Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

Human Medications and Pet Medications Are NOT Created Equal

Human Medications and Pet MedicationsIn today’s society, almost everyone has some medications – whether over-the-counter or prescription sitting around at home. The important thing to remember, however, is that human medications and pet medications are NOT created equal. While some human medications are safe, some can be very toxic to pets if they happen to ingest them. As a matter of fact, the Pet Poison Hotline reports that nearly 50% of the calls involve human medications. These issues can arise if your pet accidentally chewed into the pill bottle or a well-intentioned pet owner gave their pet a human medication. Pet poisonings are common, can be very serious, and spell disaster for a beloved pet.

With that in mind, listed below are 10 medications that can cause toxicity to your pet and therefore should be kept away from them.

NSAIDS – Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs are common, everyday drugs that are found in most households. This classification includes popular drugs like Aleve, Advil and Motrin. The side effects can be some of the most dangerous drugs for pets to ingest. In fact just 1 or 2 pills can cause pets to suffer serious stomach and intestinal ulcers and in some cases cause kidney failure.

Acetaminophin – For that occasional headache or fever, almost everyone has some Tylenol sitting around their home. As safe as it is for children the opposite is true for pets. Just a small dose of acetaminophin can cause damage to your pet’s red blood cells, reducing its ability to carry oxygen through the body. The drug can also cause liver damage in your pet.

Birth Control Pills – Dogs usually mistaken the birth control containers for toys, but if they swallow a large number, they can get ill. Estrogen and Estradiol have shown to cause bone marrow suppression in pets. Surprisingly, female pets have an increased risk of suffering from the most serious side effects.

Antidepressants – Veterinarians have at times prescribed medications meant for humans to pets like Prozac. When used as your veterinarian has prescribed, they are safe. But accidental or overdose can be toxic to your pet. These clinical signs can include serious neurological problems that include sedation, loss of coordination, tremors and even seizures.

ADHD/ADD Medications – Prescription medications for this human condition are very strong stimulants like amphetamines and are very dangerous for pets. Ingestion of small amounts can cause life-threatening tremors, seizures, elevated body temperature and heart problems. Drugs in this category include Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta.

Benzodiazepines and Sleep Aids – Drugs like Xanax and Ambien are given to humans to reduce anxiety and help sleep better. However in pets, it can cause the opposite. It has been shown that small doses can cause pets to be agitated, along with severe lethargy, incoordination, and a slowed breathing rate. In cats, it has been known to cause liver failure.

Beta-blockers – Beta-blockers are commonly prescribed drugs for humans suffering from blood pressure problems. But all it takes is a small amount for pets to ingest to make it life-threatening to them. These drugs can cause severe drops in blood pressure and a very slow heart rate.

Ace-Inhibitors – Like in humans, these drugs are often used in veterinary medicine to treat pets suffering from high blood pressure. Though typically safe, overdoses can cause low blood pressure, dizziness, and weakness. If pets have ingested just a small amount of this medication, they can be monitored at home unless they have kidney failure or heart disease.

Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs – Drugs like Lipitor are advertised on the TV and are now found in many households in America. While these drugs are considered statins, long term use can potentially leads to problems. In most cases, one may see some mild form of intestinal upset which would include vomiting or diarrhea.

Thyroid Hormones – These medications are routinely prescribed for pets that have underactive thyroids. Surprisingly the thyroid hormone needed to treat dogs is much higher than a persons dose. So, if dogs accidentally get into thyroid hormones, it rarely results in problems. In cats it can be a different story. Large overdoses in cats can cause muscle tremors, nervousness, panting, a rapid heart rate and aggression.

Most pets are naturally curious creatures so it is important to keep them out of reach from your pets. Here are some tips to help ensure that they never ingest your medicine.

  • Never leave loose pills in a plastic sandwich bag-the bags are too easy to chew into. Make sure the rest of the family does the same, keeping their medications out of reach.
  • If your medication is in a pill box or weekly pill container, make sure that it is safely stored in a cabinet. Too many pets may think that it is a plastic toy.
  • Never store your pets medication near your medications. Pet poisonous hotlines received several calls every year from concerned owners who have inadventantly given their own medication to their pet.
  • Hang up your purse or backpack. Curious pets will explore the contents of your bag and simply placing it out of reach solves the problem.

