When someone we love – such as a beloved pet – dies, the loss often causes grief and intense sorrow. By physically showing your grief, you actively mourn the death of your beloved pet. This active mourning will move you on a journey toward reconciling with the loss of your pet.
What Should I Do?
Your journey of grief will not take on a prescribed pattern or look like stages. During the period when you are actively mourning your loss, it may help to consider the following:
Acknowledge the reality of the death
Acknowledging the full reality of your loss may take weeks or months, but will be done in a time that is right for you. Be kind to yourself as you prepare for the “new normal” of a life without your beloved pet. Just as it took time to build the relationship with your pet, it will take time to get used to him or her not being there.
Move toward the pain of the loss
Experiencing these emotional thoughts and feelings about the death of a pet is a difficult, but important, need. A healthier grief journey may come from taking your time to work through your feelings rather than trying to push them away or ignore it.
Continue your relationship through memories
Your memories allow your pets to live on in you. Embracing these memories, both happy and sad, can be a very slow and, at times, painful process that occurs in small steps. For example, take some time to look at past photos, write a tribute to your pet, or write your pet a letter recalling your time together.
Adjust your self-identity
Part of your self-identity might come from being a pet owner. Others may also think of you in relation to your pet. You may be “the guy who always walked the big black dog around the neighborhood” or “the friend whose cat always jumped on laps.” Adjusting to this change is a central need of mourning.
Search for meaning
When a pet dies, it’s natural to question the meaning and purpose of pets in your life. Coming to terms with these questions is another need you must meet during your grief journey. Know that it is the asking, not the finding of concrete answers, that is important.
Receive support from others
You need the love and support of others because you never "get over" grief. Talking or being with other pet owners who have experienced the death of a pet can be one important way to meet this need.
Things to Remember
The experience of loss is different for everyone and can present unique challenges.
The deafening silence - the silence in your home after the death of a pet may seem excruciatingly loud. While your animal companion occupies physical space in your life and your home, many times their presence is felt more with your senses. When that pet is no longer there, the lack of their presence – the silence - becomes piercing. It becomes the reality of the “presence of the absence.” Merely being aware of this stark reality will assist in preparing you for the flood of emotions.
The special bond with your pet - the relationship shared with your pet is a special and unique bond, a tie that some might find difficult to understand. There will be well-meaning friends and family members who will think that you should not mourn for your pet or who will tell you that you should not be grieving as hard as you are because “it’s just a cat” or “just a dog.” Your grief is normal and the relationship you shared with your special friend needs to be mourned.
Grief can’t be ranked - sometimes our heads get in the way of our heart’s desire to mourn by trying to justify the depth of our emotion. Some people will then want to “rank” their grief, pitting their grief emotions with others who may be “worse.” While this is normal, your grief is your grief and deserves the care and attention of anyone who is experiencing a loss.
Questions of spirituality - during this time in your grief journey, you may find yourself questioning your beliefs regarding pets and the after-life. Many people around you will also have their own opinions. It will be important during this time for you to find the answers right for you and your individual and personal beliefs.
Obesity is defined as the accumulation of excessive amounts of adipose (fat) tissue in the body. It is one of the most common conditions that we see in pets. There are a number of things that can predispose a pet to being overweight or obese. These include genetics, being spayed or neutered, being on a diet that is too high in fat or calories and also living a non-active lifestyle.
So how can you determine if your pet is overweight? The first thing to do is look at the ribs. If you cannot feel the ribs when you slightly press over the side of your pet's chest, then your pet is most likely overweight. Pets that are overweight also can have extra fat accumulate around the tail and typically do not have a waist.
When examining your pet, Veterinarians can use one of two scales to determine the Body Condition Score of pets. The first scoring system is a scale of 1-5 with 3 being ideal weight and 5 being obese. The other scoring system is a scale of 1-9; when 4.5 is ideal weight and 9 is obese.
Why is it so bad for our pets to be overweight? They are predisposed to a variety of health conditions such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, heart disease and they can overall have a decreased life expectancy.
What can pet owners do if they feel that their pet is overweight?
First, talk with your veterinarian about your pet. It is important to have your pet examined to ensure that they are otherwise in good health. With your help, your veterinarian can help you develop a weight loss plan. This includes calculating the amount of calories your pet needs based on their ideal weight. It will also include a discussion about activities to do with your pet.
