Parasites can afflict pets any time of the year, however during the spring and summer months, they tend to be more prevalent. Our pets spend a lot more time outside when the weather is warm, and parasites breed more readily. Even if your pets spend all or most of their time indoors, it is possible for parasites to find them whether carried in on our clothes or by crawling through our screen doors. Here are some common parasites to look out for and ways to combat them this summer. Read More »
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It’s no secret that your pets need fresh clean drinking water every day for optimum health. It’s also no secret that cats and some dogs are very finicky about, well, pretty much everything! With the warmer weather approaching I want to talk about your pet’s drinking habits.
Water is an essential ingredient to life. All animals need it to help flush out toxins and to keep organs hydrated. Cats especially need to take in an adequate amount of water to prevent kidney problems, most notably kidney stones and kidney failure.
How Much Water
Does My Pet Need?
The amount of water that your pet needs to drink daily depends on his or her weight, activity level, and diet. Dogs are generally pretty good about regulating their water intake. As long as fresh, clean water is provided they will usually drink the amount their body requires. Keep in mind that with the warmer temperatures around the corner, your dog should also be drinking more to stay fully hydrated.
Cats get most of their water intake from their food. In the wild this is not much of an issue since raw meat contains up to 70% water. Dry food, on the other hand, only contains about 10% moisture. Some cats will supplement their food with extra drinking water and others are a little pickier.
Dehydration in Pets:
- Sunken Eyes
- Loss of Appetite
- Dry Mouth
Any sudden change in behavior can be cause for concern. Contact your vet if your pets’ drinking habits change suddenly; if they starting drinking an excessive amount of water, or stop drinking it altogether it could be a sign of a serious illness.
What if I Suspect
- Perform the skin test: Gently grab a fold of skin on the back of the neck or between the shoulder blades & release. If the skin snaps back into place, your pet should be okay. If the skin slowly returns to place, your pet could be dehydrated.
- Have your pet checked by a vet.
- Provide fresh, clean water daily.
- Monitor your pet’s water intake, especially in the hot summer months.
Tips for Keeping
Your Pets Hydrated
If you are having trouble getting your pet interested in water there are a few things you can try.
- Change the type of pet bowl. Some prefer ceramic (lead-free glazed, of course) over metal bowls and vice versa.
- Try a pet fountain. Clean, fresh, running water might be more enticing for your pet, while others will appreciate the water being filtered (thus tastier) and kept cooler.
- Change the location of their water dish. Be sure it is far from the litter box and/or out of direct sunlight.
- Consider adding a wet food to your pet’s diet, or add water to their dry food. Wet cat foods usually contain around 80% water. Just be sure to adjust your portions of dry food to ensure you aren’t over feeding your pet.
Pet Hydration Infographic & Resources Referenced from PetSafe: http://www.petsafe.net/learn/pet-hydration-month
According to leading veterinarians, pet obesity is becoming an epidemic and should be a top health concern for pets. It is estimated that 54 million cats and 34 million dogs in the US are clinically obese. Many pet owners struggle with keeping their pets at an ideal weight.
We’ll admit, it can be sometimes hard to deny those puppy dog eyes and we just want our pets to be happy, right? So why can’t they have a few extra treats if they want them? Unfortunately, a few extra pounds can be detrimental.
The excess weight on our pets can cause a variety of other health problems, the same way obesity can have adverse effects on human health. A few extra pounds on a dog may not seem like anything to worry about, but the added weight can exacerbate arthritis, cause joint and bone issues, and it can greatly increase the possibility that your pet will develop diabetes or cardiac/respiratory disease. Thier immune systems can be diminished, making their ability to fight off other illnesses and disease.
It’s best to learn how to prevent pet obesity before weight related complications arise, because even if your pet loses weight, the damage may be irreversible.
Is My Pet Obese?
The easiest way to tell if your pet is overweight is to feel the ribs. If you can feel the individual rib bones easily your pet is most likely not overweight. The Healthy Weight Calculator from PetMD.com is also a great tool that can help you determine your pet’s proper healthy weight.
There isn’t just one cause of pet obesity; there are quite a few factors involved! Our pets rely on us to feed them properly and give them the proper amount of physical activity to stay fit. They don’t think about what they eat, if they are overeating and how it may effect their health. If your dogs are like mine, they will accept any treat or table scrap offered without hesitation.
Most pets, including cats, need a fair amount of physical activity each day in order for them to stay fit; a sedentary lifestyle combined with poor nutrition is the number one cause of pet obesity. When deciding what and how much to feed your pets, keep their activity level in mind. The amount of food listed in the instructions on pet food labels may contain too many calories for your pet, especially if they aren’t very active.
