Monthly Archives: May 2015

Summer Safety Tips for Dogs

summer-safety-tips-for-dogs

Summer is a great season to be a dog. Hikes, and beach days are just some of the things that make most dogs literally jump for joy. However, there are plenty of ways our dogs can get hurt during these active months. No need to worry. With this list of tips, you and your dog will be enjoying the summer weather without a care in the world.

Beating the Heat

It should come as no surprise that heat poses a major risk for dogs in during the hottest months. Unlike us, dogs can’t shed their furry coats like we can with layers of clothing. So, while you are lounging in swim-wear, your dog might be struggling to stay cool under all that hair. In extreme cases, dogs can get heat stroke, which is signified by excessive panting and drooling, vomiting, and collapse. If you suspect your dog of suffering from heatstroke, you will want to make an immediate trip to the vet. With these tips, hopefully it will not come to that.

Walk Your Dog at Cool Times Of Day

The temperature between the hours of 11AM and 5 PM can be sweltering for a dog. Consider taking your dog out when the sun isn’t directly overhead, beating down on your dog’s fur. The outdoor temperature drops significantly before 10AM and after 7PM. Plus, getting a head start on the day by going out in the morning can make you feel good too. And if you’re not a morning person, surely you can appreciate a nice summer sunset.

Keep Off the Pavement

Walking around with bare feet on hot pavement is no pleasant experience for us humans. And while your dog’s paws may be more used to rugged terrain, walking on surfaces hot enough to cook an egg is no treat for them either. Give their paw pads a break and take them to a park or a wooded trail so they can run around on the grass or in the shade.

Don’t Leave Your Dog in a Car

Every summer, local news broadcasts across the country air multiple stories about dogs (and children) who are left inside hot cars and do not make it out alive. And yet, every year, more cases pop up. So just in case you are one of the few people who remain unaware of the dangers of leaving your pets in a hot car, this tip is for you. Don’t do it. The inside of a vehicle can rise to 120 degrees in mere minutes, quickly turning the car into a death chamber for our furry friends. Even with the windows cracked, consequences are often fatal.

Instead, get a friend to watch your dog, or use the drive through. You could also reward pet friendly stores with your business and bring your dog shopping with you.  None of us want to see our pets die of heatstroke, so make sure your dog is in a safe place when you run your errands.

Give Your Dog Cooling Options

When you’re hot, what do you do? Perhaps you turn on a fan or mix up an icy cold beverage. Your dog might appreciate the same opportunities. Consider tilting a fan to ground level so the dog can enjoy the cool breeze. You could also add ice cubes to its water to turn down your dog’s core temperature. Your dog might not be able to enjoy a nice slushy piña colada, but some cool ice water on a hot day is something both humans and dogs can enjoy.

Keep an Eye on Your Dog’s Water Levels

During the hot summer months, your dog will surely be drinking more water. Your dog is using the water to survive so it is important that you keep it replenished on a frequent and consistent basis. If you are lucky, you might even live near some trails with water fountains and taps for dogs. Try to frequent these areas on your walks.

Engage in Proper Grooming

The state of your dog’s coat is very important when the temperature rises. It needs to be long enough so that it is protected from the sun, but also manicured to the extent that your dog can be comfortable in the heat. Brush your dog regularly to untangle your dog’s coat and get rid of excess hair. You may even consider giving your dog a haircut (with guidance from your vet).

Avoiding Environmental Hazards

The heat isn’t the only thing dogs and their humans need to watch out for during the summer months. During the summer, there are numerous dangers in the environment which can negatively impact your dog’s health. Here are some things to look out for.

Insecticides

You and your neighbors want to enjoy your yards without having to deal with pesky bugs ruining the party, but you may want to think about how the insecticides being used may impact your dog. How heavy-duty are these insecticides? Are they safe for your dog to be around? What if your dog ate something that was sprayed with these chemicals? These are questions you need to ask yourself before you allow your dog to run freely in the yard.