A lot of pet poisonings stem from pets ingesting human drugs and pets metabolize the drugs differently than humans do. So because of this, even safe over-the-counter medications may cause serious poisonings in pets.

If your pet has ingested a human over-the-counter or prescription or medication, please call your veterinarian, your local emergency animal hospital or the Pet Poison Hot Line’s 24 hour animal control center at 800-213-6680 immediately. Of course, if our office can be of any assistance, do not hesitate to call or contact us here.

How To Prevent Heatstroke With Your Pet

heatstroke with your petWith the dog days of summer upon us, we as pet owners need to be aware of heatstroke with your pet.  This can be a life-threatening condition that occurs because your pet cannot lower its body temperature efficiently, so its body temperature increases to dangerous levels.

There are many common situations that can set the stage for heatstroke.  These include:  strenuous exercise in hot, humid weather, being a brachycephalic (short-nosed) breed, suffering from heart or lung disease that interferes with efficient breathing, being confined without shade or shelter and fresh water in hot weather, being confined on concrete or asphalt and the most logical-left in a closed up car in the warm weather.

Heatstroke begins with heavy panting and difficulty breathing.  The tongue and mucous membranes appear bright red.  The saliva is thick and tenacious and the dog usually vomits.  The rectal temperature rises to 104 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.  The dog becomes progressively unsteady and passes bloody diarrhea.  As shock sits in, the lips and mucous membranes turn gray.  Collapse, seizures, coma and death rapidly ensue.

It is important to take emergency measures to begin cooling your pet immediately.  One suggestion would be to move it to an air-conditioned building and begin cooling your pet with spraying your pet with a garden hose or immersing it in cool water for up to two minutes.  Also if possible, it is helpful to place the wet pet in front of an electric fan.  Ice packs work well when applied to the groin and armpit areas because this is the area where the blood is the closest to the surface in the body.  Monitor the rectal temperature and continue the cooling process until it falls to 103 degrees.  Seeking veterinary assistance is of utmost importance since this is an emergency.  Your veterinarian will take steps to reverse the effects of heat, dehydration, and low blood pressure.  An IV catheter will be placed and fluids will be given to help get blood flowing to major organs again.

Treatment is aimed to supporting these organs in the hope that the damage that they have sustained isn’t permanent.  Unfortunately, it will often take days to know which organs have been affected.  Specific treatments may include antibiotics, blood pressure medications and blood transfusions.

Because heatstroke can be so deadly and strike rapidly, it is best to take steps to prevent it.  In hot weather, it is best to exercise your pet during the coolest part of the day (early morning and late evening) and always provide plenty of fresh, cool water and rest.  A  person can also help their pet by cooling them by allowing them to swim or spray them off with a hose after exercising.

Never leave a pet in a car during warm weather-not even for a few minutes with the windows cracked. Brachycephalic dog owners should be extra vigilant, keeping their dogs inside in air-conditioning on hot days. All geriatric, obese, and respiratory compromised pets should be exercised with caution in hot weather.

So remember if your pet is acting distressed, start cooling it down and seek assistance from your veterinarian immediately.

Summer Dangers For Pets

Summer Dangers For PetsOh the dog days of summer. What’s not to like about summer? Vacations, cookouts, swimming—can it get any better than that? Wait a dog gone minute though. These fun times can be hazardous to your pets, so care must be taken to make sure that they don’t succumb to the dangers that can be lurking. Accidents can happen almost anytime and anyplace so it is important to be aware of how to prevent them from happening. These can include but not be limited to heat stroke, swimming pools, venomous pests, campouts, bbq and other foods just to name a few. So let’s cover a few dangers to avoid and try to prevent.

Summer Heat

The summer heat can be dangerous to our pets. Dogs are covered with hair, have very few sweat glands, and some breeds have shortened noses that make it tough to keep cool in the summer. So the easiest way to beat the heat is to adjust your walking schedule to the morning hours when it is cooler out. Some dogs may do well with having their haircoat shaved, however breeds like the Husky have a haircoat that also helps keep them cool in the summer.