Many pet parents ‘free feed’ their animals, in other words, their animals have constant access to food throughout the day. Some pets, though few and far between, are good at self-regulating and stop eating when they are full, while others will scarf down food whenever it’s available. It’s important to measure out the amount of food that your pets eat in a day (including treats and table scraps!), so you can monitor their intake.
Some specific breeds may be more susceptible to obesity. These breeds may be predisposed to conditions including naturally slow metabolism and hormonal disorders that make them more likely to gain weight.
Having a pet spayed or neutered also causes metabolism to slow, and after the procedure many pets gain weight, but the benefits of spaying and neutering your pets far outweigh the negatives.
5 Simple Steps to Prevent Pet Obesity
1. Know Your Pets’ Caloric Requirements
The average human needs a 2000 calorie diet to maintain their weight and receive adequate nutrition, our pets need far less. Refer to the following chart to estimate the number of calories that your pets’ require. For a more accurate estimate of your dog’s require caloric intake, visit the Dog Food Advisor’s Dog Food Calculator.
Use a smaller scoop and a smaller food bowl. Studies have shown that the size of your pet’s bowl and food scoop affects the amount of food that you feed your pet. If you have a Chihuahua and you are using an 8 inch bowl, you are probably going to overfeed Chico quite a bit. It all has to with how much food you perceive is in the bowl. If you used a small dish, you would perceive that you were feeding more food. If you are trying to help your pet lose weight, using a smaller bowl and a smaller scoop will go a long way towards helping them reach their goals.
3. Keep Track of Snacks
Many people are feeding the right amount of kibble for their dog’s appropriate weight, but they might also be feeding them a dozen milk bones or bites of “people food” throughout the day. Don’t forget that the treats and snacks that you feed your pet throughout the day should also count towards their daily calorie intake. That includes treats used for training! If you pet isn’t a picky eater, try using carrot sticks, apple slices or celery as a substitute for high calorie treats. They’re natural, whole foods and low in calories, and most pets love them.
4. Several Smaller Meals
If you feel that your pet seems hungry throughout the day, try dividing up your pet’s meals into smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. Before you schedule your pet for 4 meals a day, a word of caution: your pet has probably trained you into feeding him when he does something specific. For example: Bear knows that if he sits next to the treat jar looking sad, I will probably hand him a cookie or if my cats meow at the top of their lungs for an hour, I’ll provide them with a scoop of kibble or two. My pets are likely not actually hungry, but they are repeating behaviors that in the past has been rewarded with a treat or extra meal. Try not to give in, redirect them with a game or go for a quick walk if they’re particularly relentless.
Supplementing meals with fresh or frozen vegetables or low calorie fruits can be a big help. The added fiber in the vegetables will help your pet feel fuller, longer. Don’t feed your pet foods that may be toxic, like tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, garlic, avocados, raw or green potatoes, grapes, raisins, or any pits, stems or seeds from fruits. I also tend avoid corn, since it is a common pet allergen.
You should always consult your veterinarian before putting your dog on a special diet or exercise program. The first, most important and often most difficult step is is to control the amount of food your pet is allowed to eat. If you cannot excercise your pet as often as necessary or if your dog has a condition that hinders activity and natural weight maintenance, your vet can often make recommendations to help with your situation.
A slow and steady approach is the healthiest, just as with people in the same predicament. Make slow changes to your pet’s diet and exercise regime. Your pet shouldn’t lose more than 1-2% of body weight per week.
Maintaining a healthy body weight and an active lifestyle will help you keep your pet at it’s happiest and healthiest for years to come!
It’s the middle of July, and as we brace ourselves for the next heat wave, I’m thinking of ways to keep my pup cool, too. The evening news features footage of zookeepers serving frozen treats to captive animals – from frozen bananas and fruit juice to whole frozen fish and bloodcicles (awesome if you’re a tiger, I suppose) none of the animals deny a frozen treat for a few minutes of relief from these oppressive temperatures. So, what can we offer our pets at home?
- Start with a clean container that you can fit into your freezer. You can use anything from ice cube trays to plastic jugs, rubber toys (kongs work great) – muffin tins and popsicle forms also work great.
- Next formulate your mixture. It can be as simple as natural or low sodium chicken or beef broth, peanut butter & oatmeal, non-fat plain yogurt, lactose-free milk or cottage cheese.
