Tips For A Happy Summer: Protecting Your Pet From The Sun

Photo Credit: BarkPost

(PET CARE/ANIMAL HEALTH) We are deep in the dog days of summer, and while you may remember to protect your own skin with sunblock, don’t forget about protecting your pets, too! Just like humans, pets are also susceptible to skin damage.

Although certain animal breeds are more likely to experience skin damage than others, it’s important to stay informed about the possible health risks of sun exposure. Continue reading for more on how to protect your pet from the summer sun. — Global Animal

Photo Credit: BarkPost

Excessive sunbathing damages the skin. Humans are not the only ones who need to monitor their exposure to UV rays: animals are at risk too. Dogs and cats with white or thin coats are at particular risk, as are animals with very closely shorn fur or with certain pre-existing conditions. Dermatologist Christa Horvath-Ungerböck from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna explains which animals are particularly sensitive, how to prevent sun damage to the skin, and how to treat a sunburned animal.

Dogs' noses are more susceptible to sunburns. Photo credit: Vetmeduni Vienna
Dogs’ noses are particularly susceptible to sunburns. Photo credit: Vetmeduni Vienna

Human or animals skin with little or no pigmentation is very sensitive to the sun in general. Hairless pets or pets with very short or thin fur can also be vulnerable. For dogs and cats this applies in particular to those parts of the skin that are regularly exposed to the sun. These include the ears, the bridge of the nose, the skin around the eyes, and the back. “Some animals particularly enjoy lying on their backs to bask in the sun. This exposes the skin on their bellies, which is often hairless, to the rays of the sun, increasing the risk of sunburn,” reports veterinary dermatologist Christa Horvath-Ungerböck.

Particularly Vulnerable Pets

House pets with white or short fur are at particular risk of sunburn. The Dogo Argentino breed, white bulldogs, Dalmatians, boxers, whippets, beagles and white or multi-coloured cats with white patches have skin that is very sensitive to light, especially on their heads. In summer animals with shorn fur can also have a problem. The short hair allows UV rays penetrate down to the sensitive skin and cause sunburn.

Hairless dogs and cats are naturally more sensitive to the sun, since they lack the natural sun protection fur affords. Here too though, skin pigmentation plays a role, and darker animals are less vulnerable to UV rays. Owners of vulnerable breeds should take particular care to protect their animals from the sun.

You can protect your pet's nose from sun damage with a custom-made umbrella. Photo credit: Vetmeduni Vienna
You can protect your pet’s nose from sun damage with a custom-made umbrella. Photo credit: Vetmeduni Vienna

Sun Protection For Animals

“As a rule, animals should have a shady place to lie in. Especially at midday, when the sun is at its strongest and presents the greatest risk, not just for the skin but for the animal overall”, explains dermatologist Horvath-Ungerböck.

Particularly sensitive animals require sun protection in the form of a waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 or a sunblock containing zinc oxide, for example.
For longer hikes through the mountains where the sun’s rays are particularly aggressive, sensitive animals should wear a t-shirt, coat or hat for protection.

The skin specialist advises owners not to worry: “Not every white dog or white cat needs sunscreen or clothing to protect it from the sun. If sun damage has already occurred though, or if an animal is highly sensitive, it is up to us to protect it from further damage.”

Treating Sunburn In Animals

If sunburn is visible as reddened, warm or flaking skin, the animal should be moved to the shade as quickly as possible. Cool compresses and ointments to soothe the skin can help relieve the initial symptoms. If the burn is severe, a veterinarian should be consulted as treatment with a cortisone product may be indicated to prevent inflammation. If the skin changes present as a secondary infection, antibiotics may be indicated. The affected animal will need to be well protected from the sun in future to prevent permanent damage.

White cats are quite susceptible to sunburns. Photo credit: Vetmeduni Vienna
White cats are also quite susceptible to sunburns. Photo credit: Vetmeduni Vienna

Certain Pre-Existing Conditions Can Increase Skin Sensitivity

Some illnesses and genetic defects that result in a thin coat can make the skin more sensitive to sunburn. Any longer-term stimulus that results in a loss of fur is a possible factor. These can include parasitic infections, chronic skin conditions, or congenital hairlessness. In some cases, exposure to the sun can worsen an existing condition. Animals with autoimmune skin diseases must be carefully protected from the sun, for example. And areas of the skin that were covered by fur but are suddenly exposed due to hair loss, such as scar tissue after an operation or injury, should be carefully observed and shielded as needed.

Damage Caused By Sun Exposure

In animals, sunburn results in an acute inflammation of the skin that can cause itching or even pain, depending on the individual animal. Frequent sunburns can lead to pre-cancerous conditions or even actual skin tumours. “We sometimes see squamous cell carcinoma on the heads of white, outdoor cats as the result of chronic sun exposure. The affected areas of the skin then need to be surgically removed,” Horvath-Ungerböck explains.


8 Indestructible Dog Toys Worth Barking About

(PET CARE/DOGS) Let’s face it, dogs get bored. Thankfully there are plenty of options for dog toys on the market, but how can you choose a toy that will last for more than an afternoon?

