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The Wellness Blog

How to Get Your Dog Certified As A Therapy Dog

Therapy dogs provide an important and rewarding job for both the dog and the owner. If you are interested in your pet becoming a certified therapy dog you first need to make sure your dog is best suited for this type of work. Therapy dogs should be well trained and friendly. The dog should not be frightened of strangers or new situations and should enjoy going out and visiting new and unfamiliar places.

For certification, your dog will need to be in good health and up to date in all vaccinations. You should receive a health certificate from your veterinarian. Of course, make sure that your dog is well trained. Good therapy dogs need to be able to sit, lie down and stay on command and to walk on a leash without pulling. Read the rest of this entry »

Human Snacks & Treats to Watch Out For

In general, we do not advocate frequent or excessive feeding of human snack food to your four-legged family menu. Typically, “people snacks” do not meet the pet’s nutritional needs, may unbalance a previously balanced diet and may have detrimental side effects. Individual animals can have food intolerances to specific ingredients or foods, just like their owners. Any food that is normally not included in a pet’s daily intake, or whose consumption amount varies considerably, could also cause gastrointestinal upset.
Here is a list of 5 items pet owners should be especially cautious of:

* Xylitol – This sweetener is used in sugar free chewing gums and candies, and is available in a powdered form for use in baking. In people, this five carbon sugar alcohol is used in diabetic dietetics and does not impact insulin levels. However, xylitol is a strong promoter of insulin release in dogs leading to hypoglycemia. Common presenting clinical signs in affected dogs include vomiting, weakness, ataxia, seizures, and collapse. In 2007 ACVIM Research Abstracts, Dr. Lyman and Dr. Bichsel discussed toxic effects seen with ingestion of 150 mg xylitol/ kg of body weight; consisting of hypoglycemia and hepatic failure. That is about 680 mg xylitol for a 10 pound dog. (A teaspoon of xylitol weighs about 5 grams) Read the rest of this entry »

Importance of Water in Your Pet’s Diet

Water is an essential nutrient for your pet, accounting for 60-75% of an adult pet’s body weight. Water helps your pet’s body regulate body temperature, digest food, eliminate waste, and allows salt and other electrolytes to pass through the body.

Your pet’s body has limited capacity to store water and can only sustain your pet for a few days with available water. When your pet’s water ratio falls 5-10% below normal your pet will start to show signs of dehydration. Failure to take action when your pet becomes dehydrated can result in your pet’s organs shutting down. Read the rest of this entry »

Kicking-off Your Pet’s Dental Health Ritual!

Your pet’s dental health is as important as any other aspect of their care. It is also the most commonly overlooked care your pet needs. The American Veterinary Dental Society reports that 70-80% of pets show signs of oral disease by age 3. Poor dental health can lead to other physical problems including heart, kidney and lung disease.

The Daily Regime
To maintain healthy dental care you need to make sure that your pet receives professional care from your veterinarian as well as home care performed by you. It is important to stick to a dental care regimen at home for your pet. Brushing your pet’s teeth daily is the most effective way to prevent plaque and tartar buildup. Read the rest of this entry »

Managing Pet Allergies in Your Home

Pet allergies no longer mean that you have to give up your love for animals. Thousands of allergy sufferers are even able to have pets in their home. There are some simple tricks you can do to make sure you and your pets can cohabitate comfortably.

If you suspect that you have pet allergies the first thing you will want to do is visit an allergist. Most allergists will work with you to control your pet allergies through antihistamine treatment, allergy shots and other holistic programs.

The key in managing your allergies will be to remove as many allergens from the air as possible. You should use HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters in your home, particularly in the bedroom. Keep the humidity in your house low which will help to minimize dust mites. Remove carpeting wherever possible, particularly in the bedroom and sitting areas. Carpet will collect pet hair and other allergens further exacerbating the condition. Read the rest of this entry »

Resources for Pet First Aid Instruction

Pets are an important part of our families and it is essential to know the basics of first-aid for our pet so that you are prepared if an emergency should arise. Pet first-aid training ranges from dressing a wound or performing CPR to preparing for a natural disaster. Whether you choose to take a class, purchase a book or participate in an interactive online first-aid course the results can be life saving.

The American Red Cross offers pet first-aid classes in many areas of the country. You can find a listing of the states classes are offered in and their locations online . Also, some local ASPCA organizations host their own first-aid classes as well. Check with your local shelter for information on any upcoming courses. Read the rest of this entry »

Preventing Animal Cruelty

Nothing tugs at the heartstrings more than a neglected or mistreated pet. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the safety of the animals around us. The following are 10 tips that you can use to prevent animal cruelty.

* Familiarize yourself with your local animal control or ASPCA organization so that you know whom to call to report signs of animal cruelty.

* Get to know the pets in your neighborhood. Know the conditions they are kept in and whether they seem healthy and well cared for.

* Know what to look for. Animal cruelty can manifest in many forms; tick or flea problems, hair loss, injuries that have not received medical care, and being severely underweight are all signs of neglect. If you see any of these signs contact your local animal control or shelter. Read the rest of this entry »

Preventing Dog Bites

Every year 800,000 Americans seek medical treatment for dog bites, half of these cases are children. Dog bites are particularly prevalent in children aged 5 to 9. While there is no way to guarantee that a dog will not bite there are some steps you can take to lessen the risk.

* Train your dog. A well-trained dog understands what is and is not acceptable behavior.

* Be cautious when introducing your dog to new situations where you do not know how they will react.

* Play non-aggressive games such as fetch. Games such as tug-of-war may cause your dog to become too aggressive and likely to bite. Read the rest of this entry »

Preventing Your Pets from Getting Lost

According to the American Animal Hospital Association’s Pet Owner Survey 30% of pet owners have lost a pet at one time and more than 60,000 pets are lost or stolen each year. Losing your pet can be a worrisome and troubling experience, but one that can easily be avoided by taking some necessary precautions to ensure your pet’s safety and security. Below are some easy steps you can take to prevent your pet from getting lost:

* Make sure you pet has current identification tags.

* Inquire with your veterinarian about having a microchip implanted in your pet. This safe procedure implants a small chip into your pet’s leg, ensuring that if your pet is lost they can be identified.

* Escape-proof your yard. Read the rest of this entry »

Top Tips to Help Choose the Perfect Name for Your Pet

While perhaps not the same as naming a child, some serious thought should still be put into choosing a name for the family pet. Below are some tips to consider when choosing a name for your four-legged family member:

* Animals respond better to one or two syllable names, so keep it short.

* Remember that this is a name you will be calling out, so make it easy to say and something you are comfortable with.

* It is best to avoid names that sound like commands such as “no” (Joe…).

* You may want to wait a few days to see what your pet’s personality is like before coming up with a name. Read the rest of this entry »