Posts tagged ‘dog’

Vets Corner – Healthy Eating

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The most important thing we can do to keep our pets healthy and happy for as long as possible is to feed a high quality diet and feed the appropriate amount of food consistently.  This sounds so easy and so logical doesn’t it?  Yet with about 80% of pets that I see whether in for a wellness visit or an illness, I find myself discussing this very concern.

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During a physical exam on every patient every time we see them we assess and give a body condition score.  A 1 is the skinniest pet you could ever imagine and a 5 is the heaviest pet you could imagine.  A score of 3 is ideal and what we are always aiming for.  Of the many pets that are a grade 4 or 5 I find that often owners are not really feeding too much food, but that they are giving an excessive amount of treats and table scraps.

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What I also find often is that it is one person in the household that just can’t help themselves from giving their pet treat after treat.  Of course the dog or cat always wants to hang around that person.

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The information to try to change that behavior comes from a Purina study that proved that dogs that are lean live two years longer than dogs that are obese, and that they live a much better quality of life.  That is huge considering the normal life span for most dogs is 12-13 years.

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The quality of the food also plays a huge role in the overall health of our pets.  Foods that are very high in grains like most inexpensive dry foods are more likely to add fat rather than muscle, and make pets more likely to have issues like urinary tract infections or bladder stones, diabetes, and pancreas problems.  Cats especially do not do well with these high carbohydrate foods as they are carnivores meaning that the vast majority of their nutrition must come from meat.  A premium high quality meat based dry cat food should have a protein content of about 50%.  We also recommend canned foods for cats as even the inexpensive canned foods are meat based and usually will contain 50-60% protein.  The other advantage for cats who are not big drinkers is that the canned food is about 80% moisture which is very good for their urinary system.

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One of the most exciting things that has occurred for me in veterinary medicine in the last few years is that we not only can help better control diabetes in cats with diet, but in 80% of the newly diabetic cats that are switched to a high protein, low carbohydrate canned cat food can be cured of their diabetes.  (I must add that in many cases insulin is needed initially to control the blood sugar until the body responds to the diet change.)  The vast majority of diabetic cats are Type 2 diabetics and are usually overweight male neutered cats that have been on a higher carbohydrate dry food all their lives.

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It used to seem so easy to pick out a food for our dogs and cats.  Now it seems like the pet food aisles never end and every brand has several different variations.

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The best thing to do for your pet is to consult your veterinarian to see if they have any special concerns where a particular diet could make a difference.  Although premium foods are more expensive, in general you do get what you pay for and if a good diet can prevent an illness it will more than pay for itself in the long run.

Dr. Landorf – Oakwood Hills Animal Hospital
from Pet Sitters Associates, LLC Quarterly Newsletter

April 17, 2013 at 10:56 am 4 comments

Using the Correct Collar for your Dog

This article is written by Dr. Landorff – Oakwood Hills Animal Hospital

collars 5Daily walks for your dog sounds like a simple thing, but to some dog owners it’s not a pleasant experience.  There are many dogs that pull whenever they see other people, dogs, or the dreaded squirrels that seem to antagonize my Goldendoodle.  For this reason I should like to talk a little bit about the different types of collars, harnesses, and halters that can make this daily routine a “walk in the park”.

dog in obedience classA basic obedience course is always recommended for a new puppy or dog to the family.  It is my opinion to choose an instructor that believes in a positive training protocol using rewards rather than negative reinforcement training

collars 4I never recommend the use of a “choke collar”.  I have seen several dogs over the years that continue to pull with these collars on to the point where there is damage to the windpipe.  I also am not a fan of the prong or “pinch” collars except on rare occasions where a pet has already been trained on one and does not have to be corrected often.

Harpo in his harness

Harpo in his harness

For small dogs under about 30 pounds or cats harnesses work very well.  They are very secure, thus very unlikely for the pet to “slip” out of, if fitted properly and do not press on the throat of those smaller dogs who have a sensitive windpipe syndrome called tracheal collapse.  It is also an extra added safety measure when the stray dog suddenly shows up ready to fight.  I have lifted my little Shih Tzu by the leash in these cases preventing a big dog little dog bite wound.

collars 3For larger dogs that pull badly to the point where your arms and shoulders hurt after walking I am a big fan of halters like the Gentle Leader or Easy Walk products.  These fit around the nose and behind the ears.  The halter gives the best control without causing any discomfort.  The old adage “where the head goes the body goes” is true.  Instead of having to pull the entire dog to change direction, you simply turn the head the direction you are walking.  Some dogs will fight these at first by pawing at their face or rubbing on the ground, but the dog that fights it the most generally needs it the most.  I have seen some dogs that were very hard to control on walks respond very well to the Gentle Leader allowing mothers with small children or babies in strollers able to enjoy walking with the children and pet at the same time.