The Humane Society recommends shopping for toys that are marked as indestructible. Keep in mind no dog toy is completely destruction proof. However, here are some of the best-made toys renowned for their super long-lasting qualities.

cute dog playing with indestructible dog toy
Check out these top indestructible dog toys that are great for aggressive chewers. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Kong Classic by Kong

Kong, the popular makers of dog toys are back at it once again with the Kong Classic. In a firefighter red hue, this dog toy is made completely from all natural rubber. The material is ideal for heavy chewers as it holds up steadily to regular use. It is shaped like a stack of three connected donuts each a bit wider than the next. Dogs love trying to keep up with this toy as it bounces erratically thanks to the funky shape. Available in six sizes, the Kong Classic can fit most any size dog. Best of all, Kong toys get a seal of approval and are recommended by the Humane Society.

peanut indestructible dog toys
Peanut by Ruff Dawg. Photo Credit: Amazon

Peanut by Ruff Dawg

Choppers, get ready! The Peanut chew toy is shaped like the iconic in-shell peanut and features a similar nutty hue to the real deal. Dogs who love to get their chew on can spend hours munching on this chew toy without having to worry about destroying it. The Peanut’s shape combined with its rubber material allows for the toy to bounce haphazardly, keeping your puppy fit and active as it chases the ‘nut. This toy comes in two sizes including Wee-Nut for smaller dogs and the regular Peanut for medium and larger breeds.

Can Toy by Soda Pup from True Dog

It turns out that dogs like soda pop, too. Featuring the Coca-Cola classic motif, this rubber can comes in a bright green color. Eco-friendly parents can feel safe sharing this toy with their furry pet as it is made using biodegradable and nontoxic rubber. Additionally, the interior is hollow and there is a hole on one end of the can where you can stuff doggy treats for a fun treat dispenser. The Can Toy comes in three sizes, small, medium and large, to make it easy to choose the right can size for your dog.

PlayBites Bear from JW Pet. Photo Credit:
PlayBites Bear from JW Pet. Photo Credit:

PlayBites Bear from JW Pet

Available in a variety of shapes including a bone, donut, caterpillar and bear, this chew toy is a made from all natural rubber. In addition to being safe to chew on, each of the designs features some type of treat-dispensing system. For the bear the treats are stored in a central chamber, while the caterpillar and bone feature several chambers for housing different types of treats. Make snacktime even more exciting with the thrills of PlayBites.

Kong Quest Starpod by Kong

Another winner from the Kong line, the Kong Quest Starpod is unique from the other toys as this is a low-profile toy. Designed to resemble a starfish with circular arms that have hollow centers, the exterior features rubber nibs to add to the oral stimulation. Perfect for a puppy in the chewing stage, this toy comes in a small, as well as large size for bigger breeds. As with most chew toys, this is also a treat-dispensing device that holds soft and hard dog treats.

Everlasting Treat Wheeler from Starmark

As one of the top virtually indestructible dog toys on the market, the Everlasting Treat Wheeler is shaped like a toy truck wheel. Save your human kids’ toys from getting chewed on by giving your dog this cool toy instead. The interior is perfect for dispensing treats, while the exterior is made from rubber free of latex, phthalates and vinyl for safe chewing.

Tuggo. Photo Credit: Amazon
Tuggo from Tuggo Dog Toys. Photo Credit: Amazon

Tuggo from Tuggo Dog Toys

The best way to play tug of war for any dog, Tuggo takes a classic game and puts a twist on it. The toy features a big red ball with an attached rope. Use the toy as is, or easily fill the ball with a weighted substance, such as water or sand, to add up to 20 pounds of resistance. Your dog will get quite the workout with the Tuggo chew toy.

Jolly Egg by Jolly Pets

This big red egg is the perfect addition to any collection of indestructible chew toys. Made using high-density polyethylene plastic, the Jolly Egg is capable of floating on water, as well, making for a great toy to take to the lake this summer. Choose from the small and large sizes to give your dog the right size toy for its choppers.

Author Bio

Andy Krinner has worked TTPM (Toys,Tots, Pets & More) for almost ten years.

6 Tips To Keep Your Dog Cool During The Dog Days Of Summer

Photo Credit:

(DOGS/PET CARE) Summer days can be fun for pets and humans alike. The sun is shining, the sky is clear, and the park has never looked more inviting. But just as children and even adults can be negatively affected by excessive heat, animals are susceptible to those same dangers.

Here are six tips to keep your beloved pet happy and healthy during this heat wave and throughout the summer season.

Photo Credit:
You can help keep your pets cool this summer with a few helpful tips. Photo Credit: Sunny Oaks Pet Resort

1. No parking, please

Never leave your pet in a parked car. It doesn’t matter if you’re getting milk or just picking up a prescription. As with babies, leaving an animal in the car is extremely dangerous and even fatal. Leaving a living creature in a metal box with lots of windows results in something called the greenhouse effect, which will make the inside of your car much hotter than it is outside. To keep your pet safe, either shop at a pet friendly store or leave him home with the air conditioner running.

2. Bath time

Summer days usually make the best beach days. While it’s not always convenient or safe to bring your dog to the beach (unless you have plenty of fresh water), it’s sometimes nice to cool down in other ways. You can let your doggie into the pool if he’s a skilled swimmer and you make sure he’s not drinking chlorinated water. Just remember to rinse off any salt or chlorine. A better idea, however, is a nice romp in a clean kiddie pool around noon.

3. Get a trim

A good haircut usually solves life’s problems, and it can definitely help your pet keep cool this summer. Give your dog’s fur a nice cut, leaving it about an inch long. Make sure not to trim all the way down to his skin, as this will leave your pet without protection from the sun. Keeping your cat or dog brushed, well-groomed, and free of any excess fur will do wonders for his or her summer.

4. Exercise intelligently

A nice bath is the perfect cure for a hot summer afternoon. Photo Credit: Rummy’

While exercise is important for both pets and their caretakers, it’s usually best when kept to the early hours of the morning and later in the night. This keeps your pets healthy as well as cool. Never force your pet to go for a walk in the heat, especially on asphalt where he can burn his paws, unprotected by sneakers or flip-flops, and always make sure to provide plenty of water before, during, and after a run.

