May issue

May issue
May issue

Friday, 25 November 2011

Is BPA present in tinned dog food?

Dear Dogs Today

I've seen a few articles over the past couple of days about the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) in tinned soup and how increased levels are linked to heart disease and diabetes. I've read the chemical is banned from baby bottles by the EU.

I feed my Collie-cross tinned food and wonder what the implications are for tinned pet food? From what I understand, BPA is used to prevent rusting in soup tins. Is BPA used in tinned pet food? And is it as harmful to pets as it seems to be to humans?

I'd be interested to know your thoughts.

Thank you
Andrea Vine, Derby

Sarah Hormozi, Veterinary and Nutrition Affairs, Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) says...

Dear Andrea

Thank you for raising this issue in your letter.

At PFMA[1] we are aware of the recent press coverage of Bisphenol A (BPA) in canned goods and we understand that pet owners want to ensure the food they are feeding their pets is safe.

Bisphenol A, commonly abbreviated as BPA, is an organic compound that is mainly used in combination with other chemicals to manufacture plastics and resins. BPA is also used in small amounts in the lining of cans, including pet food. Despite a great deal of research in this area, there is no evidence of BPA having any harmful effect on cats and dogs.

According to the European Food Safety Authority, BPA is an approved food contact material, which has been carefully tested and used in the food and pet food industries for years. BPA is also permitted for food contact use in other countries such as the USA and Japan.

PFMA would like to reassure consumers that the feeding of canned pet food should not give any reason for concern. At PFMA we pay particular attention to pet health issues and are closely monitoring any findings on environmental chemicals including BPA to ensure that manufactured pet food remains a safe way to deliver complete nutrition to your pets.

For further information on BPA please refer to our website

[1] PFMA or Pet Food Manufacturers Association represents the UK pet food industry with over 60 pet food companies as its members.

What is wrong with my Maltipoo?


I have an almost three-year-old Maltipoo weighing 15 lbs.

In August he started licking the air excessively. It then turned into constant licking, swallowing and gurgling in the belly, almost like he was going to vomit and more severely during the night.

He has been to the vet twice and has been on: Pepsid AC, Prilosec, tums, plain yogurt in food, benedryl and another medication from vet for motion sickness.

Nothing has seemed to work. He is healthy in every other way, he eats, poops, and plays. He is a bit anxious as he barks at every dog, person he sees through the window.

Could he have acid reflux? I am looking for another suggestion for this problem as I am fearful he is damaging something internally.

Any help would be appreciated.

Anon, by email

Alison Logan, vet, advises...

I can understand your worries as you have an otherwise normal dog who is exhibiting strange behaviour which has not improved with treatment.

It sounds as if your vet is thinking along the lines of gut pain and discomfort, given the things you have tried, and the signs you describe do sound like acid reflux and colicky pain. I wonder what you are feeding him and how often? Dogs with acid reflux often fare better on frequent small meals so that there is always something for the gut to be digesting, especially offering a little food as you go to bed to keep it occupied overnight. There may also be an element of food hypersensitivity, triggering bowel pain and spasm – that could be investigated with a food trial under veterinary supervision.

Further investigation is possible, such as blood tests to check his general health and rule –out other causes of nausea. An endoscope could be passed into stomach under general anaesthesia to examine the lining of the stomach for ulceration, for example.

I would certainly take your dog back to your vet, not least because he will think that your dog’s problem is all sorted because he has not seen you again. It would also be interesting to know whether his weight was stable or whether he was losing weight.

Have you thought of trying a Dog Appeasing Pheromone collar for your dog’s anxiety?

How much medication is too much?


My Westie of 14 years and three months has very rapidly developed a condition of the kidneys.

I'm trying to help my Westie with benazepril 5 mg, but he was also prescribed Dried Aluminuim Hydroxide. Because he simply won't eat anything at all I can't get this into his system. I also have a Antepsin Suspension to help line his stomach and alleviate his sickness.

I know he is an old dog, but I just feel that this is too much medication. I have also noticed that since I am squirting the Antepsin suspension directly into his mouth, his saliva is very sticky, more like treacle and extremely smelly. I thought this may be due to an abscess in his mouth but on close inspection his gums and teeth look okay for a dog of 14.

I know I can save him and am not ready to let him go yet, I know this is quite selfish, but he is has been so strong all his life I am desperate to get some nutrition into him and I am sure he can get help.

Should I use Dried Aluminuim Hydroxide as well as Antepsin as they both appear to be doing a similar function of reducing acid in his stomach? He does not appear to have constipation but it is his appetite I am worried about and from what I can gather benazepril should improve his appetite.

Can anyone help?

Mark Almond, Manchester

Richard Allport, vet, advises…

Interestingly, Benazepril is licensed to treat congestive heart disease in dogs, but not kidney disease. Even more interestingly, some lists of side effects for Benazepril in dogs include loss of appetite and nausea (although for cats usually an increase in appetite is noted). However, if your vet has prescribed any medication, don’t stop giving it without discussing it with your vet first.

Without knowing the extent of the kidney problem it’s difficult to suggest what medication could be stopped and what else used, but a good natural anti gastric irritant is Slippery Elm powder, and a good natural way of stimulating the appetite is to ask your vet to give weekly injections of Vitamin B12 for a few weeks, and to dispense Nutriplus gel. This is a tasty gel, full of vitamins and minerals, that usually gets dogs eating pretty quickly.

Offer him warm food, consisting of attractive morsels of minced beef, or chicken livers, or anything you know he would really enjoy. In addition there are homoeopathic and herbal kidney support medicines available (but you would need to ask your vet to refer you to a holistic vet to get these formulated and prescribed).

