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What is 1 Good Reason to Exercise Your Dog?

Pet Exercise

Walkies!

Summer boredom impacts not only your two-legged kids but your four-legged kids as well. Bored kids and dogs spell “t-r-o-u-b-l-e”! One way to address summer boredom is by keeping your dogs exercised and plumb wore out! All kidding aside, did you know that exercising your dog is important ALL year long – not just during the summer?  It’s true.  Exercise promotes good health and reduces problem behaviors in your dog.

We all want our dog to be healthy, right?  Well, a good daily dose of exercise will definitely promote good health. Exercise builds strong bones and muscles in dogs just like it does in you! Strong bones and muscles are essential building blocks for good health.  They keep your dog protected against illness and injury.  Those long lean muscles will keep your dog flexible and mobile so he can continue to run, jump and play.  Exercise also prevents diseases that can plague aging dogs.  Cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer and obesity are three such diseases that can result from poor exercise habits.  Starting good habits now will last your dog a lifetime, literally. Exercise your dog today! First start with a trip to the vet for an exam to make sure your pup is healthy enough to increase physical activity. Then you can adjust the intensity and duration according to your dog’s level of fitness.

What happens when your kids get bored?  If they’re like most kids, they’ll either nag you or get into mischief! A dog will do the same if he is bored!  Destructive and problematic behaviors are often times a direct result of a bored, unexercised dog.  A dog is an inquisitive creature, by nature.  He is always up for some type of challenge whether it is physical or mental – and believe me, if you don’t provide the challenge, he’ll create his own.  Your dog’s predatory instincts demand that he explore the world in which he lives.  A nice long walk or romp at the dog park will fulfill those demands. Say good bye to problem behaviors such as jumping on people, chewing your favorite shoes and even aggressive behavior.  Again, poor behaviors are often masking a deeper issue and we can often point to boredom and lack of exercise. Exercising is imperative to keep your dog healthy and quite frankly, out of trouble. When exercising in the heat always take precautions and look for these signs of your pet overheating.

Remember to be safe, healthy and have a happy Summer!

Next Article: Invisible Fencing Can Keep Your Pets Safe

Jerky Treats, why are they not banned?

Three name brands top the FDA list of suspect chicken jerky treats:

  • Waggin’ Train Jerky Treats or Tenders (Nestle Purina)
  • Canyon Creek Ranch Jerky Treats or Tenders (Nestle Purina)
  • Milo’s Kitchen Home-Style Dog Treats (Del Monte Corp)

According to the FDA: “As of May 1, 2014, we have received in total more than 4,800 complaints of illness in pets that ate chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats, nearly all of which are imported from China. more…

toxic treats

If the FDA put out a report like this one on human beef jerky snacks, would you eat them? Would you let your kids eat them? So why would you give your dogs a treat with a good chance of causing them to get sick? We love our pets and want to give them the very best. We want to spoil them and for many that includes daily treats.

In the last several years there has been a growing trend in low carb/no grain pet food. Along with that trend came grain free treats, one being jerky treats made from chicken, duck and other high protein foods. Not too long after these products appeared on the store shelves they became very popular. About this time, and seemingly unrelated, veterinarians starting treating dogs who were sick from an unknown cause. As more cases presented, a common factor emerged: most of the dogs had eaten jerky treats.

Upon further investigation it was discovered that the chicken and duck meat in jerky treats seemed to be the real culprit. Treats either made in China or with meat imported from China were tainted. Salmonella was predicted to be the offending organism. Unfortunately so far, tests conducted by the FDA have found no specific contaminate.

My feeling on this issue is better safe than sorry. Especially when there are so many healthy treats available as well as recipes to make your own at home.

Next article: Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

Reliable Pet Sitter Wanted?

If you have a reliable pet sitter, you probably did some of the following things to make sure you found one who is reliable and honest. Having the neighbor’s kid watch your pets and home is not good enough, you want a professional. For those who are in the market for a pet sitter, here are a few tips to help you pick the right one, a reliable professional.