Sometimes a diet change may be beneficial. It is always a good idea to decrease the daily amount of treats and snack that may be 'human' food. Sometimes one treat can be the equivalent to humans eating a candy bar. Some owners may feed 4-5 treats per day (that would be 4-5 snicker bars in a day!)
Ways to increase activity include daily walks, daily trips to a dog park and playing fetch for our canine companions. For cats, we recommend moving that food dish around to different spots, using toys that encourage movement and provided cat trees or places to climb.
Veterinarians are there to help pets live as long as possible. They can help you determine the best plan for your pet. There are wonderful stories of pets losing weight and feeling like young puppies again just from the weight loss. Visit petobesityprevention.org for other ideas and resources.
Source: The Growing Problem of Obesity in Dogs and Cats1-3 Alexander J. German4
As your pet ages, many of his basic needs, from diet to exercise, will begin to change. Pets are very good at hiding their health problems, and as an owner, it is our responsibility to keep an eye on them to ensure that you are adjusting his routine to match changes in his body and immune system that make him less able to cope with physical and environmental stresses. Routine exams, preventative medicine and adjustments to your pet's lifestyle can help him stay healthy even as the years creep up.
Different sized dog's age at varying rates, with larger dogs reaching senior status much sooner than smaller dogs. While each dog reaches 'seniorhood' at a different age, most canines become seniors after seven years including cats. It is important to know your pet's age so you know when he becomes a senior and can ask your vet about when you're pet's needs may begin to change.
Many different diseases must be accounted for as your pet ages. Such diseases include arthritis, cancer, cognitive disorders, vision and auditory problems, liver, kidney and dental disease, diabetes, and heart disease. Just as with people, regular health checkups become increasingly important as pets grow older and should be seen at least once every six months. The purpose of these wellness exams is to promote your pet's health and longevity, recognize and control health risks and detect any illnesses in early stages, which may improve treatment options. A typical exam will include health-related questions in order to build a snapshot of your pet's medical history. During the check-up, the vet will check for body tumors, signs of pain, body appearance and condition along with examining the eyes, ear, nose, and mouth for irregularities as well as listening to the heart and lungs. Many times a number of diagnostic tests will be ran including CBC (complete blood count), chemistry screen to check the liver and kidney, urinalysis, thyroid function, and heartworm and fecal test. Baseline laboratory tests should be ran early before your pet becomes a senior as this allows your vet to monitor any developing trends in your pet's health status as it changes from year to year.
As an owner, you should consistently monitor your pet's health between vet visits. Signs to look for include incontinence, lumps, constipation or diarrhea, breathing abnormalities, coughing, weakness, changes in appetite, water intake or urination, stiffness or limping, increased vocalization and uncharacteristic aggression or behavioral changes. Fluctuations in weight can be an early sign of an underlying disease and should be checked frequently. By keeping a close eye on your pet, this will allow a better insight for your veterinarian to be able to recognize abnormalities.
Adjusting your pet's nutrition is very important as these senior foods are designed to have less fat and salt, therefore decreasing the stress on the different body systems. Frequent bathroom breaks are also warranted for a smooth transition into those elderly years to come. These may seem like simple adjustments but they are very important for a happier healthier companion.
Along with being more watchful over your senior pet's health, it's crucial that you keep up with routine preventative care such as parasite prevention, dental care, vaccinations and nutritional management. As your pet's immune system weakens with age, the importance of routine basic care only increases. Always create a comfortable environment for your ageing pet with easy access to food and water and supportive bedding along with old fashioned TLC which is beneficial to both you and your pet.
Undoubtedly, your veterinarian is key to helping in your pet's transition through these senior years, but as an owner, you are also key to your pet's life. Together, your pet is on track for a long and healthy life.
Call today and scheduled your pet's appointment and make sure they are on the healthy track to living a long and happy life.
One of the biggest challenges that dog owners face is managing their pet's weight, especially when the animal also has problems moving or staying active due to joint health issues. A new dog food option -- Hill?s Prescription Diet Metabolic + Mobility -- was introduced this spring designed to help with both challenges.
A member of the Pipestone family was one of the first to try the new product when it became available in April, and has been seeing terrific results.
