Monthly Archives: September 2013

Planning For Your (Dog’s or Cat’s) Health Care

This is an article I got from Sasha’s vet.  I put dog and cat in brackets because I think this could apply to both, even though the article says Dog’s health care.  Please read on:

Before adopting a dog, take a moment to consider the amount of care your pet will require and your ability to provide that care. Too often a cute face and wagging tail inspires individuals to bring home dogs without really considering the amount of time and financial resources required to raise healthy and happy dogs. As a result, animal shelters fill and pets do not receive the care they deserve.

Budget

Before adopting, look at your household budget. Dogs should have a yearly check-up at the veterinarian and get the required vaccines. Don’t forget the daily expense of pet food, medications, toys, and other supplies. Keep in mind, the bigger the animal, the higher the cost. Before you settle on adopting a St. Bernard or Great Dane, consider the quantity of food the animal will require and how much room your budget has to accommodate your new pet’s appetite. Remember to calculate your pet’s average expenses into your monthly budget as well as a reserve emergency savings for any accidents or unexpected trips to the veterinarian. If you don’t have emergency savings available, pet insurance might be a responsible option; the monthly cost will be consistent and most of your pet’s veterinary care will be covered. You can check on-line to compare the dozen pet health insurance companies. Be sure to ask about exclusions or what is not covered. You can always contact your veterinary office for information about the specific cost of care.

Veterinary Appointments

Regular veterinary appointments are necessary for your dog’s welfare. When bringing a new puppy or dog home, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible to screen your pet for any unknown conditions and to make sure all vaccinations are up to date. Your veterinarian will also help you select the best food for your dog, answer any questions you might have about making your home safe for your dog, and help you to provide the best care for your pet throughout its different stages of life.

Planning Ahead

Planning for a dog’s future is often overlooked, but should always be taken into consideration. If you have a dog at home, carry a pet emergency notification card in your wallet. If something prevents you from returning home, an emergency contact will be notified that your pet is in need of care in your absence. Establish either a formal or informal agreement with a trusted individual who will be able to care for your pet in your absence. Be sure this individual will have the time and financial resources which your pet needs. Keep a pet folder with all of your pet’s information (medications, food, habits/behavior, and veterinary records) and instructions with your other important documents.

Your Dog’s First Visit to the Veterinarian

During your pet’s appointment, your veterinarian will likely ask you a few common questions. Consider these questions before you arrive to ensure an efficient check up.

1. How long have you had your pet?

2. Where did you adopt him or her?

3. What vaccinations has your pet had? When?

4. What do you feed your pet?

5. Is your pet drinking more or less water than usual?

6. Has your pet lost or gained weight?

7. Has your pet displayed any odd behavior or symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, or vomiting?

8. Does your pet go outside?

9. Has your pet ever suffered any serious medical condition?

Contact your veterinarian to schedule a health screening for your pet. Be sure to ask your veterinarian when you should schedule your pet’s next appointment.

Sources:

American Veterinary Medical Association

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Recipe Friday – Bacon Chip Cookies

Your dog will go crazy for these tasty treats!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2-lb pastured bacon
  • 3 cups whole grain flour (or you can use rice flour for a gluten free treat)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup water, stock, or milk

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F, then grease a cookie sheet with olive oil

2. Cook bacon until it is crumbly.

3. Crumble bacon into a bowl and then add the rest of the ingredients, mixing well.

4. If need be, add more flour, or more water or stock or milk to get the mixture to a stiff dough consistency.

5. Drop teaspoonfuls of the dough onto your greased cookie sheet.

6. Flatten the dough with a fork, until it is about 1/4 inch thick.

7. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until browned and firm.

8. Let cool before serving.  Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or a ziploc bag.  Make sure that they are completely cool before refrigerating.  If they are not cool before refrigerating, the condensation can cause the cookies to get moldy.

Recipe Friday – Peanut Butter Parsley Treats For Dogs

Here is a great recipe for some yummy treats for your favorite doggies out there:

 

Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (or for gluten free, use about 3/4 to 1 cup of rice flour)
  • ½ Tablespoon Baking Powder (If you are doing a gluten free recipe, make sure to read the label to see that this is gluten free)
  • ½ Cup Peanut Butter (I use all natural, no sugar added)
  • ¼ Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • ½ Cup Non-Dairy Milk (I use unsweetened, plain almond milk)
  • ¼ Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley, loosely packed (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or lightly grease). Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, applesauce, and non-dairy milk. Sift in flour and baking powder and mix well. Fold in fresh parsley (if using).
  4. Using a cookie dough scoop or heaping tablespoons, spoon dough onto baking sheet. Lightly flatten dough with a spatula.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned.
  6. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Makes about 14-16 treats, depending on the size you make them.

Nothing Heartwarming About Heartworm

I wanted to share an article Sasha’s vet sent to me:

Heartworm is a long, string-like parasitic worm that has the scientific name Dirofilaria immitis. It earns its common name by living in the host’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Heartworm can cause severe lung disease, heart failure, organ damage, and death. It is transmitted only through mosquitoes to a variety of species including dogs, cats, ferrets, wolves, foxes, ferrets, sea lions, and in rare instances, humans. Heartworm can affect any breed of dog or cat.

Heartworm infects animals all over the world. Once inside an animal, a heartworm can live five to seven years, and grow up to twelve inches long. Adult heartworms look like strands of cooked spaghetti.

