My Seven Favorite Halloween Dog Safety Tips

Written by Jan on October 29, 2014 – 10:30 pm

Every year, Chiclet T. Dog, the national award-winning author of Scared Poopless: The Straight Scoop on Dog Care, puts out her Halloween warning. This year, she’s particularly excited to contact you because her book will soon be available as an updated and greatly expanded e-book! It will have nine more years of research into holistic dog care (almost double the content), and 260+ color photos (up from 90).  

Stay tuned for more information on the book and to learn how to get our free 14-page report, Rabies Vaccination:  Important Things You Need to Know. Send us an e-mail if you’d like a no-obligation alert that the book and report are available. Scared Poopless, the e-book, with be sold at a shockingly slow price, but only for a few days — just in time for the holidays!


Hi everyone. It’s Chicletpumpkin 2_edited-1 T. Dog writing to you from a patch of miniature pumpkins. You probably didn’t recognize me at first because I’m so cleverly disguised as a sorceress.

Did you know that Halloween can be a very dangerous and stressful time for critters? Here are my seven favorite ways to help protect dogs and cats from ghosts, goblins and things that go bump in the night. I hope you’ll forward them to friends and family so everyone can stay safe.

Tip 1) Check Out Those Costumes. Some dogs (and a few cats) enjoy playing dress-up, but many others are devout nudists. Remember: fun for you can be misery for us. If you do insist we play dress-up, ensure that fabrics are fire-retardant, non-toxic and free of anything your sweetie can chew off and swallow. Even a pompom can prove deadly when lodged in the throat or intestines. Make certain, too, that costumes are comfortable, don’t chafe, and won’t obstruct vision or cause your little darling to panic and run. Read more »

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Rabies Vaccine Research — Important (Exciting) News!

Written by Jan on July 18, 2014 – 10:22 am

hyposThe Rabies Challenge Fund is your dog’s best hope of avoiding unnecessary rabies vaccination – thanks to Fund Founders Kris Christine and pioneering veterinarian Dr. W. Jean Dodds.  With principal investigation led by world-renowned vaccination scientist, Dr. Ronald Schultz, they have been working tirelessly using USDA protocols to prove that the vaccine gives protection for 5, then 7 years, instead of the current 3.

Perhaps even more importantly, they hope to determine a rabies titer standard so that a simple blood test can legally prove immunity. Because there hasn’t been a legal USDA titer standard, blood titer results have not been allowed for licensing purpose. They/we hope to change this.

Thanks to the generosity of dog lovers everywhere, this all-volunteer charitable endeavor is rounding the turn for the home stretch —  but the Fund needs your help to raise the money for the challenge. Two anonymous donors have announced a $12,500 gift to match donations dollar for dollar. Donations up to that amount will in effect be doubled.

I have long been a Friend of the Fund. My beloved Jiggy developed autoimmune liver disease, and ultimately liver and intestinal cancers, after rabies vaccination.  If you doubt the damage that can be done by this vaccine, read the heartbreaking stories at The Rabies Vaccine and Your Dog: Side Effects.

Please help us complete this great study. Thanks for any support you can give. – Jan Rasmusen

from the Rabies Challenge Fund


The Rabies Challenge Fund has just received the commitment from a USDA-approved facility to perform the first of the challenge phases of our 5 and 7-year studies. This rabies research was undertaken to determine, by challenge, the vaccine’s long-term duration of immunity in dogs and to establish the world’s first canine rabies titer standard.

Fees for this first challenge, slated to begin later this year, will involve 15 of the study dogs and will cost $100,000. If successful, two subsequent challenges of 15 dogs each will be conducted in order to meet the USDA rabies vaccine licensing requirements.  These results, which will have been obtained using the same federal standard upon which all currently licensed rabies vaccines and rabies laws and regulations are based, should establish the scientific foundation upon which the legally required rabies booster intervals for dogs can be extended to 5 or 7 years. Further, for the first time, our accumulated rabies titer data should permit incorporating clauses pertaining to rabies titers into the existing laws.

