Blog Archives

Top 10 Questions Asked Of Dog Veterinarians

As pet parents, we all care about the well-being of our dogs.  Many times we ask questions to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep our pets healthy.  Many vets were contacted, and these were the most common questions that were asked:

What is the best way to make sure my dog is receiving the best nutrition?

By reading labels on your dog food and giving them a healthy diet with plenty of protein , some fats and very little if any, fillers (corn, wheat, gluten, etc)., and by giving them healthy treats you will be providing your dog with the best nutrition possible.

 
My dog seems to have trouble rising in the morning (or they are limping) what could this be?

Many times as dogs grow older, they will need to be checked for hip dysplasia, or arthritis.  If this is an issue, there are many medications that can help an elderly dog.

What I suggest, since Sasha is a lab mix, they seem to be likely to develop hip dysplasia, so I opt to give her supplements for healthy, strong bones, and to keep the cartilage strong.  I use Cosequin Plus, but there are many alternatives on that page.  I figure I want to keep her as happy and healthy as long as possible, so I am going to do what it takes to keep her that way,

For more questions that are asked and the answers, click here.

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Cats and Constipation

Many of our furbabies have experienced bouts of constipation, but if these are not just bouts and actually continue for long periods of time, there may be something more serious going on.

Some diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Mega Colon, food allergies and others will produce periods of time of constipation.  The only way to know if your cat is suffering from one of these diseases is to make an appointment with the vet.  One thing to do is to keep a food/treat diary and an exercise diary before going in as this will help the vet narrow down what the issue may be.

When we first adopted Isis, she was being fed basically junk food in the shelter (Meow Mix and Friskies). These are not healthy foods for cats.  So when we changed her food very gradually, she started to get constipated on what her diet should be (mainly protein).  So what we did was add about a teaspoon of canned pumpkin (NOT pie filling but 100% pumpkin), to her food.  This helped quite a bit and she was back to normal.  What we sometimes do now is add about a half teaspoon of olive oil to her wet food and some canned pumpkin just to make sure she is regular and able to produce minimal waste.  It also aids in reducing hairballs.

At times she was quite constipated, and after seeing the vet and ruling out any kind of disease, I came up with my own solution.  I used to wait until after Isis ate and then have her come over to me on the floor.  I would then have her stand on all fours in front of me and I would massage her belly in gentle, circular motions.  I would do this several times per day, until it seemed that she was going on a regular basis.  I slowly tapered off from doing that until I was down to once per day, then after a week I stopped doing it.  I haven’t had to do it since and that has been about seven months ago.  I hope I never have to do that again.  It is because our cats are so used to the processed junk that they have been fed in a shelter, their bodies do not know how to digest and handle their natural diet.

Another thing to consider is playtime, playtime, playtime.  This gets the cat’s intestines working and helps them to produce waste. Having several short play sessions every day helps not only with constipation, but with weight management.

It is always best to check with your vet before doing anything with your cat, they may want to do procedures, depending how long it has been since your cat defecated.

This article explains what to do if your cat is constipated and how to help make your cat comfortable when they are constipated.

The High Price of Cheap Cat Food

Trying to save money by buying cheap cat food will only create larger vet bills as your cat ages.  Immune systems become compromised, dental issues occur, and health declines rapidly, kidneys can shut down, all because we do not buy (or make) the best cat food we can afford for our furbabies.

That is not to say that people do fall on hard times and budgets need to be cut here and there, just be careful when this does happen that you are not totally compromising your cat’s health.

I have an article that explains what can happen to cats that are fed a cheap diet.  Some of the information is graphic, but I do believe that people should read this information so that they understand and know just what some of the consequences are of a cheap or “junk food” diet.

This information does apply to dogs as well.  Let’s take care of our furbabies so that they can live long and happy and healthy lives.

 

 

Coprophagia

For many people, this can be something that occurs when you first adopt a dog from a shelter where they are not fed/exercised/bored.  This is a term for when dogs eat their own waste.

