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Is Dental Care Necessary for My Pet?

We all know dental care is important for us, but is it really necessary for our pets? Will it really make a difference if we brush their teeth daily?

The answer is yes! Dental care for pets is just as important as it is for humans. Your pet’s dental health is critical to their overall health. Dental issues can cause health problems in other parts of your pet’s body to occur. This makes it extremely important to implement a dental hygiene routine in addition to having your pet’s teeth and gums evaluated by their veterinarian at a minimum, once a year. Routine veterinarian visits allow veterinarians to evaluate your pet for early signs of health issues and well as maintain your pet’s dental hygiene.

Pets may have symptoms of dental health issues. Signs to look for include:

-Swelling in or around the mouth

-Broken or loose teeth

-Loss of appetite

-Bleeding from the mouth

-Bad breath

If your pet is suffering from any of the mentioned symptoms, schedule a visit with the veterinarian. Your pet’s veterinarian may suggest a variety of treatment plans if your pet is having any type of issue.

One of the best things you can do for your pet’s dental health is preventative care. Brushing your pet’s teeth and providing dental chews can make a world of a difference.

While it can be challenging to do so, brushing your pet’s teeth is very effective in preventing any dental issues. Many pets don’t like to have their owners brush their teeth, but starting this routine early on in your pet’s life will create a healthy habit and be effective in avoiding dental issues for your pet.

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Warm Weather Safety Reminder

The beautiful sunshine and long warm days are a perfect excuse to get outside with your dog. However, Spring quickly turns into Summer and the weather becomes increasingly warm and potentially dangerous. It’s important to remember dogs can easily become exhausted and possibly ill due to the heat. Keep the following tips in mind to ensure you and your dog stay safe in the heat:

Never leave your dog unattended in a car. While this is clearly common sense, every year there are too many reports of dog’s dying due to their owner’s negligence.

Shade is key. If you’re going to be outside with your dog, it’s best to limit the amount of time he is in direct sunlight. Keeping him in shaded areas and giving him rest breaks will help avoid over exhausting your dog.

Keep your dog hydrated. He should have access to water at all times. If you take him outdoors for an adventure make sure you bring water and a bowl with you.

Keep an eye out for signs of heat exhaustion. If you notice your dog panting heavily, excessively drooling, vomiting, or showing signs of lethargy, take caution! Take immediate action to cool your dog down. Place them inside with the air conditioning on and a fan pointed towards them. A cool bath may help also, but adding ice may worsen things. Call your dog’s vet. It’s always better to air on the side of caution. The vet may suggest you come in, if so take this advice seriously.

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Many dogs have ear infections that go undetected. A dog’s ear canal is vertical which allows moisture as well as debris to easily become backed up in the ear canal. Extra hair, moisture, wax, allergies, ear mites, or yeast can cause a dog to have an ear infection. Ear infections can become very painful to dogs, just like they can become to humans.

How Do You Know if Your Dog is Suffering From an Ear Infection?

If you notice your dog have any of these symptoms it’s possible they may be suffering from an ear infection:

-Odor coming from their ear

-Hair loss near their ear

-Loss of balance

-Scabs on outside or inside of the ear

-Hearing loss

-Walking in circles

-Swelling

-Head shaking

-Scratching or rubbing at their ear

What Should You Do if Your Dog is Demonstrating Any of Those Symptoms?

The first step is to take him see his veterinarian. They will examine your dog’s ear canal and ear drum. Sometimes a sample of your dog’s ear discharge may be taken to determine whether bacteria, yeast, or parasites are present.

If your dog’s veterinarian diagnoses your dog with an ear infection they will clean your dog’s ear thoroughly. While this may temporarily cause your dog some discomfort, it is vital to clearing the infection up. In addition, your dog’s veterinarian will prescribe your dog a topical or oral medicine. It’s crucial to ensure your dog receives the treatment suggested by their veterinarian to clear up any infection.

How Can You Prevent Your Dog From Having Ear Infections in the Future?

Many times the cause for an ear infection is due to the ear canal becoming moist after swimming, bathing, or grooming. The moisture remaining in your dog’s ear fuels the growth of bacteria. Ensuring your dog is dried off properly can make quite a difference. However, some dogs easily get ear infections due to allergies. Determining whether your dog is getting ear infections due to moisture or allergies will help greatly in lessening the chances of your dog obtaining an ear infection.

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Catnip Cat Treats

If your cat is like most cats, she probably goes crazy for catnip. If you feel like doing something extra special for her, consider making her some homemade cat treats! Not only are homemade treats sure to please her, but they are also very healthy for her. The following recipe has all sorts of goodies she’s sure to love including catnip!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablspn. Catnip
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1 Tblspn. Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Non-Fat Powdered Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Beaten Egg
  • 1/2 Cup Cooked and Chopped Chicken

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and grease cookie sheet.
  • Combine all ingredients until dough forms. Shape dough into dime sized balls. Place and flatten dime sized balls on cookie sheet.
  • Bake treats for 10 minutes and then flip treats and bake an additional 10 minutes.
  • Allow treats to cool and watch your kitty cat enjoy!
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Are My Dog’s Watery Eyes Normal?