Don’t give up on your Westie – I’m sure there’s life in the old dog yet!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Anyone taken a Rottie to France? How does it work?

Hello! I was wondering whether any Rottie owners could help me with a little question.... I'm wondering if anyone has any experience of taking Rotties to France and if so, did they get a license for it? Rotties are classed as a dangerous breed and resident dogs in France need a license... but we cannot find any definitive info about visiting Rotties... Thanks!!! :-)
Becky Clark, via Dogs Today facebook page

Friday, 18 November 2011

A knotty problem

I'm wondering if anyone can help? I have an Old English and now it's that time of year I leave his fur to grow with a brush every night including two good grooms a week but I've noticed his collar is constantly knotting his fur! He currently wears a half check collar because the breeder advices a collar that's clicked not buckle and that's the only type my local pet store supplies. Can anyone advise what collar he should be wearing to be prevent knotting n snagging of his fur?
Thanks Kerry Lynn Walters, via Dogs Today facebook page

Nip it in the bud

My son and his wife have a six-month-old Labrador-Collie cross called). (Mother Labrador, father Collie, farm dog). She is quite well behaved on the whole, affectionate and seems intelligent. She has just completed a six-week course of dog training, which she got through okay and came first in a dog competition for Best Trick, jumping through a hoop.

The one problem is that she will jump up at people, gets excited and is inclined to ‘nip’. It’s her way of greeting, not aggressive, but whereas this may be acceptable from a small puppy, it will not be so as she gets older and is now getting her second teeth! And there is the chance that she may jump at a small child or elderly person.

I myself have had three dogs without any problems but must admit I have never trained a small puppy. They were rescued and older.

She has not yet been spayed, I know as they get older, they tend to calm down. She gets on well with other dogs and is okay with children.

What do you suggest? Further training classes? I think she would be brilliant at agility, she has so much energy. We all want to get the best from our dogs, for them to have a happy fulfilled life, which is all too short, and I’d much rather people said, “what a lovely well behaved dog!”

Your comments please.

Valerie Denton, Sanderstead, Surrey

Time for a winter coat

Dear Dogs Today

Does anyone know where I can find a waterproof coat for my two Corgis that has a zip on the back? They are so low to the ground and it is quite wet at this time of year, but I'm having trouble finding a waterproof coat.

If anyone has any suggestions I'd be grateful!

Thank you
Mrs Fergusson, Isle of Man

Living in fear

Can you please tell me what legislation if any is in place with regard to Pit Bulls and Staffie cross dogs. We have several in our area who have attacked other dogs and injured them. Me and my dog were attacked earlier this year and we reported it to the police. The dog was later put down as the owners left it in a house when they moved out and it bit the RSPCA inspector. I live in fear when I walk my dog, I have changed my route several times lately.
I live in Paisley {Gallowhill} Renfrewshire and I have a shepherd cross
Janet Beaton, via Dogs Today facebook page

My understanding is that at the moment if a dog's actions makes a person scared there's legislation in place (the Dangerous Dogs Act) but with dog on dog attacks no one seems very much interested. Theoretically under the DDA we shouldn't have any Pit Bulls these days as in the 1990s when the DDA came all Pit Bulls were supposed to be neutered and no m ore bred or imported but we now have very many more than we ever had before and people seem not to realise that if they own a Pit Bull they should be registered, neutered and muzzled to be within the law. In fact more and more I encounter people who openly say they own a Pit Bull and they have no idea that it is a restricted breed in any way.
If you feel afraid when you are out walking then that is not good. In my experience people with aggressive dogs tend to walk very early and very late in remote places hoping to avoid others.
Has anyone any ideas for what Janet can do to get her confidence back? Might a walking group help? Has anyone experience of setting one up?
Beverley Cuddy, Editor

Monday, 7 November 2011

One, two, three - ugh!

I have a dog who every time I take him out he has to do his business at least three times. The first one is always normal but then following that he has explosive runs, if he hasn't been fed he'll just keep trying to go even if there is nothing left to come out! It doesn't matter if he is on the lead or off it. Obviously it's practically impossible to pick up and it means I have to be careful where I walk him, he can no longer come on the school run for instance. Has anyone got any ideas as to why he does this or what I can do to prevent it? It doesn't matter how many times a day he goes out either. My other two dogs don't have this problem and whether I take them all out together or him on his own it still happens
I haven't asked my vet. He is around 12 months old now. It's been going on ever since he has first been out on walks. He is fed dry complete twice a day, a couple of mug fulls in the morning and a couple of mug fulls in the evening. He was beng fed on another dry food previously and it happened then, too. It happens everywhere we go. It's impossible to train him at home as we don't have a garden. It doesn't matter where we walk, if he is on the lead or off it, how many times a day we go out, if he is alone or with the other two dogs I own, it's always the same. And it is at least three times, sometimes can be more. If ever he has an accident in the house, it's always a normal poop, and the first poop when we are out is always normal too. He is happy, healthy, wormed up to date etc. Look forward to hearing what people have to say about it!
Fizz Cashman, via Dogs Today facebook page

Friday, 4 November 2011

Leading the blind

I recently found out that my eight-year-old Border Terrier Alfie is going blind. He is diabetic and its causing cataracts in both his eyes. I should have expected it but it initially left me devastated when my vet told me he had them in both eyes and that in time Alfie will be completely blind. I cried for about two weeks every time I looked at Alfie and found it really hard to imagine how he would cope.

I realise now that actually he possibly won’t really bother about it too much as sight is not as important to dogs as it is to us but I want to do all I can while he can still see to prepare us for the inevitable.

What should I be teaching him while I have the chance?


Allison & Alfie, by email