BEWARE! E-cigs Highly Toxic To Pets

Thanks to Chloe Bloom for contributing this guest blog about a very common and deadly hazard for today’s pets:

Electronic cigarettes are a fairly new but major danger for pets. Designed to mimic the feeling of smoking without burning tobacco, e-cigs health benefits vs. risks are debatable. The answer depends on which public health organization you ask. However something that is not being debated is the toxicity of nicotine. When ingested in high enough quantities it can have serious consequences.

skull and crossbones

e-cig cartridgesNone of the ingredients (apart from nicotine) in e liquid are toxic to ingest. They are food grade chemicals and flavorings that are used in things like toothpaste and candy making. This makes e liquid smell and taste very sweet. Because of this sweet taste the e liquid becomes very attractive to animals, who will relish the opportunity to eat such a sweet yet toxic liquid. They have no idea poisonous nicotine is also present. Ingesting even a small portion of a bottle of e liquid has a very high chance of killing an innocent animal.

A tragic recent news story emerged regarding a Staffordshire bull terrier named Ivy from the UK. Ivy managed to get hold of a bottle of e liquid that was left on a dining room table and she started chewing on it, only ingesting a tiny amount.

She then immediately started vomiting and foaming at the mouth. Ivys owner took her to the vets who gave her a large dose of steroids to try and save her. However Ivy unfortunately passed away from nicotine poisoning the next day.

With the amount of people quitting smoking using e-cigs rising every year, the tragic story of Ivy is unfortunately unlikely to be the last we hear of this issue. But there are simple actions any responsible e-cig using pet owner can take to ensure this tragedy does not happen to them and their animal.

Here  is some further advice from the ASPCA which maintains an Animal Poison Control hotline:

It’s crucial that vapers keep their stash out of the reach of pets. That means you should throw away your old cartridges as soon as you’re finished with them. Even if you think they are empty, they could still contain trace amounts of nicotine that would be dangerous if your pet ingested it. … The liquid nicotine is deadly for animals.

The first signs of nicotine poisoning in a pet generally begin within 30 minutes to an hour. Usually, the first symptom is vomiting. Pets might also develop diarrhea, drool uncontrollably, act agitated or have a fast heart rate. If your pet consumes a higher dosage, you will see seizures or extreme lethargy. In some cases, the accident can turn fatal quickly.

Liquid nicotine poses a particular threat because it is quickly absorbed through mucous membranes in the pet’s mouth. If your dog eats a cigarette, the liver has a chance to absorb most of the toxicity. However, liquid nicotine gets absorbed before it ever reaches the stomach causing a more immediate risk and a real emergency.

If your pet accidentally ingests a cartridge or gets into your eliquid, call the vet right away or contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

Pets and Smoking

Thanks to Chloe Bloom for contributing this guest blog about an issue very important to your pet’s health and longevity.

The dangers of passive smoking have been known for some time now. Without a second thought we protect our children from its harmful toxins. However for some reason many people do not seem to be aware that the same dangers that humans face from second hand smoke also harm animals too. Several studies have been conducted on this topic. They have produced some rather worrying

Researchers examined the medical history of two groups of cats. One group had lived in homes that were regularly smoked in, and the other group were from non smoking homes. They found that by living with a smoker that smokes inside their home, cats are twice as likely to be diagnosed with lymphoma after one year. If the cat lives in a smokers home for five years or more they are three times more likely to be diagnosed.

Its not just cats either. There are a growing number of studies that have been done on other popular species of pet.

Third hand smoke is something that many people are unaware of, mainly because it is a new concept. Third hand smoke is the residue that is left behind by cigarette smoke. It gets everywhere when a home is smoked in, and it will stay there for several weeks.

Humans (with the exception of small children) are not usually at risk from third hand smoke. Mainly because it is most dangerous when it is ingested. We keep most of our food in sealed containers, and do not put many household objects in our mouths – limiting the amount of exposure.

However our pets often use their mouth to explore their world.


In a smoking household, every time our pets do anything with their mouths they are ingesting carcinogenic third hand smoke. Every time they eat, or drink, or pick up a toy or groom themselves they are being harmed.

I am sure no one reading this is intentionally harming their pets by smoking inside the house with them. So what can be done? The best thing a smoking pet owner can do to reduce the amount of exposure that their pet experience is to quit smoking. But in the meantime there are a few things you can do.

The main step you can take to protect your pet is to always smoke outside. Never smoke indoors. Just one cigarette will coat your entire property in third hand smoke. Researchers who investigated third hand smoke found any other method was ineffective at reducing its spread. So this means things like opening a window, or smoking in a separate room to your pet will not be enough to reduce their risk to acceptable levels.

