Tag Archives: Disease

How to Help a Fearful Dog at the Vet

Some dogs actually love going to the vets, where some dogs going to the vets can be a very stressful ordeal. The main thing to keep in mind whether your dog loves the vets or hates it, is to keep it positive.

The best way to help your dog associate the vet’s to a none stressful outing, is to visit the vets office as if you would the pet store. Do it frequently, do it weekly if you have to! Of course, you should ask the staff if this is OK ahead of time and perhaps agree on a specific time when the office is generally not too busy. Explain that you want your dog to view the vet office as a fun place to visit, and perhaps the receptionist could even give him a special treat each time you arrive.

If the staff isn’t too busy they can even come out from behind the reception desk and pet your dog to help them relax! The goal with each visit is for your dog to what to stay at the vet’s, when it’s time to leave they wont want to with all the treats and loving they are getting.

With Ginny, the biggest regret I have is not socializing her enough during her fearful times. I would foster a situation, plan my route for the least human interactions she would in counter. Especially with men. If we were in a store, I would avoid any sort of situation of them seeing her. Which wasn’t always the easiest with a huge English Mastiff. But had I have gotten her out and having more introductions with people her fear and her confidence would have been eased when going to the vets.

Warn the Vet Ahead of Time and Plan the Trip.

When I had to switch vet offices later on, I had to explicitly ask for a female vet. And explain to them that she could not be seen by a male vet, not for fear aggression. But because she will be in the corner peeing herself (no joke).

Once the vet got to know Ginny on the first consultation, from there on out she always greeted her in a calm manner. When it came to actually examining Gin, the vet always got down on her knees and would sit beside Ginny checking her over. Bringing treats in her pocket always helped too when Ginny was feeling extra shy.

If you have a smaller dog that has to be placed up on the table, bring a towel, or a small dog bed for them to sit on versus the scary table.

Act Like Going to the Vet is no Big Deal.

If you’re nervous, your dog will be more likely to feel nervous as well. The more your work yourself up playing the what if game in your head, the more likely your dog will start to react to that nervous energy.

Do you have any tricks you use to help your dog go to the vet?

5 Tips for Taking Care of your Dog’s Paws

As summer is rolling around and the day’s are heating up so is the concrete we walk on, we may not notice due to the shoes we wear but go bare-foot and you’ll notice the significant heat difference. Our dog’s paws feel the difference too, their pads only provide so much protection before it becomes painful. We don’t walk across a hot parking lot or a snow covered one without proper protection on our feet, but for some reason some owner’s make their pets suffer.

The paw pad provides protection for the paw from rough terrain, but there is a myriad of issues surrounding the paw that should be addressed including nail length, cracked pads and foreign objects wedged in between paw pads. Continue reading

Is Canned Food only a Treat?

The other day in the store, a couple came in with their new puppy. They had several valid questions about the different kinds of dog food, feeding science based formulas or the holistic approach. They were quite mixed up on canned food only being a treat instead a main food staple. I gather that their trainer had influenced their opinions in saying that it does not contain the nutrients like kibble does and people only use it to entice picky eaters – which is not true at all. Canned food in combination feeding with dry food has sooo many added benefits, however feeding canned food alone for long periods of time can lead to major plaque build up. The reason for this is the crunch of kibble actually helps scrap off the plaque as it accumulates, where as the soft texture of canned food leaves the build up around the gums.