Max is a ten year old, yellow lab mix that is owned by Pipestone Veterinary Services employee, Kim Lape. He has arthritis in his knees and hips and torn ligaments in both knees.
"When the Metabolic + Mobility product came out, Dr. Weber thought Max might be a good candidate to try it out," said Kim. At the time, Max weighed 102 and was having difficulty with moving around the house and with some of the activities that he had always enjoyed.
Max had been eating Hill's Prescription Diet JD, which was designed for joint issues, and didn't have any issues transitioning to the new food.
"He loves it. He began eating it right away and hasn't had any problems at all," said Kim.
Max has lost just over 10 pounds, weighing in at 91 pounds in September.
"He has had a healthy rate of weight loss, about two percent of his body weight each month, which is exactly where we want him to be at," said Dr. Nicole Weber, small animal veterinarian at Pipestone Veterinary Services.
"Even more important than the weight loss, there has been improved mobility and the positive impact on Max's quality of life," said Kim. "He is now able to go up and down flights of stairs with no problems and is back to some of his favorite activities."
"He is a very energetic and outgoing dog who loves to go on car rides. Before, we had to help him get in and out of the car, but now he is able to climb in by himself," she said.
"The challenges that Max was facing are not unusual," said Dr. Weber. "About 50 percent of the pet population is overweight."
"One of the primary reasons that dogs have arthritis and joint issues is excess weight," she said. "If we are able to decrease their overall weight, we can often improve their arthritic condition without medication."
The Science Diet Metabolic + Mobility dog food contains a special formula of ingredients that helps dogs feel full longer. It contains a synergistic blend of ingredients which works with your pet's unique metabolism. This food combines high levels of omega-3 fatty acids with special fiber blends from fruits and vegetables. This special combination is designed to help pets feel full and satisfied without depriving them of their daily meals. Not only does Science Diet Metabolic + Mobility decrease joint inflammation, but it also helps to rebuild joint fluid, creating comfort.
'One of the hardest things for pet owners to deal with is helping their pets lose weight. They feel guilty about depriving their pets," she said. "With this diet, that isn't a problem because the dog feels full. They are able to decrease total calories without depriving their pets at all."
When the new diet was tested in a blind taste test, dogs were given the food without owners knowing what it was designed to do, said Dr. Weber. The owners were pleased to see the dogs losing weight and moving better as they stayed on the diet.
A dog can stay on the Metabolic + Mobility diet as long it needs to, said Dr. Weber. Once the pet reaches its target weight, they can either stay on this food and increase amount per feeding or switch to another diet option, such as Science Diet JD.
Pet owners should keep an even sharper eye on their animal?s mobility as the weather changes.
"As we are transitioning from warm weather to the colder winter months, pet owners may see a difference in their animal's movement," said Dr. Weber.
"If your pet is getting up more slowly, or showing signs of limping or lameness, he or she may be having difficulty with arthritis or joint issues, and owners should talk to their veterinarian about whether the Metabolic + Mobility diet is a good option for them," she said.
If you have ever lost your pet, you know that terrible feeling at the pit of your stomach that you may never see them again. Microchipping is the best way to make sure your pet makes its way back home.
What is a Microchip?
A microchip is a permanent identification that is placed just under the skin of your pet. If your pet gets lost and is taken to an animal shelter or veterinarian, they will scan the microchip to read a unique ID code. Each ID code is tied to a database with their owner's name, address, and contact information so you can easily be contacted when the pet is found. The best part, it's affordable!
How is it implanted?
It may sound "high-tech," but placing a microchip is a simple procedure. A veterinarian simply injects the microchip (which is about the size of a grain of rice) beneath the surface of your pet's skin between the shoulder blades. The process only takes a few seconds and is similar to a routine shot. Bonus: No anesthetic is required!
Not sure where your pet's chip is registered?
Visit the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool at petmicrochiplookup.org. To update your pet's registration, you'll need your pet's microchip number.
If you haven't already created an account with the manufacturer, you'll need to do that as well so you can access the registration in the future to update their information. Make sure all of the information, particularly your phone number(s) and address, is correct.
Can I track where my pet goes if they are microchipped?
No, the microchip is not a tracking device. Only your veterinarian or a location with a universal scanner can scan your pet's microchip.