First, and most importantly, is the reason to hire a reliable pet sitter. Professional pet sitting goes way beyond tending to your pets needs. The person in charge of taking care of your fur kids is also in charge of your home and every worldly possession you have. The average vacation is about 7 to 10 days long, that’s a week or  more of your home being mostly unattended. Unforeseen disasters can and do happen at any time, things like the electricity going out, pipes bursting, a fire, a break in… just to name a few. Professional pet sitters are equipped to deal with emergencies of all types, it’s essential to being reliable.

The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) has created a thorough check list to help you pick the right pet sitter:

“Hiring a pet sitter is a serious process.  Make sure the person you choose is trained and professional.  He/she will not only be responsible for your pet, but also will have regular access to your home.” (read more)

The care of your pets involves working with your sitter as a team. Providing specific information about your pets and home will help the sit go smoothly. NAPPS provides a guideline to get the most out of your sitter.

“Once you’ve decided to hire a pet sitter, you’ll want to maximize the experience for you and your pet. The following pages list some simple guidelines that will ensure that that your get the most out of the relationship… Provide background on your pet’s history and habits…” (read more)

Part of a pet sitter’s job is to provide you with peace of mind while you are away. It’s worth the time to find the right one.

Next Article: Pet Dander

Reliable Pet Sitter

Walks are my favorite!

Can pets detect diseases in humans?

You have probably heard about dogs detecting skin cancer, diabetes, seizures and other human diseases. There are even a few cases of cats alerting their owners that something is wrong. Why is this? It’s believed that since pets’ senses are more heightened than ours, smells from changes in body chemistry are easily detected by a dog but are odorless or barely detectible to humans. Animals communicate biochemically, through body language and vocalizations, which is much more efficient than the visual or auditory clues humans tend to focus on. (In fact, people generally don’t even pay attention to obvious body language signals.) Dogs may have misunderstandings due to miscommunication but not nearly as often as we do. We have a complex system of biochemical signals too, we just don’t notice them.

If we compare our domesticated canines to their wilder cousins, acute awareness of diseases or injuries based on visual and chemical clues is a key factor for survival. Wounded prey are more easily caught, diseased prey may not be safe to eat, and decline due to age shifts the position of the oldster in the community. Younger, healthier members take over and carry on with the duties necessary for species survival.

The upshot of all this biochemistry is that dogs can seemingly “smell” disease. There’s much more to the process of pets detecting diseases than we may ever understand so there’s definitely a need for more proof to truly determine if the phenomenon does exist. Cancer specialist Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld, who wrote about the phenomenon for the American Cancer Society’s blog in 2010, admitted to laughing when he first read about a study in which dogs supposedly sniffed out cancer. Then more studies came in and Dr. Lichtenfeld decided to take a closer look:

“Six dogs were trained to detect urine samples that belonged to patients known to have bladder cancer. While their 41 percent success rate wasn’t amazing, it was higher than the 14 percent “coincidence rate” determined by the researchers. Since then, dogs have been trained to discern other forms of cancer, including skin, prostate, lung, breast and colorectal cancers, with increasing rates of success.”

In another study:

“Two years after the bladder cancer study, researchers at the Pine Street Foundation in California trained dogs to sniff out both breast and lung cancer. Rather than sniffing urine samples, however, the dogs smelled breath samples from the patients. The results were startling — they had an 88 percent success rate with breast cancer and a 97 percent accuracy rate with lung cancer. The most impressive study took place early in 2011, in which dogs in Japan detected colorectal cancer with 98 percent accuracy by sniffing breath samples. This is more accurate that the traditional diagnostic tests for the disease.”

Our furry friends never cease to amaze, how fortunate we are to have such wonderful companions.Sandy early 00s

Is Your Pet Included In Your Disaster Preparedness Plan?

