Check Your Pet Food Labels

dog foodOwning two dogs with food allergies, I have to be extremely cautious when buying the girls snacks and food.  If they get even a bit of corn or chicken, they break out in an itchy rash. If you pet is allergic to any foods, it’s important they don’t consume ANY of the ingredients they react to. 

It’s as easy as looking at the back of the bag, but many pet owners don’t quite know what they are looking for.  If the ingredient is listed, even if it’s toward the end, it’s in there.  Most foods only list the main protein in the actual name.  For example, and I am not picking on Kirkland brands, Nature’s Domain Duck Meal and Garbanzo Bean Formula for Dogs, makes you think it’s just duck meal as the protein source.  If you look carefully though, chicken fat is listed and fish meal is an additional protein included.

In addition to looking at ingredients, try to purchase foods made in the USA.  With all the publicity surrounding ingredients imported from China, consumers became hyper aware of this.  Many pets became very ill and some even died from consuming pet food products containing melamine.

Tech Tips

  • Read the WHOLE label.
  • Buy products MADE IN THE USA.
  • Quality food doesn’t have to break the bank. I find many expensive foods are too rich for many pets.
  • Ask your veterinarian to recommend a good food.

What does your pet eat?  Are you happy with it?  How about them?

Oh No Not The Cone of Shame!

After surgery there’s a reason your veterinarian sends your pet home with that dreaded cone of shame.  It’s not to torture your pet, it’s to keep them safe.  Licking at wounds, surgery sites or incisions can cost you and your pet more in the long run.

Licking causes both trauma and infection.  Take a look at this poor boy.  He was neutered on Friday, but wasn’t handling his traditional plastic Elizabethan collar well at all.  His owners took it off, and didn’t realize he was licking.

IMG_0005
A patient with a swollen prepuce and scrotum from licking his incision.

The trauma of excessive licking leads to inflammation and swelling.  This causes more pain and discomfort for your pet, not to mention another costly trip to the vet.  After a cold laser treatment, a antibiotic ointment, antibiotics and a new collar, this trip cost an additional $150.

I am blessed that my two pitties tolerate cones well! If they don’t try some of my tech tips before your pet has to head back to the vet!

IMG_4638
Godiva is such a good dog in her cone!

Tech Tips

  • Try a different type of collar.
    • There are several types: Bonafido, inflatable ones, pillow type, adjustable soft ones…see what fits your pet best!
  • T-Shirt
    • Using a t-shirt to cover a wound is also a good option. Just be sure it’s kept clean or replaced daily. There are special recovery shirts that can be ordered just for pet after surgery.
  • Direct supervision
    • I’m not condoning taking the cone off, but if you are close enough to touch your pet you can most likely prevent them from licking.
  • Give them a  break!
    • Take the collar off when going out to potty and eating. A lot of dogs won’t eat or defecate with it on.
IMG_0004
Our patient was much happier with the Bonafido collar!

Keep the cone on at ALL times when you pet isn’t supervised.  Bed time is one of the best times for Fido or Fluffy to have a field day!

I know everyone hates the dreaded “c” word, but trust me, it really is for you pets health.  Not only does licking at surgery sites cause more trauma to your pet and your wallet, it also increases healing time.  This means EVEN longer in the cone of shame.  This is one case where tough love is necessary.

Remember prevention is the best practice, and cones = caring. 

A Walk A Day

Walk your dog and see improvement in their behavior and health.

Everyone needs a little fresh air, especially your pups! At least twenty minutes of focused exercise is what it take for a dog’s mind to be at ease.   I know when I stop moving, I become more anxious and unsettled.  Exercise helps me think more clearly and boosts my self-esteem. Your dog isn’t any different.  Daily walks help curb the need to roam and reduce tendencies toward destructive behaviors.

Many dog owners think letting their pet run off the leash for hours is a good way to exercise them.  It may be fun, but for many dogs, it’s just not enough.  The mind needs exercise too.   Leash walking at a steady pace while controlling your pet on a leash may actually tire your dog out faster than you think. 