One major kind of pesticide to avoid is disulfoton pesticide. Ingestion of this pesticide by dogs can lead to seizures, vomiting, diarrhea and even death. Even more troubling, is the fact that disulfoton pesticide is particularly appetizing to dogs, like a toxic salad dressing. Dog owners are advised not to use this sort of pesticide in their yards.

Parasites

If worrying about harmful insecticides wasn’t bad enough, we also need to be aware of all of the parasitic insects whose populations surge in the summer. Fleas, ticks, chewing lice, mites and mosquitos all want to feast on the delicious, nutritious (from a bug’s perspective) blood of your dog, which can lead to heartworms, Lyme disease and many other terrible conditions. In many cases, if these conditions are left untreated, the consequences can be fatal. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to combat these tiny blood-sucking critters and prevent heartworm and other diseases.

In order to prevent flea and tick infestations, a monthly preventative flea medication is a great option. Flea medications like Frontline Plus kill adult fleas as well as their eggs/larvae, making your dog’s coat inhospitable to fleas. Frontline Plus also kills ticks. Advantage for dogs is another option if you are just trying to target fleas.  If you are worried about heartworm, speak to your vet about getting a preventative heartworm medication like Heartgard Plus  or Nuheart.

Fertilizer

Much like insecticide, fertilizer can be toxic to dogs. They can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even death. If you come across freshly fertilized soil during your walks or on your neighbor’s lawn, don’t let your dog play in it.

Herbicide

You may want to go the chemical route to getting rid of the weeds in your garden and driveway, but give it a second thought. The chemicals in many herbicides can be harmful to your dog. If you have neighbors who use herbicide, keep your dog away from their lawns until such time that the treatment has been absorbed by the ground below. If you really want to play it safe, a natural alternative to chemical herbicides is corn gluten meal which is considered to be safe for dogs.

Waterborne chemicals

Like any one of us, most dogs love a nice dip in the ocean or pool on a hot day. However, our dogs may not be fully aware of all of the chemicals us humans have applied to them. If you are down by a beach, take care to ensure that the particular beach has not been the site of any oil spills, or waste/chemical dumping. If you are by a swimming pool, know that chlorine can be a skin irritant to dogs and can also lead to an upset stomach if ingested at high volumes. To avoid your dog ingesting pool water, ensure that your dog is getting enough fresh water outside the pool. You may even want to get a small kiddie pool just for your dog and fill it up with the hose.

Allergens

Many common allergies in dogs are in full swing during the summer months. This includes pollen, mold, and fleas. If you are not aware of any particular allergies in your dog, be on the lookout. The signs of allergic reaction in dogs are much like those in humans. Itching, sneezing, coughing are all indicators that your dog’s allergies could be acting up. If you suspect your dog might be allergic to something in its environment, talk to a veterinarian. They may prescribe an atopic dermatitis medication like Atopica or they may advise you to give your dog an Anti-allergen pet shampoo.

 

After reading this, it may sound as though summer is fraught with danger and peril for dogs. Don’t worry. Now that you know what to look out for and the best practices of dealing with the summer environment, you and your dog are already ahead of the game.

Dental Health Care For Cats

Dental Health Care For Your Cat

Dental health care for your cat is overlooked most of the time and is not given the time or the attention that it needs. In reality, it is just as important as your cat getting their tick and flea medications and vaccines.

This maybe because you assume that cats are not prone to dental health problem as humans are. However, cats are known to develop gum disease which can be linked to many health related problems. This is why it is important to keep on top of your cat’s dental care.

Unlike humans cats are not capable of keeping their teeth clean on their own which means they would need your assistance. If you take the time to make sure that your cat’s oral and dental health is in good condition it will benefit them in the long run by living a healthy and long life.

It will help reduce plaque and tartar, decrease the risk of an oral infection and help prevent bad breath. In addition, it will help decrease chances heart, liver and kidney disease that are sometimes caused by poor dental health care.

Here is some quick information to help you as a pet owner make sure that you cat is getting the dental care and attention that they need to stay healthy:

Steps That You Can Take To Ensure Clean Teeth & Gums

Keep a Routine: Creating or starting a teeth cleaning routine when your cat is just a kitten is a great idea. This is because it will allow your cat to get used to the idea which will make the process a lot easier.