Luckily this can be reversed in most cases very easily.  If not, and even if it can be, it is probably best to take your dog to the vet to ensure that they are getting all their proper nutrients and do not have parasites.

Exercise, keeping your dog from getting bored and upgrading their food to better, nutrient rich food can help.

Here is an article that explains this more in depth.  Hopefully if your dog suffers from this, a trip to the vet and a change in their diet/exercise regime can help solve the problem.

Pet Nutrition – Audio Interview

Here is a great audio interview with Dr. Celeste Yarnall, who has been into pet health and nutrition for over 40 years and has raised 11 generations of tonkonese cats.  The interview is wonderful in learning about raw food diet and proper health care for your pets.  It is well worth a listen.

 

Here is a link for the article before the audio interview.

Here is the link for the interview.  Enjoy!

 

Health Check – Is Your Dog Overweight?

A dog’s weight is a very important factor in keeping your dog healthy and happy.

I found a great website with information in determining where your dog is in terms of healthy weight/underweight/overweight/obese.

If your dog is overweight or obese, start to get them more active and on a better diet, but start slowly.  A change in any kind of diet or exercise program can be a shock to their system (and bones).

Even just a few more play sessions or a longer walk by 20 minutes per day can help to get the stubborn pounds off your furbaby.

I hope the article helps and I hope everyone’s furbabies are happy and healthy!

 

Choosing a Veterinarian That’s Right For You

This is perhaps one of the most important aspects when owning a pet, choosing a vet that will be compatible with your pet and will work with your health and diet plans.

When we first brought Sasha to get her spayed, we had to go to a certain office because the shelter we adopted her from was paying for the spay.  When we arrived, we were not impressed.  I had a bad feeling in my gut and so did my husband.

Our suspicions were correct.  The office staff was rude, cold and unfriendly.  When we went to pick her up at the end of the day, they pretty much dragged her out of the back room and gave her to us.  We still had to pay for part of her spay because they weren’t going to use laser on her unless we paid an additional $100 for that.  There was no way I wanted them to just go in and cut things out of her.  It was a horrible office and I will never go back and in fact I filed a complaint against them regarding their practices.  I cried for the whole day after bringing her there.  Sasha has since gotten over the whole thing, but I will never forget the feeling I had dropping her off there.

That is a long and round about way of saying that when you enter an office and you get a bad feeling, TRUST IT and run.

We had Isis for longer than Sasha and we brought Isis to a different vet, she is a cat specialist.  Her practice is only in cats, and all things cats.  Isis’ vet is amazing.  She is very soothing and calming, not only to Isis, but for us as well.  If Isis can go to the vet and come out of the office purring and calm, I would say the vet is a good one.

Isis’ vet listens to our concerns and explains things to us in a manner that we understand without being condescending.  She is very supportive of the diet we have Isis on, she makes sure we understand any and all instructions about caring for Isis.  She really does care about the cats she sees and remembers details about them that even surprises me.  (she remembered Isis didn’t know how to play when we adopted her, so the vet read up on teaching cats how to play and worked with us to help teach her how to).  Most of all, she will recommend what to do when Isis gets ill, but will give us several options and she does NOT charge through the nose for any services.  In fact, she is the least expensive vet in town.

Sasha’s vet works in the same office as Isis’ vet. He specializes in dogs and all things dog.  He is a wonderful vet, he is the same as Isis’ vet, he will not charge through the nose and makes sure we understand proper nutrition, care and takes the time to answer all our questions.

When choosing a vet, make sure you schedule an appointment where you can talk to them and get to know them and feel out their personality.  Ask lots of questions, mention what you feed your pets and see how they react.  Mention your philosophy of care for your pets and see how they react.  If they offer any information to help out, that is a good sign.  Also ask how they operate doing spays and neuters.  If they are still old school and use scissors and they are not into laser surgery or are not up on the latest technology which helps your pet to heal faster and is safer, then don’t stay.  You are paying these people lots of money for caring for your pets.  Make sure this is someone you feel completely comfortable leaving your pets with.  If there is any doubt, find another vet.

