We both want healthy animals. Here are some tips to ensure your pet is healthy, happy and strong.
Posted on Tuesday, July 28 '15
Pet Pointer: Is Grain Free Healthier?
Many pet food companies now advertise their products as grain free. Are these foods healthier for dogs? Are they easier to digest and do they really help control food allergies?
According to Dr. Joseph Wakshlag, Associate Professor of Clinical Nutrition at Cornell, there are no known advantages in feeding a grain free diet.
In human nutrition, people on a gluten free diet avoid grains because many grains contain glutens. This school of thought has now been applied to pet food diet markets although it has not been shown that dogs have gluten sensitivities.
Digestibility is not a problem for dogs that consume diets containing grains since most grains and non-grain sources (such as potato or peas) have similar digestibility. Grain free is not a concern unless your dog has been diagnosed with a food allergy. In this case, a food trial may be indicated where a specific food is eliminated for a specific time. Veterinarians are able to help determine the best diets for pets with a food allergy that may involve grains.
Posted on Tuesday, May 26 '15
Pet Pointer: Former Military Working Dogs Need Homes
Many former military working dogs need homes with loving owners. Some organizations that facilitate adoptions:
The Warrior Dog Foundation
This foundation receives and finds new homes for working dogs, including combat heroes. http://warriordogfoundation.org/faq/
The Military Working Dog School at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas
The School "allows the adoption of military working dogs to law enforcement agencies, former handlers, and other persons capable of caring for these dogs." The application process can take up to 18 months. http://www.37trw.af.mil/unites/37traininggroup/341sttrainingsquadron/
Pets For Patriots
Creates opportunities for veterans to adopt homeless dogs and cats. http://petsforpatriots.org
Posted on Friday, March 20 '15
Pet Pointer: Dog Breeds With The Greatest Risk Of Cancer
A study in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine reviewed causes of death for nearly 75,000 dogs from 1984 to 2004. The following breeds in descending order had the greatest incidence of cancer.
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Golden Retriever
- Scottish Terrier
- Irish Setter
- Airedale Terrier
- Gordon Setter
Lymphomas (cancer that originates in the lymph nodes) are one of the common cancers in dogs. A new study in Biomedical Reports calls mammary cancer one of the most prevalent tumors in female dogs.
Prevention? Studies show that dogs that are spayed early in life are found to be less likely to develop mammary cancer.
Posted on Friday, December 19 '14
Pet Pointer: For Bird Owners!
NEVER use corncob bedding, aspen or pine bedding, coconut shells or any other organic material to line your bird’s cage. These bedding types are notorious for growing dangerous fungi such as Aspergillus that can lead to life threatening pneumonias for your bird. Newspaper should be changed every 1-3 days to avoid buildup of ammonia from urates in the bird’s droppings and bacterial buildup on wasted food that falls to the bottom of the cage.
Posted on Wednesday, December 03 '14
Pet Pointer: What Is The Biggest Misconception About Pet Food Ingredients?
The biggest misconception about pet food ingredients is that it is inferior to what humans eat. Pet food diets may be better than what most of us are eating because of the balance of healthy ingredients. Plus, our pets are routinely fed the same diets with few trips to the fast-food drive-through.
Posted on Wednesday, October 15 '14
Pet Pointer: Is Your Cat Nervous?
Cats with overactive thyroid glands may appear "nervous". The disease (hyperthyroidism) most commonly affects older cats. Other symptoms include a healthy appetite (initially) with weight loss and increased activity. Owners can be fooled into thinking their older cat is doing great because he or she is more active and has lost weight when actually they are seeing early symptoms of hyperthyroidism. The nervousness, increased appetite and activity are due to the revved up metabolism that occurs from elevated thyroid hormones. Another health problem that may cause "nervousness" in cats is hypertension. Cats are well known for their ability to hide illnesses until the disease is well advanced. Watching for behavioral changes can be one of the best early indicators of disease in cats.
Posted on Wednesday, August 20 '14
Pet Pointer: Pets Apparently Influence Sleep
A recent Mayo Clinic study suggests that pets may have an influence on how well you sleep. Patients at the Mayo Clinic completed an extensive sleep questionnaire in 2013, answering questions about number and type of pets, where pets sleep, pet behavior traits, and whether their pets disturbed their sleep.
Of those surveyed, as many as 10% of pet owners felt that their pets disturbed them while they were sleeping. Although few felt that the sleep interruptions were not intolerable, a higher percentage experienced irritation.
Dogs, cats and birds were the most popular pets owned. Reported sleep disturbances included whimpering, whining, wandering, squawking, medical needs, letting pets out and even snoring.
Dr. Krahn, author of the Mayo Sleep study concludes, “When people have these kinds of sleep problems, sleep specialists should ask about companion animals and help patients think about ways to optimize their sleep.”
Posted on Monday, June 30 '14
Pet Pointer: Cats Can Have Arthritis Too
Just like people, cats can have osteoarthritis. Usually seen in older cats, the symptoms can be subtle and hard to detect. It's best to catch the signs of this painful disease early to get them back to their playful selves. If you notice any of these signs in your cat, be sure and take him or her in to your veterinarian to be checked out.
- Decreased grooming - Increased or decreased sleep - Avoiding human contact - Hiding - Doesn't want to be stroked or brushed - Urinating or soiling outside the litter box - Reluctance to jump - Not jumping as high as usual
Posted on Wednesday, February 26 '14
Pet Pointer: Broken or Chipped Teeth in Pets
Common objects that can cause broken teeth in dogs include bones, cow hooves, ice cubes, hard dental chews, hard rubber bones or nylon bones. It is important to do what you can to prevent broken or chipped teeth in your dog. Anything that is HARD and thicker than a pencil in diameter can cause a broken or cracked tooth. Broken teeth often become abscessed causing chronic pain and infections in your pet. Broken teeth should always be treated before they become infected. Because of advances in veterinary dentistry, composites and other treatments can be used to repair broken teeth- so that these fractured teeth rarely need to be extracted. Be sure that your doctor examines the teeth when doing your pet's examination (since your pet can't tell you when they hurt).
Posted on Thursday, February 13 '14
Pet Pointer: Artificial Sweetener (Xylitol) Toxicity in Dogs
Keep chewing gum and other products containing the artificial sweetner xylitol out of reach from your pets since eating these products can result in low blood sugar and potential liver damage. Sugar-free gum is the most common item, but xylitol can also be found in jam, syrups, candy, chocolate, mints and many dental products such as toothpaste (why you should not use human toothpaste on your dog). New products and medications with xylitol have been introduced to markets, including baking goods, ice cream products, Jell-O sugar-free pudding snacks, energy drinks mixes, chewable vitamins, antacids and some prescription drugs. One stick and a half of sugar free gum containing xylitol can poison a 10 lb dog. Seek emergency care immediately (remember to take the box or container with you).