Tips To Make It A Good Year For You And Your PetThe beginning of a year is a time for resolutions for most. People reflect on the past and think about what they can do differently in the upcoming year. This year, why don’t you include your pet in your resolutions?

To improve your dog’s life this year, why don’t you increase the amount of exercise they are getting? Dogs love activity, shown by the crazy reaction when a walk is mentioned. Take your dog on an extra-long walk, a run, or an extra outing. You could also look for a place where your dog can enjoy some activity off of their leash at a dog park! Mental exercise is just as important. Give your dog more mind-engaging activities with enrichment puzzles, new toys, visiting new places, and learning new skills and tricks. The easiest thing that could be done, however, is to spend more time completely focused on them. Dogs value this time, and it is especially important in multi-dog households. Improving your dog’s quality of life is a gift that keeps on giving: the more wonderful we make life for our dogs, the more ways they enhance our own.

To improve your cat’s life this year, there are simple things that can be done! To start, it is important to set up a balanced meal plan with clean drinking water. This includes not giving your cat too many treats. Similarly, be sure to visit your vet regularly and make sure that their vaccinations are up to date. While you are there, ask your vet to check their teeth. A cat’s teeth say a lot about their general health. Tartar, gingivitis, and plaque all contribute to bacterial growth and seeding to the rest of the body which can lead to further health issues. A resolution that involves you and your cat, you could help keep your pet’s teeth clean by brushing them with a toothpaste that is specifically formulated for cats. One could also provide toys for your cat. Toys are not just for fun. They provide exercise and prevent boredom. You can keep your cat entertained with toys, treats, interaction, trees, climbing, and excitement.

This new year, don’t forget to include your pet in your resolutions. There are many things you can do to help improve your pets’ quality of life while bettering yours too! As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at 618-656-5868.

pet gift guideAs the holidays approach rapidly, that means it is time for gift giving! It can be easy to forget your pup in the chaos of the holidays, but here are 4 ideas so your pup doesn’t get forgotten.

A Matching Bandanna and Mask Set

This ensures that you and your pup hit the town in style and safely! There are many options available online at places such as Etsy that allow you to support small businesses and get a handmade gift for your favorite dog or dog owner. Here are some of my favorites:

Holiday Matching Mask and Dog Bandanna Set, Red and Black Flannel Mask, Bandanna, and Scrunchie Set, and Happy Snowman Bandanna and Face Mask Set

A Treat Toy

Intended to mimic the experience of hunting prey, these types of toys wobble around while your dog paws at it. It rocks back and forth, and your pup will be obsessed with the magic dispenser that they can’t predict or conquer. Here is an example: The Game Dog Toy. Other options for similar products are Snuffle Mats. They allow dogs to find dry food or treats that you’ve hidden. It is a stimulating activity that dogs love. It also serves as a way to extend food and playtime for your pup every day. This Snuffle Mat has great reviews, is easy to fill, and machine washable.PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat

Barkbox Subscription

This company ships out a box either once a month or every three, six, or twelve months that give your dog themed and customized treats and toys! My dog at home LOVES the treats and toys that come to our door and it makes Barkbox day her favorite day of the month! Completely customizable with great customer service, Barkbox is a gift that every dog will appreciate. Get one here: Barkbox Subscription

A New Leash and Collar Set

Every dog and dog owner appreciates a new leash and collar that gets worn and used daily. They also allow the owner and dog to express themselves to every other pet and human! You can get fun colored ones like this or even customized ones like this! Also important are holders for their leashes! Here is a cool handmade one!

Time To Euthanize My PetSome pets die of old age in the comfort of their own home, but many others become seriously ill or get injured in a way or experience that significantly diminishes their quality of life as they grow very old. In these situations, owners are often forced to consider the hard choice of whether to have your pet euthanized in order to spare your pet from pain and suffering.

To know when it is time, it is important to talk with your veterinarian. They are the best-qualified person to help guide you through this difficult process. In some cases, your veterinarian may be able to tell you definitively that it is time to euthanize your pet, but in other cases, you may ultimately need to make the decision based on your observances of your pet’s behavior and attitude.

Some signs that your pet is suffering and no longer enjoying a good quality of life include chronic pain being experienced that cannot be controlled with medication, frequent vomiting or diarrhea that is causing dehydration and/or weight loss, they stop eating, incontinence, lost interest in favorite activities, cannot stand on their own, and/or chronic labored breathing. It is a very difficult decision, but one must consider your pet’s quality of life.