Even when smoking outdoors your pet will still be exposed to third hand smoke as it clings to your skin, hair, and clothes. But smoking outside is a significant improvement over doing nothing at all. So if you are a smoking pet owner, please smoke responsibly and smoke outside.

Our pets are part of the family. Protect them from your smoke like you would protect your child.

Quick, Efficient Reunion for a Lost Dog via

happy reunion of lost doghappy reunion of lost doghappy reunion of lost dog

The darling little chihuahua snuggled up to the little boy in this photo went missing in Columbus, OH. At the time, she was not wearing a collar or ID tag. She was picked up by a Good Sam who submitted a Found Dog report to the Pet FBI database. Fortunately, the pooch’s family also thought to use the Pet FBI database, searched the “Lost Dog” reports, and there she was! A speedy, efficient reunion, thanks to technology and the Pet FBI site which is well known and widely used, especially in Ohio. We have been helping people recover lost pets in Ohio since 1998 with great success.

This story was reported to us by Pet FBI Special Agent, Teresa. She heard about the virtually instantaneous reunion when she contacted the person who posted the Found Dog Report only to learn that there had already been a reunion. All too often, people who have lost or found a pet only post in one place and stop there. This is where our Special Agents like Teresa come in. They look for match-ups on many other online resources  like Craigslist and alerts from microchip companies, and they often contact posters to remind them of other important resources.

Our goal at Pet FB is to achieve the same high level of success that we have in Ohio on a national scale. It has been just a little over two years now that we extended our database to cover the entire US, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. We were awarded a Google Adwords grant which allows us to have our link show up high in search results, but what is really needed is a grassroots effort for people to tell their friends about Pet FBI.

We have a Facebook page for Ohio with almost 43,000 friends but to be optimally effective, more people need to use the database. Nowadays, lost and found pet Facebook pages are hugely successful in recovering lost pets, but only for people who have a Facebook page (and there are still plenty who do not!) and only in the short term. Posts tend to get buried pretty fast and that is where a searchable database is especially effective.

You May Need to Trap Your Lost Cat!

kids and cat that had to be trapped

“Sam” snuck out but stayed close to home and could not be snagged. His Mom borrowed a humane trap and Sam was finally captured

Until you have actually faced the situation, you may not realize that your lost cat will not come to you readily. Inside cats that end up lost outdoors are especially likely to be fearful. In a strange environment, with new smells and unfamiliar surroundings, they suddenly revert to their wild instincts. Even you, their cherished “human”,  provider of food and comfort, will be perceived as a threat by a nervous lost cat.

Here’s an account of such a situation by Shain. He had tried all the tricks we suggest on our Tips To Lure A Cat Back Home page without success.

Ok sorry to bother you but I wanted to let you know I came home from work and went searching again. Mitty must have been stalking me. I was about to call it a night and as I turned around to come back there she was. Terrified. Would not let me near her; kept growling and making a loud breathing sound right before she would hiss. I let her smell my hands and she let me pet her head. But when I grabbed her she scratched but I didn’t let go and when I brought her to my chest she didn’t scratch anymore. Once we got home she started to calm down but not completely. She ran straight to her food bowl and is now still in predator mode watching every move me, my wife or our other cat makes. She’s giving me the soft slow blink though so she’s calming down. Thank you so much for your help and I hope your page helps many more cat lovers find their babies.

Later Shain reported that the kitty hissed and even attacked if he got close, but as soon as he went to bed she jumped up on the bed with him and and ran up to his neck as she used to, curled up and went right to sleep. Finally she is back to her old self.

lost cat recovered

Mitty, back home!

Shain was fortunate that his kitty let her presence be known and he was brave enough to hold on even when she scratched. For others dealing with a cat that won’t come to you, you may have to consider setting a humane trap. You may be able to borrow a trap designed to catch cats from a local TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) group in your area, or from your local animal control. If you are in a remote or rural area.consider ordering a trap online or buy one from a tractor supply or farm store or even Walmart. You will find detailed instructions about trapping in many places online.

Moving Day Advice For Pet Owners

Cat on mantel

R.I.P. Josie

We are writing this at the request of the Josie’s family. It is a sad story but may help prevent another tragedy.

When Josie’s family moved from Ohio to Texas they had the movers pack for them. They did not want to stress Josie and their other cat by confining them all day so they were not shut up and Josie’s Mom monitored the open doors in case they should run out, although both cats were “inside” cats.

When the truck was packed and ready to leave Josie could not be found. The family was anguished and paid the movers extra to unload all the boxes they had just packed – open, inspect and reseal them. They were terrified that Josie had jumped in and been shut up. But Josie was not found in any of the boxes.

The family delayed their own departure as long as they could. A very kind and helpful neighbor borrowed a trap from Pet FBI and faithfully set it out every night in hopes that Josie had somehow slipped out of the house on moving day and could be caught. Meanwhile, days later, the moving truck arrived at the warehouse in the other state but the contents could not be delivered due to a delay in being able to occupy the new house. Josie’s parents who were anguished with worry even had a friend go to the warehouse and again inspect the boxes.

Hopes ran high when a cat resembling Josie was spotted in the old neighborhood. Finally after a week the cat was trapped and all were elated …. until it was confirmed that the cat that was finally trapped was not Josie.

Eventually, the family was able to take delivery of their household possessions and the father carefully inspected each item personally to spare his wife any unpleasant surprises.

This story does not have a happy ending. Josie was found dead on the shelf of a sewing cabinet where she had evidently hidden. The cabinet had been shrink-wrapped and thus sealed, Josie probably died of asphyxiation. The only consolation in all this is that it was a at least a gentle death. The family had feared that she would die of heat and thirst in the moving van.

Josie’s family has asked that we share her story in order to spare others a similar tragic experience. Confine your pets on moving day.

We would also add, in regard to moving, that when you arrive at your new home – do not let your pets out without supervision. It may take several weeks before a cat gets the lay of the land and the risk of getting lost is reduced. Pet FBI gets a great many reports of cats gone missing right after a move. In any case it is always safest to keep cats inside –  there are just too many hazards for a free-roaming cat.

Our heartfelt condolences to Josie’s family and the faithful neighbor who helped. Josie’s little feline companion is reportedly also grieving. The temptation to be overwhelmed by guilt is great, but Josie’s family should take comfort in knowing that they did everything possible to help Josie and that while she was with them she enjoyed the best life a cat can possibly have. That is so much more than 9 out of 10 cats born in our great country ever have.

How To Earn Money for Charity By Shopping!

igive header

Do you shop online? Doesn’t everybody?
Here’s an easy way to support Pet FBI and help us get more pets back home.

All you need to do is sign up for before August 31 and shop within 45 days of joining. If you are a new member, Pet FBI will receive $10 or you can chose to share half with any other registered non-profit you choose to support once you make your first purchase.

When you install the igive button on your browser, your purchases will automatically earn a bonus for Pet FBI

When you install the iGive button on your browser, your purchases will automatically earn a bonus for Pet FBI

Just about every major online retailer participates in the iGive program, almost 2000 of them. Each time you make a purchase the retailer donates a percentage to Pet FBI. If you are like the average member you would earn about $50 per year for your charity – all without any expense to you. Please forward this invitation to your friends.

There’s no limit on the number of friends and colleagues you can invite, but there are two vital details:

1. New iGive members only (never joined before) and they must shop within 45 days of joining.
2. They must use your special link for Pets Found By Internet (PET FBI) to get credit

Here’s the link – thanks for helping Pet FBI and lost pets:


Pet FBI Featured on WOSU / NPR “Tech Tuesday”

Ann FisherThis morning our founder and Executive Director, Maresa Fanelli, was interviewed by Ann Fisher on Central Ohio’s National Public Radio affiliate, WOSU. “All Sides With Ann Fisher” examines topical issues and events in lively and informative interviews with an entertaining style.  Listeners participate via telephone, e-mail, Facebook and Twitter to add to the conversations. As always at WOSU, the coverage is fair and balanced with a civil tone.

Each Tuesday, the second hour of Ann’s broadcast is devoted to technology in today’s world. In her “Tech Tuesday” interview, Fanelli discussed the impact of the Google Ad Grant that Pet FBI was awarded.

Since its inception in 1998, Pet FBI has always depended on word of mouth to attract visitors. Fanelli explained the concept of pay-per-click and how the Google Ad Grant enables Pet FBI to come up at the top of online search results.  As more people post lost and found pet reports to one single central database, the better the chances of a successful reunion.

For people who have lost pets to connect online with those who have found them, there must be a “critical mass”.  Pet FBI  has been active in Ohio since 1998, and is well known. About 40% of Ohioans who submit a lost or found pet report eventually update the status to “reunited”. But it has only been two years since Pet FBI went national and scaled up the database, so the success rate nationally is less than 20%. But it is growing every day, and the Google ads are the major factor in that.

Fanelli also explained how works and how it is unique among the many lost and found pet web sites. For one thing users can do a well-defined, targeted search by timeframe and area. Moreover, Pet FBI keeps records for up to five years, unless the user inactivates it, which is a simple procedure. Perhaps most importantly, since Pet FBI is strictly non-commercial and non-profit, we can link to other sources of information online.

The problem with looking for a lost or found pet report online is that information is scattered everywhere. While Facebook and Craigslist are popular venues for posting lost pet reports, it is not possible to do a targeted search on those sites. Most other lost pet sites are for profit and charge a fee. Still, all-volunteer, not for profit Pet FBI has the largest, best designed and easiest to use of all the public lost pet databases online. Now with the Google Ad Grant we are closer to achieving our goal of getting more lost pets back home by consolidating the most information in a single central database.