The heat will also warm up the inside of your car, so if it is above 65 degrees either leave your pet at home or take it inside with you when you leave the vehicle.

Sunburn can also cause some problems, so it may be important to put sunscreen on the pets ears and bare skin to prevent this.

Swimming Pools

What is a better way to beat the heat than swim in a swimming pool? It is great and it also is a good way for your dog to get exercise. Floatation devices are available to assist the pets that are not strong swimmers. But, do not leave them unsupervised. It is important that they be taught how to exit the pool safely before they tire. Also having fresh water for them to cool off with and to remove the chlorine, salt and bacteria that can be harmful to them is beneficial. So keep a bowl handy by the pool.

Fireworks

Almost everyone celebrates the Fourth of July with fireworks. Dogs tend to not like loud noises and can be scared easily. The best advice would be to leave your pets at home inside and away from the flash of the fireworks.

BBQs

Some summer evenings are spent socializing with friends and barbecuing. We all like them, and even our pets are hoping for a few table scraps. A little of this and a little of that can be bad for pets—and not just their waistlines. Some surprising foods like grapes, onions, garlic and raisins, can be toxic to dogs if consumed in large quantities and should stay off their menu. Other barbecue staples like corn on the cob, bones, fruit with pits, skewers or ice cream can be dangerous to our four-legged family members. It may be helpful to talk to guests and children before summer parties and politely remind them that table food could be detrimental to the health of your pet.

Fleas & Ticks

While our the heat puts a strain on our pets, fleas and ticks thrive during this time. They can cause disease and carry other parasites that are detrimental to the health of our pets. Just like humans, pets can have allergic reactions to insect and spider bites. By grooming your pet frequently, you can check for the presence of the pests, hot spots, and other skin problems that can be caused by these pests. There are some very good flea and tick medications out there to prevent the problems before they start, so talk with your veterinarian to see what they would suggest. You can also order directly from our store.

Heartworms

Heartworms are carried by mosquitos, and the summer months are when mosquitos thrive and pose the greatest threat to your pet. The heartworms can be very dangerous to the health of your pet. It is best to have your pet on a medication to prevent your pet from contracting the painful disease. So ask your veterinarian for their recommendations.

These dangers may sound scary, but a little preparation and watchful eye is all you need to take the heat off your summer. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call the Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868, or contact us here.

Parasite Prevention And Your Pet

Parasite Prevention And Your PetParasite prevention and your pet is something very important. With summer fast approaching, pet owners are more active with their pets outside. That is where you will find parasites that can infest your pets, several of which can infect people as well. So because of this, parasite prevention is not only important for the health of your pet but also for the health of your family.

As a veterinarian, we generally talk about controlling and preventing four major parasite groups—Fleas and Ticks, Intestinal Parasites, and Heartworms.

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are troublesome parasites of the skin. Not only are they troublesome because they cause problems with the skin, they also transmit several diseases to your pet. There are many effective products out there that can be purchased from your veterinarian to control and prevent flea and tick infestations. Regular use of these products can prevent fleas and ticks from becoming a problem to your pet. As tempting as it might be to purchase an over the counter product from your pet store or big box store, I would caution you as a pet owner to be very careful. Many of these products can have serious side effects if used improperly and may have limited effectiveness.

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites can cause pets to vomit, have diarrhea, lose weight, and lead to a poor overall condition of your pet. The most common intestinal parasites in cats and dogs are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms and coccidia. All of these parasites can have the ability to affect your pet. Additionally, some roundworms, hookworms, and some tapeworms can also affect humans. Because of this, pet owners should contact their veterinarian to check on a routine testing schedule and monthly preventatives.

Most parasites cannot be seen with the naked eye in the feces. Your veterinarian can diagnose the infestation by taking a sample of the feces and looking at it under a microscope. The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends that a fecal analysis be performed 2 to 4 times during a pets first year of life and at least 1 to 2 times per year for adults.

Because your pet can get exposed to intestinal parasites at birth and an early age of life, the CAPC recommends that puppies and kittens should be dewormed every 2 to 3 weeks until they are 12 weeks old and animals that are older should be dewormed at least twice. Once the initial deworming is complete, dogs and cats should be put on a monthly, year-round product that prevents intestinal parasites as well as heartworm infections.