Anyways, there a three added benefits I can think of right away,

  1. Moisture content – canned food on average has a moisture content greater than 70%. What does this really mean? It means your pet is ingesting more water!!This is a HUGE added bonus with older male cats, they need the added moisture to stave off kidney failure or disease. I lost one of my childhood cats due to this, looking back, I know why he developed kidney failure. He never once had canned food and hardly ever drank water… Introducing canned food into your cats diet at any time can help prevent this. However it isn’t just cats that benefit from the added water. All pets, dog, hamsters, rabbits, ferrets, everyone benefits from the added water, after all water is essential to all life and maintaining hydration.
  2. Calorie dilution – the higher moisture content means lower calories compared to the dry kibble equivalent.When would this benefit a cat or dog?  During weight loss.  You can feed a larger volume of canned compared to dry while actually reducing the calories consumed.  However just because you can, does not mean you should. Always check the proper feeding guide and follow it with slight modification depending on the activity of your dog. The increased water content will help increase the feeling of fullness during a meal and aid digestion too.
  3. Soft Texture – the soft texture of canned food helps during times of oral sensitivity.Oral sensitivity can occur during teething as a puppy, or in aging pets when teeth, gums, and jaws become more sensitive, or during recovery from facial trauma. Many smaller dogs are subject to dental issues, and tend to need some of their teeth removed. During the recovery time after oral surgery, canned food can be a great alternative to wetting down your dogs regular kibble.

These three are just some of the added benefits I can think off the top of my head. Like I said, the benefits of canned food do not just affect dogs. It affects all pets, and it really should be incorporated into your pets diet. The next question the couple had was, once we start adding canned food to their diet, does it have to be all dry or all canned?

Definitely no!

Feeding a combination of dry and canned food can provide the benefits of both.  The best way to achieve an appropriate balance of wet to dry is to start by determining the dry food equivalents of the canned food.  For example, let’s say the calories in one can of wet food is equal to  the calories in one cup of dry food.  If you wanted to feed a diet of 1:1 and have been feeding a cup of dry food per day the equivalent including canned would be ½ a can and ½ a cup of dry.

Make sure you choose a canned food that compliments the dry food you are feeding.  I try to keep the same protein in the canned as in the kibble. For example, if the main protein in the kibble is turkey, I try to keep the canned protein a fowl too. Or if kibble is salmon, try to stick with a fish in the canned. A lot of dry food brands manufacture a wet version of the foods, I know Natural Balance carries a canned version of each recipe.

On a side note, never purchase canned food that has been dented or damaged. Even though they may be on clearance or tempting. The damage could have a caused a break in the can, or its seal which has let air get in and the contents have started to rot or mold. Unfortunately working in pet retail I have seen this all too often, one of the worse offenders was the pedigree canned food.

The Cost of Having an Overweigh Dog

We are along ways away from, National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, which lands in October, however pet obesity is a serious problem we face as pet parents. It is such a problem that Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) created a day to help raise awareness of both the seriousness of and pervasiveness of pet obesity. Now it may seem strange poOverweight Rottisting this in February, but it is to help bring awareness if your dog is overweight that you can help bring him to a healthy weight before October! Not many people realize the financial strain it can cost owners with overweight pets also, but obese dogs are much more susceptible to chronic health issues versus a healthy weight dog.

The Financial Costs of Having an Overweight Pet
In 2009, researchers at the Michigan State veterinary hospital conducted a study to determine the annual treatment costs associated with common canine diseases and disorders.

If a much shorter and lower quality life for your dog is not reason enough to change the way you feed and exercise your pet, perhaps the realization of how costly it can be to have an overweight dog will be the impetus to change your behavior.

Annual Veterinary Treatment Costs, Canine Diseases
Disorder/Disease Average Cost
Heart disease $1,912
Hypertension $1,700
Osteoarthritis $1,656
Cancer $2,447
Diabetes $1,108
Pancreatitis $1,422
Obesity + ruptured ACL $2,367
Chronic kidney disease $1,823

According to APOP, the primary risks of overweight pets include:

  • Heart and Respiratory Disease
  • High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Many Forms of Cancer
  • Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury (ACL)
  • Kidney Disease
  • Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years)

Treating anyone of these disorders can be significantly costly, but because these are just an estimated average costs a dog’s total treatment over a lifetime could easily exceed $10,000 depending on the disease and age at diagnosis. Even worse yet, an overweight dog could develop multiple diseases due to their weight problem. In fact, virtually all of the conditions listed above are more likely to occur in overweight dogs than in properly weighing dogs.

Rebecca Bone-icon