Category: “Health”

5 Pet-Conscious Tips For Valentine’s Day

5 Pet-Conscious Tips For Valentine’s Day

Does your heart melt whenever you look into the soft, imploring eyes of the one you love? Does it skip a beat at the sound of your sweetheart’s voice as you walk in the door at the end of a long day? Do you pause in the middle of the day to sigh, thinking of your honey’s warm, wet nose, and furry ears?

It’s love, and we know it — dogs and cats make the best Valentine’s ever. There’s no need to get them chocolates, and they have no use for flowers. In fact, these gifts are actually dangerous for them. But do you know why?

Here are five great tips that help will keep your pets safe this Valentine’s Day.

Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Theirs. Everyone knows that chocolate causes abnormally high heart rhythms in dogs, among other problems. But not everyone is aware that baking chocolate is especially toxic. While an M&M or two may not do any harm, a dog or cat that snatches a large chunk of baking chocolate from the counter may end up in the ER. It is essential to keep all chocolates out of your pet’s reach. Yes, even that last raspberry-filled nugget from the assorted box of chocolates no one ever seems to want to eat.

Skip the Candygram. Sugar-free candies and gums often contain large amounts of xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to pets, especially dogs. If ingested, it may cause vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and in severe cases, liver failure.

Restart the Heart. If your dog or cat should ingest large amounts of chocolate, gum, or candy, it may go into cardiac arrest. Be prepared by learning the proper methods for artificial respiration and cardiopulmonary respiration (CPR), both of which can be found in our emergency section.

A Rose is Just a Rose. But then again, it can also be a something that hurts your pets. The aroma from your floral arrangement may be too enticing for your dog or cat, and it only takes a nibble to cause a severe reaction. Even small amounts may lead to cases of upset stomachs or vomiting, particularly if the plant or flower is toxic. Be extremely careful if your arrangement contains lilies, as these lovely flowers are fatally poisonous to cats.

To Give or Not to Give. Are you planning to gift a loved one a new puppy or kitten for Valentine’s Day? You may want to reconsider. Mull it over and do your homework — animals are not disposable, nor can they easily be repackaged, regifted, or returned if the recipient is not pleased.

New Year’s Resolutions for Pets

New Year’s Resolutions for Pets

Your pets depend on you for making their new year safer and more comfortable.  Here are some things you can do to ensure 2015 is the best year ever for them:

Be sure your pet is current on vaccinations. This will prevent illness and the spread of illness and keep your pet healthy. It’s also required by law.

Be sure your pet has proper identification should he get lost. A collar with a tag including your name, address and phone number, as well as an alternate phone number. You should also have current rabies tags on your animals.

Consider having your pet microchipped. This is a simple, non-surgical procedure that will ensure your pet’s return if it winds up in an animal shelter.

If you haven’t already, get your pet spayed or neutered. This will prevent pet overpopulation and reduce the chances for cancer in both males and females, as well as eliminate your pet’s urge to roam and mark.

If your dog has behavioral problems, now is the time to sign up for Pet University.

If your dog is not on heartworm preventive, make sure to have him tested for heartworms and begin the monthly preventive.

8 Reminders to Keep Your Dog Safe and Healthy in the Heat

8 Reminders to Keep Your Dog Safe and Healthy in the Heat

Summer is here, our pets are depending on us to take care of them.

  1. Never, ever leave your dog in the car
  2. Make sure your dog has unlimited access to fresh water
  3. Make sure your dog has access to shade when outside
  4. Take walks during the cooler hours of the day
  5. When walking, try to stay off of hot surfaces (like asphalt) because it can burn your dog’s paws
  6. If you think it’s hot outside, it’s even hotter for your pet – make sure your pet has a means of cooling off
  7. Keep your dog free of external parasites (fleas, ticks) and heartworms – consult your veterinarian about the best product for your pet
  8. Consider clipping or shaving dogs with long coats (talk to your veterinarian first to see if it’s appropriate for your pet), and apply sunscreen to your dog’s skin if she or he has a thin coat

Travel Tips for Pets

Travel Tips for Pets

By Air – Many airlines will not ship animals during summer months due to dangers caused by hot weather. Some will only allow dogs to fly in the early morning or in the evening. Check with your airlines for specific rules.

If you do ship a dog, put icepacks or an ice blanket in the dog’s crate. (Two-liter soft drink bottles filled with water and frozen work well.) Provide a container of fresh water, as well as a container of frozen water that will thaw over the course of the trip.

By Car – Keep your dog cool in the car by putting icepacks in his crate. Make sure the crate is well ventilated.

Put a sunshade on your car windows.

Bring along fresh water and a bowl, and a tarp or tent so you can set up a shady spot when you stop. Keep a spray bottle filled with water to spritz on your dog to cool him down.

By RV – A dog’s safety should not depend on the air conditioning and generator systems in an RV or motor home. These devices can malfunction, with tragic results.

If you leave your dog in an RV with the generator running, check it often or have a neighbor monitor it. Some manufacturers have devices that will notify you if the generator should malfunction.

Never leave an RV or motor home completely shut up, even if the generator and AC are running. Crack a window or door or run the exhaust fan.

Summer is Coming!

Summer is Coming!