The area where your pet eliminates can become contaminated with intestinal parasite eggs. This can cause reinfection to your pet or exposure and infection of future pets or humans. Immediate removal of the feces from the yard greatly reduces the chance that the property will become contaminated with the intestinal parasite.

Heartworms

Heartworms are a parasite that resides in the heart and is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. This mosquito is harboring the larva of the heartworm and it is injected with the saliva into the bloodstream of the dog. The larva migrate to the heart where they mature and become adults. Over time, heartworms can cause exercise intolerance, heart failure and respiratory problems in dog. Fortunately, heartworms are preventable. There are several fantastic monthly preventative options available through your veterinarian. When given year-round, these products will provide protection against heartworms and several other intestinal parasites and fleas that can infect dogs, cats and people. Your vet would be a good source to help you decide which product is best for you and your pet.

Here at the Olsen Veterinary Clinic we carry products to protect your pets. Stop in or give us a call and we would help you decide what is best. You are always welcome to contact us here with questions.

Dr. Olsen’s Breed Spotlight: Lagotto Romagnollo

Lagotto RomagnolloAt last month’s Westminster Dog Show in New York City, a German Shepherd named Rumor won the best of show. German Shepherds are quite popular, however I would like to put the spotlight on a breed that is not so popular. This month’s breed is the Lagotto Romagnollo. The dog’s name means “lake dog from Romagna.”

The Lagotto Romagnollo breed dates back to the 1600’s in Italy. They were originally bred as a hunting breed to assist in the retrieval of coots in the wetlands of Italy. The medium sized, curly coated dog would work tirelessly retrieving the birds often breaking through ice to do so. After the wetlands had dried up in the 19th century, the dogs were taught to find and retrieve the valuable fungi truffles in the countrysides of Italy. This was made possible because the breed had a sharp aptitude for searching, a steep learning curve and an unbeatable sense of smell.

The Lagotto Romagnollo is often compared the the Portuguese Water Dog because of the hunting ability and curly coat. An interesting fact is the Lagotto is the only dog specifically bred to hunt truffles.

The mid-sized dog adult weight will be 24 to 35 pounds. It is approximately 16 to 19 inches tall and has a life expectancy of 15 years. Coat colors can include more than one color of brown, roan, off white, white or orange.Lagotto Romagnollo

Lagatto Romagnollos very rarely shed because of their waterproof double coat and are considered hypoallergenic. Trimming the dog’s coat will be necessary but you won’t need to brush it very often.

This breed are very intelligent and energetic dogs that love to play and swim outdoors, so it will be important for them to be part of a family. While the breed strongly bonds to its human family, it is best to socialize them at an early age because of their shyness. Once they bond and are socialized, the breed thrives best with lots of interaction. They are definitely an indoor breed that needs time outside to be well adjusted and content.

As pointed out earlier they are active but not hyper, so the owner must be willing to invest and commit time every day to train them. The Logattos are a delight to train and are good problem solvers. Besides truffle hunting, their intelligence has allowed them to be trained to do search and rescue, participate in therapy work and game hunt. Their intelligence, jumping ability and drive make them ideal candidates for various competitions such as agility, tracking, obedience and nose work. Most are naturally drawn to water and love to swim.

If you have a Lagatto Romagnollo or not, the Olsen Veterinary Clinic would like to be your hometown veterinarian. If we can be of service please feel free to call us at (618)-656-5868 or send us an email.

Distemper Facts Every Pet Owner Should Know

distemperRecently you may have read in the news about a distemper outbreak at a St. Louis adoption agency that killed several dogs and puppies. That is terrible news, but most times, distemper can be preventible.

Distemper is a viral disease that is related to the virus that causes measles in humans. It is spread through all body secretions, especially airborne particles from breathing. This makes it easy for an untreated or unvaccinated dogs to be infected. It appears most often in puppies that are between 6 and 12 weeks who haven’t been vaccinated because the protective antibodies that they had received from their mothers had fallen to a level too low to prevent infection. Not only dogs transfer the infection, but other animals are threats to spread this disease. The most common species that can spread distemper are raccoons, skunks and foxes. Coming into contact with the droppings of these animals can easily spread the disease.

