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Why your dog needs a SNAP test NOW for tick-borne diseases


Benny’s got a tick-borne disease. Does your dog have one too?

My dog, Benny Bix Ochman Labradoodle, has had blood taken at least 10 times by at least three vets in the past year. That’s because he has had some medical issues.

But it wasn’t until we saw holistic veterinarian Dr Jill Elliot, that he had a SNAP test – which checks for heartworm and tick-borne diseases. And the test showed that he has Anaplasmosis.

Anaplasmosis is a bacterial disease caused by the bite of an infected tick. This despite the fact that we live in New York City and we apply FrontLine Plus every month, including winter. (We can’t use other preventatives because he has seizures and every single other product warns against use in dogs with seizures.)

There is controversy among vets about whether or not to treat Anaplasmosis in asymptomatic dogs, with approximately some vets and research studies saying to give Doxycycline for 30 days, and others saying it’s not necessary. I opted to treat Benny with 30 days of Doxycycline, which he’s taking now.


I interviewed Dr Elliot about SNAP tests.

Pawfun: What does the SNAP 4Dx test measure?

Dr Elliot: SNAP 4Dx Test—simultaneously screens for heartworm disease and the tick-borne diseases Lyme, Erlichiosis and Anaplasmosis.

Pawfun How often should it be done?

Dr Elliot: Dogs should have a SNAP 4Dx test yearly or even every six months. Tick-borne disease is very prevalent in dogs, both country dogs and even city dogs.

Pawfun How big an issue are tick-borne diseases for dogs who don’t leave the city? Are there ticks in city parks?

Dr Elliot: Dogs that come back from the country every weekend bring ticks with them. These ticks fall off the dogs in parks and streets. Then the ticks climb up on the city dogs as they walk past. Tick-borne disease happens more to country dogs but I’ve also seen it in many city dogs.

Pawfun What’s the best way to prevent tick-borne diseases in dogs?

Dr Elliot: The best way to prevent ticks from attaching to your dog is by the regular use of tick control products.

Adequate tick protection is the key. Use the new Bravecto (three month pill); use tick repellants, even a tick repellent collar on weekends when you are out with your dog. You can always take it off during the week if back in the city.

More information:
* Center for Disease Control
* Map of tick-borne diseases

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Canine Bone Cancer: The Scary Story of Osteosarcoma


Canine bone cancer is a devastating disease that occurs 10x more frequently in dogs than humans.

Currently the most effective standard of care, if the tumor occurs in a limb, is to amputate to prevent the spread of the cancerous cells.

The Morris Animal Foundation and Orvis have produced an Infographic to spread awareness and rase funds for research.


Benny & the Pets Review: Outward Hound Doggy Blocks Spinner Puzzle Dog Toy


Four Paws Up

I think my dog – Benny Bix Ochman Labradoodle – is brilliant. Who doesn’t think that about their best friend?

And now Outward Hound Doggy Blocks Spinner Puzzle Dog Toy has proven that, indeed, my dog is a braniac. And that you can absolutely teach an old dog new tricks. Benny is 10.

The first time he tried it, he picked the whole thing up in his teeth and shook it. That worked, but it took only about 10 seconds for all the treats to fly out.

The second time, he got the idea. Two reasons for that advance. Benny will do just about anything for treats. And he’s really a genius among dogs.

A complex, interactive toy

This puzzle contains four square treat chambers. To get at the treats, Benny had to figure out how to remove the cups covering them. Once all four cups are removed, he had learn to rotate the top section of the toy in order to expose more treats in the bottom section. He managed that with his great big paws.

The puzzle toy is made with durable food-safe plastic that is BPA, PVC, & phthalate free. It has to be durable because it gets slammed around a lot. It’s currently on sale at Chewy.com for $11.24.

Benny likes this toy so much that I have to hide it when he’s not playing with it.

Our friends at Chewy.com sent this to us for review.

Benny & The Pets – Solid Gold Five Oceans Shrimp & Tuna Recipe Cat Food


Solid Gold Five Oceans Shrimp & Tuna Recipe in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat FoodOur friends at Chewy.com sent us Solid Gold Five Oceans Shrimp & Tuna Recipe in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat Food for my fussy 16 year-old cat, Noni, to review.

He loved the tuna, but he always leaves a little pile of the shrimp.

High quality cat food

Noni has his preferences. He won’t eat chicken, or beef. He doesn’t like food with varied textures. He’ll like a food until I buy a case of it. Then he won’t touch it.