5. Beat the heat, stay inside

It may be a tad inconvenient to drag a bigger, wilder dog inside for the afternoon, but animals are more sensitive to heat than people. Too much sun can be extremely dangerous. So if the day’s turning out to be uncomfortably hot, do your pet a favor and bring him inside. He’ll thank you for it.

6. Maintain your cool

It’s hard to stay cool with the sun beating down your brow or muzzle. Keep your pets cool by making sure they have a shady place to stay at all times throughout the day. A nice, well-ventilated dog house is a great start. A grassy area, free of treatments and pesticides, is also ideal for puppy lounging. Finally, and most importantly, is to keep your dog well-watered. Make sure that your beloved animal has access to fresh, clean, and cool water at all times. If it’s extra hot, consider stocking your pet’s water bowl with ice cubes. He’ll be living the high life and staying cool all summer long thanks to you.

— Bianca Caraza, exclusive to Global Animal

Book Review: ‘Snowflake’ Succeeds in Using Fiction to Communicate Climate Facts

(BOOK REVIEW) A modern-day climate thriller meets think piece, Snowflake chronicles the journal entries of Ben Wallace, a brilliant high school senior who sees the world beyond his years.

Some might say he’s an “old soul,” while others dismiss him as a bleeding heart vegan liberal due to his progressive views on climate change, eating meat, hunting, factory farming, pollution, species conservation, and overpopulation.

"Snowflake" by Arthur Jeon
“Snowflake” by Arthur Jeon

Often called a “snowflake” or “Soy Boy” (as one school bully nicknames him), Ben must constantly defend himself in an out-of-touch gen-Z world consumed with Instagram, selfies, memes, and TikTok.

As a gifted student who obsessively reads scientific papers, Ben is all too familiar with the present-day attacks on our environment and frequently experiences what he refers to as “obsessive climate spirals”–often triggered by horrifyingly authentic tweets, quotes, and news headlines (i.e. “Humans Speeding Extinction, Altering Natural World at Unprecedented Pace” & “Worldwide, 7 Million People A Year Die from Air Pollution”).

Presented with these terrifying truths regarding “climate chaos” and the fate of the world, Ben predicts a looming environmental catastrophe–humanity’s imminent self-extinction.

He recognizes how this impending ecological disaster is provoked by the current President of the United States, who not only passes policies without any consideration for climate change, but denies that it exists altogether–putting the entire globe at risk.

After a profound mind-altering experience and two nearly fatal family tragedies, Ben experiences a spiritual awakening as he recognizes how all life is connected and that we’re all simply animals fighting to survive.

Radicalized by humanity’s downfall (and perhaps his skipped anxiety meds and therapy sessions), while simultaneously guided by his love of animals, philosophy, and moral justice, Ben pledges to take action in pursuit of his grand “Idea,”as he calls it–to assassinate the president in an ultimate act of environmental defense.

“To save my generation and defend our planet, the president must die.”

This becomes Ben’s daily mantra for six weeks leading up to his grand scheme.

Ben recognizes, “If you keep letting something go, it never ends.” Confronted with daily media headlines like “A Species Goes Extinct Every 20 Minutes, Over 26,000 A Year,” Ben can’t simply ignore the grim state of the world and “wait for the broken machinery of our system to repair itself.”

After all, “What future do any of us have in the face of such destruction?”

But no matter how enraged, this vegan 18-year-old activist makes a rather unlikely assassin as even he feels remorse over the accidental killing of a silverfish. Because of this, he struggles daily with the philosophical, practical, and moral reasons that render his actions not only justified, but necessary.

This may seem like a heady mixture, but it’s all wrapped up in a fast-paced and compelling thriller that keeps the pages turning. You’ll find yourself effortlessly consuming information about real world issues, without feeling like you’re stuck in a classroom.

No doubt, Snowflake is bursting at the seams with facts and inspiration, empowering readers with the knowledge and gall to hopefully take action themselves against environmental injustices.

Ultimately Ben envisions a better world and maps out the steps to get there in what eventually becomes a modern-day manifesto, inspiring future generations to come.

Buy the book on Amazon

World Environment Day 2020: Overpopulation & Humanity’s Toll On Nature

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

(ENVIRONMENT/GO GREEN) Today, June 5 marks World Environment Day, which has focused on pressing environmental issues since 1974.

While this year’s theme focuses on ‘Biodiversity,’ there’s no doubt that humanity’s unhealthy relationship with nature holds the largest impact on climate change and habitat disruption.

Overpopulation not only pollutes the Earth and consumes its natural resources, but it’s also the driving cause of global warming, pollution, habitat loss, and mass extinction.

The damage our species has caused to the Earth seems insurmountable at times, and considering the current state of the world, it’s clear our prevailing systems failed to consider a variety of factors.

One organization, Having Kids, is proactively addressing issues surrounding overpopulation and aims to shift the world towards a sustainable family planning system based on what future generations of children will objectively need.

Continue reading below for more behind the group’s mission as they call on 100 key world environmental influencers to adopt a “child-first” family planning model. — Global Animal

World Environment Day 2020. Photo Credit: Huffington Post


Organization calls for child-first family planning model

The organization Having Kids is urging 100 key world environmental influencers to move from our current and failing and unsustainable approach to family planning to a cooperative system based on what all children objectively need. This new system is based upon a variety of peer-reviewed research papers, and has been featured in Newsweek, Salon, Hello Magazine, and many other popular outlets. That change has never been more vital, given recent reactions to vast racial and economic inequity, the ongoing threat of pandemics, and massive volatility in world population prospects.