Initially, the disease may present itself with mild symptoms may be mild. These symptoms may include:

  • Fever of 103 to 109
  • Watery discharge from the eyes and nose
  • Depression and listlessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Thick, yellow discharge from the eyes and nose
  • Dry cough
  • Pus blisters on the abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

As the disease progresses, it attacks the brain and the symptoms become neurological. Disease progression clinical signs could include:

  • Slobbering
  • Head shaking
  • Chewing jaw motions
  • Seizure-like symptoms, such as falling over and kicking feet uncontrollably
  • Blindness
  • Rhythmic muscle jerking of the head and neck
  • Thick, horny skin on the nose and callus-like pads on the feet

If your pet gets distemper, it can’t be cured. Dogs that have progressed to the neurological stage are at a much higher risk of death than if it is caught earlier and treated. Treatment can help the dog mount an immune response better or it may lessen the symptoms of distemper. Since distemper is a virus, the dog’s life relies on the dog’s ability to fight off the disease. Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to prevent secondary infections. He may also give the dog IV fluids to address the dehydration and he may prescribe medications to control diarrhea, vomiting and seizures.

Success of the treatments are largely dependent on the age of the dog, how quickly you seek help, the distemper strain, and whether your dog has been vaccinated. Vaccination against distemper is highly protective.

Some dogs may recover on their own, but owners should never take the wait and see approach with distemper. If your dog recovers from distemper, and that is a big “if”, your dog would be naturally immune to a second attack, just like measles in humans.

I would recommend using caution when socializing puppies or unvaccinated dogs at parks, obedience classes, doggy day care and other places where dogs can congregate since this disease is quite contagious. Make sure that you do not share food or water bowls with other dogs as this can be a common source of infection.

I can’t stress enough how important that your dog should be vaccinated for distemper. This vaccination is usually started when the puppy is 5 to 6 weeks old and continued every 3 to 4 weeks until the puppy is 4 months old. This should provide long lasting immunity. But it is not permanent. If your dog is adopted, ask the facility if and when they had given the distemper vaccine. No dog should ever die of distemper as the vaccinations are quite effective.

With the quality vaccines distemper is very preventible. Keeping your pet current on its’ vaccines is extremely important. If you have any further questions or need your pet vaccinated, please feel free to contact us here or call us at 618-656-5868.

Breed Spotlight: Nova Scotia Tolling-Duck Retriever

Nova Scotia Tolling-Duck RetrieverSometimes I will get a call at my office asking for advice which breed of dog would be the best for a client’s family. There are many breeds out there and many of the breeds have characteristics that may or may not be a good fit for that particular family.

Anyway, I thought that this month I would highlight a breed that is not very well known in the dog world. It has only been recognized as a breed in the AKC since 2003 and is the 170th most popular breed. That breed is the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. This breed’s odd name comes from its ability to lure ducks within shooting range by “dancing” on the shore, a technique known as tolling. The native Indians of Nova Scotia admired a fox’s ability to entice ducks this way, and they taught their dogs this behavior.

It was a unique ability, but wouldn’t it be nice if the dog could also retrieve? So that is what happened. The breeders started with the Micmac Indian dogs and skillfully blended some Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Chesapeake Bay and Flat-Coated Retrievers, a little Cocker Spaniel, Irish Setter and a touch of Collie. When they were done, they had created a small, enticing red-haired dog with boundless energy and amazing intelligence. It was called the Little River Duck Dog for many years, but in 1945 its name was changed to what it is today.

The Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever is like a deep-chested small Golden Retriever that has a dense coat and is well insulated for swimming in cold water. Their coat is various shades of red and orange and usually have small white markings on the feet, chest, tail tip and face. The powerful compact, well-muscled body is on sturdy, solid legs.

These dogs are extremely intelligent, easy to obedience train, and good with children. They make good companion dogs as long as they get enough exercise to fulfill their energetic needs. Due to their compact size and intelligence, they do well in agility competitions. Their compact size also makes them ideal for condo or apartment living.

Tollers may be a bit more reserved to strangers than the Golden Retriever, so start at an early age to socialize them with people and other dogs.