Bailey with Gentle Leader harness

Bailey with Gentle Leader harness

For short nosed dogs or those that just will not tolerate the halter circling the nose, there is a Gentle Leader harness.  The advantage of this harness is that it attaches and pulls tight in the front of the dog’s chest.  Once again you are able to turn the pet rather than having to control the entire body.  It is important that all collars, harnesses, or halters be fitted properly so seek help from an animal behaviorist, trainer, or veterinary hospital staff when deciding which of these products to use.  It is very rewarding to hear how much more enjoyable something as simple as a daily walk can be for dog and owner when it goes smoothly.

Article from Pet Sitters Associates, LLC Quarterly Newsletter 2012 Vol. 4

January 13, 2013 at 10:45 am Leave a comment

Friday tip of the day – How to Get Skunk Smell Off a Dog

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Dogs love to explore, and an encounter with a skunk is a lot more fun for them than it is for us. If your dog is sprayed by a skunk, don’t bring him in the house or the odor will spread. Do all the treatments outside.

Bathing your dog with dog shampoo will make your other treatments more effective . Use dog shampoo instead of your own shampoo because yours can remove important oils from a dog’s skin.

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Soaking your dog in tomato juice is a traditional remedy for skunk smell. This seems to work because of olfactory fatigue — your nose gets used to a smell after a long period of exposure. However, the skunk odor will still be there — someone new on the scene will tell you that immediately — and now he’ll smell like tomato juice as well.

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One home remedy for skunk odor is mixing one-fourth cup to one cup baking soda and one teaspoon  dishwashing liquid in one quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. (This is enough to wash a small dog like a terrier. Multiply the recipe for larger dogs.) Note: This recipe must not be stored in a closed container, and must be used immediately and then discarded. Scrub your dog with this solution for five minutes and then rinse him off. Repeat if necessary.

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However, your best option is probably a commercial skunk odor neutralizer. You can buy these at most pet stores or from your veterinarian.

Your dog may need a haircut if his fur is matted or tangled. This can also help get rid of any lingering odor.

Because skunks generally aim for the face, it’s important that you check your dog’s eyes, nose and mouth for redness or inflammation. If rinsing doesn’t resolve the issue, you should have him seen by a veterinarian.

Thanks to the Animal Planet web-site for posting this information.

December 14, 2012 at 10:34 am 1 comment

Blogging Has Gone to the Dogs

I just found out that Pedigree has a new campaign called ‘Write a Post, Help a Dog’. Basically, for every blog post written that mentions the campaign, Pedigree will donate a bag of new PEDIGREE Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs to shelters nationwide. Well, I couldn’t say no to helping out shelter dogs! #dogsrule

According to Pedigree, more than 4 million dogs wind up homeless each year. Four million! And unfortunately, we all know that there are not 4 million families out there looking to adopt a pet, so many of these dogs are euthanized simple because there is not enough room for them.

This campaign is dedicated to educating the nation not only about the quantity, but the quality, of shelter dogs. Shelter dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are purebreds. Some are lovable mutts. Some are small puppies. Some are full-sized grown-ups. And each one of them has his own individual personality and disposition. And while shelter workers will offer plenty of advice and guidance on which dog is right for you, in the end, it’s your choice. But no matter what age, gender, color or breed your new dog ends up being, that dog should be treated like a member of your family. Because every shelter dog deserves a good home.

I have nannied for many dogs, and a lot of those dogs have come from shelters or rescue groups. I can testify that these dogs are wonderful pets that provide all the love, loyalty, and personality that you see from dogs from breeders. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not against breeders. Responsible breeders take care of their dogs, and most importantly, will take the dog back at any time if the owner decides to give him up. (Therefore not leading to more shelter pets.) But, I am saying that there are fabulous dogs right now in your local shelter waiting for their forever home. Please consider them if you are looking to add a dog to your family.

The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive is also raising awareness about awesome homeless dogs by donating a bowl of food to a shelter dog for every person who becomes a “Fan” or “Likes” the PEDIGREE Adoption Drive on Facebook. So check that out as well and let’s help shelter dogs!

September 16, 2010 at 9:00 pm 6 comments