DOG FOOD RECALL! Pedigree Announces Voluntary Recall Due to Metal Fragments In Food

UPDATED-EXPANDED! The following announcement now is being expanded to include 55-pound bags of Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food products sold in Sam’s Club in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

Mars Petcare US last week announced a voluntary recall of 22 bags of Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food. There is a possibility of foreign material introduced into the food. The bags of dog food thought to be affected were sold in 12 Dollar General stores in four states: ARKANSAS, LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI and TENNESSEE.

The affected 55-pound bags were sold at Sam’s Club between August 14 and August 30 in the following locations:

Michigan

    • Comstock Park
    • Muskegon
    • Jackson
    • Roseville
    • Saginaw

 Indiana

  • Kokomo

Ohio

  • Dayton
  • Holland
  • Lima

Small metal fragments were found in the bags of food, not embedded in the food itself, but still posing a potential risk of injury if consumed. The company is working with Dollar General to ensure that the recalled product is no longer sold and is removed from inventory.

Pedigree Dog Food Recall Package Details

Each product will have the lot code 432C1KKM03 printed on the back of the bag near the UPC and a Best Before date of 8/5/15.

If you have one of these bags, you can contact Mars Petcare at 800-305-5206 from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. CST. You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area or go online to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

 

 

Dog Gone Art: Amy Shojai Featured Writer!

DogGoneArtCover

Cover Image Copr. Sean O’Daniels

Dog Gone Art is an online E-zine with some of the most spectacular dog art I’ve seen. You’ve got to check this out if you love dogs–Heck, if you love ART you need to see these wonderful paintings, photos and digital art (yep, there are some PAW-some videos in the issue, too).

This month, I’m honored to be the FEATURED WRITER. Wow. Here’s the page spread:

FeatureWriterDoggoneArtBut there is so much more. Check out the TOC here–and then CLICK on any of these images to go drool over the images and read the stories. You won’t be sorry. My virtual tail is a-wagging!

DogGoneArtI love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Frig Fails & Dryer Danger! How to Keep Pets Safe From Appliances

pup-in-dishwasher

Anything your puppy can reach is potential for problems! Image © Lisa Calvert/Flickr

Stoves and ovens, dishwashers, clothes dryers, garbage disposals and other appliances are convenient for us but can prove deadly to cats and dogs. While the photos in today’s blog make us smile, the “what if” makes me shiver, because I know they represent tragedy waiting to happen.

4 REASONS PETS LOVE APPLIANCES

  1. FOOD & SMELL. Do you give your pets the chance at a “first rinse” before putting dirty dishes in the washer? (raising hand…GUILTY). Just licking off or pawing food-smeared utensils can cut tongues or paws. A tiny pup or kitty could crawl inside after yummies, and be seriously injured or die when the machine turns on.
  2. HEIGHT. Do your cats countertop cruise? A couple of things draw the kitty to scale the heights. Available food, yummy smells, and a GREAT perch lookout.
  3. WARMTH. Stoves, ovens and clothes dryers draw cats especially to the warmth. Yep, it can make for some LOL Funny Cat moments, but not if the cat or dog ends up with burned feet or worse.
  4. HIDEY-HOLES. Pets seem drawn to small enclosed spaces for naps or ambushes. Paw-poking into holes is a cat rule, while dogs enjoy nosing into tight spots as well.
CatOnStove

Sprout apparently hasn’t had enough coffee! Image Copr Kim Smith/Flickr Commons

When I edited one of the stories in Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul, it made me turn green–and we had to preface the story with the note that “it’s a happy ending!” or folks likely wouldn’t have wanted to read it. The cat in that story went head-first into the garbage disposal after fishy leavings and got his head stuck. They had to remove the entire sink and take it to the vet clinic for the cat to be sedated, oiled up, and extricated. Funny story when it’s a happy ending. I’ve caught Karma-Kat sticking his paw down into the garbage disposal, too, yikes!

Sadly, not all funny stories end so well.

My friend Mary McCauley sent me a message last week that broke my heart. This post is for Mary and her kitty friend, Boo:

“Amy, a few weeks ago our beautiful young cat had climbed into the dryer. My son turned it on. I heard a loud thumping and thought the washing machine was out of balance. I found Boo in the dryer. Blood was coming out of her mouth. She was convulsing. I ran up the stairs to get my keys, but she died in my arm. I tried rescue breathing and cardiac resuscitation with 2 fingers, but she was gone. I cried for 2 days. Please warn your readers about this danger. My son felt so guilty for a few weeks.”