Four points to remember: Care (do they offer great care for your pets?), comfort (how comfortable are you leaving your pet with this vet?), personable (can you ask questions and do they offer information that you can easily understand?), cost (do they charge astronomical amounts for services that other vets would not?).  If those are covered and you are happy with the answers you receive, then the vet is a good one!

You can search for a vet in your area here.  You can specify the distance as well.  Just call them up and make an appointment, or talk to the receptionist/staff that answers the phone.  If you don’t like the way they sound, chances are this is a good indication that you won’t like the vet either.  What some vets don’t realize is that the staff they choose is just as important as their practice.  If the staff is not friendly and they do not answer your questions, chances are the vet won’t be accommodating either.

You will know when you have found the right vet, trust your gut.

Chicken Jerky Recall

Just a quick post that there is a recall of some Chicken Jerky treats.  Don’t panic if you feed the Dogswell or Catswell treats, they are safe.

Here is the FDA article on what you need to watch out for.  If your pet has been ill and these seem to be he symptoms, you now know why.  A visit to the vet might be a good idea as well.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is again cautioning consumers that chicken jerky products for dogs (also sold as chicken tenders, strips or treats) may be associated with illness in dogs. In the last 12 months, FDA has seen an increase in the number of complaints it received of dog illnesses associated with consumption of chicken jerky products imported from China. These complaints have been reported to FDA by dog owners and veterinarians.

FDA issued a cautionary warning regarding chicken jerky products to consumers in September 2007 and a Preliminary Animal Health Notification in December of 2008. After seeing the number of complaints received drop off during the latter part of 2009 and most of 2010, the FDA is once again seeing the number of complaints rise to the levels of concern that prompted release of our earlier warnings.

Chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities.

FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died.

FDA, in addition to several animal health diagnostic laboratories in the U.S., is working to determine why these products are associated with illness in dogs. FDA’s Veterinary Laboratory Response Network (VLRN) is now available to support these animal health diagnostic laboratories. To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. FDA continues extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified a contaminant.

The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem and its origin. Many of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky. Veterinarians and consumers alike should report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state or go to their website.

The All Important-Food and Diet

*I am not a vet, the ideas on this blog are just for your own purposes, and is a result of 20 years of research.  Please consult your vet if you are looking into changing your pet’s diet.

For some reason, what to feed your dog or cat seems to at times, turn into a heated debate.  What I am about to say is not to put anyone down, but to hopefully educate those who are looking for good, healthy food for your fur baby.

Go and look at the bag or can of food that you feed your dog/cat.  I’ll wait…okay.  Is corn or corn meal any of the first ingredients on the list?  If it is, you may want to think about changing the food you are feeding.

Let’s look at it this way, cornmeal, or corn of any sort is a filler in your animal’s food.  Also, if any of the first 5 ingredients are anything like wheat, soy, anything ending in -meal (cornmeal, chicken byproduct meal), these are comparable to humans eating junk food.  A lot of those ingredients are high carbs and can lead to health issues in your animal, such as: diabetes or even heart problems.  It’s like us eating at Taco Bell or McDonald’s all the time.

The reason the first 5 ingredients are important is that those ingredients make up the bulk of the food that you are feeding your pet.  If you start feeding healthier food, it’s cheaper in the long run.  Your trips to the vet will be cheaper and less often, your animal’s teeth and bones will be stronger and healthier, and the overall health will improve.  My Sasha was eating Ol’ Roy dog food at the shelter, and was not very active or healthy.  We started to feed her healthy food and right away we noticed she is perkier, her coat is so soft and shiny, her teeth are wonderful, and she is a healthy weight.

Also, your vet may be trying to push you to use Hills Science Diet.  A lot of vets end up getting a kickback from that food.  And admittedly, several vets have told me that in all the years they go to school to become a vet, they DO NOT take any classes on nutrition.  If a vet wants to learn about nutrition, they must do it on their own time and do their own research.

If you are curious about what types of foods to feed your dog, this site is wonderful for telling you all the information you may want to know about the health of the food you are feeding your dog.