Read the full letter here.

Our current family planning system does not guarantee children any minimum level of welfare or equity, and does not take into account impacts on our ecologies, or the relationship between family planning and the building of human rights-based democracies. As our ecological and social conditions continue to deteriorate, it is becoming increasingly clear that the current system failed to account for a variety of factors. It was a mistake, and one that enables policies that Nobel laureate Steven Chu likened to a pyramid or Ponzi scheme.

The alternative we propose, called Fair Start, is simple: communities help parents to plan and wait to be ready before having kids, and ensure resources to give all kids a fair start in life, and smaller and more regenerative families make it all possible. We believe it is the best interpretation of the fundamental right to have children. The Fair Start Model is ten to twenty times more effective at protecting children and our environment, and building human rights and democracy, than other policies that address these issues. For many reasons, it is an overriding human right which can be furthered by all means effective.

According to Executive Director Erika Mathews: “Because our current system of family planning oppresses future generations and puts us all at existential risk, it is illegitimate, and an impediment to the constituting of true democracies.”


Having Kids is a 501(c)3 nonprofit nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring a fair start for all children by reforming family planning with the human rights-based and child-first Fair Start model.

National Rescue Dog Day Is Here, So What Are You Waiting For?

Photo Credit: PetFinder

(RESCUE DOGS/PET ADOPTION) Today, May 20, is National Rescue Dog Day, a day to recognize and appreciate the countless benefits of adopting a four-legged friend in need of a forever home.

Over 3 million abandoned and abused dogs enter animal shelters each year, and their potential for love is limitless. These dogs often overcome extreme odds, but can still provide boundless comfort, security, and friendship as family pets.

They offer a variety of therapeutic benefits to help relieve anxiety, depression, and PTSD, and with a little extra training, rescue dogs can also serve as dutiful service pets for the elderly or those with disabilities.

Proud parents of rescue pets know first-hand how their four-legged friends improve their lives, and couldn’t imagine a more worthy companion. So today, for National Rescue Dog Day, celebrate the joys of animal adoption and give your furry friends a well-deserved treat!

Photo Credit: PetFinder

If you’ve been considering bringing a new four-legged family member into your home, what are you waiting for?

Making a commitment to a pet is a huge responsibility and can seem overwhelming at times. While the adoption process has many variables and requires patience, luckily there are countless resources and shelter workers–who know the pets best–available to help you find the perfect match.

If you’re not quite ready to adopt a pet, you can still help by volunteering at a local shelter, making a financial donation, or fostering a pet today.

What Should I Know Before Adopting a Shelter Dog? (Resources)

Adopt a pet, rescue a cat, dog, puppy or kitten
Visit Global Animal’s pet adoption database

San Diego Sea Lion Plays In Bioluminescent Waters

(ANIMAL VIDEOS/OCEANS) In the video clip above, witness a sea lion playing in the bioluminescent waves in the San Diego Bay. A pair of kayakers were delightfully surprised by the unexpected visitor and were lucky enough to capture the rare moment on film. — Global Animal

Don’t Forget To Wash Your Paws!

(DOGS/CUTE ANIMAL VIDEOS) With so many safety measures currently in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, hand-washing is still the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections. Watch this doggy demonstration in the video clip above! For more delightful dachshunds, follow Three Daxie Trouble on Facebook. — Global Animal

Dog Mom Anthem Says “Happy Mother’s Day” To All Dog Moms

(DOGS/PETS/CUTE ANIMAL VIDEOS) Did you know dog moms can celebrate Mother’s Day, too?! This Dog Mom Anthem goes out to all the compassionate dog mothers out there! — Global Animal

Are Plants Poisoning Your Pets? (GALLERY)

World Environment Day is a great day to plant a tree

(CATS AND DOGS/PET CARE) Flowers and plants are a wonderful addition to any garden, but some of our favorites can adversely affect our favorite animals. Check out the gallery below of 10 pet-poisoning plants that may be growing in your backyard. — Global Animal

Some of the most common flowers and plants can be harmful to your pets.

Discovery News, Tim Wall

Some favorite flowers and prized plants can be four-legged friends’ worst enemies. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lists hundreds of pet-poisoning plants, including these 10.

Daffodil Danger

Squirrels tend to leave daffodil bulbs alone. That’s good news for gardeners, but bad news for cats and dogs. The bulbs are the most toxic part of the plant and can poison dogs and cats.

Daffodil bulbs can poison your pet. Photo Credit: Kropsoq, Wikimedia Commons
Daffodil bulbs can poison your pet. Photo Credit: Kropsoq, Wikimedia Commons

Kiss of Death from Tulips

Tulip bulbs are toxic too, and not just to pets. Humans should think twice before tasting a tulip. In fact many plant’s roots and bulbs hide toxic defenses. Even the seemingly benign potato can develop dangerous levels of the poison solanine, if the spuds grow too close to the surface and turn green.

Tulip bulbs are dangerous for pets and humans. Photo Credit: Tulip Fields with the Rijnsburg Windmill, Claude Monet, Wikimedia Commons
Tulip bulbs are dangerous for pets and humans. Photo Credit: Tulip Fields with the Rijnsburg Windmill, Claude Monet, Wikimedia Commons

Wimpy Name, Deadly Effect

Periwinkle may have a sissy name, but this ground cover can kill a cat or dog if they ingest it. The poison punch of periwinkle comes from vinca alkaloids. Those same chemicals once served as anti-cancer drugs until they were replaced by synthetics.

