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Archive for February, 2013|Monthly archive page

Dental Prevention, Is It Important?

In Health Tips on February 28, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Since it is the last day in February, I find it the perfect time to talk about dental health in pets. You might already know that February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Many Vet clinics offer discounts or special offers for clients bringing their pets in for a dental cleaning. They also help teach clients how to brush their pet’s teeth. They do this for a reason.

Dental Problems:

The reason vet clinics push this months topic so heavily, is because it truly is an important prevention tool. Diseases like gingivitis and periodontal disease can cause some major issues. When a build-up of tartar happens, this makes a broken or loose tooth more likely to happen. From there, teeth fall out and pets have trouble eating hard food. That means you have to switch to a strictly wet diet. And let me be honest, wet food is much more expensive.

Prevention:

Now, if you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars each year on a dental cleaning, there are other options. The easiest is giving your dog rawhides. These are great because your dog HAS to chew on these, this cracks the tartar away from the gums cleaning the teeth. Problem, many dogs have choked from swallowing a large piece, or they swallow a piece and it creates a foreign body. There are also dong that just don’t like chewing on a raw hid. So, if you are going to go with the raw hid route, make sure you keep an eye on your pet when they are chewing away

Another easy option is dental diets. These are great because they are larger pieces of food making your dog or cat actually chew on the food. Many pets swallow regular pet food without chewing. The only issue is that dental diets are a little more expensive, and you generally need a prescription to get them. Most all vets will willingly give you the prescription for the food.

The third option is brushing your pets teeth. This is something that can prevent having to get  your yearly dentals. It is fairly inexpensive and there are a number of pet toothpastes which animals love! They taste like beef! This is also a very safe method!

My pet:

teeth

Now, I am a bit lazy when it comes to my cats teeth. I have only brushed his teeth a few times. It’s not that he hated it, I’m just lazy about it. So, what I do is feed him Science Diet T/D. But, I am also poor. So to off set the price, I mix his T/D with science diet light hairball control. The best part is he LOVES the T/D. He picks those pieces out before eating any other pieces. Plus, his teeth are perfect! Take a look.

What are you doing to prevent periodontal disease for your pets? Do you have favorite products?

Comment, post, question, and learn. Lets connect!

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Twisted Stomach: Not Just for Cows

In Health Tips on February 25, 2013 at 8:11 pm


ImageHave you ever come home to your dog looking a bit off? Your dog seems lethargic, anxious, possibly trying to vomit, and looks a little larger around the stomach. If this has happened to you then you probably already know the importance of bloat.

Dog’s have a tendency to become bloated after eating or drinking too much, or if they are active after eating or drinking. A bloated animal is referred to as a GDV—

gastric dilatation volvulus—if the stomach flips. If the stomach becomes distended with air or fluid than flips over, this is a true emergency! When the stomach flips, there’s no way to release the fluid and gas that has accumulated. These animals require surgery, and fast!

If the stomach is only distended with air and fluid, and not flipped, your pet should still be seem by a veterinarian because you can’t tell without an x-ray the severity of the situation. What the vet will look for is what’s referred to as the “double bubble.” This is where two gas-filled sections of the stomach appear. This is how vets know the pet has a GDV versus a gas-distended stomach.

So, if it is a GDV surgery is the only cure. The vet will go in and release the gas and suture the stomach against the animal’s body wall to prevent any further flipping. If the dog doesn’t have the double bubble we still need to get the air out. Generally a tube is placed down the dog’s throat and into the stomach to release the air. This is a very safe and effective procedure.

After surgery or releasing of the air, food and water should be restricted for at least 24-36 hours. Dogs should also be under veterinary care during that time to watch for further problems.

Now, I take care of a variety of dog breeds. Deep-chested dogs like your greyhounds, great danes, labs, goldens, shepherds, collies, etc. are one’s to be careful of. Another breed many don’t think of are dachshunds. To prevent something like this from happening here are a few things you can do:

  • Feed your pet 30 minutes before or after exercise
  • Do not allow water 30 minutes before and after meals
  • Never let your pet drink a full bowl of water at one time
  • Feed multiple meals versus once a day
  • Make sure your pets food is put in a safe location

There are times when your running late, or your dog gets into a large amount of food, this happens. But doing your best to prevent bloat can save you a trip to the emergency room and a couple thousand dollars. Share your pet’s stories with me! Has your pet ever bloated?

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Electrical Chords, Household Hazards

In Health Tips on February 22, 2013 at 5:45 pm

ImageAlright, so we look at our home as a safe place. It is a place where we can come home and relax and feel comfortable. The thing is, it’s not always safe for our pets.

There are a number of items around the house you should be careful about. The most important thing, especially if your pet is a chewer, is an electrical outlet! These things are nasty for animals. I have a seen a number of animals come in on emergency because they decided chewing an electrical outlet or chord was a great idea. It’s not!

The reason I bring this up is because my cat is a chewer when he thinks he deserves attention or food. As many cat owners I tried to not give into his game, I tried to not let him win and ‘train’ me. But, as soon as he began chewing on electrical chords for attention instead of other things I caved. He now has me trained. I mean look at that face!