A microchip only works if its registration information is accurate!
Take advantage of our Microchip special April 24th- 28th
Normally $60 now ONLY $34.99 (HomeAgain Microchip registration and enrollment included.)
We are approaching some of the most popular holidays of the year, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, which are full of fun decorations and yummy holiday treats. Celebrate the holidays safely by avoiding this list of poisonous or hazardous materials found around your house this holiday season.
Question: My ten year old dog seemed sore after a walk and is now limping on the left hind leg. I gave him an aspirin the last two days, is this something I can continue for his arthritis?
Answer: It has been thought, over the years, that dogs can tolerate and should be given aspirin for pain. In recent years it has been shown that even one microscopic dose of aspirin can cause ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding. Once in their system, aspirin is slowly excreted causing it to linger for almost seven days. Aspirin cannot be combined with many other pain medications that we tend to prescribe. For arthritis in pets, I strongly recommend scheduling a consultation appointment where we assess the source of pain and get the pet started on safer medications. These medications may often be used in conjunction with other joint supplements so we can provide maximum comfort levels while minimizing the risks of long term effects to overall health. In addition to these items, ice and rest do wonders to alleviate some mild cases of discomfort.
If you think that your pet is experiencing discomfort from arthritis or another reason, please give your vet a call to discuss options prior to administering anything from home.
Question: My dog “Abby” has started having accidents in the middle of the night. It seems to happen more often after we have been gone for an extended period of time. Do you think she is mad at us or could it be something else?
Answer: Any time there is a change in pattern of urination, it may be cause for concern. If “Abby” was once able to hold her urine overnight and is now having accidents during the night, I would be concerned about the potential for a urinary tract infection or a bladder stone. I would strongly recommend having her seen for a urinalysis and radiographs (x-rays) to rule out stones. It has been often thought that pets inappropriately urinate out of spite- this is often not the case. They may be urinating behaviorally however for a different reason such as marking and communication. Again, the only way to differentiate the two causes is a thorough case history and physical exam with urinalysis. Once we have a diagnosis of either medical or behavioral we can further discuss ways to clean the environment and potentially stop the unwanted behavior. The sooner a problem of inappropriate urination is addressed, the easier it typically is to correct the problem.
If you have a question you would like to have answered, please submit to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will answer it shortly.
Question: I’ve heard that sugarless gum can be toxic to my dog, is that true?
Answer: There are a lot of myths out there regarding things that can be bad for your furry friends, but unfortunately, this one is indeed true. Sugarless candy and gum can contain an ingredient called xylitol, a common sugar substitute.
There are two different ways that xylitol can have potentially fatal effects. First, the pancreas confuses xylitol with real sugar and then releases insulin to store the “sugar.” The insulin then removes real sugar from the blood stream instead, leading to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. This causes disorientation, weakness, tremors and even seizures.
Higher doses of xylitol can actually cause destruction of liver cells. In the worst cases, this can lead to an inability to clot blood and internal hemorrhage. It is still not understood how xylitol causes liver damage, and not all dogs will experience signs of low blood sugar first before liver damage occurs.
As little as one stick of gum could cause hypoglycemia in a 10 pound dog. It takes about ten times that amount to cause liver damage in a 10 pound dog. If your dog ingests sugarless gum, it is best to get them to their veterinarian right away so that vomiting can be induced. IV fluids and blood monitoring may also be necessary. As always, call you veterinarian if you have any questions.
Question: Why does my animal itch so much?!
Answer: Unquestionably, this is a loaded question, but we can break it down into three basic categories of why your animal might be itching. The categories include, but are not limited to, allergies, skin parasites, and skin infections. Skin allergies can be broken down into a food allergy or an environmental allergy. Environmental allergies are diagnosed by doing a skin test (similar to a scratch test in humans) to find out what the animal is allergic to. Once completed, allergy injections are then given to hyposensitize the patient. A food allergy is treated by feeding a hypoallergenic diet with single unique protein ingredients such as fish, rabbit, duck or venison with a single carbohydrate such as potato or rice and no other treats or chewable supplements can be given for a minimum of eight weeks.