Just ponder this.  When a task is both mentally and physically demanding, we tend to get tired quicker, sleep better, and over all feel better.  There’s no difference for your pet.  Leash walking forces your pet to be engaged at all times.  I’m not say that going on a fun off leash hike won’t tucker them out, it will. But the focus needed to walk on a leash also works them mentally.

Tech Tips

Find the right walking/running collar for your pet.

  • I never walk our dogs in a flat buckle collar. I’ve seen too many dogs slip their heads right out and run away.  There are several options out there.  Gentle Leader, Halti, Martingale, and choke chains.  PLEASE be sure collars fit properly in a confined area before heading out the door.  NEVER LEAVE A TRAINING COLLAR ON YOUR DOG WHILE UNSUPERVISED!!  I only put my dogs’ collars on when we leave the house.  Even flat collars pose a choking risk.

Try basic obedience course.

  • IMG_4093If you’re having trouble controlling you dog when it’s on the leash, you’ll both benefit from professional guidance.

Be patient with your pet.

  • They can sense your anxiety and frustration.  Be calm yet assertive so they know you are in charge. Remember walking with your pet is building a bond for life.

Start slow.

  • Don’t overdo it the first day.  We all know how that first day back at the gym feels.  Pets get sore too.

Check with your vet.

  • Be sure your pet is healthy enough for daily walking or a new exercise routine.

I’m not fat, just fluffy.

  • Obese dogs need the physical activity too.  Joints may suffer from the added weight.  Obese dogs may have difficulty breathing.  Don’t push it! Work up to a faster pace and longer distances with advice of your vet.

Hire a dog walker.

  •  If you can’t do it yourself, utilize someone else’s talents. It’s rewarding to know you can provide that support for your pet. I operate a very small side business exercising dogs, Canine Cardio.  I run or walk dogs for those who can’t physically exercise or don’t have the time to.

Safety First.

Use reflective gear when walking at night.  There’s so many options out there.  I love Ruffwear’s Track Jacket and Dog-e-Glow’s LED leashes and collars!

Rain walk
Ruby and Godiva out for a rainy walk in their Ruffwear Track Jackets

Reduce stress and create balance in your pet’s life.  Take the time to get your dogs out daily.  They will love you for it.  I’m sure you’ll find yourself loving it too!

 

 

Tricks To Start Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth

This slow introduction to brushing will help you establish a routine.

It’s an old wives tale that dogs have cleaner mouths than humans. Periodontal disease is the number one disease diagnosed in veterinary medicine. Dirty mouths lead to build of bacteria, plaque and eventually calculus (tartar).  Years of plaque build-up creates a city of bacteria and minerals thriving on your pet’s teeth – not to mention liver, kidney and heart disease!IMG_4617

Dental chews and treats, rinses and water additives are options for keeping your pets mouth happy. Brushing, however, is the gold star!

How would you would feel, if you hadn’t brushed your teeth for 5 years?  This is the case with a majority of the patients I anesthetize for dental cleanings.  Many dental patients spend several hours under anesthesia because they need several teeth extracted.IMG_4619

Daily I’m confronted by owners who don’t, can’t, or won’t brush their pet’s teeth.  Often, they laugh at me as I pull out the complimentary toothbrush when discharging them from Fluffy’s $1800 dental!

Don’t say you can’t without trying first.  Follow my tech tips and gets started today.

Here’s the brushing advice I give clients on a daily basis.  This slow introduction to brushing will help you establish a routine.  Daily brushing is the key to preventing dental disease, and I know it can seem impossible.

Tech tips

Take it slow and have fun!  I cannot stress this enough!  

Week 1 – Spend time just touching your pet’s mouth. Lift their lips and touch their teeth.  After each positive interaction reward your pet with a low calorie, tasty treat.  This will reinforce their good behavior.

Week 2 – Buy a soft bristled toothbrush from your local pet store or obtain one from your veterinarian.   Dip the brush in something tasty like beef broth, chicken broth or tuna juice.  Let them lick the juice off!  Touch your pet’s mouth and teeth with it.  Then reward them.  Do this daily for the rest of the week.

Week 3 – Purchase toothpaste specially formulated for pets from your vet or a pet store. Put a small amount (pea-sized) of toothpaste on the toothbrush.  NO BRUSHING YET – You’re still in the introductory phase. Just get your pet used to the taste and feeling of the toothpaste and toothbrush.  Reward, and repeat daily for the week.

IMG_4632

Week 4It’s time to start brushing!  Put the toothpaste on the toothbrush, gently lift the lip and start brushing.  Focus on the gum line; that’s where bacteria live.  Use gentle pressure and circular motion just as you would your own teeth.

Focus on one quadrant at a time – Upper Right, Upper Left, Lower Right, Lower Left.  Just get through one quadrant, unless you pet already is a super star!  Reward them, clean the toothbrush and put it away until tomorrow.  Repeat daily moving from one quadrant to the next.  By the end of Week 4 you should be able to brush their whole mouth in one sitting!

Do what you can to make it a daily habit, even if it means only getting half of Fido’s teeth done one day, and the other half the next.  It’s better than not brushing at all. Right?

Once again, as with all pet care, prevention is key!  Keeping your pets teeth clean at home, will prevent costly dental procedures and unnecessary anesthesia time.  Even if you brush daily, remember to have your pet’s teeth examined annually by your veterinarian.  They’re the professionals and will keep you on track.

Remember…Take it slow, REWARD, REWARD, REWARD, and have FUN!

Godiva and Ruby’s Favorite Summer Treat – PBB Stuffed Kong

Ruby and Godiva a the Lake

It’s hot! And I know your hounds have a hankering for a tasty summer treat!  We all know there’s a million amazing frozen dog treat recipes online.  But that’s not what this post is about.  It’s about these two and their favorite frozen fun!

Godiva and Ruby love a Kong Classic rubber toy full of frozen goodness!

Classic-KONG1-700x700

G & R’s PBB Stuffed Kong

  1. Blend in a food processor or blender.
  •  ¼ c Adams Natural Peanut Butter
  • ½ banana
  • ¼ water or broth of your choice – Godiva is allergic to chicken, so I just use water.
  1. Combine in a separate bowl.
  • Blended ingredients
  • Up to ¼ cup dry kibble
  1. Stuff contents into a Kong toy. Choose the appropriate size and strength for you dog.
  2. Place in the freezer until completely frozen. I like to let them freeze overnight
  3. Once frozen…let you dogs enjoy!

Tech Tips

  • Substitute different veggies for the banana; boost fiber and decrease calories!
  • When giving calorie dense treat, adjust daily caloric intake by reducing regular dog food that day.
  • If your dog has a history of stomach sensitivities or pancreatitis.  Eliminate or minimized the peanut butter by just coating the inside of the Kong.
  • Soak Kong Toys in beef, chicken or vegetable stock for a quick tasty low calorie treat!  Freeze for a cool summertime treat!

So, get creative!  You’re dogs will love you for it!  Try it out and let me know how much your dogs loved this delightful treat.  Comment and share your dogs favorite combos here!

 

My Top Reasons To Microchip Your Pet!

Is your pet microchipped?

IMG_1796According to a national survey conducted by the ASPCA 93 percent of dogs and 74 percent of cats were returned to their owners safely [read more].  Fifteen percent of those pets made it home because they had a microchip or ID tag.

All of our pets have microchips.  I’m NOT advocating JUST a microchip; our dogs wear a collar too!  But…Godiva jumped the fence once without her collar; I was panicked!  Thankfully she had her HomeAgain Microchip!

Tag Free Identity

Each chip contains a unique microchip ID number that is registered to you and your pet. No need to worry if Fido loses his collar.

ONE Time Permanent ID

One chip. One time! That’s all it takes. It’s not mechanical.  No battery or power source required; it can’t wear out!  The microchip scanner emits a low radio frequency that reads the chip. ONE microchip will last your pet’s lifetime.