Once you have made the very difficult decision, you also need to decide how and where you and your family will say the final goodbye. Before the procedure is scheduled to take place, make sure that all members of your family have had time with the pet to say a private goodbye. If you have children, make sure that you explain the decision to them and prepare them for the loss of the pet in advance. This may be your child’s first experience with death, and it is very important for you to help her or him through the grieving process. Books that address the subject, such as When a Pet Dies by Fred Rogers or Remembering My Pet by Machama Liss-Levinson and Molly Phinney Baskette, may be very beneficial in helping your child to deal with this loss. It is an individual decision whether or not you and your family want to be present during the euthanasia procedure. For some pet owners, the emotion may be too overwhelming, but for many, it is a comfort to be with their pet during the final moments. It may be inappropriate for young children to witness the procedure since they are not yet able to understand death and may also not understand that they need to remain still and quiet.

Deciding when it is time to say goodbye to your pet is never easy. Owners are put into the difficult decision of deciding when it is their time. While it is never easy, the staff at Olsen Veterinary Clinic are always here to answer whatever questions you may have. Feel free to reach out at 618-656-5868 with any questions or concerns you may have!

canine influenza

Canine influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that affects dogs and cats. Influenza viruses are able to quickly change and give rise to new strains that can infect different species. Of the two strains identified in the US, both of them can be traced to influenza strains known to infect species other than dogs. At some point, these viruses acquired the ability to infect dogs and be transmitted from dog to dog. Virtually all dogs exposed to canine influenza become infected, with approximately 80% developing clinical signs of disease. The other 20% of infected dogs that do not exhibit clinical signs of the disease can still shed the virus and spread the infection.

Canine influenza is transmitted through droplets or aerosols containing respiratory secretions from coughing, barking, and sneezing. Dogs in close contact with infected dogs in places like kennels, groomers, day care facilities, and shelters are at an increased risk of infection. Canine influenza can be spread indirectly through objects like kennels, food and water bowls, collars, and leashes or people who have been in contact with an infected dog to avoid exposing other dogs to the virus. Due to this, people in contact with an infected dog should wash their hands and clean their clothing to avoid spreading the virus. The virus can stay alive and able to infect on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours. It is important to implement cleaning and disinfection procedures to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

The majority of infected dogs exhibit the mild form of canine influenza. The most common clinical sign is a cough that persists for 10-21 days despite treatment with antibiotics and cough suppressants. Affected dogs may have a soft, moist cough, or a dry cough similar to that induced by kennel cough. Nasal and/or ocular discharge, sneezing, lethargy, and anorexia may also be observed. Many dogs developed a purulent nasal discharge and fever. Some dogs are more severely affected and exhibit clinical signs of pneumonia, such as a high-grade fever and increased respiratory rate and effort.

Canine influenza cannot be diagnosed solely by clinical symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharge because these signs also present with other canine respiratory illnesses. Tests must be done to properly identify strains of canine influenza virus. Contact Dr. Olsen to set up a test if you think that your dog may be infected.

Treatment for canine influenza is largely supportive. Good nutrition helps dogs mount an effective immune response. Most dogs recover from canine influenza within two to three weeks. Secondary bacterial infections, pneumonia, dehydration, or other health factors may require additional diagnostics and treatments.

While canine influenza is a serious threat, vaccines are available against both strands of canine influenza found in the US. Vaccination can reduce the risk of a dog contracting canine influenza and while it may not all together prevent an infection; it may reduce the severity and duration of illness. As always, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at 618-656-5868 with any questions or to set up an appointment!

Food Allergies In PetsWith the onset of spring, many pets are exposed to the outside environment.  This has caused them to become more “itchy” and their scratching has caused discomfort to then leaving the owner searching for possible remedies.  Unfortunately, their scratching and head shaking may be caused by the diet that they are fed.

Many dogs and cats for that matter may suffer from food allergies.  These allergies can hit about anytime during their lives and present itself with many different symptoms.  These symptoms may range from odorous, greasy, dander-laced hair with chronic ear issues to maybe diarrhea with increased flatulance.  Your pet may be constantly chewing on its paws, making them red and keeping you up at night with its chewing and licking.  A  lot of time, we will try and just mask the signs so that they can remain comfortable without diagnosing the problem.  Chances are they inherited the trait from their parents.

When these signs appear, looking for the food that causes the issues may be real difficult in finding and the testing is even more difficult.  Common food allergies may consist of beef, pork, chicken, corn, wheat, or a number of other ingredients.  Food allergies may include one to many ingredients in the diets, so it is not as cut and dried as it may seem to just switch diets.  Also blood testing is of no use in determining the allergies.