Periwinkle can kill a cat or a dog. Photo Credit: Selena N.B.H, Wikimedia Commons
Periwinkle can kill a cat or a dog. Photo Credit: Selena N.B.H, Wikimedia Commons

Beauty Bad for Beasts

Showy rhododendrons can be the end of the road for pets. Eating a few leaves can cause serious problems, even death. The plant contains a nasty nerve poison, grayanotoxin. That poison can contaminate honey if bees feast on rhododendrons. In Nepal, this tainted honey fetches a high price because of its supposed medicinal properties, reported National Geographic.

Rhododendrons can be very problematic for pets. Photo Credit: FG2, Wikimedia Commons
Rhododendrons can be very problematic for pets. Photo Credit: FG2, Wikimedia Commons

Aloe and Goodbye

The slimy sap of an aloe plant can sooth burned skin, and the chemicals, known as saponins, make aloe a naturally foamy shampoo. But those same chemicals are deadly to fish — and cause vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors in cats and dogs.

Aloe causes vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors in cats and dogs. Photo Credit: Frank Vincentz, Wikimedia Commons
Aloe causes vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors in cats and dogs. Photo Credit: Frank Vincentz, Wikimedia Commons

Pet Poison: Ivy

The signature vegetation of higher education, English ivy, also contains saponins — particularly one known as hederagenin, which some people take as a stimulant. The effects on pets, however, are anything but stimulating. Ivy can make cats and dogs very sick and the leaves pack more toxic punch than the berries.

Ivy can make cats and dogs very sick. Photo Credit: The Pond and Erman Biology Center at the University of Chicago, Bob Krist, Corbis
Ivy can make cats and dogs very sick. Photo Credit: The Pond and Erman Biology Center at the University of Chicago, Bob Krist, Corbis

No Tea for Kitty

Chamomile tea may sooth human nerves, but the plant can cause allergic reactions in cats and dogs as well as skin irritation, vomiting and diarrhea.

Chamomile can cause allergic reactions in cats and dogs. Photo Credit: Pikiwikisrael, Wikimedia Commons
Chamomile can cause allergic reactions in cats and dogs. Photo Credit: Pikiwikisrael, Wikimedia Commons

Doesn’t Keep Vet Away

An apple a day may be good for people, but the leaves, stems and seeds of apple trees release cyanide when chewed. Humans too can be exposed to cyanide if they chew up apple seeds. However, it would take approximately 100 grams of crushed apple seeds to poison an average size adult human, according to the Naked Scientists.

The leaves, stems, and seeds of apple trees release cyanide when chewed. Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wikimedia Commons
The leaves, stems, and seeds of apple trees release cyanide when chewed. Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wikimedia Commons

No Coleus for Canines

Oils in the many-colored foliage of coleus plants can cause vomiting and bloody diarrhea in dogs and cats.

Coleus plants can cause vomiting in dogs and cats. Photo Credit: Roger Price, Wikimedia Commons
Coleus plants can cause vomiting in dogs and cats. Photo Credit: Roger Price, Wikimedia Commons

Push Up Daisies

Daisies and other chrysanthemum species contain natural pesticides that can poison pets. However, those natural pest poisons — including sesquiterpene, lactones, and pyrethrins — make daisies an excellent guard plant to deter pests form attacking other, less-defended flowers and crops. Helpful bees, though, are undeterred.

Daises contain natural pesticides. Photo Credit: Jessica Merz, Wikimedia Commons
Daises contain natural pesticides. Photo Credit: Jessica Merz, Wikimedia Commons

More Discovery News:

This Breakthrough Will Help Save Our Coral Reefs

The ridged cactus coral which reproduced. Photo Credit: via CNN

(OCEANS/CORAL REEFS) For the first time in history, the Florida Aquarium has successfully reproduced ridged cactus coral–a scientific breakthrough that will help save the third largest coral reef in the world, “America’s Great Barrier Reef.”

The corals are just one of the many species rescued from Florida’s waters after the region’s coral reefs began undergoing a major disease outbreak that started in 2014. Scientists intend to breed and reproduce these rescued colonies in hopes of eventually restoring the reefs once the disease is gone.

Continue reading to learn more about this major step toward repopulating the world’s coral reefs. — Global Animal

The ridged cactus coral which reproduced. Photo Credit: via CNN

CNN, Alaa Elassar

The Florida Aquarium has made a breakthrough that will help save “America’s Great Barrier Reef,” the third largest coral reef in the world.

For the first time in world history, the aquarium in Tampa, Florida has successfully reproduced ridged cactus coral in human care.

The corals are just one of a variety of species rescued from Florida’s waters by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and NOAA Fisheries after coral reefs in the state began undergoing a major disease outbreak that started in 2014.

Scientists are now caring for the rescued adult coral colonies to breed and reproduce them in hopes of someday restoring the reefs once the disease is gone. While reproducing these species, scientists are discovering for the first time basic information on their biology, such as when they have babies or what their larvae look like.

“We are losing coral species faster than we can learn about them,” Keri O’Neil, senior coral scientist at the Florida Aquarium, told CNN.

“This breakthrough is just really exciting; we’re still learning basic new things you’d think we’ve known for hundreds of years. It’s just people never worked with this species before and now that we have the opportunity to work with these corals in the lab, we’re going to find out so much more about them.”

Before this discovery, there was very little information known about how ridged cactus coral reproduce. No photos, videos, or published studies were ever done on the species’ reproductive biology until scientists at the aquarium successfully reproduced them while catching the “birth” on video.