Health wise they tend to be pretty healthy. Conditions seen in the breed include hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, eye disease such as progressive retinal atrophy, Addison’s Disease and hypothyroidism. Not all conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it is hard to predict whether a puppy will be free of these maladies, so it is important to find a reputable breeder to assure that steps have been taken in the breed to minimize the occurrence of these conditions.

The Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retrievers are happy wherever they are – whether it is in the confirmation ring, hunting, or watching a movie. They are able to go from couch potato to bounding retriever in mere seconds. They like new experiences and are easy to take traveling. This breed learns wicked fast and they remember things that are important to them. They will never cease to amaze you. When you look into your Toller’s eyes you can see their intelligence and you know they love you  – or maybe they are hungry, or want outside, or you have hidden the ball again. So if you want a dog breed that will never give you a dull moment, you may want to consider a Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever.

If you have any questions about this breed, or any other breed, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.

Caring For A Pet With Cancer

pet with cancerAs pets get older, owners tend to know when our pets are not feeling well or when a lump suddenly “pops” up on our pet. After visiting your local veterinarian, he may give you the words that you do not want to hear—it may be cancer. While the diagnosis can be devastating and painful to hear, it is important to remember there are many different forms of cancer and not all are viewed as terminal.

As with any illness or sickness, it is best to detect cancer at its earliest by bringing your pet in for regular veterinary check ups. Between examinations, it is best to monitor your pet for signs of cancer and schedule an appointment if any clinical signs appear. These may include:

  • Abnormal bumps, lumps and swelling on the body
  • Sores that will not heal
  • Unexplained weight loss or appetite changes
  • Bleeding from any body opening
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating
  • Persistent lameness
  • Drooling or any sign of mouth discomfort

If you suspect that your pet has cancer, it is very important to have as much accurate information as possible for your veterinarian when treating your pet. It is essential to have an accurate diagnosis and your pet’s cancer correctly staged. This will help your veterinarian determine how advanced the cancer is and what possible success rates are for various treatments. Your veterinarian may recommend diagnostic procedures like laboratory tests, biopsies, x-rays, ultrasound or even surgical exploratories.

If perhaps we have a diagnosis of cancer, the goal is to provide your pet with the highest quality of life as long as possible. Dogs and cats tend to tolerate chemotherapy and radiation very well. When side effects do occur, your veterinarian can prescribe anti-nausea and pain medication, as well as nutritional support to keep your pet comfortable during treatment.

With some cases, we may come across cases where the cancer is advanced and your veterinarian may recommend palliative care only. This means that your pet’s veterinary team will keep your pet as comfortable as long as possible and not pursue more aggressive treatments. The primary goal is to maintain the best quality of life possible for your pet.

When dealing with cancer, it is important to watch your pet closely for signs of discomfort and pain and keep your veterinarian informed. Keep all follow up appointments scheduled and stay in contact with your veterinarian. We are here to help. It is also important to spend as much time as possible with your pet and provide a quiet, comfortable place to rest and sleep. Providing nutritional support and fresh water are also important. You may need to make access to an area for your pet to urinate and defecate because of the cancer treatments. Above all, enjoy the time that you have left with your pet.

During the course of treatment, your pet may start having more “bad” days than “good” days. When you feel that you have done all that you can do for your pet, it may be time to consider euthanasia. It is not a time to feel guilty about any decisions you make. This is a difficult decision as most owners weigh not seeing a pet suffer against a desire to not deprive the pet any more “good” days. When this time comes, be sure to communicate with your veterinarian. Communicate your pet’s medical status and learn what to expect in the days and weeks ahead. Talk to your veterinarian and find out what options are available for your beloved pet in case euthanasia is needed to alleviate the discomfort of your pet.

Don’t live under a cloud of doom and fear. It is best to live life to its fullest. We all live in the “Circle of Life”. Don’t waste the “life” part. Remember there is always hope and it is best to take one day at a time and appreciate the life that is left in your pet.

For more information, or questions and concerns, don’t hesitate to contact our office.