Currently, The Rabies Challenge Fund will need to raise an additional $24,847 to cover the challenge facility fees.  We ask that our donors maintain their generous levels of support through this critical challenge phase, so that the results to benefit all dogs can be available in early 2015.

$12,500 Matching Gift to The Rabies Challenge Fund

Two anonymous dog lovers have announced a generous $12,500 matching  gift to The Rabies Challenge Fund to help raise the additional funds needed to perform the first of the challenge phases of our research. Beginning today, these supporters will match every dollar donated up  to $12,500. Please consider doubling a donation by taking advantage of this charitable gift.

Tax-exempt donations can be made with a credit card here: or mailed to The Rabies Challenge Fund, c/o Hemopet, 11561 Salinaz
Avenue, Garden Grove, CA 92843.

Thank you for your support!

Related Articles

Summary of The Rabies Challenge Fund Duration of Immunity Study
The Rabies Vaccine and Your Dog: Side Effects
Rabies Vaccination: 13 Ways to Vaccinate More Safely
Rabies Vaccination Caution: A Veterinarian Speaks Out
Rabies Vaccination Medical Exemptions for Unhealthy Dogs
AVMA Passes a Rabies Vaccination Waiver Recommendation
Does Your State Permit Rabies Vaccination Medical Exemptions?
Vaccination Reactions Can Mimic Disease Symptoms Rabies Vaccination: Caution! The Devil is in the Details

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Dog Safety Harnesses and Crates Fail Car Crash Testing

Written by Jan on March 25, 2014 – 10:41 pm


Crash test dog dummy launching when safety harness breaks

Crash test dog dummy launching when safety harness breaks

You’re a good doggy parent.  When traveling by car, your dog rides in the back seat for safety, as dogs and children should. You always buckle-in your medium-size or large dog using a strong-looking harness. Or you secure your small dog in a sturdy crate and buckle that in. Or maybe you at least use a booster seat or a cargo area barrier to prevent you from being distracted by your dog. You and your dog are safe, right?

Wrong! Even if you’re using a product that supposedly has been crash tested, it is likely your dog is in danger … and so are you. 

Read what Lindsey Wolko, Founder of the nonprofit Center for Pet Safety, has to say about the safety of harnesses, crates and cargo barriers. And watch amazing crash test videos below (using life-like dummy dogs). Note: If you received this post as an e-mail please click here to finish reading and to view the videos on-line.   PERMISSION GRANTED TO CROSS POST with a link back to Read more »

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Does Audio and Video Stimulation Help Dogs’ Separation Anxiety?

Written by Jan on December 16, 2013 – 10:26 pm

long haired chihuahua adult

Kate Voss is a freelance writer who researched audio and visual therapies to help her dog with separation anxiety. She wrote this and sent it to me to share with you.  — Jan Rasmusen

Canine separation anxiety can occur in any dog regardless of breed, age or background. Symptoms may include pacing, inappropriate chewing, destructiveness, panic, exaggerated excitement upon greeting, excess barking and whining and/or increased urination.

Veterinarian Dr. Lynne M. Seibert, DVM, MS, PhD, Diplomat ACVB, describes canine separation anxiety as, “a distress response to separation from an attachment figure or being alone. Its prevalence in the canine population is estimated to be about 15-17 percent. It is the second most common presenting complaint in behavior specialty practices.”

When a dog experiences separation anxiety, there are a few things dog owners can do to help ease their dog’s distress and reinforce improved behavior within the home. Exercising your dog is known to increase their serotonin levels, which allows your dog to appropriately release their energy and concentrate less on anxiety. It also encourages napping while owners are away, which is less stressful than remaining awake and on edge. However, mental stimulation is believed to be equally important. Dog trainers and veterinarians have claimed that audio and video techniques can not only help ease canine separation anxiety, but also can be used to aid in training efforts.

