Tuesday, June 30, 2015

5 Unsuspecting Places Your Dog Is Exposed to Ticks

Many of us are familiar with the blight that is the tick – a disease-ridden, blood-sucking pest of epic proportions. But did you know ticks are found in all 50 states in the U.S. and in every continent around the world, with the exception of Antarctica? We sat down with Jennifer Kvamme, DVM, to get more insight on how easy it is for a dog (even an “indoor dog”) to pick up ticks, as well as a few tips on preventing a full-scale tick infestation.

5 Unexpected Places Your Dog Might Be Exposed to Ticks
1. Dog Park
Play dates at the local dog park is a great way for you to mingle with other like-minded people while your dog gets to frolic about and play with other dogs in an open area. For ticks, the dog park is an all-you-can-eat buffet. They hone in on the warmth, carbon dioxide, and odors our dogs give off, then attach themselves to the skin and begin to feed. Ticks may be lying in wait among the shrubs and grasses around the dog park, or even on other dogs.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Getting Your Kitty to Eat New Food

Q. My cat turned out to be allergic to her food, and my veterinarian told me to switch her to a special diet. But no matter what I do, she won't eat it. I let her go hungry but still nothing. What next?

A. First, never let a cat go without eating for more than a single meal: It can kill them. Cats are susceptible to a condition known as hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease. We don't really know exactly how or why they suffer so much from not eating, or whether there has to be some other cause along with the lack of food that sets off this liver disease. But we do know that affected cats are very sick, and may well die without expensive and difficult treatment.

So what can you do when your cat has to have a change of diet, but has no intention of cooperating?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

What's In A Name: American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull Terrier is one of the "bully breeds" and is often called a pit bull. However, "pit bull" isn't a breed, it's a term used to describe several bull breeds including the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. 

Some people believe the American Pit Bull Terrier IS the American Staffordshire Terrier; others disagree. The confusion apparently began when the AKC made the decision in the early 1930s to give the American Pit Bull Terrier a new name – American Staffordshire Terrier -- to distance the breed from its pit-fighting past.

To further confuse the issue, the American Pit Bull Terrier is not recognized by the AKC, but the slightly smaller American Staffordshire Terrier is.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

What's In A Name: Weimaraner

This breed has only been in existence since the 19th century, when Grand Duke Karl August of Weimar began selectively breeding hunting dogs for certain traits, including speed, an excellent sense of smell, fearlessness in encounters with large game, and intelligence.

As the story goes, August's breed became popular with his fellow Weimar noblemen, and they also made great bird-hunting dogs.

Source: Dr. Becker

Friday, June 26, 2015

10 Basic Flea Facts

Ever wonder what fleas feed on or how long they can live? Well, wonder more. Here are 10 curious facts about those pesky fleas.

1. Fleas have four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, biting adult. 
2. Fleas feed on the blood of their host -- humans, birds, reptiles, and wild and domestic animals.
3. The female flea can lay 2,000 eggs in her lifetime.
4. A flea can live more than 100 days without a blood meal.
5. The female flea consumes 15 times her own body weight in blood daily.
6. A flea can jump up to 8 inches high, or approximately 150 times its own height. That's like if you could leap over tall buildings in a single bound.
7. Pets with fleas may develop anemia, tapeworms or intense bouts of itching (pruritus).
8. Some pets may develop an allergy to flea saliva, which causes severe irritation and itchiness.
9. The best way to check for fleas is with a flea comb.
10. Even though there are more than 2,000 known species and subspecies of fleas, one flea species -- the cat flea -- accounts for most of the dog and cat flea cases found in the U.S.

Source: Pet MD

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Risks of an Outdoor Cat

In a perfect world, it is alright to have our adorable purring friends go outside; however, as we all know it, we do not live in a faultless, picture-perfect realm. While lots of cats enjoy being outdoors where they can explore their surroundings and even hunt prey, it is hardly ever true that going outside is a must for kitty’s happiness. As a matter of fact, playing with your tiny furry friends on a regular basis can easily satisfy their instinct to stalk, keep them well-stimulated, and provide the needed exercise to let them stay happy and healthy indoors.

Common Outdoor Hazards

Below are some of the everyday dangers that outside cats are at risk of:

Infectious diseases.
Outside cats are more likely to get communicable diseases because of their open encounters with wildlife and other outdoor pets.

