So, you think food allergies are the unique domain of humankind? Well, think again. Animals suffer from food allergy symptoms too, and there is an ever expanding list of foods and food ingredients that, given the individual in question, could be the offending agent.
In fact, next to obesity, skin and ear-related concerns are the most prevalent conditions seen by veterinarians. Allergic reactions can show up in puppies as young as five months old, or in seniors as old as 12 years of age, though the vast majority of cases occur between two and six years.
Various prepared pet food ingredients can trigger allergic or food-sensitivity reactions in dogs and cats. These include not only the expected list of chemical additives, preservatives and flavorings that offer no nutritional value, but also many commonplace menu items that are known to be healthy dietary staples for most pets. Separating the helpful ingredients from the harmful is the key to sound pet nutrition and health. Read the rest of this entry »
Enjoy Outdoor Time Safely
Spring is a great time to give your dog more exercise and fresh air, often letting them have run of the yard. However, everyday gardens can pose a serious risk to your dog’s health. The following ten garden plants are poisonous and need to be kept away from our canine friends:
- Bulbs – Amarylis, Daffodil, Elephant Ear, Hyacinth, Iris, Tulip. The bulb is the poisonous part, so beware particularly with those dogs that like to dig.
- Ferns – Asparagus Fern, Emerald Feather, Lace Fern, Plumosa Fern. Many of these can be grown in a hanging pot, just make sure pieces of the plant or its berries do not fall to the floor.
- Flowering Plants – Cyclamen, Hydrangea, Kalanchoe. While the blooms are beautiful the consequences can be deadly.
- Garden Perennials – Charming Dieffenbachia, Christmas Rose, Flamingo Plant, Foxglove, Morning Glory, Nightshade.
- Lillies – Glory Lily. These are not only toxic to dogs, but cats as well.
- Shrubs – Cycads, Heavenly Bamboo, Holly, Jerusalem Cherry, Oleander, Precatory Bean, Rhododendron, Sago Palm, Yucca. Shrubs are one of the deadliest garden plants.
- Succulents – Aloe.
- Trees – Avocado, Buddist Pine, Chinaberry, Japanese Yew, Macadamia Nut, Madagascar Dragon, Schefflera.
- Vines – Branching Ivy, English Ivy, Glacier Ivy, Needlepoint Ivy. The foliage of vines is actually more toxic than the berries.
- Other Plants – American Bittersweet
While it is best to not have these toxic plants in your yard, at the very least they should be fenced in to keep your dog from getting to them.
Children and pets can be the best of friends. Of course there are certain safety precautions that need to be taken, particularly with pets and younger children. The following are tips for keeping children safe around pets.
- Do not allow your child to disturb the pet when he is eating.
- Teach your child to never take a toy or treat from your pet’s mouth. Unless the pet is willing to drop the toy, your child should leave the pet alone or have an adult retrieve the item.
- Do not sneak up on the pet. Pets caught by surprise may become jumpy and defensive, acting upon instinct. Teach your child to approach the pet with hands visible and a soothing, non-threatening voice.
- Teach your child to read the pet’s body language. Growling, baring teeth, and raised fur are all signs of a threatened or aggressive pet.
- Always supervise children under five years old when interacting with animals.
- Teach your child not to stare into a pet’s eyes. This may be seen as a challenge by the pet.
- Make sure your pet is properly socialized to be comfortable around other animals and a variety of people. This is best if done at a young age.
- Your pet should be well trained and respond to simple commands. Be sure to reward your pet during training with a healthy snack such as Wellness Wellbites®.
- Your child should not make startling or sudden movements around the pet.
- Practice gentle petting with your child. Make sure they understand that the pet should not be pinched, pulled or hurt in any way.
As we bundle ourselves up for these winter months it is important to remember our pets too! Some special precautions need to be taken to keep your pet safe from winter conditions. Here are 10 tips to keep your pet safe during this season:
* Watch the temperature. When the temperature outside falls below 20 degrees it is best to bring pets indoors. For short haired dogs, cats and young puppies or kittens it is best to bring them indoors when the temperature falls below 40 degrees.
* Make sure your pet’s outdoor water is not frozen. Remember, water freezes at 32 degrees and a frozen bowl of water will not do your pet much good.
* Check your car for nesting pets. The warm engines of parked cars attract pets seeking refuge from the cold. Before starting your car slap the hood to scare them away. Read the rest of this entry »
Dr. Edward Moser, a board certified veterinary nutritionist, weighs in on pet food nutrition.
Wondering if you should portion-feed your cat or just leave food out? Dr. Moser lends his insights
Free-choice feeding, sometimes referred to as “free-feeding,” typically refers to an owner making food available at all times to the cat, without time or portion constraints. If the cat chooses to eat only the amount of calories it needs per day and shows it by maintaining a lean body weight – this method is acceptable.
If an owner chooses to free-choice feed, but they notice their cat over-consumes, one way to avoid weight gain is to change their food from energy-dense diets, to high-fiber/low calorie formulas such as Healthy Weight or Indoor Health. The calories per cup would be less and cats would feel full, even though they haven’t consumed extra calories. (This is sometimes referred to as bulk-limiting.) Read the rest of this entry »
One of the trickier aspects of air travel is how to get our pets from point A to point B. There are many guidelines and restrictions when it comes to pet air travel that you will need to be aware of before planning your trip.
* Unless your pet’s carrier can fit under your seat they will need to be checked as cargo.
* Pets should be at least 8 weeks old and fully weaned.
* Sedating your pet is not recommended, as it may cause difficulty breathing at high altitudes.
* The travel crate must be large enough for your pet to lie down, turn around and stand comfortably.
* The door of the crate must be metal that is thick enough to prevent the animal from bending or distorting it.
* Mark the crate with the words “Live Animal” and “This Side Up” along with your name, address and phone number.
* Many airlines stop shipping pets as checked baggage during extreme hot or cold weather. However, many have special programs that allow you to ship pets as cargo during times of day when the temperature is more comfortable.
* Make your pet as comfortable as possible in the crate with a blanket or towel and toys.
* Do not feed your pet prior to air travel, as this may cause them to have an upset stomach during the flight.
* Give your pet frozen water or ice cubes that will melt slowly during the flight.
* Book a direct flight whenever possible to avoid your pet having to be handled more than necessary on the tarmac.
Keep in mind that not all airlines allow pets to travel in the cabin or as cargo. Each airline will have their own restrictions and policies regarding pet air travel. It is best to check the airline’s website for their policy regarding pet travel before booking your flight.
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »