When Boodle, the Labrador retriever in Carl Hiaasen’s novel “Sick Puppy,” swallows a few glass eyeballs from wall-mounted animal heads, the poor pup gets, well, as sick as a dog. But a canine will chow down on just about anything! That’s why you need to pay attention to what man’s best friend eats.
Consider the recent news about potentially toxic jerky treats marketed for pets in North America. Since 2007, the Food and Drug Administration has gotten reports from 50 U.S. states and six Canadian provinces about 3,600 dogs (and 10 cats) getting sick from eating these treats; about 600 died.
In 2011, the FDA finally jerked to attention and had some product testing done. They identified one Chinese manufacturer in particular associated with the highest numbers of jerky-related pet illnesses. The manufacturer blamed it on their suppliers, but the Chinese reportedly suspended those exports anyway. More recently though, a New York State lab found evidence of up to six drugs, including antibiotics, in certain jerky pet treats imported from, guess where? China. The drug levels weren’t considered toxic by themselves, but they can trigger allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock.
Now, the FDA has decided to establish new rules for selling pet food that will increase sanitation and require labeling that includes the country of origin of each ingredient.
In the meantime, apply the same standards to your pet’s diet that you know should apply to yours. Avoid processed foods, and don’t snack on treats loaded with sugar syrups and sodium (like jerky).
In the 1990s sitcom “Martin,” Martin Lawrence played multiple characters, including the troublemaking kid with the perpetually runny nose and bad attitude, Roscoe. To avoid having a Roscoe of your own this winter, we say try probiotics. There’s a good chance it’ll clear up the runny nose, and grumpiness, too.
A new study reveals that taking probiotics twice a day for six months helps kids chase away cold symptoms. When given the probiotic acidophilus NCFM, children had 53 percent fewer fevers, 28 percent fewer runny noses and 41 percent fewer coughing spells compared with kids getting a placebo. If they did get sick, recovery time was cut by a third. And when kids were given a combo of acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium animalis, the incidence of fever dropped 72 percent, coughing 62 percent and runny nose by 59 percent. Again, the duration of symptoms was reduced, this time by half. So if you want to protect your child (and yourself) from catching a nasty cold, here’s what we suggest.
♦ Wash hands frequently. The easiest way to catch a cold is to transfer the virus from hands to your face.
♦Keep indoor air humidified; many cold viruses thrive in low humidity.
♦In addition to probiotics, take a multivitamin, 1,000 international units of vitamin D-3 and 900 IU of anti-inflammatory DHA omega-3 daily. And shoot for nine servings of fresh fruit and vegetables.
♦Drink plenty of fluids, avoiding those with added sugars; limit natural fruit juices to one 4-ounce glass a day; get the rest of your juice from whole fruits.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.