It’s normal for your dog’s eyes to water a bit occasionally, but if you notice constant amounts of drainage it may be a sign of a condition. Epiphora is a condition that creates an overflow of tears  in dogs due to the shape of their eyes. In addition to the shape of the eyes, turning in of the eyelashes as well as the eyelid can cause Epiphora. This overproduction of tears is commonly seen in Pugs, Shar Peis, Shih Tzus, Pekingese, and Bulldog breeds.

Symptoms:

  • Inflammation
  • Squinting
  • Discharge
  • Ulcers
  • Saggy skin around eye
  • Redness and/or irritation

If your dog has any of the symptoms listed above, they may suffer from Epiphora. It’s not uncommon for these symptoms to cause staining on your dog’s face. The condition may be due to one or a combination of the following factors:

Causes:

  • Sinusitis
  • Nasolacrimal blockage
  • Foreign bodies
  • Inflammation due to infectious and/or immune-mediated reasons
  • Cornea scratches/ulcers
  • Glaucoma

In order to diagnose your pet with Epiphora their veterinarian will perform a physical exam. Factors such as background history of symptoms and possible events that might have precipitated your pet’s condition will be considered. Radiographs may be required to look for lesions in the sinus or nose area. A culture of any material in your dog’s eyes will be taken for analysis.

If your dog’s veterinarian determines your dog is in fact suffering from Epiphora, the first step will be to determine and treat the cause of the eye irritation. Treatment will vary depending on the cause of your dog’s irritation. Medications will vary on the cause of irritation as well. Commonly prescribed medications for Epiphora include topical antibiotic ointments and pain relieving ointments.

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Corneal Abrasions in Dogs

The cornea is the outer layer that is transparent at the front of the eye. Due to the delicate nature of the cornea, any material in the eye or trauma to the eye can easily result in a corneal abrasion. Many dogs go their whole life never suffering from this type of injury, while certain breeds may commonly experience this injury due to their large eyes.

 Common Causes for Corneal Abrasions Include:

  • Running through heavy vegetation
  • Deformity in the structure of the eye
  • Fights or playful swatting with other animals
  • Foreign bodies in the eye

If you’re not familiar with corneal abrasions but you notice your dog exhibiting any of the following symptoms, you should take them to the Veterinarian for treatment:

Symptoms:

  • Blinking Rapidly
  • Swelling
  • Pawing or scratching the eye
  • Redness

If your dog’s veterinarian determines there is a foreign body in the eye causing your dog’s abrasion, the foreign body will be removed and your dog’s eye will be examined for further injury. Treatment will depend on how severe the injury is along with what part of the eye was injured. Typically your dog will need to wear a cone until the abrasion heals to prevent scratching. In addition, atropine or antibiotic eye solutions may be prescribed to aide in your dog’s healing.

Most corneal abrasions are treatable with medications, but there are instances when abrasions are wide or deep and require suturing.

Prevention:

To avoid corneal abrasions consider the following suggestions:

  • Take care when introducing your dog to other pets that may paw at their face
  • Discourage your dog from running through dense vegetation
  • Discourage your dog from rough housing with other animals, even if it’s playful
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Update Your Pet’s Identification Tag

This is a friendly reminder to update your pet’s identification tags and remember to keep them on your pet at all times. Sadly, accidents happen, pet’s get spooked or curious and every day pets go missing. Whether your pet is an inside or outside pet, it’s very important to keep a collar with their identification tag on them at all times. In the event your pet goes missing, their identification tag will aide in their safe return.

If your pet is microchipped it’s an added bonus. However, if your dog is microchipped but has no identification tag and becomes lost, any individual who may try to find the owner will need to take your pet to the nearest vet or shelter. While many individuals would go out of their way to help a pet who appears to be lost, sadly some individuals may not. However, keeping an identification tag on your dog allows any individual who finds your pet to easily contact you.

An identification tag greatly increases the chances of your lost pet coming back home to you. It’s important to keep your pet’s tag on them at all times and ensure the correct and updated information is on the tag.

Information included on your pet’s identification tag should include:

  • Your pet’s name
  • Your first and last name
  • Your address
  • Your Phone number

 

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Is Your Cat Suffering From a Hot Spot?

Have you ever noticed a patch of fur missing on your cat’s body? It could be bald or it can resemble a lesion with fluids oozing. Does your pet seem to be constantly bothered by the spot and lick it? Your cat may be suffering from a hot spot. A hot spot is an area of infected, inflamed skin located on a cat’s thigh, tail, neck, or head.

What Causes a Hot Spot?

Allergies- You cat may suffer from a type of allergy. For example, your cat may allergic to a type of food, a household cleaner or the brand of kitty litter they are exposed to.

Age- The older the cat, the more susceptible they are to hot spots.

Diet- Your cat’s food should be high quality. If it contains too much carbohydrates or starch it can result in allergies. Too many carbohydrates or starch causes your cat to over produce yeast, ultimately resulting in irritation.

How Is a Hot Spot Treated?