Pets And Fireworks: How To Keep Your Pet Safe & Calm

pets & fireworksOh, the joys of summer!  For most of us, we look forward to celebrating the 4th of July with friends and family.  For a lot of us, that usually involves fireworks.  While enjoyable for people and pyromaniacs, the loud booms and bright flashes of the fireworks may not be enjoyable to our pets.  A dogs hearing is ten times more sensitive than that of a human, so one can only imagine how loud and terrifying it can be to your pet.  To help with reducing the fear and anxiety of your pet to the fireworks celebrations, I recommend the tips.

Hartz.com has many methods on calming your dog. One of which is creating a safe area for your dog to stay in for the festivities.  Hartz says to remove all objects that could cause harm, make sure his ‘hiding-spot’ is accessible, and close the blinds to stop the bright light from entering his safe haven.  Other methods include turning on a TV or radio might help muffle the loud booms, hence hiding the fireworks from your dog.  You also should put a water bowl in his room.  Dogs are more likely to drink when they are worried.  If your dog wines and paces around, let them.  They have found their safe spot.  Try not to disturb them and don’t punish them for being afraid and having bad behavior.

A lot of people want to take their pets with them to a fireworks show.  Do yourself and your pets a favor: LEAVE THEM AT HOME!  They may run off in fear.  In the rare case that you cannot leave your dog, be sure to have them microchipped and your information up to date if your dog runs off.

You can do some things before July 4 to reduce the amount of stress your dog endures.  Add some cooked potato or white rice to their meal that evening.  Similar to people, the carbohydrates will make them feel fuller and sleepier, allowing them to be less anxious.  You can take them on a longer than usual walk or play a tiring game with them making the sleepier in the night.  You can give your dog a massage to relax them, you can cuddle with them and provide distractions whilst the fireworks are shooting off. If necessary, you may want to talk to your veterinarian and have them prescribe sedatives to calm the dog.  A ThunderShirt may be a good solution as it has a very high success rate at calming anxious dogs.

Fireworks and dogs almost never mix; if you use these methods, your dog may be calmer and more peaceful during the July 4 festivities that are yet to come. If you have further questions, or your pet has special needs, don’t hesitate to contact our office.

Can My Pet Be Lactose Intolerant?

can my pet be lactose intolerantDid you know your pet can be lactose intolerant –  and why this happens? We all see the commercials and the pictures of dogs and cats drinking milk out of children’s cereal bowls.  But just because they eat it, does that mean it is the safe and advisable thing to do?

Lactose vs. Lactase
With lactose intolerance, the pets don’t possess the lactase enzyme to break down the lactose, which is a sugar.  Lactase is an enzyme that breaks down and helps the digestive system to process lactose.  The higher the lactose content, the less likely that your pet will be able to enjoy the aftermath, regardless of how happily it eats, drinks, or laps it up.

Without the lactase, the pet simply cannot digest the milk products and acute intestinal symptoms almost always arrive.  These clinical signs can include:

  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • bloating, nausea
  • vomiting

These are all fairly typical indications of gastrointestinal distress.  Sometimes a pet will drink excessive amounts of water when suffering from lactose intolerance, since diarrhea and vomiting are associated with it, causing the pet can be susceptible to dehydration.

I know that I will be presented with the argument that puppies and kittens drink mother’s milk at birth and is the primary source of nutrition for them.  But as they grow older, their lactase production has decreased dramatically, therefore they do not produce enough to break down the lactose in milk.  Another contributing factor is the fact that cow’s and goat’s milk have about twice the amount of lactose compared to a dog’s or cat’s milk.  This high level can overpower the pet’s ability to digest it and can often lead to diarrhea.

Even though pets with milk intolerance can exhibit clinical signs, they can, under some circumstances, have some dairy products such as cheese and unpasteurized yogurt that usually have the lactose removed or broken down through bacterial actions.  As a result, these products are ofter tolerated well in pets that would otherwise get diarrhea.

The general rule of thumb for pets and dairy products of all varieties is that they need to be low in lactose, low-to-no sodium, and with as little artificial preservatives and sweeteners as possible.  If you feel compelled to give your pet a dairy product, do so in small amounts to establish your individual pet’s tolerance. Proceed with caution, and as with anything else, don’t hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions.