/aggression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Favoring or presentation of a certain body part; tenderness; licking of sore spot

This is the dog version of the Colorado State University’s pain scale.

The most important advice is to know the behavior and habits of your own animals; be watchful and curious. If you are observing possible pain-related behavior of a neighbor’s pet or a stray, advocate for them. Contact your neighbor and describe your observances. Even in a note taped to an entrance works. See the Sunbear Squad “Pocket Poster” you can download and post at your neighbor’s. We have a Spanish language version available too.

If you find a stray that appears to be in pain or ill, take the animal to a vet if you live in an area served by a shelter or pound that you do not trust to uphold humane standards of care. If your area is served by a compassionate organization, contact them.