Audio stimulation, such as Through a Dog’s Ear, incorporates music therapy to “prevent and treat canine anxiety.” The science behind Through a Dog’s Ear focuses on bioacoustic research which is defined as the study of sound in non-human animals. Two pilot studies were performed: one to “mine the efficacy of external rhythm and pattern identification on canines,” and one to determine if music would have an effect on specific anxiety issues in canines including fear of separation, thunderstorms, and fireworks. The results showed that in the home environment, slower music calmed on average 85 percent of the dogs, with over 50 percent of them falling asleep. In the second study, 70 percent of anxiety behaviors were reduced with “psycho acoustically designed music.”

Another study discussing bioacoustic research found that “Seventy percent of anxieties in dogs were reduced when they listened to relaxing piano music.” In addition, a 2001 study by American Veterinary Medical Association found that “exposure of dogs to different types of noise may not only reduce their noise phobias but also their fear of abandonment.”

It seems that the research behind auditory stimulation on dogs proves sound can be effective on the majority of dogs. Still, it is important to note that not every dog is affected by the audio stimulation. There have also been advancements in what is known regarding the effect of visual stimulation on dogs. Though it is a common ritual for some dog owners to turn on the television before they leave home, it is still unclear if dogs actually watch television, or at least if they are perceiving it in the same way humans do. And if dogs do watch TV, can it treat canine separation anxiety?

A new television network specifically with dogs in mind, DOGTV, currently only available on DirecTV, offers 24/7 programming organized into “3 to 6 minutes of relaxing, stimulating and behavior-improving segments that work collaboratively to provide just the right balance for the daily routines of our beloved ‘stay-at-home’ dogs.” DOGTV claims that the channel is “scientifically developed to provide the right company for dogs when left alone.”

That description, though, isn’t very clear as to what exactly DOGTV attempts to do. Combining audio and video stimulation for dogs seems like it would be a powerful technique in aiding canine separation anxiety. However, the website offers only sparse information and a commercial-sounding explanation of the science behind the television programs for dogs, so, as a dog owner, I felt more research on the effect of television on dogs was needed.

According to a 2010 study by the University of Bristol, “play and playback of sounds and picture at the age of eight weeks and significantly reduce stress and anxiety in dogs.” Not only did the young dogs respond to video images, but it also helped expose the dogs to stressful situations, improving their training and reactions to otherwise stressful stimuli. By exposing a dog to video, especially in their young age, you may be aiding to your training methods and also decreasing your dog’s future stress and anxiety.

However, according to TV dog trainer Victoria Stilwell, who helped to create DOGTV, leaving a regular tv channel on for dogs can actually have a detrimental effect on dogs because they never get to experience an auditory break. DOGTV, on the other hand, claims to have designed the programming to cater to the attributes of a dog’s sense of hearing, insisting the shows are “tailored to a dog’s sensitive hearing and are kept within a specific range of frequencies that won’t startle or annoy their ears.”

While it is clear that dogs respond to audio stimuli, and that puppies will respond to visual stimuli, little is known on the true effects on visual stimuli in adult dogs. And, according to Prof. Lee Niel, from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, “While there are some recent studies showing that dogs can detect images on a newer type of television screen, we don’t know if they are actually able to comprehend these types of 2-D images.”

With a great amount of research on the topic, especially on bioacoustics, it could be deduced that slow-paced audio and (in some cases) video stimulation in dogs does indeed positively affect some dogs with separation anxiety. However, it is important to note that all dogs do not equally respond to mental stimulation — some dogs may react negatively to audio or video stimulation, such as barking at the TV screen, and some may not react at all.

It is also important to note that mental stimulation should not replace human interaction, ever! Making sure you spend quality time with your dog while you are home is a contributing factor to your dog’s improved condition. And before investing in an audio or video “therapy” technique for your dog, test their attention to these stimuli first. If your dog responds noticeably well to soothing music or a quiet television show, investing in DOGTV or Through a Dog’s Ear may just be the solution you need to help ease your dog’s separation anxiety.