- Fill the container of your choice.
- For and extra special treat add some kibble, training treats or even some cooked lean meat. Most dogs have a taste for fruits and veggies, too. Add sliced, chopped or pureed bananas, apples, pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot parsley or pineapple.
- Pop them into the freezer.
- Insert a bully stick or jerky strip when the treats are half frozen to make it a true pupsicle.
- Put back into the freezer until frozen.
- Serve to your pup! Frozen treats should be served outside to save you the melting mess inside.
If creativity and food prep isn’t your thing, we have options for you too.
- Plain ice cubes or crushed ice can be a refreshing addition to the water bowl.
- Frozen marrow bones.
- Many companied, like Frosty Paws, are now creating doggie “ice cream” that’s ready to serve in portioned cups. You can often find these or similar products in many pet stores and even in some grocer’s freezers.
Next time you sip a shake or smoothie, be sure to have a frosty treat ready for your four pawed friend, too, you may be surprise how much they appreciate it!
The July 4th Holiday is upon us, and unfortunately it is one of the busiest times for animal shelters due to the overwhelming amount of dogs lost during the fireworks & festivities. The fireworks may be fun for us, for some of our canine friends it can be downright terrifying.
During fireworks displays, or even while setting off fireworks in your backyard and neighborhood, your usually calm family pet may become extremely stressed. The stress overload can cause some pets to try to escape the house or yard. By following a few simple tips for this holiday weekend you can avoid coming home to an empty house and the anxiety of a missing beloved family pet.
- Avoid bringing your pet to fireworks displays, even if they are not usually startled by loud noises or thunder.
- Keep your pet indoors in a quiet, safe, sheltered area. Keep doors and windows closed and locked (I’ve heard stories of dogs opening slider doors or even jumping through windows to escape). Leave the TV on or play soothing music at a normal level to distract him from the noise outside
- Prepare a safe “den” for your pet. If they choose to hide under the bed, in their crate or somewhere else in the house, allow them to. If your dog is not crate trained, and you would like him to be please visit our comprehensive crate training guide.
- Feed your pet before the displays begin and keep a special chew treat on hand as a distraction.
- Nervous or stressed dogs may chew to ease anxiety. Make sure to provide proper chew toys and make sure all cords and other dangerous objects are out of reach
- Try a calming aid to help calm anxiety, or ask your vet for medication to help with your pet’s noise phobia.
- Do not leave your pet outside during the festivities. Even with a fence or a tie-out a dog can go to great lengths to escape the source of their anxiety.
- Always make sure your pet is wearing a properly fitted dog collar with up-to-date ID tags. Consider having your pet microchipped for extra security.
- Try not to reward anxiety with extra attention. It may be hard not to cuddle or fawn over your pet when he is scared, but do your best to ignore axious behavior or practice distraction techniques to turn their focus away from commotions.
Follow these simple steps to enjoy a worry free Independence Day. The knowledge that your family pets are safe and sound will make your holiday all the more fun. Have a great holiday weekend!
Severe Weather can also be very stressful on our pets. Check out this post for tips on keeping you pets calm during severe weather.
Given the recent reports of the canine flu outbreak in the Chicago area, we wanted to put together a few simple tips for helping to prevent or detect if your dog has the virus.
Q: Where have cases been found so far?
A: There have been over 1,000 cases reported in the Chicago area and a few surrounding states. As of this writing, none have been reported in Pennsylvania
Q: How can I tell if my dog, or if other dogs, have the Dog Flu?
A: The best thing to look for, as with many diseases, is a change in regular behavior. The most common early signs are a hacking cough. Green discharge from the nose or eyes is another symptom. Untreated, these can develop into significant fevers or pneumonia. If you notice any of this, please consult a veterinarian
Q: How can I Help Stop My Dog From Getting Sick?
A: The virus is very contagious. The best thing to do is to avoid potentially exposing your dog to a dog who might be sick.
Q: Can people catch the disease?
A: No, people can not contract the disease from their dogs. They can, however, help spread it through contact with surfaces. For example, the virus can live on surfaces for 24-48 hours. If you pet a dog and then touch a counter top, it is possible to spread the contamination. Washing your hands and sanitizing is always a good idea in these cases.
Q: Has this happened before or is this unusual?
A: Dog Flu outbreaks occur relatively frequently. The fear with this one is that it’s a new strain that dog flu vaccinations may not prevent.
If you have any questions about the Dog Flu – please consult a veterinarian.