Dog Food Reviews

On that link you will also see reviews for wet food and even raw food.  What is a raw food diet?  Here is a link that explains more about what the raw food diet (also known as the BARF diet) is.

Raw Food Diet

Similarly, there is a good site to review all the kinds of cat food that is out there to ensure your cat is being fed a healthy diet.  Here is the site for cats.

Cat Food Reviews

There are also raw food diets for cats, the idea behind these diets is that what a cat will eat in the wild is prey and organs and basically raw food.  If you want a healthy diet to feed your cat and to understand the benefits of this feeding style, here is a link to give your more information.

Making cat food

It is important to note that if you are changing your pet’s diet, you must go SLOW and TRANSITION the diet, otherwise you may risk stomach/digestion issues.

I will never tell someone what to feed their fur baby, I can only help guide someone if they ask.  People have asked me what I feed my babies because they seem quite healthy.

Sasha’s Diet

  • Morning: 1/2 cup Wellness Core original recipe dry food, 1/4 can of Wellness Core Salmon, Whitefish and Herring.
  • Afternoon: 1/2 cup Wellness Core original recipe dry food
  • Evening: 1/4 cup Wellness Core original recipe dry food
  • Bedtime snack: 1/4 cup Wellness Core original recipe dry food
Isis’ Diet
  • Morning: 1TBSP. Wellness canned cat food (whatever flavor at the moment, we rotate among all the grain free recipes). Plus 1/2 TBSP. pumpkin (helps to aid with hairballs, it helps to reduce them by having them move through the digestive tract and evacuating the body through bowel movements instead of through vomiting.  If you purchase, make sure it is 100% pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie filling).
  • Afternoon: 1 TBSP. Wellness canned cat food, 1/2 TBSP. pumpkin
  • Evening: Catswell Happy Hips and Vita Kitty treats (it’s jerky strips for cats, very tiny, and I just cut them up and give them to her, it’s like vitamins for her and helps her hips and joints. Since she has been eating these, she has turned into a kitten and runs and plays with vigor!)
  • Bedtime snack: 1TBSP. Wellness canned cat food, 1/2 TBSP. pumpkin.
Also, every once in a while, Sasha will get a treat.  We feed her all natural treats called Bully Sticks.  We order these online and they are delivered fast!
At the same Bully Sticks website, we order her Antlers as a chew toy, since she is in her chewing phase.  These are humanely harvested, since antlers are shed once per year.  If you are ordering these, make sure you order a large enough size so that your dog cannot get them in her back teeth, otherwise the antler will be gone within hours.  We order Sasha the Jumbo size antler and that lasts her about a month.  We may order her the Monster size for Christmas but sshhhh don’t tell her 😉

Here is the link to the food I feed both Sasha and Isis.

Wellness Dog and Cat Food

I feed both Sasha and Isis grain free diets, no gluten, no soy, no corn,no wheat, no grains.  These are the ingredients that cause the most allergic reactions in animals.  They would not be eating these things in the wild, so why feed that to them now?  I am a preventative person, so I make sure that I am not feeding them something that could potentially cause an allergy.

Some of the indications of an allergy to these ingredients include: diarrhea, constipation, constant scratching around the mouth or ears,scratching around the rump, skin rashes, indigestion and discomfort, sluggish behavior, irritability, constant scratching of the stomach area, as well as sometimes chewing of the paws.  There may be other reactions, it is best to ask your vet if you suspect your pet has an allergy.  They may suggest doing an elimination diet.

I am slowly going to transition them to raw food diets.  Since they are both shelter animals, the food they were fed was sub-par and I want to take it slow so that they do not get ill.  Right now, they are doing well and have had their wellness checks with the vet and passed with flying colors.  I always say to feed what you can afford, and to research, research, research what is out there for your fur babies.  I know I want mine to live long and healthy lives.  It’s not about quantity of life but quality of life.

I will probably write many posts about food here, but if you have questions, feel free to ask.  Like I have said, I have been doing research and I can find you the information you may need.