Note from Jan: In Culture Clash, an excellent book on understanding dogs by Jean Donaldson, she talks about the common practice of keeping a radio on for dogs “to keep them company” and thus alleviate separation anxiety. She writes:  “It is important to understand that it is not the radio, per se that relaxes the dog but it’s reliable pairing with tolerable levels of aloneness that establish it as relaxing.”  In other words, it takes the teaming of food with the ringing of Pavlov’s bells that caused dogs to salivate at the ringing.

I eased separation anxiety in one of my dogs by practicing leaving. That is, I’d leave for a few seconds and come back.  No big deal. Then I’d go for 15 seconds, then 30 seconds, then a minute and so on. I practiced leaving – including putting on shoes, picking up keys, etc. – for various lengths of time numerous times a day for several weeks. I never returned unless barking had stopped for 10 seconds. It didn’t take long for my dog to relax; he has been fine since.

Want to monitor what your dog does when you’re gone to see when/if separation anxiety kicks in?  A friend who rescues little special-needs dogs told me she has installed Dropcams to monitor her dogs when she is away. Dropcam calls itself ”a cloud-based Wi-Fi video monitoring service with free live streaming, two-way talk and remote viewing that makes it easy to stay connected with places, people and pets, no matter where you are.” Check it out here.  Belkin also makes an inexpensive webcam. has an article about a new product that will soon be available to video chat with your dog. It will even deliver treats.  Will it help alleviate separation anxiety?  Who knows?

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Reduced Vaccine Doses for Tiny Dogs: A New Study by Dr. Jean Dodds

Written by Jan on November 11, 2013 – 11:59 pm



Maltese lovers, speaking for lovers of all tiny dogs, have asked nationally-renowned veterinarians W. Jean Dodds and Richard Palmquist, and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association Foundation, to study the results of giving 1/2 mL vaccine doses of parvovirus and distemper to toy dogs. Many veterinarians report having safely given toys small doses for years but the efficacy of small doses hasn’t been formally proven. Manufacturer’s test full dose vaccines only,  generally on Beagles. We hope you’ll help us protect tiny dogs with a donation to help fund the study and will spread the word far and wide. 

Who exactly requested the study? “Maltese owners who have grown to know each other on the Spoiled Maltese forum, who came together as a group to request this study out of growing concern of adverse reactions and auto immune related issues believed to be caused by over vaccination.”

If you’re unaware of the dangers of adverse vaccine reactions, or of the particular Dangers of Vaccinating Small Dogs, click these links.  — Jan Rasmusen


Over the years, devoted toy breed dog owners have wondered why our tiny balls of fluff receive the same dose of vaccine as large breeds. It doesn’t seem to make sense that a five pound Maltese or Yorkie should receive the same size vaccination as a 120 + pound Great Dane! And we wondered if this is why we tend to see more adverse reactions in toy breeds, as well as autoimmune issues. We don’t know, and the veterinary field isn’t clear on this either. We hold our breaths every time we have to have one of our pups vaccinated. Vaccinations protect against illness, and are an important issue in veterinary care. But we need to learn more about their proper use. We want our Maltese protected, but we don’t want to cause harm by giving a vaccine that is simply too much for their diminutive size.

So as a group we asked the AHVMA Foundation, whose mission it is to support research and education in integrative and holistic medicine, what it would take to study the efficacy of body-mass based vaccinations; specifically, giving reduced vaccine strengths to toy breed dogs. Dr. Jean Dodds has agreed to conduct a small pilot study to explore this idea. The pilot is estimated to cost $5500 and is the first step in determining whether we can lessen the severity and frequency of adverse reactions to vaccinations in our tiny pups by reducing the actual vaccine itself.

In this research, Dr. Dodds will study whether a smaller dose of vaccine can still provide immunity in puppies of breeds that are 10 pounds or less in size at adulthood.. Read more about this report. Read the Small breed small dose grant application Summary. To read about some of the problems our precious pups have experienced that we believe are a result of over-vaccination, click here or visit


To donate on-line, scroll to page bottom at

To download a donation form and pay by check or money order (or by credit card offline, including Discover and American Express), click here.


Questions to Ask Before Vaccinating Your Dog or Cat 


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