Breathe Check: To check if your cat’s dental health is good do a quickly breathe check. If you smell a mild fishy smell that is normal. However, if you experience a smell that you cannot tolerate than it is a good hint that you cat is suffering from oral problems, gum disease and/or tooth decay.

Yearly Check-ups: Just like humans cats also need a yearly dental check-up to diagnose dental health concerns and/or issues that you cannot see as a pet owner.

Gum massage: To help your cat avoid tooth decay, inflammation and/or infection in the gums massage your cat’s gums as often as you can. If the gums are a pink color then you know that they are healthy.

A Clean Diet: To make sure that your cat’s dental and oral health is at its optimal level make sure you feed them a combination of wet and dry food. It also helps when you vary their meats in their daily diet.

Let Them Chew: To help ensure your cat to have strong teeth and bones that it is a good idea to let them chew on toys and bones. Keep in mind when letting your cat chew on bones that they are safe so it won’t become a hazard and/or health risk.

What to Look For?

It is a good idea to do daily checks of your cat’s mouth to look out for anything that may be a health concern. Some of the things that you should look for include:

  • Redness in color with gums
  • Swollen or inflamed gums
  • Ulcers on gums and/or tongue
  • Loose teeth
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Excessive drooling
  • Bleeding of gums

What Should You Have in Your Cat’s Toothbrush Kit?

  • Cotton swabs
  • Small toothbrush
  • Toothpaste for cats

How to Introduce Teeth Cleaning to Your Cat?

  1. Introduce the idea of teeth cleaning by massaging your cat’s teeth and gums with your fingers.
  2. Introduce the taste of toothpaste by putting a little in your cat’s mouth.
  3. Introduce the toothbrush slowly if your cat does not like it there is always the option of using gloves that are meant for cleaning your cat’s teeth.
  4. Now you are ready to apply toothpaste to the toothbrush to begin cleaning your cat’s teeth.

Hot Spots On Dogs Not So Hot

Hot Spots On Dogs

Hot Spots are an uncomfortable infection that dogs can develop during any age and any time of the month.

They are painful and uncomfortable; this is why it is important to educate yourself as a pet owner to help prevent the development of hot spots occurring on your dog.

Here is a guide to hot spots that will answer all of your questions and concerns:

What are Hot Spots?

Hot Spots are a condition that many dogs will face once in their lifetime. It is when an area of your dog’s skin has become inflamed and infected.

This condition can be extremely painful, itchy and uncomfortable. Usually hair loss is visible and the area that is affected is moist, has an oozing appearance and gives off an odor.

If your dog is consistently licking and chewing the infected area it can become worse.

Symptoms of Hot Spots:

As a pet owner, it is important to recognize the symptoms of hot spots, so you can react quickly and get treatment for your dog.

Here is a list of possible symptoms that a dog may have if they have a hot spot:

  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Hair loss
  • Lesion
  • Inflamed skin
  • Highly agitated
  • Area is tender

What Causes Hot Spots On Dogs?

Hot spots are usually developed by anything that causes itchiness. Therefore, allergies are the most common cause. This can include environmental allergies, food, ticks, fleas, mites, insect bites, heat, skin wounds, and infections.

Furthermore, hot spots can be caused by consistent licking and chewing of the skin which can be caused by stress and/or boredom. In addition, if your dog is not regularly groomed this can also cause the development of hot spots.

Additionally, dogs that have thick coats and/or long hair are proven to be affected from hot spots.

How to Treat Hot Spots?

When it comes to any infection or concern with regards to your pet, it is important to talk to your veterinarian. The steps that are usually taken are to clear the bacterial infection, stop itching and pain and find the root cause.

But here are some common techniques to help get rid of hot spots on your dog:

Clip the Surrounding Hair

It is important to clear the hair from the infected area. This will allow applying of tropical medications directly to the wound. Also if hair is covering the hot spot it can create larger and more severe problems.

Clean Infected Area

It is important to keep the infected area clean, as this area is prone for bacterial infections. This can make the symptoms worse and more painful. Simply use cool water and a gentle skin cleanser that is recommended by your veterinarian.