If you suspect your cat is suffering from a hot spot make an appointment for her to be seen by her veterinarian. Treatment may be as simple as changing your cat’s food or determining what household product is causing your cat’s allergic reaction. In other cases, your cat may require a cortisone shot to help clear up any hot spots. It’s not uncommon for your cat to require multiple cortisone shots before the hot spot is completely gone. The veterinarian may suggest an anti-itch spray that will help relieve any itchiness while the hot spot heals. Since cats are known to lick their hot spots, preventing them from healing, a pet cone is a great tool for helping your cat heal by not allowing her to lick the hot spot.

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Preparing Your Pet For Severe Weather

In many parts of the country storm season has officially arrived. Wind, hail, thunderstorms, tornados, and flash floods are all bound to occur. If you haven’t already, It’s important to establish a safety plan with your family in the event of severe weather. Where will you all meet if a natural disaster is imminent? If you’re not home or in your safe shelter, how will you check in with all your family to ensure you’re all okay? It’s crucial to include your pets in your family’s safety plan. A family member should be designated to ensure all pet’s are collared, leashed and accounted for in the event of severe weather. It’s incredibly important to consider that your pet may be anxious during a storm.

Loud storm noises cause pets to become anxious and scared. As humans, we understand what these noises are and why they’re happening, but pets do not.

Dogs specifically can sense a storm approaching because they are sensitive to barometric pressure. This may cause some dogs to become panicked while other dog’s may not be anxious at all. You may notice your dog acting anxious, pacing, trying to run away, or hide before a storm arrives and throughout the duration of the storm. Some dogs become destructive due to the loud, frightening sounds. They may chew furniture, try to escape through open windows, or dig their way out of the yard to run away. Unfortunately, many animal shelters see a rise in dog intakes after a thunderstorm due to panicked dogs running away.

If you’re home and your dog is frightened take these steps:

Play Calming Sounds- Keeping the TV on or playing soothing music at a gentle sound level, to dull out the sound of the storm is beneficial. Blaring the TV or music will only add to your dog’s anxiety and fear of the loud noises going on around him.

 

Put Your Dog’s Thundershirt On- The Thundershirt is worn around your dog, providing a constant, but gentle pressure to your dog’s body. Its purpose is to alleviate your dog’s anxiety and prevent any fearful or destructive behavior. It’s compared to swaddling a newborn.

 

Keep Calm– Acting calm will help your dog significantly. Dogs can sense when their human’s feel anxious. If your dog is visibly scared, your first reaction may be to cuddle and hold him. However, this isn’t always the best idea. This may cause his anxiety to increase, especially if you’re nervous too. While your intentions mean well, he may feel overwhelmed.

Try distracting your dog by playing with him and going about your normal routine. It will make the both of you much calmer and reassure your dog he is safe inside with you.

Always Provide a Safe Spot- Whether you’re home or not, your dog should always have a safe area in a room of the house designated for him to comfort himself. If you aren’t home to comfort your dog, this safe spot will be your dog’s safety net. This room should be secured so your dog cannot escape to run away and become lost. It should include a cozy blanket and his favorite toys. Most importantly, this area should have no objects he could swallow or destructively chew on.

If your dog is crate trained make sure their crate is readily available to them at all times in this room. Most crate trained dogs find their crate to be a safe place. If a storm hits you may notice your dog prefers to be in his crate. In the event you’re not home, it’s more than likely your dog will go inside to comfort himself. Make sure to keep a blanket and chew toy inside for him to gnaw on.

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Pets Suffer From Allergies Too

Do you suffer from allergies? As the weather changes it sure causes allergy sufferers to struggle. Just like humans, pets can suffer from allergies. You may find this surprising and have never noticed your pet act differently or exhibit signs of allergies. Or maybe you have noticed your pet show signs of being uncomfortable or agitated but it left you unsure of what was wrong.

If Your Pet Does Suffer from Allergies, Look for These Symptoms:

  • Increased snoring
  • Hair loss
  • Red eyes
  • Watery eyes or nose
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Head shaking
  • Constant licking or chewing on their paws or other areas of their body causing sores

These symptoms are a sign an allergy is what’s bothering your pet. If your pet is demonstrating these symptoms try to determine if it’s due to a household product you recently started using. Symptoms can be caused by irritation due to a new perfume you began wearing or detergents used to wash bedding your pet sleeps on. If your pet continues to suffer from symptoms, this indicates that your pet may in fact be experiencing those symptoms due to the change in season.

Seasonal Allergies Are Caused By:

  • Trees
  • Molds
  • Pollens
  • Grasses
  • Ragweed

If any of the symptoms mentioned describe your pet’s behavior, make an appointment for them to be seen by their veterinarian. If the veterinarian determines your pet is suffering from allergies, follow his or her directions to get a handle on your pet’s suffering. The veterinarian may prescribe allergy fighting medications such as Diphenhydramine or Atopica. Frequent baths or soaks in prescription grade shampoos like PhytoVet C 4% may be recommended to help alleviate your pet’s symptoms as well. It may take some time to find the right medications or treatments for your pet. Evaluate your pet closely and try your best not to get discouraged if you have to try a few different methods of treatment. Your pet will appreciate your help to alleviate their aggravating allergies.

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