Bloodsuckers like fleas, ticks, mites, and mosquitos are just waiting for kitty to go outside and come along. Remember that trying to get rid of your house of flea infestation is not only time-consuming but rather costly as well.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What's In A Name: Affenpinscher

In German, "affen" means ape or monkey, and "pinscher" means terrier. That's why the Affenpinscher is also known as the Monkey Dog or Monkey Terrier. It is commonly noted to have a "monkey-like" expression.
This appealing little dog is descended from numerous small terriers that hunted rats and mice throughout Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Affenpinscher is ancestral to the Brussels Griffon and Miniature Schnauzer. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

10 Symptoms a Dog Owner Should Never Ignore

By Dr. Becker

When your dog starts acting strangely or seems a little inexplicably “off,” it’s often impossible to know whether to take a wait-and-see approach, or hit the panic button. This is especially true when the symptoms are characteristic of certain benign conditions as well as life threatening disorders.

The following symptoms fall into the category of Do Not Ignore. They may or may not indicate a serious underlying disease, but they should be investigated immediately by your veterinarian or an emergency animal clinic.

10 Do Not Ignore Symptoms in Dogs

1. Loss of appetite, weight loss. Often, loss of appetite is the very first sign of an underlying illness in pets. There can be many reasons your dog isn’t hungry or refuses to eat, but not eating can begin to negatively impact his health within 24 hours. And for puppies 6 months or younger, the issue is even more serious.

Weight loss is the result of a negative caloric balance, and it can be the consequence of anorexia (loss of appetite) or when a dog’s body uses or eliminates essential dietary nutrients faster than they are replenished. Weight loss exceeding 10 percent of your dog’s normal body weight will be a red flag for your vet. There can be several underlying causes, some of which are very serious.

2. Lethargy, extreme fatigue. A lethargic dog will appear drowsy, “lazy,” and/or indifferent. She may be slow to respond to sights, sounds and other stimuli in her environment.

Lethargy or exhaustion is a non-specific symptom that can signal a number of potential underlying disorders, including some that are serious or life-threatening. If your pet is lethargic for longer than 24 hours, it’s time to make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Monday, June 22, 2015

When Dogs Bite: Were You "Asking for It"?

When my son was seven, each child in the class was asked to draw an animal as part of a story. Being a child of my blood, he of course drew a dog. The little boy who sat next to him started crying.

“Not a DOOOOG!” he yelled. “I hate dogs! They always bite me! Every single one!” As I looked at him in horror, a couple of other kids nodded their agreement.

“More than one dog bit you?” I asked.

“Yes!” he insisted. “They all do!”

So there are two possibilities here: One, this is a little kid who just has terrible luck. After all, I’ve been working in the field every day with dogs longer than he’s been alive and I’ve never had a serious bite. The other more likely possibility, which his parents would probably protest mightily, is this: The kid was asking for it.

Friday, June 19, 2015

10 Ways Your Cat Says ‘I Love You’

By Dr. Karen Becker

1. He grooms you.
Mother cats groom their kittens from the moment they're born, so being licked was one of your kitty's very first feelings of being cared for. Siblings raised together often groom each other throughout their lives. So if your kitty is licking you, she's showing her love for you.

2. She rubs her body against you.
Rubbing is how cats show contentment and affection. If your kitty rubs up against your leg or your face or head butts you, she's putting her scent on you and claiming you as her own. It's important to your relationship and bond with your cat to allow her to rub against you.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

How to Brush Your Dog's Teeth

By Dr. William Rosenblad

Dental disease (especially periodontal disease) is the most common disease in our canine companions. It is also one of the most preventable and treatable diseases. Fortunately, we can reduce or even prevent dental disease by feeding a crunchy diet, appropriate chew treats and toys and daily tooth brushing. 

The following are steps to guide you on how to brush your dog's teeth:

1. Start fresh. The first step is to start with a clean, healthy mouth. Good dental hygiene should start with a young pet with healthy new teeth and gums, or after your pet has had a professional dental cleaning.

2. The right tools. You will need a soft-bristled tooth brush and veterinary toothpaste. Human toothpastes and baking soda may cause problems. Furthermore, veterinary toothpastes have flavors that are appealing to dogs. Anything other than a bristled tooth brush will not get below the gum line, which is the most important area to brush.

3. Do it daily and know your "enemy". There are several important facts about our pets' mouths that tell us when, where and how to brush. Periodontal disease usually affects the upper, back teeth first and worst. Plaque builds up on the tooth surface daily, especially just under the gum line. It takes less than 36 hours for this plaque to become mineralized and harden into "tartar" (calculus) that cannot be removed with a brush. Because of this progression, brushing should be done daily, with a brush to remove the plaque from under the gum line.