Skin parasites include fleas and a variety of mites which can be diagnosed through a physical exam and skin scraping. Parasitic skin infections are treated with dips and oral anti-parasitic medications. Skin infections are usually secondary to skin allergies and parasites and require antibiotics to resolve it. Without a doubt, skin issues can be very frustrating and time consuming to treat, but there is light at the end of the tunnel with some patience and persistence. Contact your veterinarian if you have any questions, or if you think your pet may have a skin condition.
Question: What is this and why is it green?
Answer: This is a corneal ulcer in the eye of a dog. The reason that it is green is because in order to diagnose a corneal ulcer, we must do a fluorescein stain to see if there is any green uptake indicating an ulcer. A corneal ulcer is a break in the outer layer of the cornea and though initially painful, should heal within 4 to 7 days with appropriate topical antibiotics. However, ulcers that are not healing are deemed complicated and may require surgery to help the healing process. Signs of an eye ulcer include holding their eyelids shut, excessive tearing and blinking, and rubbing their eye on things. If you suspect an ulcer, see a veterinarian immediately because simple ulcers can quickly develop into complicated ulcers which can compromise your dog’s vision.
Question: My cat hates to go to the vet. I have such a difficult time getting her into the carrier, and then when we get there, she hisses and spats at the vet and me. Is there anything I can do?
Answer: I am sorry to hear that your cat gets so anxious and nervous about coming in for a visit. There are some things that can make the experience better for both of you.
First, make sure to get your carrier out a few days ahead of time. Put it in an area that your cat enjoys. You can even place a few treats inside the carrier to encourage her to go inside.
Place a towel in the carrier to make it more comfy for your kitty.
I also recommend purchasing a product called Feliway. It comes in a spray as well as a diffuser. You will want to get the spray. Feliway is a cat pheromone product that can help a cat feel more relaxed. About one hour prior to your veterinary appointment, spray the inside of the carrier with Feliway. About ½ hour prior to your appointment, place your cat within the carrier. Do not feed your kitty the day of the appointment, so that she will be more interested in treats.
When you’re at the veterinarian, check to see if there are any dogs in the waiting room. If there are, ask to be put into an exam room right away.
In the exam room, make sure to open the carrier right away. You can give your cat some treats to help make the experience pleasant. If you have a carrier that the top comes off easily, remove the top. Many times the veterinarian can examine the cat while in the carrier. Let your kitty explore the exam room. Encourage her with praise.
With these tips, your next visit should be a good one.
One of our patients got into some D-con. The owners noticed right away, and we were able to induce vomiting to get it out of her system. She is doing great!
D-con mouse and rat poison contains a chemical that prevents clotting. When an animal ingests the poison, it can take 3-5 days before clinical signs are noticed. Clinical signs include lethargy, coughing, exercise intolerance, vomiting, blood in the stool, pale gums, collapse, nose bleeds, blood in the urine or feces, and bruising. There is an anecdote to the poison, called vitamin K. Many patients who receive treatment survive, but if not caught early enough, ingesting the poison can be fatal.
Patients are treated for at least one month with vitamin K. A blood test to check clotting times should be performed after one month to make sure the patient is no longer affected.
If you see your pet ingest D-con, you should contact your veterinarian right away. If your pet is showing signs of illness and you have D-con in the house, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Question: My 10 year old dog seemed sore after a walk and is now limping on the left hind leg. I gave him an aspirin the last 2 days, is this something I can continue for her arthritis?
Answer: It has been thought over the years that dogs can tolerate and should be given aspirin for pain. In recent years it has been shown that even one microscopic dose of aspirin can cause ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding. Once in their system, aspirin is slowly excreted causing it to linger for almost 7 days. Aspirin cannot be combined with many other pain medications that we tend to prescribe. For arthritis in pets, I strongly recommend scheduling a consultation appointment where we assess the source of pain and get the pet started on safer medications. These medications may often be used in conjunction with other joint supplements so we can provide maximum comfort levels while minimizing the risks of long term effects to overall health. In addition to these items, ice and rest do wonders to alleviate some mild cases of discomfort.
If you think that your pet is experiencing discomfort from arthritis or another reason, give your vet a call and discuss options prior to administering anything from home.
Question: I just got a new puppy! I’m thinking about having her spayed, but I’m very nervous about the procedure. When is the best time to have it done? Someone told me to wait until she is at least one year old or even let her have a litter of puppies first. They said that waiting will help calm her down. Will she get fat after surgery? What should I do?