Inexpensive

Visit your vet for a basic checkup and have the microchip implanted under the skin. Costs will vary but should be reasonable ($40-$75). Some pets may already have a chip in place.  Many breeders and adoption agencies implant pets before adoption.

All lost pets get scanned FIRST!

At Lone Mountain Veterinary Hospital, the first step we take when we find a missing pet: scan it! The same goes at any animal shelter or adoption agency.

Theft

Prevent someone else from someone stealing your pet.  The permanent number is registered to you!

Abandoned pets

Dogs and cats with microchips can be traced back to owners that may have abandoned them.  This could be helpful in legal matters.

Membership Benefits

Many microchip companies offer membership benefits! HomeAgain offers many pet perks like an emergency medical hotline and travel assistance getting home!

Tech tips

If your pet is microchipped:

  • Moving? Phone number changed?  Update all personal information with microchip database holder (HomeAgain, Avid, petkey, etc.)
  • Use a reliable company like HomeAgain that has a national pet recovery database [read more].
  • Program the toll-free number into your cell phone.
  • Keep your pet’s membership current. Enjoy the benefits of service.

If you pet isn’t microchipped:

  •  Make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian.
  • It’s quick, easy and can be done in a few seconds!
  • Cats and dogs are both candidates for microchipping.
  • Reap the rewards of a microchip membership!

IMG_4287

What are you waiting for?  Make the call to the vet…protect your pet!

Get ‘Em To The Groomer!

Clean pets are happy pets!

 

http://cf.ltkcdn.net/cats/images/std/154279-425x321-lion-cut-before-and-after.jpg

How would you feel if your hair was caked with dirt and oil? What if your nails were long, jagged and prevented you from performing daily tasks? How about walking around with poop on you jeans?

This is how your pet feels when they aren’t properly groomed.  The grooming needs of short-haired and long-haired pets vary greatly.   Short-haired dogs and cats require just the basics.  Long-haired pets need a little extra TLC.

Having a short-haired pet is simpler and fits well into a get-up-and-go lifestyle. Bathing dogs one to two times a month is sufficient.  Over bathing can strip skin of important oils.  Most healthy, short-haired cats groom themselves. They aren’t big fans of the water!  Unless….you’re this cat.

Long-haired cats and dogs require much more attention.  Choosing to own a long-haired breed is both a luxury and responsibility.  Daily brushing and frequent trips to the groomer are the best way to keep these pets happy.

For both cats and dogs, matted fur is painful. It hides skin problems.  Mats around the perianal area make it difficult for pets to defecate and often cause ulcerated skin from urine scalding.  Keeping these areas neat, tidy and hair-free will prevent these common problems.  Prevent this painful experience for your pet.

http://dogsaholic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Treat-dog-anal-glands-810x586.jpg

Long hair in and around ears can trap debris and cause ear infections.  Ears should be checked regularly.  Your veterinarian can suggest or prescribe and ear wash that’s appropriate for your pet.

Monthly nail trims are also important. This will keep them short and prevent them from overgrowing into the foot pads, or snagging on anything . If you can’t safely do it at home, schedule an appointment with your groomer or veterinarian.

Tech Tips

Choose the right tools.

  • Brushes for shorter hair
  • Combs for longer hair
  • I love the Ferminator! I works for everyone!
  • Nail clippers
    • For cats I use scissors-style
    • For dogs I like pliers-style

Nail-trimmers

 

 

 

 

Bathing

  • Put cotton balls in ears to prevent water from getting in the ear canal. *Remember to remove them.*
  • Only use shampoo for appropriate for the correct species.
  • Water-less shampoos are a good option if you can’t get Fido and Fifi in for a bath.  They work great in a pinch!

Trim nails more often to help shorten the quick over time.nail-labels

  • Avoid cutting too short and hitting the quick.
  • Have your vet or groomer show you how to trim nails

http://dukekennels.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Self-Serve-Dog-Wash-Evolution-Decal-option.png

Use a self-service dog wash.

 

Find a good groomer.

  • Ask your friends, family or vet for a groomer referral.

Make grooming fun! Reward pets with a treat they love!