4. Make it a routine. Pick a time of day that will become a convenient part of your pet's daily routine. Just before a walk or before a daily treat can help your pet actually look forward to brushing time. Take a few days to let both of you get use to the process. Follow with praise and a walk or treat each time.

5. Train your dog to let you brush his teeth. Start by offering your dog a taste of the veterinary toothpaste. The next time, let him taste the toothpaste, then run your finger along the gums of the upper teeth. Repeat the process with the tooth brush. Get the bristles of the brush along the gum line of the upper back teeth and angle slightly up, so the bristles get under the gum line. Work from back to front, making small circles along the gum lines. It should take you less than 30 seconds to brush your pet's teeth. Do not try to brush the entire mouth at first. If all that your pet lets you brush is the outside of the upper teeth, you are still addressing the most important area of periodontal disease – prevention. If your pet eventually allows you to brush most of his teeth, so much the better.

6. Visit the doggy dentist when needed. Even with the best tooth brushing, some dogs may still need an occasional professional cleaning, just like humans. By brushing your pet's teeth daily and curtailing the amount of periodontal disease, you may reduce the frequency and involvement of dental cleanings and provide your pet with a healthier, sweeter smile.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Helping an Arthritic Dog

arthritic dog

When your dog is in pain, you want to help him feel better — fast. Luckily, there are quite a few things you can do to relieve the aches that are an everyday occurrence for dogs with arthritis:

    1. Take your dog in for regular checkups so that your veterinarian can monitor your pet’s arthritis and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan. 
    2. Getting or keeping your dog slim can help by decreasing the load on his joints. Your best bet: feeding your dog the right amount of high-quality food. 
    3. Controlled exercise is a must, (read some tips here) but make sure you carefully monitor your dog while she plays, walks, or runs. If possible, find a soft surface for activity. Your veterinarian can offer more suggestions for getting your dog moving regularly. 
    4. As much as possible, keep your dog warm and dry, since cold and damp conditions can aggravate arthritis. Consider investing in a padded dog bed and apply warm compresses to painful joints. In the winter, make sure to keep them warm outside.
    5. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation to a professional animal massage therapist, as massage can increase your dog’s flexibility, circulation, and sense of well-being. 
    6. Pain medication, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (commonly called NSAIDs), may help relieve pain, and disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs (DMOADs) can also play an important role. Talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog any medication. 
    7. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can be used to help improve joint mobility and support better joint functioning for dogs with arthritis. 
    8. Acupuncture isn’t just for people. This painless technique has shown some success in animals suffering from arthritis. 
    9. If your dog’s arthritis is advanced, surgery may be an option. Ask your veterinarian about the pros and cons of surgery and what you can expect. 
    10. Be sure to take steps to adjust his environment at home. Some things that can help an arthritic dog include: providing soft supportive bedding for his achy joints, using ramps to help a dog get in and out of a car or up to a bed, and putting down carpeting and secure rugs to help him get traction as he walks. 
    dog arthritis
    Remember: A low-stress environment, plenty of affection, and supportive care can help your dog feel so much better.

    This article has been reviewed by a Veterinarian.
    SOURCE: Vet Street

    Tuesday, June 16, 2015

    9 Toxic Plants That an Animal Lover Shouldn't Have in Their Garden, and 3 Plants They Should

    By Alli B.

    Ahh, the garden. A place of beauty, a place of wonder, a place of… danger?

    Unfortunately, this could be the case if you are a pet owner. Sure, your garden may be beautiful, but it also may be hiding dangers that can pose a threat to your pets. Fear not, dear reader, for we have compiled a list of garden plants that may be dangerous to your pet for you to read and share with other pet owners!

    9 common plants that may cause your pet harm if they are planted in your garden:

    1. Rhododendron

    This popular garden flower is not only dangerous for dogs and cats to consume, it also poses a threat to horses, goats, and sheep. Eating these flowers can cause vomiting, excessive drooling, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and possible coma or death in severe cases.

    Monday, June 15, 2015

    5 Common Cat Myths

    Are cats capable of mating with bunnies? Is it true that neutering a Siamese cat will uncross his eyes? Many myths about cats abound, but sometimes it can be hard to distinguish fiction from fact. Here, we set the record straight on five of the most common cat myths. (Oh, and the answer to those first two questions? No and no.) 