Here’s a link to a podcast of our 15 minute opening segment on “All Sides With Ann Fisher – Tech Tuesday:

Tracing a Lost (or Found) Pet Online

 Lost or found a pet?
This post is about using online resources.

Here is an example of a narrowly missed reunion due to the multiplicity of online resources:

10:23  Woman with missing dog posts this on the Pet FBI Ohio Facebook page

lost dog


10:26  Teresa, a  devoted Pet FBI Facebook follower finds a matching Found Dog report on the comprehensive  searchable  database at and posts it to Facebook:.

found dog report matching

Comments follow: Pooch is quickly recovered

comments FB

Teresa is a self-appointed Pet FBI “special agent”  who makes it a daily endeavor to “connect the dots” . Without her vigilance, the people who lost their dog might not have recovered it – at least not so quickly. All the while, there was a link on our Facebook page for our web site and database. If the Facebook poster had used it, she would have found her pooch’s Found Dog report without further ado! But the link is easily overlooked, especially since people who lose a pet are generally in a state of panic. The good Sams, in their turn, might have come across the Facebook post, but generally good Sams tend to be less less motivated.  Once they have posted a found report they expect that the owner will find it.

OBJECT LESSON: To recover your lost pet using web based information, you must be thorough and use all possible resources. We are here to say that the best place to start is the database at because it is arguably the most comprehensive and the easiest to use. If this sounds like self-promotion, or bragging, we invite you to compare. You will find links to the most helpful online resources on our web page Other Online Resources..

Say your pet goes missing. Your first impulse  – using web based resources – is probably to post on your Facebook page and ask your friends to “share”. But you must not stop there!

You could use a search engine like Google with search terms like “I lost my dog, what should I do?” Or “lost pet website”. Then you probably find yourself confronted with a zillion results. Information about lost pets is scattered everywhere, not just on dedicated web sites, like Pet FBI, but also on Facebook pages, Craigslist, neighborhood sites, shelter sites, etc.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a single, central source of information, just as there is a central registry for stolen cars? If everybody used the same database, lost pets could be recovered quickly and efficiently. This could avert the traumatic – and risky – stay at the pound.

Realistically there will always be multiple sources of information about lost pets. One reason is that there is profit potential in offering various types of assistance for locating a lost pet. Your online search will yield numerous web based businesses. They offer – for a fee – to contact shelters, or neighbors via flyers, faxes, robo-calls, postcard mailings, etc. (For an analysis of the relative merits of pet finding contact services go to our page Other Online Resources.)

Our vision at Pet FBI is to attract as many lost and found reports as possible to optimize the chances of “losers” and “finders” connecting with each other. In Ohio where, after 18 years we have reached a critical mass of users, our success rate is about 40%. Since we only went national in May of 2014, the overall success rate is about half that. But still we have the largest of all lost and found pet databases and all features are FREE!  Most importantly, our web site provides links to other national databases and educates people about how to identify the most helpful online resources for their area.

The bottom line is that your success in recovering your lost pet through online resources is determined by knowledge of where to look and how thorough and persistent you are. It is not enough to use only one resource.


Senior Dog Reunited With Senior Dad Via Pet FBI Ohio

Senior dog and Dad

Bear and his grateful Dad, happily reunited

Bear went missing in Ohio and was found by Good Sam Kait who posted on our Pet FBI Ohio Facebook page.

Nikki, one of our numerous followers, remembered that her uncle had helped a senior citizen search for a lost dog the day before. She informed her uncle who fortunately had made note of the Dad’s phone number.

Bear’s Dad had never heard of Facebook and did not understand how  “the FBI” was involved. Hehe! But thanks to the wonders of modern technology and our dedicated Admin, Char, Bear and his Dad are back together again.

Miracle Reunion For Lost Ferret

ferret and family

Stella the ferret, happily reunited thanks to Pet FBI Ohio Facebook!

As reported by our Pet FBI Ohio Facebook admin, Char:

“HOORAY for Stella from the Columbus area!!

Please file this under MIRACLE along with the importance of posting your lost or found pet on our page yourself.

Stella’s Mom posted her lost ferret on the side of our page yesterday. Good Sam Kathleen posted this morning that she spotted a ferret in her yard and was wondering if anyone was missing it.

A magical reunion eventually transpired thanks to both the pet finder and the pet owner posting on the Visitor Posts area of our page!

Good Sam’s family and Stella’s Mom searched 3 acres of wooded area for 2 hours. Everyone searching was astonished to receive word from a kiddo indoors that Stella showed up on the deck and he snagged her. Yay Kiddo!”