Keep it Cool

Hot spots can become warm which will cause your dog to itch and chew the area; this can cause serious infections and make the hot spot worse. This is why applying a cool wet cloth can help reducing the heat and itchiness that hot spots can cause.

Oral Medications

Depending how large and severe the hot spot is, your veterinarian may give you pet meds to help speed up the healing process. Usually, they would give you oral antibiotics, tropical creams, and sprays.

Find Out the Root Cause

It is important to find out what is actually causing the hot spot to develop on your dog so you can help prevent your dog from developing it again.

E-Collar

An E-Collar is another resource you can use to help prevent you dog from itching, licking and biting the area so the area can heal faster.

How to Prevent Hot Spots?

It is important to learn how to prevent hot spots as a pet owner so you can make sure that your dog never suffers from this painful condition again.

Here is a list of prevention measures that you can take:

  • Regular grooming
  • Clipping of hair coat (especially in the summer)
  • Flea and tick medication
  • Stress-free environment
  • Reduce boredom

 

Does Your Pet Have Arthritis? Look for the Warnings

dog-arthritis
Arthritis is a disorder which affects many of us in our old age. It is a condition which is typically characterized by constant pain in the joints and severely decreased mobility. What’s more troubling about this disorder is that it is not only found in humans but in our pets as well.

While we can make an appointment with a doctor and seek relief as soon as we feel arthritic pain, our animals are not so lucky. They are not able to clearly communicate what they are feeling, and must deal with the pain in their joints until someone takes it upon themselves to help them. That’s why we should be hyper-aware of when our pets appear to be feeling pain so we can get them the treatment and relief they need.

So how do we know when our cat or dog might be arthritic? The list of warning signs below should give you a good idea of when to go to the vet and stop at the pet pharmacy.

Decreased Agility and Difficulty with Movements

If you have lived with your pet for a long time, this is one of the most obvious warning signs. You may notice that your cat can’t jump up on the kitchen table to steal your food anymore, or that your dog no longer comes bounding up the stairs at lightning speed. This is an indicator that your pets are feeling pain from these motions and are therefore, no longer able to accomplish them.

Lack of Willingness to Move

If your dog won’t move from its chosen comfy spot, it probably isn’t because she has gotten lazy from the domesticated pet lifestyle. What’s more likely is that she is in pain from joint inflammation and it hurts to move around. If you are noticing your pet sleeping longer or becoming resistant to walking long distances, arthritis may be the culprit.

A Hunched Back

In pets, arthritis not only affects the joints of the limbs and extremities but the spine as well. If you are noticing a change in your pet’s posture like a hunched back, you may want to investigate further.

Increased Irritability

What sort of mood would you be in if your joints were a source of constant pain and you couldn’t do any of the fun physical things you once loved? Would you be a little crabby? Your pets are no different. If you are noticing that your cat or dog is reacting poorly to your affectionate petting, don’t take it personally. You may be inadvertently exacerbating their symptoms by stimulating areas of pain caused by arthritis.

Thinning Limbs

An advanced symptom of arthritis is muscle atrophy caused by lack of use of leg muscles. This leads to limbs with degenerated muscle tissue which gives the appearance of being thinner.

Warm and Swollen Joints

Arthritis can cause swelling around the joints. If your cat or dog’s joints feel tender, swollen and warm, take them to a vet to get a physical exam.

Biting of the Limbs

Licking, biting and chewing of the limbs are your pet’s way of trying to remedy the discomfort they are feeling. If you notice your pet doing this excessively, to the point of loss of hair or breaking of the skin, this is your clue that something is wrong.

What Next?

So you have noticed one or more of these symptoms. What do you do next? Well the obvious first step would be to take them to a vet and get have them undergo a physical examination. Your vet will ask you about the history of the pet, when you first noticed the symptoms, and search for swelling and areas of discomfort. If/when your pet is diagnosed with arthritis, you may receive a prescription for arthritis pet medicine like Rimadyl (Carprofen) or Previcox. Before paying for expensive pet medications at the vet, remember that you can get cheap pet meds online at Petcarechoice.com.