Disaster Preparedness

First Aid for pets

Having a back up for our pets during a disaster will save time and heartache if anything horrible were to ever happen. This blog will be a guest post from Dr. Brittany Barton of HEAL Veterinary Clinic in Dallas, TX. Her blog, Pet Pause With Dr. B, has a wonderfully worded, easy to read post on disaster preparedness and pets which also contains an extensive list of everything you need to protect your beloved pets as you would your human family (see below)

The recent devastating tornado activity in Oklahoma may have you scrambling to create a Disaster Plan for your family….but wait, what about your pets? Dr. Barton goes on to advise:

All of your pets should have collars with identification information, including your cell phone number and a back-up number of someone who lives outside of your area. But DON’T rely solely on this.  Approximately 60% of lost pets are found without their collar present.  Permanent identification is imperative in pets. Pet microchipping is an invaluable identification tool.  Members are able to list contact information, emergency secondary contact information and veterinary hospital information for each of their pets.  You can even list chronic medical conditions in the event your pet needs regular medication or special considerations.
Remember: If you move or any of your pet’s important information changes, you need to update the information with the microchip database. (This is simply done on-line)

Next Topic: Luxury Pet Accessories

Are you reading ALL Pet Food ingredients?

Lately we’ve heard a lot about looking at what is in pet food with an emphasis on protein being the first ingredient. While it’s true that protein should make up a large portion of our pets’ diets, there are many more factors involved in providing optimal and species appropriate nutrition. There are different forms of protein and not all of them are easily metabolized. According to Dr. Karen Becker from Mercola.com, “By-products are what are left after all the good stuff is harvested for the human food industry. Beaks, feet, feathers, wattles and combs are chicken by-products. There could be something beneficial thrown in, like the heart or gizzard, but because there’s such potential for undesirable pieces and parts in ‘by-products,’ it’s better to avoid them altogether.”

Grains like corn, rice and wheat are often seen in pet food in large amounts. These carbohydrates come in different forms, gluten meal, whole grain, flour, etc… Rice often comes in the form of brewers rice. Grain in any form is not a species specific ingredient essential for carnivorous diets, additionally corn is highly allergenic. No grain should be the main ingredient in your pet food.  Dogs are somewhat omnivorous so a small amount of fruit and vegetables make up a part of their balanced diet. However cats are obligatory carnivores, high carbohydrate pet food diets lead to diseases such as obesity, diabetes, liver disease and irritable bowl syndrome. Grain free diets are much more appropriate for both cats and dogs, see more here for a comparison between a high quality and a low quality diet. Often a raw is recommended as the best pet food for dogs and cats but it is very important to feed a balanced raw diet. Research and consulting a holistic veterinarian will help you decide what is right for your pets.

Our pets are what we feed them, we have an obligation to educate ourselves and provide them with a high quality diet so they can live a long and happy life!

Next Topic: Dog DNA

I love Halloween, don’t you?

Unfortunately many pets don’t! Someone knocks on the door every few minutes sending Spot into a flurry of barking to alert you, yet again, that you have visitors. You open the door to a group of little ghosts, goblins, witches and jack-o-lanterns who suddenly shout “TRICK OR TREAT!!” which sends Spot into another flurry of barking as these intruders surely should not be there! Meanwhile, Fluffy has been hiding since the first ghoulish creatures appeared, will not come out for dinner and you’re wondering if Fluffy’s brother, Tomcat, is with her or has slipped out the frequently opening front door.

Halloween can be a very confusing, and yes, scary time for our pets, especially those who are shy or not used to lots of activity. If your dog barks at strangers who come to the door or if your cat is skittish, it’s best to protect them from these stressful events right off the bat. Many pets escape from home on Halloween so the first precaution is to put them in a closed room, preferably one that is furthest away from the front door. Noise phobia can be soothed by having a radio on in the room with your fur kid making sure it’s loud enough to drown out the alien invaders that come for sweets. A favorite toy or blanket tops off the short term distraction created for maximum comfort on All Hallows Eve.