The reason this is such a scary thing is because if your pet chews enough of the chord, your pet could get an electrical shock, otherwise known as electrocution. The worst part is, it’s in his/her mouth. The mouth is a hard area to treat on emergency. There are generally burns in and around the mouth; as well as damage other areas like the eyes and nose. The electrical shock could even increase the animal’s blood pressure causing more long-term problems. In severe cases, stopping the heart.

If this happens to your animal, take him/her into your vet. Your pet deserves to as least be checked over. There could be damage that goes unnoticed. Your vet can check your pet’s mouth and heart.

If your animal does chew on chords you need to do your best to hide and protect the chords from the chewer! You can go to almost any hardware store and purchase plastic casings for the chords to prevent an electrocution.

As for my cat, I make sure he is fed on time (yes, I use an automatic feeder since he thinks 4am is breakfast time), I also make sure that when he’s striving for attention I give him something to do. Catnip works wonders. For dogs try a Kong with peanut butter. Trust me, anything is better than electrocuting your pet!

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Cupid’s arrow: More Deadly for Pets

In Health Tips on February 15, 2013 at 6:19 pm


imagesValentines day isn’t just bad for those of you who are single. When receiving chocolate and flowers from loved ones, family, and friends, dog and cat owners need to remember Valentines gifts can be deadly.

Dog owners are told time and time again that chocolate is toxic to dogs. But are you ever told why? Theobromine, which is a main ingredient in chocolate, is deadly. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains.

When dogs eat chocolate, you might notice your dog vomiting, having diarrhea, or being hyperactive. Over time, the theobromine is absorbed slowly. In humans it usually takes about 40 minutes to absorb. In dogs, it takes about 18 hours for just half the amount to absorb. With time your dog’s heart rate will increase causing arrhythmias, restlessness, muscle twitching, and excessive panting. If you don’t start treatment soon and if your dog has eaten too much your dog could become over heated, have seizures, and even die.

There is one safe chocolate out there for your furry child. White chocolate! White chocolate does not contain any theobromine so it is safe to give your pet. Many doggy treats are dipped in white chocolate. Though, you don’t want to fill your dogs bowl with a huge bar of white chocolate. I may be safe, but if they eat too much, it can cause some gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea. So unless you want a dog causing a mess, limit the amount of chocolaty treats!

Now, for cat owners, you probably know a few key plants and flowers which are toxic for your cat. But you might not be aware of all of the poisonous plants out there. I would love to list them all but it would take me hours and it would take you forever to read them all.  Instead here are a few common Valentines flowers that are toxic: Roses cause bone depletion, Hibiscus cause vomiting, diarrhea, and anorexia; Tulips cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, and hypersalivation. The highest concentration of toxicity is in the bulb. Carnations can cause mild GI signs like vomiting and diarrhea. Iris’ cause salivation, vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, and the highest concentration in the rhizomes.

Now, if you have a lot of plants and flowers in your house, the ASPCA website has a great list of poisonous plants listed. It also tells you what signs you will see if your cat eats said plant. Remember, just take a look at the website to get an idea before you notice your cat chomping on your new flowers!

Again, Valentines can be a special day, but as a pet owner you need to remember that what you receive might not be good for your ‘kid’. Are there any other Valentines gifts I may have forgotten? If so, list them!

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What to Keep Around when Owning a Pet!

In Health Tips on February 13, 2013 at 1:02 am

As a first time pet owner figuring out what to do can be difficult. How much do I feed? How often? When? These are questions that as time goes on you become better and better at.  But what happens when your dog or cat eats something they aren’t supposed to? What happens when they get a cut on their paw? Or when they get something in their eye?

Like humans, animals also need a first aid kit. Puppies are like children, they get into EVERYTHING! The good thing, is as a pet owner there are things you can have on hand to prevent the worst. Or even, to keep the cut as clean as you can until you get to your Veterinarian. My first blog post is give dog and cat owners an idea of things to have on hand.

Many pet stores provide first aid kits all packaged and ready to go. But you might not always use the products before they expire. They provide items such as doggy aspirin for when your dog is in pain. The fact is, aspirin that we take as humans is the exact same thing! So why purchase a bottle just for your pet?

Other products that are time sensitive are antibacterial sprays, hot spot sprays, hydrocortisone creams, or other products with an expiration date. My thought is purchase them when you need them. No need to buy a whole kit that include it just to prepare yourself. A small cut can wait a few hours before spraying on an antibacterial product.

Here are a few items you should keep on hand. Quick stop powder (stops the nail from bleeding). Another household item you could use is baking powder. It works almost as well! Having bandage supplies is also important. If your dog or cat comes home with a bleeding wound, you will want to lightly wrap the area with a clean towel and bandage supplies to keep the wound clean until a Vet can assess it. Never use hydrogen peroxide on a wound…OUCH! If your pet will tolerate it, try just warm water, fragrance-free soap (small amount), and a washcloth. If the wound is large, just go to your vet.

Having a thermometer and lube is another product to keep around, for your pet only of course. If your animal is ever feeling off, take their temp. Normal temps for both cats and dogs is between 100.5-102.5. Keep eye wash around, in case there is ever something in their eye.

Most importantly to keep around, or have a store close by, is fresh hydrogen peroxide. If you see your pet eat something toxic, time is everything! By having hydrogen peroxide available, you can quickly give it and make your animal vomit the toxic substance up.

These are just a few products. Along with almost every blog I post will come more ideas and products to at least think about. I will also go into how these products can help! Look for more blog posts to come!

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