Answer: That is a great question! There are lots of good reasons to have your new pet spayed. Here are my top five:
1. Help control the pet over-population. There are many unwanted dogs out there due to “accidental” litters.
2. Help prevent “pyometra” or uterine infections. These infections can be fatal without intervention in the form of costly emergency surgery and medical therapy.
3. Prevent certain types of cancer (such as mammary cancer) later in life. Having your pet spayed before her first heat cycle reduces the risk of these types of cancer by 93%! If you wait until after the first heat cycle, but before the second heat cycle, the risk is still reduced by 75%.
4. Younger animals heal more quickly after surgery and have fewer complications.
5. Spaying can actually have positive behavior benefits. Females that are not spayed can have more erratic, aggressive or moody behaviors. These can occur especially around the time of her heat cycles.
It is important to remember that spaying and neutering your pet may slightly decrease their natural metabolism. Weight gain can be avoided by regular exercise and close monitoring of their diet.
In conclusion, we recommend spaying (and neutering) your pets between 4 and 6 months of age. Pipestone Veterinary Services thoroughly examines all of our patients immediately prior to surgery, and use the safest anesthetic drugs and monitoring techniques. We also recommend blood-work that will check for any conditions that may put your pet more as risk for going under anesthesia. All of these things will help minimize her risk to the lowest possible level. Don’t hesitate to ask your vet what their normal procedures are.
Question: My 5 month old lab puppy was just biting at a bee outside a few minutes ago. Now his lips and nose are really swollen. Do we need to do something?
Answer: Your pet is experiencing an allergic reaction to a bee sting. Most reactions to stings will cause some amount of facial swelling, but in severe cases the reaction can lead to respiratory distress or difficulty breathing. If you suspect your pet is having a reaction you can give 1mg per pound of Benadryl (25mg for a 25 pound dog) at home. If the Benadryl doesn’t control the swelling, if the swelling is severe, or if your pet is painful or having difficulty breathing, it is time for an emergency trip to your veterinarian. A shot of steroid will quickly stop even a severe reaction. Prompt treatment for allergic reactions is very effective in preventing any serious complications.
Q: Is chocolate really toxic to my dog? My lab ate a Cadbury egg yesterday and nothing happened.
A: Yes, chocolate is harmful for your pet to eat. The compound that makes it toxic is called theobromine. Theobromine is in all chocolate, but varies in amount depending on the type of chocolate. Milk chocolate has some of the least amounts, while baking chocolate and dark chocolate have the highest amounts. Dogs can not metabolize theobromine the same way that humans can.
The level of toxicity depend on the weight of your dog, the amount they eat, and the type of chocolate that they eat. When your pet eats chocolate, it is best to call your veterinarian right away. Calculations can be done to find out if your pet has eaten too much. Even if not at a toxic level, any amount of chocolate can give your pet an upset stomach and can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, and even pancreatitis. If the amount of chocolate is toxic, your pet can have an elevated heart rate and can even start having seizures and can potentially die as a result. Treatment needs to be started immediately for these pets that eat toxic amounts. Treatment can include induction of vomiting, IV fluids, and administration of charcoal to help bind the theobromine and prevent absorption.
Your lab is probably big enough that the amount of theobromine in the Cadbury egg not enough to cause a toxicity problem, but we recommend you continue to monitor for vomiting and diarrhea. It is still best to keep all chocolate out of reach of your pets at all times.
If you’ve ever lost your pet, you know that terrible feeling at the pit of your stomach that you’ll never see them again. Pet parents find themselves running around plastering posters all over the neighborhood to no avail. Micro chipping is the best way to make sure your pet makes their way back home. A microchip is a permanent identification that can be placed in your pets. If your pet gets lost and is taken to an animal shelter or veterinarian, they will scan the microchip to read its unique dog or cat ID code. And the best part, it’s affordable!
It may sound “high-tech,” but dog and cat micro chipping is a simple procedure. A veterinarian simply injects the microchip (which is about the size of a grain of rice,) beneath the surface of your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. The process only takes a few seconds, and is similar to a routine shot. Bonus: no anesthetic is required! Call your Veterinarian today to discuss getting a micro chip for your furry friend.
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.
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.