So with that said, food  ingredient avoidance is the best means of controlling the allergies.  So an owner may be instructed to feed a very limited ingredient diet for several weeks and see how the pet responds to the diet.  Will the pet be pruritic?  Will the pet’s skin be odorous?  If the clinical signs are better, then you may be able to add additional ingredients and see how your pet responds.

Some owner’s will prefer to feed raw diets or homemade diets.  However, those will sometimes be difficult to balance the ration to get the proper minerals and vitamins. Regardless of what you choose, do not hesitate to contact our office and we can help you navigate this issue. Contact us today.

 

brush your dog's teethEighty percent of dogs show signs of gum disease by the time they are two years old. The best cure for these dental issues are early prevention. Once plaque has formed on the teeth, the only way it can be removed is with a mechanical cleaning. Without brushing, this plaque build up can cause gum disease, bad breath, and tooth decay.

You can help your dog’s teeth by beginning dental maintenance early. In order to keep your dog comfortable while brushing its teeth, wait until your dog has all of their adult teeth before using a toothbrush. This should be around six months.In order for your dog to get comfortable with a toothbrush, you should start brushing your dog’s teeth as early as possible.

To start brushing your dog’s teeth, begin by gently rubbing your puppy’s gums with your finger. Ease into it by massaging their gums regularly while you are snuggling them. Once they are used to your finger, switch to a soft rubber brush that fits on your fingertip. Only use toothpaste that is specifically made for dogs. This comes in flavors like beef, chicken, banana, and mint. You can find this at your local pet store. Once your dog has their adult teeth, begin a weekly brushing regimen and work your way up to three to four times per week.

To begin brushing your dog’s teeth, make sure that you are in a position where your dog is comfortable. You should try kneeling or sitting in front/side of them in order to not appear threatening. If your dog seems upset, stop and try again later. Prep your toothbrush with doggy toothpaste and use small circular motions. Focus on the plaque. Slight bleeding may occur, but if heavy or ongoing bleeding occurs, stop. This might be a sign of too aggressive brushing or even gum disease. Call your vet for advice. Be sure to be reassuring while brushing your dog’s teeth. Keep the mood light and remind your dog that they are a good boy/girl. End the brushing session with their favorite treat or extra attention.

Other ways to maintain dental wellness is to provide chew toys. Teething is a part of puppy-parenting. Plenty of specially designed puppy toys will be handy in managing this teething. Mildly abrasive foods and toys help keep your dog’s teeth clean. It is important to note that you should avoid natural bones, antlers, dried cow hooves, hard nylon toys, and large rawhide toys with puppies. These are hard enough to fracture delicate puppy teeth.

Lastly, be sure to schedule dental check ups with your vet. Dogs should go to the vet twice a year for a dental exam. They might need their teeth cleaned annual. If you pup’s breath is especially stinky lately, you should call your vet. Bad breath might be a sign of dental problems or even gum disease.

As always, we are here for the health of your pet. Please contact us today if you have any questions.

how to brush your dog's teethEighty percent of dogs show signs of gum disease by the time they are two years old. The best cure for these dental issues is early prevention. Once plaque has formed on the teeth, the only way it can be removed is with a mechanical cleaning. Without brushing, this plaque build-up can cause gum disease, bad breath, and tooth decay.

You can help your dog’s teeth by beginning dental maintenance early. In order to keep your dog comfortable while brushing its teeth, wait until your dog has all of their adult teeth before using a toothbrush. This should be around six months. In order for your dog to get comfortable with a toothbrush, you should start brushing your dog’s teeth as early as possible.

To start brushing your dog’s teeth, begin by gently rubbing your puppy’s gums with your finger. Ease into it by massaging their gums regularly while you are snuggling them. Once they are used to your finger, switch to a soft rubber brush that fits on your fingertip. Only use toothpaste that is specifically made for dogs. This comes in flavors like beef, chicken, banana, and mint. You can find this at your local pet store. Once your dog has their adult teeth, begin a weekly brushing regimen and work your way up to three to four times per week.

To begin brushing your dog’s teeth, make sure that you are in a position where your dog is comfortable. You should try kneeling or sitting in front/side of them in order to not appear threatening. If your dog seems upset, stop and try again later. Prep your toothbrush with doggy toothpaste and use small circular motions. Focus on the plaque. Slight bleeding may occur, but if heavy or ongoing bleeding occurs, stop. This might be a sign of too aggressive brushing or even gum disease. Call your vet for advice. Be sure to be reassuring while brushing your dog’s teeth.

Keep the mood light and remind your dog that they are a good boy/girl. End the brushing session with their favorite treat or extra attention.