In addition to anxiety and stress, Halloween hazards for pets include food toxins from candy like chocolate and xylitol, opportunities to escape from home and susceptibility to cruel treatment by pranksters if outside. Plan ahead and Halloween can be both fun and safe for you and your fur family. Heck, your pet may even let you dress them up!

Next Topic: Pet Food Ingredients

Do pets get diabetes too?

Absolutely they do! Diabetes mellitus is not uncommon in dogs and cats. It occurs when the insulin-secreting cells of the pancreas are destroyed and the body is no longer able to regulate the essential nutrient glucose (sugar), this results in high levels in the blood and urine. The diagnosis of diabetes generally relies on different testing methods. Since the disease always results in an elevated blood sugar level, some form of measurement of glucose, in both blood and urine, is used.

Diabetes mellitus can strike at any age but typically appears in the middle to senior years (5 and older for dogs, 10 and older for cats.) Symptoms may be hard to notice at first, learn to recognize the signs early and contact your veterinarian as soon as they are noticed:

First Signs Seen with Diabetes Mellitus

  • Increased urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss, even though appetite is good or increased

Those are the first signs usually seen, your pet may exhibit one or many of them. Keep in mind they are also general signs of many diseases such as kidney failure or urinary problemshyperthyroidismCushing’s disease and more. A trip to the vet is the only way to diagnose for sure.

Signs as diabetes progresses:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweet/chemical smelling breath
    *from ketones, by-product of fat breakdown, since sugar can’t be utilized
  • Weak muscle tone and muscle wasting
    *cats may have “dropped hocks” walking crouch-like
  • Cataracts (dogs)
  • Seizures, coma, death

Treatment of diabetes involves controlling blood sugar with insulin as well as diet and exercise for essential weight control. The type of insulin your veterinarian chooses will be tailored to your pets specific needs to provide optimum regulation of blood sugar. A blood glucose curve will determine the right dose of insulin then curves will be done periodically to monitor your pet’s progress.

Diabetes

Next Topic: Pets and Halloween

Toxic Plants

plants

Kitten in Plants

Literally hundreds of common plants, both indoors and out, have toxic effects on our pets causing everything from mild gastro-intestinal upset to death. Sometimes dogs and especially cats like to munch on grass and plants for a variety of reasons and sometimes for no reason at all. Try to keep poisonous plants away from your pets’ reach, a list of toxic plants compiled by the ASPCA, the Humane Society and the American Animal Hospital Association (AHAA) can help you determine if you have any poisonous plants around your home or yard. Here are some common toxic plants:

Next Topic: Diabetes

Pets eat rocks?

Does your pet eat bizarre things? Some pet owners don’t have to worry about their fur kids eating out of the trash or gobbling up inanimate objects, but others have to keep everything out of reach from their chow hound. When your pet eats table scraps, garbage, or spoiled food, also known as dietary indiscretion, they can develop symptoms similar to food poisoning in humans such as vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and lethargy. Sometimes the symptoms pass on their own with rest and a bland diet. More severe or longer lasting symptoms need veterinary treatment as pancreatitis is a major concern with gastrointestinal illness caused by eating spoiled or high fat foods.

Sometimes inedible household items are eaten and intestinal obstruction is a danger. A foreign object can lodge itself in the intestinal track causing blockage and your pet may require surgery to remove it. Socks, rocks, toys, plastic, wood, metal, jewelry, coins, silver ware, and Christmas ornaments are just some of the items pets have ingested, the list goes on and on. Linear foreign bodies like string, ribbon, yarn, and rubber bands can get caught up and stretch or tear the intestines. Cats often play with and eat stringy items so keep them out of reach of your feline family. Go to your vet if your pet is lethargic, has a painful abdomen, is vomiting, having difficulty defecating or has any other signs of illness. X-rays often reveal the offending object. Some of the most amazing things I’ve seen while working for veterinarians are x-rays of foreign objects in the intestines of pets. You can never predict what a pet will eat, take a look at the x-rays here, the belly is full of rocks! I’ always amazed, I bet you will be too!

Dogs eat rocks

Next Topic: Toxic Plants