If you’d like to read more – please see this article – http://www.petage.com/canine-flu-outbreak-caused-by-new-strain/
Hi Pet Blog Readers, Good Monday! To start off the week, we have a post from guest blogger Karleia Steiner. She has authored an informative article about heartworms in dogs. Heartworms can be a serious problem for your dog, so it is a good idea to take preventative action and stop them before they affect your favorite canine. Karleia has some great tips that should help keep your pooch happy and healthy. If you have ideas that you would like to share, please let us know in the comments section. Thanks!
Heartworm disease is a condition where parasitic worms live inside of the pulmonary arteries. This condition may also affect the right side of the heart. It primarily affects dogs, but it can affect cats, foxes, ferrets, coyotes and sea lions. Heartworm disease can make an animal seriously ill and even cause death. There are treatments for this condition, but in many cases, the treatments result in complications. Fortunately, it can be prevented. Below are some tips that will help prevent heartworm.
Follow A Heartworm Prevention Plan
One of the best things that you can do to prevent your dog from getting heartworm is to follow your veterinarian’s heartworm prevention plan. Your veterinarian may recommend that your dog take chewables or tablets monthly or daily. Your veterinarian may also recommend injections. Heartworm medications will not work on an animal that already have heartworms.
All heartworm prevention medications work in the same way. They work by killing larvae heartworms. Heartworm medications do not work on adult heartworms. That is why it is very important for you to make sure that your dog consistently takes the heartworm medication.
You should also have your dog tested for heartworm at least once a year. Your veterinarian may recommend more frequent testing if needed. This will ensure your dog is heartworm-free before he or she continues taking the medication. Veterinarians can perform a blood test in order to diagnose heartworm. The test checks for antigens that the adult heartworms release into the bloodstream. However, the test usually do not detect heartworm infections that are less than five months old. You can visit Brimley-Lawrence Animal Clinic if you want to know more about heartworm testing.
Reduce Your Dog’s Exposure To Mosquitos
Infected mosquitos transmit heartworm. That is why you will also need to limit your dog’s exposure to mosquitos. The mosquitos are most active after sunset, so you should keep your dog inside during this time if possible. You may also want to consider using a product that is designed to repel and kill mosquitos. This will also reduce your dog’s chances of being infected with heartworm.
In summary, heartworm disease can be deadly, but there are some things that can be done to prevent it. You will need to take your dog to the veterinarian in order to get a heartworm prevention plan. You will also need to get your dog tested for heartworms regularly. Additionally, you should reduce your dog’s exposure to mosquitos.
Hi Pet Blog Readers,
Please welcome guest blogger Lilly Sheperd! Today she has a post that asks us to be proactive in regard to the health of our friendly felines. She covers how important preventative maintenance can be for your cat and how crucial it is for them to engage in exercise and activity while also enjoying a good diet. If you have any questions, comments or tips of your own for keeping your cats healthy please let us know in the comments section. Thanks!
Cats are extremely agile and active pets known for their curiosity. For this reason, many humans find they are easily humored by the feline species’ innate sense of independence, and enjoy spending time with these furry little beholders of big personalities.
It is no wonder, then, that cat owners want to do whatever it takes to help their animal companions live long and healthy lives. Promoting longevity in your pet is not achieved by any miracle cure, but rather results from consistent effort throughout an entire cat’s life. By combining a well-rounded preventative care regimen, an increase in the amount of exercise your pet experiences, and a boost to the nutritional value of your cat’s diet, you may be able to carry your pet through over a decade of play, laughter, and fun.
Preventative Care Starts Early: Preparing Your Pet for a Long and Healthy Life
One of the most important aspects of health maintenance for your cat is preventative medicine – and prevention begins the moment that a cat is born. Staying up-to-date on regular vaccinations, anti-parasitic medications, and other preventative treatments can severely reduce the risk of your beloved pet developing illnesses and diseases. Since regulations regarding what medicines are required of domesticated animals often change, consultation with your veterinarian on an annual basis is necessary to help you ensure that you stay in compliance with policy.
Another key facet of preventative care for cats is maintenence of your pet’s dental hygiene – though it is often overlooked by pet owners. The process of taking care of your cat’s teeth and gums is relatively simple: with a small toothbrush and a pea-sized drop of toothpaste that is specially formulated for your cat’s mouth, gently massage the teeth and gum areas to remove plaque and any other buildup. Cats that are more finicky about the process of having their teeth brushed often can substitute crunchy dental health treats, designed to remove plaque as cats eat, for their brushing routine. Frequently serving crunchy dry food to your cat can also reduce the risk of buildup forming inside its mouth.