CatInDryer

As far as I know, Audley’s adventure in the tumble dryer turned out fine. Image Copr. RaGeBe/Flickr

Accidents happen, and our pets can get into trouble in the flick of a whisker. Cats are furry heat-seeking missiles and I have no doubt that Seren-Kitty and Karma-Kat would do the same thing, given the opportunity. They both dive into the pile of fresh-from-the-dryer clean clothes dumped onto my bed for folding.

A day after I got Mary’s message, my husband called me into the kitchen to shoot this photo (below) of Karma-Kat. He’s a door dasher and often sprints into the pantry to gnaw through the dog food container–but the frig fail was new.

Karma is big enough, the chance of shutting him inside the frig is small–but it could happen. Left overnight in the refrigerator–or worse, inside the freezer!–could quickly result in hypothermia and death. I’m just hoping he doesn’t learn to open the frig himself. I know of one owner who resorted to a bungee cord around the frig to keep her cats out of the goodies.KarmaFrigSo what’s a responsible pet parent to do? Pet proofing your home is job one, especially when you have a clueless puppy or kitten. But it doesn’t stop when the cat or dog grows up. Pets are endlessly curious and always find new ways to get into trouble and push our buttons. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your pets safe around modern conveniences.

  1. Baby gates keep pets away from danger zones. I lock the fur-kids out of the kitchen when cooking and clearing up, to prevent paw burns on stove tops or me spilling something hot on them when they wind around my feet.
  2. Double check washing machines and clothes dryers before hitting the “start” button. If your pet is inside, don’t pull them out immediately. Instead BANG-BANG-BANG on the top to make a horrendous scary racket and watch them rocket out. Most pets won’t get near that scary thing ever again.
  3. If you have hard-case pets, make a sign to stick on doors of appliances to remind kids, spouses and guests to CHECK FOR CAT. That’ll be a fun conversation starter, too. :)
  4. Invest in stove top covers to protect kitty feet. One of the best ways to keep pets from cruising counters and stoves is to give them a cat tree that’s higher than the counters. Make the stove top uncomfortable by spreading aluminum foil across the top, for instance.

Have you ever caught your dog or cat up close and personal with one of your appliances? How did you handle the situation, and prevent future problems? Do tell!

And please–if you love your cats and dogs as much as Mary loved Boo–share this warning far and wide and tell folks it’s in memory of a special Boo-kitty.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Many more pet proofing tips are available in Complete Kitten Care book, and you can find first aid help (including for clothes dryer injuries) in The First Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Nom-Nom-Nom! How to TREAT Without Tummy Troubles

KarmaMagicTreatsTreats cause tummy troubles? Really? According to my pets, “bad treat” is an oxymoron.

“Only morons say that,” says Karma-Kat, paws-ing in his pursuit of a scorpion munchie.

Oxy? Is that like steaky?” says Magical-Dawg, drooling and licking his lips.

“Mfffn.” (Seren’s too busy lapping up tasties to comment.)

My pets LIVE for treats and all eagerly gobble up anything that doesn’t move faster than they do. I’ve been very fortunate that nothing seems to phase their cast-iron bellies, especially since Magical-Dawg relishes eating cat TOYS, too. He steals catnip cigars, furry mice, and pom-pom sparkle-balls left within reach. Sparkly poop happens. Ahem.

But then Karma-Kat got sick. And I know exactly what upset his tummy and caused day-long vomit-icity (thank goodness output from the other end remained normal!). Karma likes dog food and swipes a kibble or two whenever he can. His c’attitude is that if Magic swipes his toys and treats, it’s only fair for Karma to return the favor.

Ruh-roh…

MerrickDogTreatsMERRICK GRAIN FREE + GLUTIN FREE DOG TREATS

The fine folks at Merrick sent me a box filled with wonderful doggy tasties to review. They include oven-baked biscuits Jerky Chip Treats (chocolate chip cookie look alikes…but no chocolate, of course!); minty bone shaped Mini Brush Bones dental chews; paw-shaped Grammy’s Pot Pie Kitchen Bites; and tiny star-shaped soft chewy protein Power Bites. These treats are made in the USA with no ingredients from China, and are grain free, gluten free.

Karma got into trouble with the Power Bites. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing “bad for cats” in the treat and I actually like the fact it’s appealing to cats, too. With deboned beef as the first ingredient, no wonder Karma (and Magic!) went nutso over this. Karma, though, swiped the bag and ate who-knows-how-many causing his upset tummy.

Lesson learned. I categorize the Power Bites as a “locked cupboard” treat.

In a decidedly unscientific test, I offered Magic his choice of each treat, side by side. I showed him a different treat in each hand, and asked him to choose. We went three or four rounds, with different choices each time. His favorite picks, in order:

  1. Mini Brush Bones (yay! he’s got some tartar buildup this should help). Ingredients include potato starch, vegetable glycerin, dried plain beet pulp, cane molasses and chicken fat.
  2. Power Bites. This are a great size for training rewards. Ingredients include deboned beef (there’s a chicken version, too), potatoes, peas, potato protein and potato starch.
  3. Grammy’s Pot Pie. A nice crunchy reward, could be broken into smaller chunks for multiple rewards from one treat. Ingredients include deboned chicken, sweet potatoes, peas, organic cane molasses and chicken fat.
  4. Jerky Chip Treats. Interestingly, these looked most appealing to me (yum, chocolate chip!) but were last choice for Magic. He enjoyed it readily enough but kept making eyes at the other options. Ingredients include deboned beef, dried potatoes, peas, garbanzo beans, tapioca starch, pea fiber and chicken fat.

I like that the treats each come in resealable packages, and include “calorie count” information for pet parents to choose an amount that won’t upset their dogs’ nutrition.

Now if I could just get Karma to read the package!

MagicYogurtAt our house, we “treat” our pets with non-commercial tasties, too. A favorite is plain yogurt. This helps normalize the “good” bacteria in the gut. After Karma’s day-long bout with tummy-itis, I offered him small tastes of the yogurt to help get him feeling better. Seren and Magic beg for this as a treat, too.

I recently discovered a new no-fat treat that Magic loves, too (more on that later!). It’s ideal for dogs that have issues with overweight or pancreatitis, so I can’t wait to share more info, soon.

What are your pets’ favorite treats? Commercial ones? Off-your-plate treats? And how do you manage furry thieves like Karma that get themselves into trouble swiping munchies they shouldn’t gnosh? Do tell!

I am not being paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this blog are my own. I received free samples from Merrick Pet Care Inc. in exchange for an honest review. 

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

 

Do Readers Care #WhyIWrite

serenbooksDo readers care why writers write? One time at a writer conference, that question was asked and an overwhelming response was, “I write because I HAVE to write, it’s  compulsion, I must write…” And an agent on the panel responded, “They have medication for that now.”

Ba-da-boom. *rimshot*

My audience doesn’t read. Well, unless you count Magical-Dawg (and his canine compadres) chewing up or (ahem) “being creative” on paper. And of course, cats “read” by sitting on top of the words and absorbing the text through their furry nether regions.

Yvonne DiVita tagged me recently in the “Why I Write” blog hop. I know Yvonne through the terrific BlogPaws.com organization she co-founded, but Yvonne also blogs at Lipsticking.com where she answer the question #BecauseIAmWhoIAm Why I Write. The blog hop started on Susan C Foster’s site and continues here, today.

MagicOffice HOW I BECAME AN ACCIDENTAL PET WRITER

Nope, I never planned to be a “pet writer” but I am so glad this happened! As many of my colleagues (including Yvonne) confess, I began writing as a child. My first book was written when I was in fourth grade, a story about a heroic dog named Bounce that I illustrated, created a cardboard cover and bound with a shoelace. I’ll admit, the story had many similarities to Beautiful Joe and Black Beauty but with a Sheltie instead. (Yes, we had a Sheltie at the time). During those years, I read pretty much every mystery novel, dog and horse book in the school library–there weren’t many cat books, as I recall, other than The Three Lives of Thomasina.

My twin brother was the writer in the family–he’s still a much better writer than me. Oh, I enjoyed writing short stories and angst-filled (bad!) poetry, but never considered writing as a career. I focused on music, art and theater during my high school and college years.

That all changed when I got married and we moved to a small town with virtually no TV reception and few jobs to be found. When a new animal clinic opened, I got a job as the vet tech, and shared some of the funny, amazing, and moving stories about work with my Mom. She told me I should write them down. So I did.