Summer is coming this month and we all know how and why we, as humans, should avoid excessive time in the sun. It’s just as important to protect our dogs from excessive time in the sun as it is for us. Many of us are not aware that even though a dog doesn’t have to be slathered with sunscreen as we may do to ourselves, certain key dog areas should be protected and a dog’s overall time in the sun should be taken into consideration.

Hairless breeds (such as a Chinese Crested) or dogs who’ve recently been shaved run a greater risk of being sunburned and possibly developing sun-induced tumors. Even hairy dogs dozing on their backs in the sun run the risk of getting burned on that vulnerable stretch of exposed skin between their hind legs which, in most breeds, is unprotected by hair. Also, a dog’s nose and snout are prone to sun-induced tumors–especially dogs with pink or pink-spotted snouts. So, be sure to provide ample shade for dogs–especially at midday–and don’t let any dog who loves being out in the sun stay out there too long.

Never apply zinc oxide to any part of your dog as it is toxic if licked off. Use any natural sunscreen labeled for animals with an SPF of 15 or higher.

Be aware that many popular brands of sunscreen we are familiar with may contain harmful chemicals and the ingestion of such may result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and lethargy in pets.

If your dog does sustain a sunburn, give him or her a soothing, healing bath in cool water with some sort of therapeutic dog shampoo designed for that purpose. It’s a good idea to add a few drops of therapeutic oil to the bath water too. Consult your vet or a reputable pet store owner for further information regarding anything mentioned above.

What else can you do to protect your pet from some summer activities such as barbecuing and pool parties?

Keep citronella candles, insect coils, and oil products out of your pet’s reach. If ingested, these products can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression.

Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pet’s reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates which if swallowed could result in difficulty breathing or, in severe cases, kidney disease.

Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages can be poisonous to pets and your dog could become extremely weak, severely depressed, or possibly go into a coma if too much alcohol is ingested.

As with most things in life, being responsible, knowledgeable, and using common sense are some of the best defenses against any problems with pets or humans!

Dental Disease in Dogs

teethDental disease is the most commonly-diagnosed health problem in dogs and can lead to painful mouth infections. These infections can spread and cause other health problems; sometimes, in the most severe cases, these infections can become life-threatening. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), approximately 80% of dogs begin showing signs of dental disease by the time they turn three.

Food particles will naturally accumulate on and between tooth surfaces when your pet eats. Bacteria in the mouth digest these particles to form plaque which is the sticky yellow film seen on the teeth. As this infection spreads, dental disease starts.

When enough plaque builds up, these bacteria cause infection of the gums (gingivitis) which is often seen as a red line along the teeth. If enough time passes, plaque hardens to form tartar which binds the infection to the tooth surface and helps push bacteria and debris under the gum line. Periodontal disease is this deeper infection of the teeth and tooth roots which ultimately results in the loss of infected teeth.

Pets that exclusively eat hard food have fewer problems than pets that eat any amount of canned, semi-moist, or table foods. Food particles are constantly accumulating on the teeth, but soft food types seem to speed up the process as much as three times the normal rate.

Dirty teeth may smell and look bad, but the damage that you don’t see is much worse. The gum tissue has an extensive blood supply; and when periodontal infection starts, bacteria gets into your pet’s circulatory system and may eventually lead to heart, liver, kidney, bone/joint disease, and possible organ failure.

What can one do to identify and prevent dental problems in dogs?

•It is suggested by many veterinarians that you can get a good idea of what’s going on in your dog’s mouth by just looking at your dog’s gums. Healthy gums are pink, as opposed to red, and have no buildup of tartar along the gum line. In addition, a healthy mouth does not produce bad breath. Bad breath and possibly drooling or frequent licking may be the first signs of dental disease.

•Have your veterinarian perform an oral exam during each annual visit. Older dogs should be given special attention as they can get abscesses with no easily-visible signs. There is the possibility that your dog may have to be sedated in order for a thorough examination to be performed.

•Try to brush you dog’s teeth on a regular basis. Start slowly by simply handling your dog’s mouth several times a day. After your dog is comfortable with this, try brushing the outside surfaces of the teeth with your finger, a wet gauze sponge, or even a small toothbrush. If your dog is comfortable with this, start using some type of paste or solution when brushing. Use a flavored toothpaste made especially for dogs–not your own toothpaste. Using your own toothpaste is not a good idea as most human products are high in detergent content which is not good for dogs as they can’t rinse and spit after brushing as we can.

•It is recommend that you feed your dog only dry hard chow as this will greatly slow the buildup of plaque. Any amount of soft food fed may mean that more professional care will be needed. In addition to brushing, treats and rawhide chew toys can help maintain your dog’s dental health. Look for a treat with a seal of approval from the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) as it’s guaranteed to be a good dental treat or food.

You can protect your dog’s teeth just like you protect your own with daily brushing and regular checkups. The major difference between your dental health and your dog’s is that your dog can’t tell you about any dental problems going on so you have to be responsible and check your dog’s mouth regularly. Prevention is the key with dental disease and one should consider beginning a dental routine with your dog as soon as possible. If you put as much emphasis on taking care of your dog’s teeth as you do your own, then dental disease shouldn’t be a problem. Remember: “Prevention Pays. Neglect Costs.”