Do You Know...
...driving with a dog on your lap is illegal in Hawaii?

According to a recent article in the Star Advertiser on safety issues while driving, Hawaii is the only state where having a dog in your lap while driving is against the law. Safe restraint for animals in vehicles include proper use of crates, car dividers, and animal seat harnesses. Keep you, your pet, and the road safe! many pets Americans own?

The 2010 American Pet Products Manufacturers Association National Pet Owners Survery reports:

  • 78 million dogs are owned by Americans
  • 94 million cats are owned by Americans
  • 24.3 million small exotic mammals are owned by Americans
  • 16 million birds are owned by Americans
  • 13.4 million reptiles are owned by Americans
  • 142 million freshwater fish are owned by Americans
  • 9.6 million saltwater fish are owned by Americans
  • 39% of households have at least one dog
  • 33% of households have at least one cat
  • 3% of dogs have pet insurance
  • 1% of cats have pet insurance

  • Jackson's chameleons harm Hawaii's ecosystem?

    Jackson's chameleons are native to Africa, and were introduced to Hawaii as an alien species in the 1970s. Since then, the feral population has established itself on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. These chameleons feed primarily on invertebrate species including insects, spiders, and small snails. Their ability to thrive in our tropical ecosystem allows them to successfully predate on Hawaii's native insects (comprising the majority of Hawaii's native species) and compete with other native species who rely on insects in their diet. To discourage purposeful breeding by the pet trade, it is illegal to export Jacksons between islands for any reason or to the mainland for commercial purposes. Interesting facts about the Jacksons are:

  • males have three horns coming out of the top of their heads
  • females give live birth to baby chameleons rather than laying eggs
  • they can rotate and focus each eye separately to look at two different objects at the same time
  • they have a prehensile tail that will not regrow after breaking off (unlike geckos)

  • ...humans can get tapeworms too?

    Tapeworms are a common parasite of pet cats and dogs, and are transmitted via fleas to susceptible hosts, including people! To be infected by tapeworms, the animal must ingest a flea that carries the tapeworm within it. This most commonly occurs during self-grooming, when an animal is licking or biting himself. The tapeworm matures within the host's intestine and releases proglottids, which are end segments of the worm containing eggs and passed in the animal feces. Flea larvae ingest the tapeworm eggs in feces, hop onto your pet, and may be subsequently eaten to continue the life cycle of the worm!

    Adequate flea control is the best way to avoid tapeworm infestations in your pet. A number of topical or oral products available through licensed veterinarians have been shown to be safe and highly effective for flea control. Although tapeworms do not usually cause clinical signs of disease in pets, they may cause anal irritation or weight loss, and are a concern due to high risk of transmission to other animals and people. To reduce the spread of tapeworms, please clean up after your pets and dispose of their feces properly, provide regular flea control for your pets, and wash your hands thoroughly after handling your pets or their waste products.

    ...Hawaii has a blind snake?

    The only terrestrial snake found in Hawaii is the Brahminy blind snake (Ramphotyphlops braminus). Small and thin (about 2-6 inches long), these snakes are easily mistaken for earthworms. However, they move in a lateral undulating pattern typical of snakes and are covered by rows of scales. Their color varies from gray to dark purple.

    These blind snakes are native to Africa and Asia, and are thought to have been introduced to Hawaii in the 1980's (reportedly sooner by some of our clients), likely in potting soil. Fortunately, these little snakes only seem to prey on other introduced species, namely ants and termites, and pose no apparent threat to Hawaii's ecosystem.

    Unlike the blind snake, other larger snake species such as the brown tree snake could be devastating to Hawaii's biodiversity.

    ...what's in the bag?

    Unlike with human food, which is regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), there is no organization mandated to monitor the integrity of the pet food industry. Instead, AAFCO (the Association of American Feed Control Officials, was established to help regulate the manufacture and sale of animal food.

    Compliance with AAFCO's policies are still voluntary, so consumers are responsible for ensuring that the pet food they purchase has undergone testing and been approved for use. The phrase to look for on your cat or dog food bag should read: "Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that <brand name> provides complete and balanced nutrition for <appropriate lifestage of your pet>." Avoid brands that do not state that tests have been done to substantiate the claims of their food!



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    Last updated 2016 January 25.