In fact, my cat’s favorite thing to eat is Benny Bix Ochman Labradoodle’s dry food. So he’s possibly not the best cat to try something new.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 5.50.32 PMFrom the ingredient list, it’s clear Solid Gold makes good quality food. It’s gluten and grain-free and contains no chemical preservatives.

But Noni kitty won’t eat what looks like the best part. Go figure.

Benny wants the bed back


Benny Bix Ochman Labradoodle and his brother are pals. Except when it comes to who sleeps where.

When we got a new Big Barker bed for Benny, I moved his old bed to the bedroom so he can sleep wherever he wants.

His brother, Noni Kitty Ochman, 16, has his own ideas about who should get the beds around here.

When this tactic failed, Benny went and got his loudest squeaky toy and squeaked right near Noni’s head until he gave up the bed.

Benny & the Pets: Big Barker Dog Orthopedic Bed Review


Because my 10 year-old Benny Bix Ochman Labradoodle has developed some arthritis, I wanted him to have a really comfortable bed.


After extensive research, I found Big Barker Dog Beds. They’re made for dogs size large to gigantic. The more than 800 Amazon reviews are positive.

Big Barker beds are made of high density, 7 inch thick orthopedic foam. The beds are guaranteed not to flatten for 10 years. The website says “Big Barker dog beds are ONLY crafted with super-durable furniture-grade American-made orthopedic foam – NEVER cheap Chinese foam or any other sub-standard support materials.”

Instant comfort

My pup weighs 88 pounds, so we went for large. The foam is firm, resilient and supportive and odor-free. The site warns that some dogs may take a while to warm up to the new bed. Not Benny. He took one look, settled down, and went to sleep.

Benny eats marrow bones on his bed, and he kinda drools sometimes when he’s sleeping, so the cover gets dirty pretty quickly. It’s machine washable, so that’s not a big problem. However, when I took off the cover to wash it, there was absolutely nothing between the cover and the foam. It wouldn’t take long for the foam to be smelly.

It’s clear that you need the waterproof liner, and once you add that, the Big Barker is absolutely wonderful. Just ask the Noni Kitty Ochman.


Benny & the Pets review Halo Live-a-Littles


Noni&BennyTalkSmallThe same treat for dogs and cats? I didn’t think that was possible, given the way my persnickety cat turns his nose up at my dog’s treats.

In fact, it’s not often that my cat, Noni Kitty Ochman, and my dog, Benny Bix Ochman Labradoodle Puppy, agree on things. But they definitely agree on Halo Liv-a-Littles Wild Salmon Protein Treats.

When our friends at Chewy.com offered us a jar for review, I was a little skeptical about the “for dogs and cats” description. Benny’s not as discriminating as my 16 year-old cat about what he eats. After all, Benny eats dirt in the park (not to mention his fondness for cat litter.)

Fast disappearance

Halo_LAL_Salmon_1.6ozI kept trying to make a video of the two of them eating the Halo treats, but we went through half the jar because they were gone by the time I pressed “record.”

Noni is an unbelievably fussy eater in his dotage. I’ve bought him dozens of varieties of cat food, and he’ll eat then until I buy a case. Then we wants nothing to do with them. Sigh. But when I crumble Halo Salmon Treats on his canned food, he cleans the plate.

The only issue is the cost. The treats are $12.99 for a 1.6oz. jar. So they really have to be doled out only as an extra special treat.

We received the sample as part of Chewy.com’s Blogger Outreach Program in exchange for an honest review.

VIDEO: The Power of Puppies in Marketing


Lab PuppyHow powerful are puppies in marketing? A lot of companies think they can motivate people to donate to charity, buy products and launch campaigns.

On episode 138 of Beyond Social Media Show, my co-host, David Erickson, and I discussed several marketing campaigns featuring puppies.

Verizon, The ASPCA and Purina used adorable puppies to in commerce and charity. And, as long as adorable puppies are involved, most of us will watch until the end.

Poodle Maestros Play Piano



These piano playing poodle maestros definitely have got rhythm! And they’re self-taught, apparently. I love the tie on the male pup.

via Achu Rajamani, often called Achu, a noted Indian film score and soundtrack composer and singer.

HT-Dr Jill Elliot

Jazz for cows



When members of The New Hot Five decided to stop their car to play jazz for a field full of cows, it became obvious that cows are big jazz lovers. And to show their appreciation, the cows played cow bells right on the beat.