Mosquitoes spread heartworm to the host animal.  When a mosquito bites the animal, it transmits infected larvae through the bite wound. Once inside an animal, it takes six or seven months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. These adult heartworms mate and the females release the offspring, called microfilariae, into the host animal’s bloodstream. Mosquitoes then ingest these microfilariae when they bite the infected animal, completing the lifecycle of heartworm.

The parasite lives  inside a mosquito, and develops into infective larvae in 10 to 14 days. Microfilariae cannot become infective larvae without first passing through a mosquito. This means heartworm is spread  only through mosquito bites and not by casual contact.

The presence of the parasites inside the heart and lungs causes a large degree of inflammation, and can severely interfere with blood flow. This can cause coughing, asthma -like signs, heart failure, weight loss, fluid build-up in the abdomen, or sudden death. If  your pet develops heartworm, your veterinarian will do tests including chest x-rays and blood tests  to determine how seriously it is affected.  Treatment includes doxycycline and an injectable drug named Immiticde ℞ which is derived from arsenic. The treatment takes several months, and can also cause side effects.

For all these reasons,  it is much better to just prevent heartworm in the first place.

What Can I Do to Prevent Heartworm?

Luckily, there are several excellent heartworm preventatives available. Before starting preventative treatment in the dog though, a veterinarian will do a blood test to check for adult heartworms.  If a dog is given the preventative medicine but it already has the infection, there can be a reaction that may be severe, even possibly fatal. So it is mandatory that all dogs be checked for the disease before starting any preventative.   Also, several organizations, including the American Heartworm Society, recommend that dogs be tested annually for heartworm, and remain on the preventative medicine year round.

There are many brands of oral monthly preventatives, two types of topical monthly preventatives, and an injectable medication which is given every six months.   All these medications  are by prescription only.

If you have concerns, make an appointment to speak to your veterinarian about testing, prevention or treatment. Your veterinarian is a local expert at preventing and treating heartworm.

Sources:

American Heartworm Society

Recipe Friday – Gluten/Wheat Free Pizza Treats For Dogs

Here is a great treat, with a Hawaiian theme just for your dog:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped Ham, cooked
  • 1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 (20 ounce can) crushed Pineapple in water, drained
  • 1 (6 ounce can) Tomato Paste (make SURE the only ingredient in this is Tomatoes so that the recipe stays dog friendly)
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried Parsley
  • 2 1/4 cup Brown Rice Flour

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. In a large bowl add all ingredients and mix well.

3. Knead dough into ball and roll onto a heavily floured surface, the dough is sticky, roll until the dough is 1/4 inch thick. Cut into squares (as if you are cutting a small square pizza into small square pieces).

4. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

Can make up to 3 to 4 dozen treats.

Cool and refrigerate. You can place leftovers into ziploc bags and store them that way in the fridge for a week, then freeze if you have more left over.

 

Dog Treat Recall – Joey’s Chicken Jerky Treats

Here is another dog treat recall, please read on it is especially important for those in New Hampshire:

September 10, 2013 — The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has announced a voluntary recall of Joey’s Jerky Chicken Jerky treats due to possible contamination with Salmonella bacteria.

Joey's Jerky Chicken Jerky TreatsA total of 21 people in Merrimack and Hillsborough Counties have been identified with the same strain of the illness.

However, no deaths have occurred.

Joey’s Jerky is produced in New Hampshire and the manufacturer, Kritter’s Kitchen Kreations, LLC, has voluntarily recalled all of the product.

Joey’s Jerky was sold at the following six stores:

  • America’s Pet in Hudson
  • Blue Seal in Bow
  • K9 Kaos in Dover
  • Osborne’s Agway in Concord
  • Sandy’s Pet Food Center in Concord
  • The Yellow Dogs Barn in Barrington

Confirmation through laboratory testing of the jerky is pending at the New Hampshire Public Health Labs.

What to Do?

DHHS is asking people to determine if they have any of these jerky treats at home — and if so, to discard them.

For more information on Salmonella, contact the DHHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 603-271-4496. Or visit the DHHS website at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella.

You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

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Recipe Friday – Cheesey Veggie Bites For Dogs

Your dog should love this tasty treat and have them coming back for more.  I will post both the regular recipe and the gluten free recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups White Whole-Wheat Flour (or use 2 1/2 to 3 cups of rice flour for gluten free)
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 3 Teaspoons  Minced Fresh Parsley (can help with bad breath)
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Carrots
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Cheese (your choice)
  • 1 jar of Sweet Potato Baby Food (organic preferred, gluten free for those with allergies)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Water

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.

2. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

3. Mix together parsley, carrots, cheese, baby food and oil.

4. Combine the dry ingredients separately from the veggie mixture.

5. Slowly add 1/2 c. water, then the veggie mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well.

6. Dough should be moist but not wet. Knead for a minute.

7. Roll out dough to 1/4″ thickness. Using a knife, cut out bite size pieces (depending on the size of your dog, the bite size will be either smaller or larger).

8. Bake 15-30 minutes until bites have browned and hardened slightly.  (It will all depend on the site of the bites how long they will need to cook.  You may notice you need to cook them considerably shorter or longer).

9. Store in an airtight container on counter after thoroughly cooled, for up to 2 weeks. Waiting until cooled is an important step; condensation can build and the moisture will cause treats to mold.  For longer storage, store in an airtight container in fridge for up to a month.  If you wish longer storage, you can pack them in freezer bags for up to 6 months.