Other ways to maintain dental wellness is to provide chew toys. Teething is a part of puppy-parenting. Plenty of specially designed puppy toys will be handy in managing this teething. Mildly abrasive foods and toys help keep your dog’s teeth clean. It is important to note that you should avoid natural bones, antlers, dried cow hooves, hard nylon toys, and large rawhide toys with puppies. These are hard enough to fracture delicate puppy teeth.

Lastly, be sure to schedule dental check-ups with your vet. Dogs should go to the vet twice a year for a dental exam. They might need their teeth cleaned annual. If your pup’s breath is especially stinky lately, you should call your vet. Bad breath might be a sign of dental problems or even gum disease. As always, don’t hesitate to contact our office with questions.

 

 

Should You Eliminate Grain-Free Food From Your Dog's DietGrain free diets for dogs have recently become featured in the news. Between January 1, 2014 and April 30, 2019, the FDA received 524 reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The total number of pets affected is much greater than 524, due to many households having more than one pet. The FDA is investigating a potential dietary link between DCM and dogs eating certain grain-free dog foods. The foods of concern are those containing legumes such as peas or lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes listed as primary ingredients. The FDA began investigating this matter after it received reports of DCM in dogs that had been eating these diets for a period of months to years. DCM itself is not considered rare in dogs, but the reports are unusual because the disease occurred in breeds of dogs that are not typically prone to the disease.

Canine Heart Disease or Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a type of canine heart disease that affects the heart muscle. The hearts of dogs with DCM have a decreased ability to pump blood, which often results in congestive heart failure. Some breeds, especially large and giant breeds, have a predisposition to DCM. These breeds include Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, and Saint Bernards. While DCM is less common in medium and small breeds, English and American Cocker Spaniels are also predisposed to this condition.

The reports submitted to the FDA of affected pets span a wide range of breeds, including many without a known genetic predisposition. When early reports from the veterinary cardiology community indicated that recently, atypical cases occurred in breeds like Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Whippets, Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus all consistently ate grain alternatives in their diets, the FDA took notice.

In the FDA’s July 2019 update on diet and canine heart disease, they examined labels of dog food products reported in DCM cases to determine whether the foods were “grain-free” (defined as no corn, soy, wheat, rice, barley, or other grains), and whether the foods contained peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans, or potatoes (including sweet potatoes). Their report states that more than 90 percent of foods reported in DCM cases were grain-free, 93 percent of reported foods contained peas and/or lentils, and 42 percent contained potatoes/sweet potatoes.

At this point in time, there is no direct and proven link between DCM and grain-free diets, but dog owners should be aware and conscious of the warning issued by the FDA.

The FDA’s July 2019 update includes the names of dog food brands that were named ten or more times in reports submitted until April 30, 2019. Most reports were for dry dog food, but raw, semi-moist, and wet foods were all represented. These foods include Acana, Zignature, Taste of the Wild, 4Health, Earthborn Holistic, Blue Buffalo, Nature’s Domain, Fromm, Merrick, California Natural, Natural Balance, Orijen, Nature’s Variety, Nutrisource, Nutro, and Rachael Ray Nutrish.

In the December 1 edition of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, Ph.D., DACVN prompts that the issue is not just grain-free diets. She also suspects the “BEG” diets to be culprits. These include boutique companies, foods containing exotic ingredients, and grain-free diets. “The apparent link between BEG diets and DCM may be due to ingredients used to replace grains in grain-free diets, such as lentils or chickpeas, but also may be due to other common ingredients commonly found in BEG diets, such as exotic meats, vegetables, and fruits,” Freeman wrote. Freeman emphasizes that although there appears to be an association between DCM and BEG diets, the relationship has not yet been proven, but still practice caution in feeding BEG diets.

As a general rule of thumb, the best thing you can do for your dog is to contact your veterinarian. Feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at 618-656-5868 with any questions.

pet gift guideNo matter how a pet comes into your life, there is a bond that you share with it. Pets can be quirky, happy-go-lucky, weird, smart, grouchy, or even lazy.  Whatever their personality the don’t ask for much but maybe a little attention, love and care.  With the holidays right around the corner, it is a tradition that I highlight some of the unique pet safe toys, treats and equipment that I have found throughout the year. By no means will this list be all-inclusive, but if “mans-best-friend” is still on your shopping list, this may help give you some ideas that will please then.

Bike Tow Leash –  From Amazon, this leash attaches to the left side of most bikes or wheelchairs.  It allows you to walk or run your dog without worrying that the dog or the leash will become entangled in your bike wheels.

Mudbuster Paw Cleaner –  Also available on Amazon, this cup with a silicone top and tendrils inside allow you to wash off your dog’s paws one at a time quickly and without a mess.