WHY I WRITE, REASON #1

Actually, I was bored (no TV, no theater to perform, no close friends in a strange  new place), and used the time to write my first book, a collection of personal experience stories. But nobody wanted to publish the book.

WHY I WRITE, REASON #2

I was stubborn, and hated rejection so I kept trying and trying and trying. There’s a bit of masochism in every successful writer, I believe. Eventually, I broke up the chapters and submitted them as separate articles to the “pet press.” A Dog Fancy magazine editor took pity on my awkward prose, told me why it was rejected, and she basically coached me until my first sale to the magazine. That launched my pet writing career.

WHY I WRITE, REASON #3

Working for veterinarians, I learned so much–and even more, I learned how much I didn’t know, and what questions to ask. I also learned how to explain technical “medicalese schtuff” to pet parents in easily understood language. My focus became writing to empower pet parents to make informed decisions for their pets.

WHY I WRITE, REASON #4 & #5

During these early years, publishing articles paid very little and as young marrieds, income was a major concern. I’m going to date myself here–there was no Internet or submission by email. Snail mail costs of sending physical manuscripts (especially book-length material) with SASE for return of rejected material added up. Each time a rejection came back, I questioned should I be wasting my time and energy, and spending household funds and gamble on a dream that might never happen.

So initially that stubbornness reared its head again and I wrote to get paid, to prove to myself I wasn’t wasting my time. The occasional acceptance contract and small check arrived, rewarding my effort, and a funny thing happened. Each time I saw my byline in the magazine, oh my heavens! That made all the effort and angst worth far more than the income. I realized that I’m pretty good at this writing gig, and when I finally was able to “own” the title that I AM A WRITER, I discovered that writing validates my sense of self worth.

Admitting not just to myself and my close friends, but to the world at large that I AM A WRITER opened up a world of opportunity to me. Perhaps it was a difference in confidence, or the years of practice began to pay off, or I’d developed more professionally relationships–or all of the above. In any event, editors began to call me with assignments, and even books. Who’da thunk it?

WHY I WRITE, REASON MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL

Writers as a breed tend to sit alone, composing in our minds as we sit in the small spaces we’ve carved out of our homes for such purpose. Before the Internet, writers and authors were even less connected with each other, and even further separated from our readers. As I said in the opening, my audience is cats and dogs, and from them a writer gets little feedback. Ah…but from the pet parents, now with this blog, with Facebook and Twitter and other inter-connected-icity, we’re able to have actual conversations. The barrier is gone, HALLELUJIA! What a joy to hear from readers who appreciate the virtual scribbles, and learn from them about their own furry wonders.

At a book signing event a year or so ago, a couple introduced themselves after recognizing one of the books at my table. They already had a copy of the book, and didn’t want an autographed, but only to tell me that the first aid advice had saved their dog’s life. I still get choked up writing that…

I write hoping my work will have a positive impact. 

Today, I write in a variety of venues: newspaper column, online articles, blogs, Ebooks, audiobooks, print books, nonfiction and fiction, and I’ve combined my love of of music and theater with my pet passion in a musical production with cats and dogs as the actors.

What about you? Do you have a passion for writing, or a particular cause you champion? Is it to make a living? Please share!

Now it’s my pleasure to tag the next three people in the blog hop.

Carol Bryant is a well known and successful blogger, freelance pet writer and social media expert also affiliated with BlogPaws.com. She authors one of my favorite blogs Fidose of Reality. Carol writes about dog health and lifestyle (among other pet-centric topics) and creates some of the most unique and fun promotions and campaigns. Read one blog–and you’ll get hooked on the bark-alicious content and be inspired in your own writing!

Dr. Lorie Huston is a veterinarian and freelance pet writer specializing in …well, all things pets! She is the current president of the Cat Writers Association, and among other things, writes the award wining online pet-zine Pet Health Care Gazette. I just recently learned we have music and playing cello in common–what is it with pets, writers and music? Dr. Lorie should be one of your go-to destinations whenever you have a pet health question.

I’ve known Carol Shenold for nearly 20 years. We originally met in a writers group, and became fast friends and continue to be critique partners particularly with our fiction. Carol is a nurse and writes continuing education courses, articles and books for the profession; and specializes in spooky mysteries and intriguing urban fantasy fiction. She’s recently retired, giving her more time to play with the fur-kids and write, and I’m tagging her to encourage Carol to blog some  more here –because she’s got a lot to share!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!