Baby ridged cactus corals. Photo Credit: via CNN

The reproduction process

Ridged cactus corals are brooding coral, meaning to reproduce, only their sperm — not the eggs — are released into the water. The eggs are then fertilized and the larvae development occurs inside the parent coral.

The parent corals “spit out” the tiny baby coral, which immediately start swimming around until they find a perfect place on the reef where they stay for the rest of their lives. After witnessing the corals “give birth” for the first time, scientists have discovered that this species’ larvae is the largest they have ever seen before.

The corals first began generating spawn — or giving birth — in early April, and are still having babies over a week later. So far, over 350 coral babies have been released.

The next step, O’Neil said, is finding out how long the larvae swim around before settling and turning into an adult coral. This is important because knowing how far they can travel will shed light on how mixed coral reef populations really are.

“Conservation and saving wildlife from extinction is our foremost business focus and scientific breakthroughs that have a direct impact on protecting and restoring our natural environment is why we exist,” Roger Germann, The Florida Aquarium president and CEO, told CNN.

“Healthy coral reefs are vital to the survival and quality of life of humans and animals, especially here in Florida and throughout the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. We believe it’s our responsibility to save the Florida Reef Tract from disappearing.”

Participating in ‘Project Coral’

About a year ago, the aquarium’s scientists became the first in the world to get Atlantic Ocean coral to successfully reproduce two days in a row for the first time in a lab setting.

The aquarium is also taking part in “Project Coral” — a program designed to spawn coral with the goal of ultimately repopulating the world’s coral reefs. The project works in partnership with London’s Horniman Museum and Gardens to induce corals to spawn, or release their eggs and sperm, in a lab.

Unlike the natural reproduction of the ridged cactus corals, Project Coral uses advanced LED technology and computer-control systems to mimic the natural environment of the coral to subtly signal the corals to reproduce.

More CNN:

When Humans Go Away, Wild Animals Come Out To Play

Great Orme Kashmiri goats on the streets of Llandudno, Wales. Photo Credit: Andrew Stuart

(WILDLIFE) With more than a billion people worldwide socially distancing themselves to prevent the spread of COVID-19, hoards of wild animals are venturing out into towns and cities where normally the presence of humans would keep them away.

This includes goats in Wales, coyotes in San Francisco, and rats practically everywhere.

Continue reading for more on what wildlife that usually keep their distance do when they are left alone. — Global Animal

Great Orme Kashmiri goats on the streets of Llandudno, Wales. Photo Credit: Andrew Stuart

New York Times, Sandra E. Garcia

Under the cover of night, in their feathered, silken, cream-colored coats, they trotted into Llandudno, a seaside town in Wales.

On Thursday evening, a herd of Great Orme Kashmiri goats galloped through the desolate streets of the small town looking for food. Some goats got their fill from hedges, others climbed building walls.

“They are very mischievous,” Andrew Stuart, a Llandudno resident who spotted the goats, said in an interview. “They seem a bit wary of humans, they wouldn’t go past me at one point and were very cautious.”

Luckily for the goats, there weren’t many humans around.

More than a billion people worldwide are staying at home under guidance from their governments, socially distancing themselves from one another to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, which has claimed over 43,000 lives globally, including 2,300 in Britain.

With businesses closed and towns and cities emptied out, people are getting a glimpse of what animals that usually keep their distance do when they are left alone.

The Great Orme goats ventured out farther than they normally would, Mr. Stuart, 31, said.

The goats live in Great Orme Country Park, in Conwy, Wales. They were a gift from Queen Victoria, from the royal herd, but their descendants are wild animals that roam and forage in the large park.

“They like to come down when it gets a bit windy,” Mr. Stuart said. “When they get down to the bottom of the hills they don’t go much further because there is busy town life. They are known for coming down a bit and causing a bit of mayhem.”

But with the country under lockdown because of the coronavirus, the goats saw an opportunity to get a whiff of their neighboring town and hopped right to it. In the video Mr. Stuart recorded, the goats can be seen running down the middle of a street.

“They were just racing through the town,” said Mr. Stuart, who called a nonemergency police line. “They are in town because it is so quiet, because hardly anyone is about.”

There is also hardly anyone outside in San Francisco — except for the coyotes.

Residents in San Francisco have been under orders to practice social distancing for two weeks, leaving their homes only to buy groceries, go to pharmacies and participate in other essential tasks. The streets have been left to the coyotes, which seem to be venturing farther into the city because there are so few cars, according to Deb Campbell, a spokeswoman for San Francisco Animal Care and Control.

“We have had a lot more reported sightings of them in the streets,” she said. “They are probably wondering where everyone went.”

Social distancing has not increased wild animals’ populations, but it does seem to have changed their behavior in seeking new food sources, said Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist at the National Pest Management Association.

“What we are also seeing is that they are looking for food in places they had not before,” he said. “The part of the equation that is missing right now is people.”

Ever since Louisiana imposed a lockdown, causing restaurants to shut down, the rats in New Orleans are almost certainly wondering where the usual French Quarter crowds — and their trash — have gone.

“Animals are opportunistic and feed off trash,” said Claudia Riegel, executive director of the New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board. “The restaurants are producing a lot of trash, and right now, a lot of that is just gone.”

This moment of desperation for the rodents can become an opportunity for communities trying to control the pest population, since rats are more likely to be lured by traps and baits, Dr. Fredericks said.

Dr. Riegel and her team are taking advantage of that.

“We are never going to have this chance again, when most of the restaurants and the buildings are temporarily closed,” she said.