Bacon Bubble Blower  – Sorry to burst your bubble, but this toy will keep your dog popping with excitement as it chases these 100% non toxic, tear free bubbles that are made from a bubble blower that is also available on Amazon.

Bark Snoot Scoops –  From Bark Shop, this ice cream treat is the perfect way to keep cool next summer especially after laying out by the pool.  Its’ ingredients include nonfat dried whole milk, dried cane molasses, dried banana and blueberries, goat’s milk, vanilla and gelatin.

Splatter Pet Sweatshirt  – These sweatshirts are a trendy sweater that supports a good cause.  The company that makes these-Found My Animal-gives back to shelter dogs in need and promotes adoption with every purchase.

Furbo Dog Camera – If you have a need to check in with your pet while you are away, this camera is highly recommended and has some fun features, like 2-way audio and the ability to dispense treats.

Wild One Carrier – Not only is this pet carrier stylish, it is waterproof, padded for your comfort, breathable, and has a unique cut out so your pet can see what is going on.

Pet Teepee Tent – This pet oasis definitely won’t be an eyesore in your home. Plus, it is comfortable, machine-washable, and the price won’t break the bank. It is made by Huts and Bay.

NOW FOR THE CAT LOVERS!

Bergen Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy  This toy stands out as a clear winner thanks to its combination of durable scratch pad, entertaining ball track and irresistible catnip.

Petstages Tower of Tracks  Available on Amazon, this track toy combines three levels of circular tracks, each with their own brightly colored ball.  It is intended to stimulate your cat’s instincts and encourage them to play.  The balls are fixed in place thanks to closed tracks.  It encourages the cats to play independently, but also provides options for you to play with your cat. Multiple cats can also play.

Hexburg Mouse Cat Toy  It is if your cat loves to pounce and chase. With realistic and random movements, your cat will have hours of fun with this mouse.  It is able to navigate around furniture, can flip back onto its feet when overturned, but is suitable for hard wood floors only.

Friends Forever Cat Laser Toy  It is packed full of features that means that your cat will be kept entertained and exercised through healthy play.  The eye-catching diamond shaped pointer on the top of the toy is designed to attract your cat by rotating to cast a laser in a range of unpredictable directions.

From all of us here at the Olsen Veterinary Clinic, we would like to wish each and everyone a warm, blessed, and safe holiday season with hope for a very prosperous and healthy 2020.  Please don’t hesitate to call us at (618)-656-5868 if you have any concerns or questions.

Keep Your Pets Away from the Table This ThanksgivingWith Thanksgiving approaching, there is no doubt that you pup is going to want to partake in the festivities. However, feeding your pup even a few tasty treats from the table is definitely not the way. More often than not, table food is typically too fatty for a dog’s digestive system and can result in severe stomach upsets. To keep your dog safe and healthy this holiday season, keep the following in mind.

Oily and fatty foods, which are often found on OUR tables, can lead to severe dog health problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, and pancreatitis. Even worse, there are several people foods that can be toxic to dogs. For example, onions or any food prepared with them are unsafe for dogs and should never be given to them. Moreover, dogs that are constantly fed with table scraps have the tendency to become dependent on them. Dogs that eat table scraps may start refusing to eat regular dog food. Feeding your pet with table scraps can also cause them to develop bad behaviors such as begging. If you wish to reward your pet for good behavior, give them treats made for them.

If for some reason you just cannot stop feeding your pet table scraps, follow the following rules:

No junk food! Never feed your dog junk foods such as fries, potato chips, leftover pizza, or candies. Your dog should only get healthy food items like steamed or baked potatoes, plain rice, oatmeal, bits of cooked chicken or turkey, finely chopped or steamed unseasoned veggies and certain fresh fruits.

Moderation is key! If you like giving your dog healthy people food, don’t forget to factor his meals into his daily calorie requirement, then, feed your pooch less of their own dog food so they don’t gain weight. Be sure to balance their diet since your dog still needs their regular food. Just try giving less of it on times when you are feeding him with healthy table scraps.

Watch out for toxic food! Above all, you should avoid foods that have been found to be poisonous to dogs. These include, for example, raisins, onions, chocolate, cooked bones, fruit pits, and walnuts. For a more complete list, check it out here.

If you wish to feed your dog human food, a great way to do it is to cook a recipe specifically designed for dogs. These often include scraps that pose no harm to your dog, including rice, cooked eggs, carrots, cheese, peanut butter, berries, chicken, green beans, seedless watermelon, and bananas.

As always, feel free to reach out to Olsen Veterinary Clinic with any questions at 618-656-5868.