It’s National Ice Cream Day

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It’s A-OK to share a little bit of ice cream with your pet on National Ice Cream Day, isn’t it?  YES! Just be sure the frozen treat you choose is pet approved! Look for treats already made specifically for pets. Better yet…make your own concoction at home using your blender.

Godiva and Ruby love a Kong Classic rubber toy instead of the sugary waffle cone!

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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.
  • Blended ingredients
  • Up to ¼ cup dry kibble
  1. Combine in a separate bowl.
  2. Stuff contents into a Kong toy. Choose the appropriate size and strength for you dog.
  3. Place in the freezer until completely frozen. (I like to let them freeze overnight.)
  4. Once frozen…let you dogs enjoy!

Tech Tips

  • If your dog has a sensitive stomach or pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), eliminate FATTY ingredients! Or minimize the amount of peanut butter by just coating the inside of the Kong.
  • 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.
  • Soak Kong Toys in beef, chicken or vegetable stock if you’re watching your pet’s waistline!  Pop them in the freezer for a cool summertime treat!
  • Use  a plain cone to serve pet ice-cream but be sure your pet doesn’t have a wheat allergy.
  • NEVER FEED YOUR PET ICE CREAM THAT CONTAINS TOXIC INGREDIENTS SUCH AS:
    • chocolate, raisins, alcohol, coffee, Xylitol (artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets), macadamia nuts, walnuts, grapes or bubble gum…JUST TO NAME A FEW!

Get creative!  Your dogs will love you for it! Let me know how much your dogs loved this delightful treat.  Comment and share photos of your dogs enjoying their favorite combos here!

Have a Fear Free Fourth

The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and as a licensed veterinary technician, visions of frantic pets running scared down the freeway enter my head.  Year after year, pet owners are warned about the potential dangers Independence Day pose on our beloved furry family members.  Last year I wrote about preventing pet anxiety on this freedom filled holiday.  Fortunately, there’s already ample information on the web pertaining to Fourth of July pet safety, so I’ve decided to take a different approach.

Most of us know if our pets need special care on this explosive, rumbling night, but if they do need special care…do we really know why?

FEAR.

It’s fear that causes pets to hide under the bed during the thundering firecrackers.  It’s fear that causes dogs to jump through window panes, only to find the outside world is what they fear even more.  And it’s fear that causes pets to frantically roam for hours with no destination in sight only to wind up tragically deceased on the side of the road.  But…what is fear?  When does fear start?  Why did it start in the first place?

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https://www.paulspoerry.com/

As an LVT at Lone Mountain Veterinary Hospital, I see fear every day, and it comes it many shapes, sizes and severities.  Terror, fright, horror, alarm, panic, agitation, trepidation, dread, consternation, dismay, distress…the list goes on.  In humans fear is a vital response to physical or emotional danger allowing us to protect ourselves from threats.  In pets it’s equivalent, but with a major language barrier; fear can be amplified by the slightest movement or sound. scared dog and cat

Both, environmental and psychosocial, factors can cause stress in your pets.  Stressors such as humidity, noise, pheromones, and odor contribute to environmental fear. Unfamiliar pets and people, as well as separation from his or her owner contribute to psychosocial factors.  If taken lightly the festivities surrounding Independence Day can encompass many, if not ALL, of these!

Thanks to newer insights and progressive veterinary practices, fear can be recognized sooner and hopefully be reduced.  Understanding your pet’s fear-induced triggers is first way you can help. If you observe signs or behaviors listed below, take time to record them and the circumstances surrounding them.

Signs Your Pet May Be Fearful or Anxious

Cats – Dilated pupils, arched back, open mouth (breathing through their mouth), thumping/flicking tail, hidingScared cats

Dogs – Dilated pupils, taught skin, furrowed brow, hunched back/rigid spine, tucked tail or high over the back wagging, closed mouth with lips short, lip smacking, yawning, and tense growling/snarling

Scared submissive dog
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ScaredSubmissiveDog.jpg

 

We all know the cracks and booms of this year’s fireworks display will have many pets hiding, running or worst of all, dying.  If you think your pet may be fearful of specific circumstances or events, take the time to understand your pet’s fear and anxiety, so it can be reduced and/or prevented in the future.  Get your pet to the vet, or schedule a house call to have your pet assessed before tragedy strikes.  Ask your veterinarian about special treatment plans that may include sedatives and anti-anxiolytics to ensure you and your pet have a safe and happy Fourth.  This information isn’t meant to be boom, gloom and doom; it’s simply meant to empower you and protect your pet.

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For tips to keep you pet safe during this Fourth of July, check out my 2016 post!

Porcupines And Your Pets

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Godiva got quilled!

Porcupines are no joke.  They’re usually found hiding in wooded areas, but can be hard to spot here in the Sierra [read more].  When a pet comes into contact with this prickly rodent, it’s not pretty.   The barbed quills burrow into skin of the mouth, nose and eyes.  This is extremely painful. 

Often the quills can break off and cause infection and abscesses.  Attempting to remove quills yourself may only make the problem worse.  Most dogs need to be sedated or anesthetized for quill removal.

 

Tech Tips

If you see a porcupine, observe it from a far.

Keep dogs on their leash to avoid the encounter.

If your pet gets quilled:

  • Keep them from pawing at their face; this may cause quills to break off.
  • Get your pet to your veterinarian for treatment.
    • Quills must be removed to avoid quill migration, infection and further pain

Avoidance training

If your dog can’t keep his or her nose out of tempting holes and bushes, try avoidance training.  This is similar to rattlesnake avoidance training. Your dog wears an electronic collar and receives quick controlled electronic correction when they exhibit the undesired behavior.  The process is repeated to ensure the training is clear and the dog associates the behavior with the correction [read more].

Get Rattled will be offering skunk and porcupine aversion training; stay updated with their calendar of events here!

Have you and your pet had a porcupine encounter?  I’d love to hear your story, and how you handled it.

 

Pet Summer Hiking Series – Part Six: ER Trail Tips

Dog bites…and bee stings…and cuts…OH MY!

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Emergencies are scary whether you’re at home or on the trail.  Take my tech tips along and apply them to keep your pet safe until you reach veterinary medical attention.

Avoiding emergency situations is obviously preferred, but being prepared if they happen is priceless.  Having the necessary supplies will prevent an emergency from becoming a tragedy for both you and your pet this summer.

Dog Fights

Avoiding negative dog encounters is the best way to keep your pet safe. If your pet is aggressive toward other dogs or people; yield the trail to let others pass by safely.  See Part One of my Pet Summer Hiking Series for Trail Etiquette.

Tech Tips

  • Use a large, long stick to pry apart jaws or dogs to avoid injury.
  • Once the dogs are separated, inspect for wounds and tend to any that are excessively bleeding.
  • Allow your dog to calm down before trying to make them walk back.  He or she may be in shock and extra exercise can exacerbate this.
  • Seek veterinary medical attention immediately. 
  • Untreated bite wounds can lead to infections. Most need to be treated with antibiotics, because believe me a dog’s mouth is far from clean.
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    Godiva, under sedation, having a drain place after a dog attacked her. Thanks Dr. Teresa!

Insect Bites/Stings

Nevada and California are home to bees, wasps, fire ants, poisonous spiders and scorpions.  Bites or stings from these can cause mild hives, facial swelling, vomiting, difficulty breathing and even paralyze parts of the body.  Do not apply pressure, this will spread the venom further.  Often diphenhydramine is given to stop the allergic response. Be sure to check with your veterinarian for the proper dosage BEFOREHAND. 

Tech Tip

  • Use a pair of tweezers or old credit card to remove the stinger.

Lacerations

Cuts can happen anywhere on your pets body.  When working at Lone Mountain Vet Hospital, feet, legs and chest seem to be most common.  Cuts caused by sharp sticks may even puncture a lung.  This is a medical emergency and your dog needs to be tended to ASAP.

Tech Tip

  • Carry a pair of dog booties to protect or prevent cuts on feet.
  • For serious lacerations, apply direct pressure and elevate affected limbs to decrease blood flow.
  • Tourniquets are not recommended unless it’s life-threatening.

 

Carry a First Aid Kit.  Make a small first aid kit that can be carried on short walks or long hikes.

Godiva and Ruby’s Kit includes:  

A laminated card with First Aid and CPR Care Information About:

  • Treating Cuts/Wounds
  • Rashes, Skin Irritations, Itches
  • Bee Stings/Insect Bites
  • Toenail Bleeding
  • Puncture Wounds
  • Poisoning

Bandaging Materials

  • Band-Aids (for human use)
  • Square gauze of various sizes (sterile if possible)
  • Surgical Sponges (sterile)
  • Non-stick pads
  • First aid tape
  • Bandage rolls – gauze and Elastikon
  • Sterile draping material

Medications

  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) for allergic reactions
    • Obtain dose for each pet from your veterinarian
  • Pain medication: Tramadol (narcotic) and Rimadyl (NSAID)
    • Both were prescribed by my veterinarian based on my dogs’ weights
    • Ask your veterinarian if either of these is appropriate for your pet
  • FortiFlora (probiotic/anti-diarrheal)

Wound disinfectant (povidone pads/swabs and alcohol pads)

Triple antibiotic ointment for skin

Eye wash solution (saline)

Styptic powder

Solar blanket

Non-latex gloves

Emergency Drinking Water

The summer has just begun.  Follow my tech tips and stay safe on the trails of the Sierra!IMG_4274

I update my blog twice a week, and will be adding more information about pet safety and wellness.  Exciting topics like fox tails, heat stroke, and porcupines are coming up soon!  If you have any ideas you’d like me to write about, please leave a comment and add it to my agenda.  I love being an LVT and I’d be thrilled to answer any questions you have.