New York City is known for its large population of already brazen rats, including the notorious Pizza Rat. There has not been a change in behavior from pests in the city, according to Katy Hansen, the spokeswoman for the Animal Care Centers of NYC.

“People are not outside leaving food and trash around, so it’s not attracting them,” she said.

But there is a possibility that with the absence of people, and their trash, New York rats become even more brazen in their search for food, as a gang of macaques did in Lopburi, Thailand, last month. The macaques are usually fed by tourists who visit the ancient city, but with an 85 percent drop in tourism, the monkeys became more aggressive in their search for food.

Humans can easily forget that the cities and towns they call home and frequently visit are also home to wild animals, like the Great Orme goats.

“There is not much we can do,” Mr. Stuart said of getting the goats to go home. “There is no sort of truck that they can put them in to get them back up there.”

“They go back of their free will, or when they get bored.”

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How Animal Cruelty Caused The Coronavirus

Photo Credit: Heather Ainsworth

(ANIMAL WELFARE) With many countries in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, experts continue to speculate over the virus’ origins while medical researchers try to find a cure.

COVID-19 is not unlike most infectious diseases given that it is zoonotic–meaning it can jump the species barrier from animals to humans. This relatively common phenomenon almost always arises–directly or indirectly–from the inhumane ways in which humans treat animals.

As the New York Times author below perfectly states, “The conditions that lead to the emergence of new infectious diseases are the same ones that inflict horrific harms on animals.”

Continue reading for more about how the coronavirus pandemic arose from humankind’s maltreatment of animals and steps towards future prevention. — Global Animal

Photo Credit: Heather Ainsworth

New York Times, David Benatar

There is the obvious and then there is what should be obvious. The obvious is that the coronavirus pandemic has brought much of the human world to a standstill. Many countries are in lockdown. So far, more than 1.7 million have been infected, more than 100,000 have died, and billions live in fear that the numbers of sick and dead will rise exponentially. Economies are in recession, with all the hardship that entails for human well-being.

What should be obvious, but may not be to many, is that none of this should come as a surprise. That there would be another pandemic was entirely predictable, even though the precise timing of its emergence and the shape of its trajectory were not. And there is an important sense in which the pandemic is of our own making as humans. A pandemic may seem like an entirely natural disaster, but it is often — perhaps even usually — not.

The coronavirus arose in animals and jumped the species barrier to humans and then spread with human-to-human transmission. This is a common phenomenon. Most — and some believe all — infectious diseases are of this type (zoonotic). That in itself does not put them within the realm of human responsibility. However, many zoonotic diseases arise because of the ways in which humans treat animals. The “wet” markets of China are a prime example. They are the likely source not only of Covid-19 but also of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some outbreaks of avian influenza, for example. (Another possible source of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 may be one of the many mixed wildlife-livestock farms in China, but humans are responsible for those, too.)

The “wet” markets, which are found not only in China but also in some other East Asian countries, have a number of features that makes them especially conducive to spawning infectious zoonotic diseases. Live animals are housed in extremely cramped conditions until they are slaughtered in the market for those who have purchased them. In these conditions, infections are easily transmitted from one animal to another. Because new animals are regularly being brought to market, a disease can be spread through a chain of infection from one animal to others that arrive in the market much later. The proximity to humans, coupled with the flood of blood, excrement and other bodily fluids and parts, all facilitate the infection of humans. Once transmission from human to human occurs, an epidemic is the expected outcome, unless the problem is quickly contained. Global air travel can convert epidemic to pandemic within weeks or months — exactly as it did with the coronavirus.

It is these very conditions that facilitate the emergence of new infectious diseases and that also inflict horrific harms on animals — being kept in confined conditions and then butchered. Simply put, the coronavirus pandemic is a result of our gross maltreatment of animals.

Those who think that this is a Chinese problem rather than a human one should think again. There is no shortage of zoonoses that have emerged from human maltreatment of animals. The most likely origin of H.I.V. (human immunodeficiency virus), for example, is S.I.V. (simian immunodeficiency virus), and the most likely way in which it crossed the species barrier is through blood of a nonhuman primate butchered for human consumption. Similarly, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease probably had its origins in its bovine analogue — bovine spongiform encephalopathy (B.S.E.), or “mad cow disease.” The most probable mechanism of transmission is through human consumption of infected cattle.

In the future, we should fully expect our maltreatment of animals to wreak havoc on our own species. In addition to future pandemics, we face the very real risk of breeding antibiotic resistance. The major contributor to this is the use of antibiotics in the animal agriculture industry, as a growth promoter (to bring animals to slaughter weight as quickly as possible) and to curb the spread of infections among animals reared in cruel intensive “factory farmed” conditions.

It is entirely possible that the human future will involve a return to the pre-antibiotics era, in which people died in droves from infections that have been effectively treated since the discovery of penicillin and other early antibacterial agents. If so, it may turn out that the antibiotics era was a brief interlude between two much longer periods in human history in which we succumbed in large numbers to bacterial infections. That prospect, which is even more awful than the current crisis, is no less real for that. We, as a species, know about this problem, but we have not yet done what needs to be done to avert it (or at least minimize the chances of its happening).

What these and many other examples show is that harming animals can lead to considerable harm to humans. This provides a self-interested reason — in addition to the even stronger moral reasons — for humans to treat animals better. The problem is that even self-interest is an imperfect motivator. For all the puffery in calling ourselves Homo sapiens, the “wise human,” we display remarkably little wisdom, even of a prudential kind.

This is not to deny the many intellectual achievements of humankind. However, they are combined with many cognitive and moral shortcomings, including undue confidence in our ability to solve problems. In general, humans respond to pandemics rather than act to prevent them — we attempt to prevent their spread after they emerge and to develop treatments for those infected. The current crisis demonstrates the folly of this approach. The closest we come to prevention is the effort to develop vaccines. But even this sort of prevention is a kind of reaction. Vaccines are developed in response to viruses that have already emerged. As the coronavirus experience shows, there can be a significant lag between that emergence and the development of a safe and effective vaccine, during which time great damage can be done both by the virus and by attempts to prevent its spread.

Real prevention requires taking steps to minimize the chances of the virus or other infectious agents emerging in the first place. One of a number of crucial measures would be a more intelligent — and more compassionate — appraisal of our treatment of nonhuman animals, and concomitant action.

Some might say that it is insensitive to highlight human responsibility for the current pandemic while we are in the midst of it. Isn’t it unseemly to rub our collective nose in this mess of our own making? Such concerns are misplaced. Earlier warnings of the dangers of our behavior, offered in less panicked times, went unheeded. Of course, it is entirely possible that even if we are now momentarily awakened, we will soon forget the lessons. There is plenty of precedent for that. However, given the importance of what lies in the balance, it is better to risk a little purported insensitivity than to pass up an opportunity to encourage some positive change. Millions of lives and the avoidance of much suffering are at stake.

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Compassionate Treats For A Happy Vegan Easter

Photo Credit: Red Hot Vegans

(ANIMAL WELFARE/VEGAN EASTER) Easter is almost here, and what better way to enjoy this celebration of new life than to celebrate with compassion toward all life?

After all, this lovely springtime holiday and the animal rights movement do share the same cotton-tailed mascot!

Learn how easy and delicious it can be to have a happy vegan Easter with the following tips!  — Global Animal

Celebrate Easter with your family with a healthy, vegan brunch! Photo Credit: Red Hot Vegans

VegNews, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau & Liz Miller

Want to continue celebrating Easter, sans cruelty to animals? It’s as easy as biting into a vegan chocolate egg.

Here’s the great thing about Easter: Whether or not you believe in its religious history, there are still delicious vegan chocolate eggs to eat. Yes, here at VN we embrace veganizing pretty much everything, and holidays are no exception. Since cruelty-free living can coincide with any and every occasion, we’ve rounded up the best crafts, confections, and cookery we could find to ensure 2010 marks your most compassionate Easter celebration yet.

EggNots are an egg coloring alternative for vegans and those with egg allergies. Photo Credit:

Egg (Decorating) Replacer

While Easter egg decorating and egg hunts clearly don’t align with vegan ethics, it isn’t the eggs involved in these memories that stir nostalgia, it’s the family bonding time. Time spent with parents or grandparents, sharing stories and working together, is a holiday tradition worth keeping alive. A simple alternative to egg decorating is painting wooden eggs or any wooden figure, which serves as a replacement and lets you enjoy the artwork year-round. Other items (plastic eggs filled with vegan treats, for example) allow for the same effect without contributing to unnecessary cruelty.

Enjoy a compassionate Easter brunch spread complete with vegan chocolate bunnies, seasonal fruits, as well as mimosas and Bellinis. Photo Credit:

Easter Morning Brunch

After drumming up an appetite during the early morning “egg” hunt, children and adults alike can enjoy a compassionate brunch spread complete with Strawberry-Ricotta French Toast (made with tofu) and Strawberry-Rhubarb Syrup, Chive Biscuits with jam, a Tofu Scramble or Tomato-Zucchini Frittata, herbed hash browns, and smoked tofu. For a special treat, mix up mimosas, or do holiday brunch truly proud by serving Ginger White Peach Bellinis. Cap off your decadent midday meal with a fresh, crisp, and perfectly seasonable Strawberry Pie.

Lake Champlain offers dark chocolate placesetting bunnies and organic dark chocolate hopp’n bunnies to share with all Easter guests. Photo Credit:

Candy Basket—Yes, please!

One of the most celebrated—and delicious—American Easter traditions is exchanging gifts and gifting children Easter baskets. While kids will certainly appreciate a basket brimming with goodies, consider also extending the same treasure trove of candy to vegan friends and family members. Cruelty-free chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chicks are easy to find, thanks to a host of vegan confectioners across the country. Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates makes Easter basket shopping easy with its Dark Chocolate Basket with Bunny—yes, the basket is edible—and Dark Chocolate Eggs. To satisfy crème-filled egg cravings, look no further than The Good Egg by Rescue Chocolate. Balance out that healthy dose of chocolate with vegan Jelly Beans by Paskesz or adorable Marshmallow Chicks and Bunnies by Sweet & Sara.

Opt for a 100 percent vegan Easter basket this holiday. Photo Credit: The Glowing Fridge

Healthy Holiday

Want to err on the side of health for your holiday treats? Create a special basket filled with your favorite homemade muffins, egg-shaped cookies, or carrot cake, along with recipes or a cookbook. If you’re looking to steer clear of edible offerings altogether, fill a basket with lovely seasonal flowers, such as daffodils and marigolds, or the quintessential symbol of spring, Easter lily bulbs. Another great gift that keeps on giving—to you and to others—is creating a herb or vegetable garden. Purchase heirloom and organic seeds from a local nursery and begin the process that embodies the true meaning of the season. A basic herb garden will thrive as long as you have sun, and staples like lettuce, kale, and collards will keep you in the green stuff for many months to come. Just think: This time next year you could be creating a new spring tradition by serving loved ones a home-cooked meal with homegrown veggies.

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