Last Update: 1/31/2013 8:51:00 AM
Call in professionals to aid neglected pet
Dear Daisy Dog: My neighbor's dog looks unhealthy, and some of the other neighbors and I are concerned that he isn't being cared for properly. How should we handle this situation?
Daisy responds: Start by speaking gently to your neighbor. Ask whether the dog has been ill and if he's on the mend.
Be prepared for your neighbor to respond that the dog is dying of cancer or has some other disease that carries a grave prognosis. If that's the case, offer your sympathy and support.
If your neighbor responds that the dog is none of your business, you can contact your local humane organization. Most have trained humane officers who investigate cases of possible neglect, abuse or cruelty.
Humane officers are diplomatic, tactful and discrete. You may ask the officer not to disclose your identity.
Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the humane officer may educate the owner about proper pet care, refer the owner to a veterinarian and other resources, take the dog into protective care and/or pursue charges.
Humane officers are committed to ensuring that pets receive the care the law requires, so you can feel confident that the officer will address the matter appropriately.
Good luck. Thanks for caring enough to get involved.
Dear Christopher Cat: What's the difference between natural and holistic foods?
Christopher responds: AAFCO, the Association of American Feed Control Officials, defines the terms used on pet food labels. According to their standards, natural foods are those that have not been chemically produced or altered. Only vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients can be added to natural food.
The term holistic has no official meaning, so holistic foods may contain any ingredients processed in any manner. When used on a pet food label, the word is simply a marketing claim.
Another term that has no legal definition is human grade or human quality. In fact, AAFCO considers these terms "false and misleading," so they are not permitted on pet food labels unless the finished product could legally be sold for human consumption. However, some manufacturers add these words to their marketing brochures and websites, since AAFCO has no control over these forms of promotion.
On the other hand, the word organic is legally defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Only foods that contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients by weight (excluding water and salt) may display the official USDA Organic seal.
Ask the Vet's Pets appears Friday in the print edition of the Reading Eagle. The animal authors of the column live with Lee Pickett, V.M.D., who practices companion animal medicine at Bernville Veterinary Clinic. Contact them at www.askthevetspets.com, 610-488-0166 or P.O. Box 302, Bernville, PA 19506-0302.