Achieving Regular Activity: Both Play and Exercise Are Critical to Cat Health
It is very important for cats to have access to toys and enough space for adequate play each day. Surely, stereotypes tell us that cats are fat, lazy, and lounge around all day – and veterinarians agree that it is healthy for cats to have relaxation time as well. However, play can help build the strength of your pet’s muscles, and staying active can prevent troubles with your cat’s joints and ligaments over time. It is far easier for active cats to maintain a healthy weight through engagement in exercise than simply through calorie restriction.
A Nutritious Diet: A Central Part of a Cat’s Healthy Lifestyle
Perhaps the most important part of a pet’s preventative care routine is the maintenance of a healthy, balanced diet. A cat should have a daily diet of healthy cat food. The ideal cat food brand has a high level of animal proteins, and is chock-full of vitamins and minerals that promote your cat’s health. Look for trusted brands that, unlike generic brands, have certification stamps of their safety, and use meats, carbohydrates, and other ingredients that are natural and of high quality. Access to a fresh bowl of clean water is also a key part of maintaining bodily health for a cat.
Did you know that over 54% of the cat population in the United States is overweight? Veterinarians warn that extra weight is an early indicator of disease, and can lead to kidney failures, heart disease, and other kitty illnesses over time. Weight management is based in part on portion control, but also depends upon the food’s nutritional quality. For more information about what your pet’s particular dietary needs are, consult your veterinarian.
This is a guest post by Lilly Sheperd. She is freelance writer, occasional guest blogger and pet lover.
Continuing our series on crate training, this segment will answer some of the top questions we get when people are considering crate training their dogs or puppies. Our previous posts included why you should consider crate training and the three main steps for crate training your dog. Hopefully by now you know that crate trained dogs don’t view their crates as punishment, but as a refuge in a world that is constantly changing around them. You also know that crate training can be a slow process. That leads us to our first question:
How Long Will Crate Training Take?
The answer to this very common question is “It depends.” It depends on your dog’s age, temperament, personality, and any past experiences they may have had in a crate.
It is very important not to rush the process of crate training. Take your time and only proceed when your dog is comfortable with the last step in the training process. If you move too fast, your dog may become anxious or fearful of the crate. The purpose of your dog’s crate is to provide a safe, comfortable environment where your dog can retreat to if they are anxious, scared, or there is too much excitement in the house.
The crate should always be a safe, welcoming and enjoyable environment, which is why you should never use the crate as a tool for punishing bad behavior. Make sure to provide plenty of treats, praise, fun toys, and love while you are crate training. Your dog will learn to enjoy time in the crate and will begin to use it on his own, without you asking him to go to his crate.
The second most common question we hear has to do with whining. Many puppies have this issue in particular and it can be heart wrenching to listen to. Lets talk about some steps to try if your dog is whining while they are inside their crate.
What do I do if my dog is whining?
You never want to let your dog out of the crate when they are whining. This only serves as a “reward” and they’ve now learned that whining will get them out of the crate. Consider first that your puppy may be whining because he needs to go to the bathroom. Calmly take him straight outside to do his business and return him to the crate without any stops along the way.
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Hi Pet Blog Readers,
Please welcome Jordan with this comprehensive guide on pet care: its everything a new pet owner should know and research before bringing home your very first pet. Our pets are family and living creatures. They should be given the best care and attentiveness you have to offer. Good luck on your pet owning adventures and be sure to add anything you think needs to be added to this guide in the comments section!
Owning a pet is a huge responsibility, especially if you think about pet health. However, this responsibility also comes with a huge reward in the form of the adoration and love that your pet will show towards you. Wouldn’t you see yourself smiling foolishly whenever you see your dogs wagging their tails at you or your cats dozing off on your lap peacefully? It is like the best feeling in the world that you have made such animals feel safe and happy even if they can only express it in their cute gestures.
First Aid Kit
One of the first things that you need to do in order to ensure the safety of your pets is to have a pet first aid kit at home. You never know when your clever yet naughty animals will get into trouble so you better be ready to handle any crisis that will come your way. The kit should have the following things:
- Cotton swabs and balls
- Bandages and sterile gauze pads
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Rubbing alcohol
- First aid tape
- Antiseptic wipes
- Flashlight and batteries
- Eye wash
- Antibacterial ointment
- Mineral oil
- Ice pack and hot pack
- Buffered aspirin
- A bottle of water
- Veterinary documents
- Book on pet first aid
- Other drugs