Question: I want to make my own dog treats, what ingredients do I need to avoid?
Answer: With all of the treat recalls of recent years, many people have gone to making their own treats. There are many recipe books specifically designed for homemade dog treats. We would hope that the authors would research the ingredients prior to publishing, but it is better to check out the recipe yourself. The main ingredients to avoid in the treats would be grapes, raisins, garlic, onion, chocolate, and macadamia nuts. These ingredients are the main toxic human foods. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure, however the quantity of ingestion is not known. Onions and garlic, while mythically said to keep away fleas, can cause the red blood cells within the blood stream to burst and not be able to carry oxygen. Chocolate has different degrees of cocoa which contains theobromine. This component can cause changes to the heart rate and rhythm which can be deadly in high quantities. Finally macadamia nuts can cause hind limb weakness and ataxia (incoordination) even in small quantities.
Don’t let this list of dog treat don’ts scare you though! There are plenty of healthy and delicious homemade dog treat recipes you can try for your pet! They look so delicious, I don’t know if they would ever make it into the dog bowl!
If you ever have questions about these or any ingredients, feel free to give your vet a call, or visit our website at www.pipevet.com.
Question: “Doc, my 9 month old lab puppy just ate some garbage out of the trash this morning. Since then he vomited three times. What should I do?”
Answer: As with any medical condition, we would be happy to perform an exam at any time, especially if the pet is vomiting severely or becoming dehydrated or lethargic. However, many of these episodes of vomiting are caused by gastritis, an inflammation of the lining of the stomach caused by eating something unusual. Most episodes of gastritis end on their own after a few hours if all food and treats are taken away. So the best thing you can do for your vomiting pet at home is to take away all food and treats for around 12 hours. It is important to continue to let your pet drink water though to prevent dehydration. If after 12 hours your pet seems normal, happy, and has stopped vomiting, it is time to try a little food. If your pet can keep that food down and continues to act normally, you probably just survived a minor episode of gastritis. Never hesitate to call your vet though if your pet continues to vomit, if you think your pet ate an object like a sock or toy, if your pet seems painful, or if you have any other concerns regarding your vomiting pet.
For this edition, I am going to cover some of the most commonly asked questions while in the exam room.
Question: I think my dog has worms. I caught him scooting on his bottom the other day. How do we treat him?
Answer: Often times when a dog is seen scooting, all it indicates is some kind of irritation of the rectum. The most common cause of this irritation is full anal glands (scent marking glands). The scooting is a way for the dog to try to release these glands by applying pressure to them. Other reasons for scooting could include allergies, feces stuck to the rectum, or potentially parasites. A good history and examination of the anal glands can help to differentiate the causes of the scooting.
Question: My dog’s nose is wet/dry/hot/cold. What does this mean?
Answer: The nature of a dog’s nose being wet or dry, hot or cold is all a fairly good wives tale. The temperature of a dog’s nose is not a good indicator of a fever or overall wellness. If you think that there may be a fever, a rectal temperature should be taken. A normal temperature for dogs and cats range from 99.5F-102.5F. The dog or cat can certainly still be at a normal body temperature of 101F or 102F and feel hot to a human’s sense of touch.
Questions: Why do cats spray? How do I stop it?
Answer: First and foremost, one must differentiate if the cat is spraying (also called marking) or having inappropriate elimination. This differentiation is extremely important in order to diagnose the correct cause and administer the appropriate treatment. Urine marking consists of the cat standing with the tail up and twitching and usually has an underlying anxiety component such as moving to a new house. Where inappropriate elimination consists of the cat squatting to urinate and is due to either medical abnormalities like a urinary tract infection or undesired environmental factors like a dirty litter box. One must understand that urine marking is NORMAL feline communication and that the cat does not know it is undesirable to the owner therefore, punishment is NEVER acceptable in any circumstance! Thankfully, treatment is available and consists of environmental modification and/or pharmacological treatment which may include antibiotics or anti-anxiety medications. The sooner that treatment is initiated, the greater likelihood we have a chance to stop the inappropriate behavior.
Did you know, despite what we think, that cats NEVER purposely urinate in inappropriate places just to spite us. If you think about it, cats can’t talk! That’s no news to anyone! So they must communicate in a different way to let us know something is not quite right.
Cats don’t realize that urinating in places other than the litterbox is undesirable to us humans, but what they do know is something has made the litterbox unpleasant. Whether it’s behavioral or medical, both are treatable conditions! Behavioral conditions can include simple little changes that we many times don’t realize how stressful it can be to a cat. Such stressors include adding a new pet to the family, buying a different brand of litter or not having enough litterboxes available. Medical conditions include urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and so on. Without question, always, ALWAYS consult your veterinarian in times like this. We are more than happy to help in any way we can to make living with your pet enjoyable!
Question: My dog gets really nervous when he rides in the car, and often throws up. What can I do to keep this from happening?
Answer: Your dog might actually be getting car sick, or he may have anxiety about riding in the car.
Try to ease your dog into the “car” experience. You can start by getting in the car with your dog, but not starting it. Sit in the car with your pet for a few minutes, and reward them if they are calm. Try this a few times. Next, get in the car with your dog, start the car, but do not go anywhere. Again, reward your dog with praise! Finally, drive a short distance, continuing to reward your pet while they are calm. Little by little, increase the distance that you drive. It helps to make riding in the car an enjoyable experience. Go for a ride to the park or to visit a doggie friend! Try to make sure that not every trip in the car with your dog ends up with a visit to your vet clinic.
If the vomiting still seems to be an issue, it may be car sickness or motion sickness. To avoid a potential mess, it is best to withhold food from your dog at least 3-4 hours prior to going in the car. There are medications that can be prescribed if this is the case. Always contact your vet if you have concerns of questions.
These are heartworms that have been removed from a dogs heart. Not a pretty sight!
Heartworm disease is a serious condition caused by worms living in the arteries of the lungs and occasionally in the right side of the heart. Did you know that dogs and cats of any age or breed are susceptible to infection?
Ready to get a little nerdy? Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes that become infected while taking a blood meal from an infected dog. When the mosquito then bites another dog or cat (like your pet,) larvae are deposited on the skin. The larvae then take a 2 month road trip through the connective tissue, under the skin, then pass into the animal’s blood stream and are quickly transported to the arteries of the lung. It takes a total of approximately six months for the infective larvae to mature into adult worms that begin producing offspring. Adult heartworms can live for five to seven years in the dog.
The consequence of these worms residing in the dog is the development of problems with their lungs and heart, like heart failure. Many dogs do not show any signs of heartworm disease until the disease is in advanced stages. It is important to test dogs on a regular basis in order to catch the disease before it gets to that point. The American Heartworm Society encourages testing on an annual basis. When was the last time your pets were tested for heartworms?
Don’t let your pets heartworm end up in your heartache! It is very easy to prevent heartworm disease. It can be as simple as giving your dog a tablet once a month all year round. There are topical forms of the medication as well. Call you vet to discuss the options for your pet.