    Turkish Vans
    Myth #1: Cats Can't Swim and Hate Getting Wet.
    Perhaps you haven't met a Bengal or Turkish Van — two breeds known for being eager to join their owners in the shower or bathtub. Turkish Vans even sport the nickname Swimming Cats; many members of this smart, athletic breed love to fetch, swim, jump and even perform doglike tricks. If you have a Bengal or Turkish Van, make sure you keep bathroom doors shut and toilet lids down. They tend to like to flush the toilet and drop objects into the toilet bowl.

    Myth #2: Milk is a Good Treat For Cats.
    Most cats are actually lactose intolerant, so drinking milk can cause gastrointestinal disturbances, such as diarrhea and vomiting. Generally, it's best to avoid giving your cat any people food — including milk. 

    Friday, June 12, 2015

    6 Myths About Pet Health

    Myths About Pet Health

    Like that old game of telephone, misinformation has a way of getting around — and around again. Pet care isn’t immune to the game. To help clear things up, here’s a list of some of the most popular misconceptions about pet health and the truth behind them.

    Myth 1: Parasite Prevention Isn't Necessary Year-round

    In truth, many vets want pet owners to think of parasite prevention as preventive medicine. Some parasites, like roundworms, can infect pets at any time of the year, so only continuous prevention is effective against them. To help keep pets safe from fleas, ticks, heartworms and intestinal parasites, you’ll need to administer broad-spectrum parasite prevention medication; many of these products are administered or applied once every month. Your veterinarian will help you choose the products that will be most helpful to your pets.

    Thursday, June 11, 2015

    How to Make an Effective Lost Dog Poster

    By Brandy Arnold
    Your pooch is lost and even if you’ve already posted lots of “Lost Dog” notices all over the neighborhood, there is still no sign of him. Because you want your missing pooch to be found as quickly as possible, you have to improve your poster and make it more effective.

    One great way to increase the chances of finding Fido is to avoid some of the usual mistakes most weary owners commit while crafting their Lost Dog poster. These include making using small unreadable text (remember, most will see your poster from a moving car!), showing a poor-quality photo of the missing dog, as well as trying to write too much information on the flyer.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2015

    6 Annoying Cat Behaviors and How to Stop Them

    We love our cats unconditionally, sometimes in spite of certain habits that leave us scratched up, bleary-eyed and without presentable furniture. As much as we love them, though, we sometimes wish we could eliminate their less appealing behavior — so we've identified six common "bad cat habits" and determined what causes them — and how you may be able to fix them.

    Clawing at furniture, chewing on plastic, jumping onto counters and peeing outside the litterbox are complaints we often receive from frustrated cat owners. You might be surprised to learn that some of these behaviors can be easily corrected with training, though others might indicate an underlying medical problem that your veterinarian needs to check out — and at least one of them might be your fault not your cat's. Read on for our analysis and advice, and let us know in the comments if you've had to address any of these issues!

    Tuesday, June 9, 2015

    How to Stop Your Dog from Begging

    Dog Begging

    When she looks at you with those big eyes...it's so hard to say no. But when company comes over, it can be embarrassing and a hassle! So what can you do to make sure that your dog stops the begging?

    The easiest way to stop your dog from begging? Never to let her begin the habit in the first place.

    When we like the dog's behavior, we say we're "sharing" our food. When we don't like the behavior, we call it "begging." And we foolishly expect our dogs to see the difference.

    Monday, June 8, 2015

    How to Prevent Your Short-Faced Dog From Overheating in Hot Weather

    By Brandy Arnold

    Warm weather can bring on additional challenges for dog owners with brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs, Boxers, Shih Tzus, Pugs, Frenchies, and Boston terriers. Because of these pooches’ short skull shape and nose, they usually have a reduced ability to breathe in air; thus, causing them to overheat more easily than other, longer-nosed breeds. As a result, these pug nosed dogs tend to become more vulnerable to heat-related problems like heat stroke, which can be life-threatening.

    Friday, June 5, 2015

    Tips for Helping Pets Afraid of Thunderstorms

    Today we bring you a guide from Elaine Garley, Animal Communicator. 

    Is your dog afraid of thunderstorms or loud noises? Does he cower under a coffee table? Does she tremble?

    Now is the perfect time to prepare and help your dog with these frightening experiences. Some cats are afraid of storms or loud noises. Remember your dog or cat will feel the barometric changes hours before you notice the storm clouds.

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

    Why Does My Cat Knead Me?

    It’s almost like a state of feline nirvana: Your cat curls up in your lap and rhythmically presses one paw, then the other, with eyes half closed and a trickle of drool running down her chin.