By Dr. Dailey Our human journey has always included animals, companion, livestock, and wild. Research has shown the first domesticated animals were not a food source but a companion, the wolf. It is postulated highly social wolves and highly social humans started walking, playing, and hunting together and never stopped. The dog is literally the wolf who stayed. Evidence of the bonds between people and animals throughout the ages is easily found, such as literature, cave paintings, and archeological sites. The close relationship between animals and people date from the dawn of civilization. In Ancient Egypt, cat owners shaved their eyebrows when their cat died, signifying feline loss and mourning. Many cave paintings throughout the world depict symbolic animal representation including Chauvet Cave, France, (32,00 years old), Goyet Cave, Belgium, (31,700 years old), Blombos Cave, South Africa, (20,000 years old), Grotte de Pigeons, Morocco, Stehul, Israel, Australia and probably the the most well known Lascaux Cave, France (17,000 years old). What intrigues many people about Lascaux Cave is the child’s footprints left in the mud and alongside them a paw print of the child’s dog! Saint Joan of Arc and Florence Nightingale recognized the health benefits animals provided. In understanding this bond, science has progressed from intuition-based thoughts, to anecdotal ideas and finally in the 1970’s, to evidence based research. The animal human bond cannot be underestimated. This bond is extremely powerful, mutually beneficial, and affects our mental, social, and physiologic health. Our pets are valued members of our family, 62% of American households have a pet (47 million dogs and 41 million cats). Pets are good for us. Pets encourage touch, conversation, laughter, increase exercise, teach responsibility, nurture kindness, decrease blood pressure, and boost immunity. Pets can be better medicine than medicine. Our animals are an antidote to loneliness, anxiety and depression. The therapeutic value of animals for socially isolated individuals in nursing homes, hospitals, hospice, and prison is documented. The one year survival rate after a heart attack is 94% among pet owners and 74% among non-pet owners. The aid and service working dogs provide is immeasurable and cannot be underestimated. The unique ability to connect and care for animals enriches our quality of life. To create and sustain a strong bond the pet must be easy to live with, behaviorally. Problems such as aggression, barking, destructiveness can erode the human-bond. It is important to match the breed characteristics with the personality and life style of the owner. This wonderful bond is everywhere, past, present, and future. Our lives are forever intertwined. We are fortunate to enjoy the companionship and unconditional love our dear pets bring every day.
Please understand that I am just a baby. I need to learn that the “potty” is outside. Be patient with me and I will learn. Keep me in a small confined area like a crate. If it is a size to be my bedroom only (like a crate), that will work – no room for a “potty.” As long as I am out of my crate often for exercise and bonding with you, my time in the crate will not be an issue. Whenever you get me out of my crate take me out right away. I will need to go out often. Whenever I wake up from the night or a nap I will need to go to my potty place. Keeping that place consistent will assist me as I learn. You may want to tell me to “go potty” so I start to associate those words with the action. Feed me on a regular schedule. I will need to go out when I eat or drink. When I slow down after play I will likely need to go again and whenever I am excited about something. If I do a good job with the potty outside you can give me some freedom in the house but only when you watch me. If I seem restless, start sniffing more around the floor or begin the potty position take me out right away. If you are not watching and I have an accident please don’t stick my nose in it. I really cannot connect that with the act of going “potty.” Like any new baby I am a lot of work but I will repay you with tremendous amounts of loyalty and companionship. As I mature I can wait longer to use the potty. All puppies are different but a good rule of thumb is a puppy can easily wait the number of hours equal to how many months of age they are. There are certainly lots of precocious puppies that wait all night from the time they are released from their mom and go to their new home. Many need at least one middle of the night visit to the potty. Gotta go now – it’s potty time again! Contributed by anybody’s puppy with a little help from Terri Heck, CVT
By: Terri Heck, CVT Warmer weather brings much pleasure and has us and our pets enjoying the outdoors. But the warmer weather brings us some hazards as well. Bee and wasp stings can be a painful experience and in some cases a true emergency. Redness, mild localized swelling, and discomfort are common after a bee sting. Cold compresses on the site are recommended without putting too much pressure on the area. Baking soda can neutralize venom from bees but can make wasp stings more uncomfortable. If a stinger can be seen it can be pulled out with tweezers. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) at the dose of 1mg/pound is safe for most dogs and cats but not always effective in cats. Check with your veterinarian first to be sure there is not a contraindication before giving. Watch your pet closely for 12-24 hours after getting stung. If swelling continues to escalate, hives develop, or you notice any trouble breathing or vomiting then a bee sting becomes an emergency. Seek veterinary care immediately if any of those signs are seen. Still want to know more? Take a look at this Bee Stings 101 article.
by Dr. Tracy Venier Over-the-counter medications are so commonly used by people for anything from allergy and pain relief to upset stomachs, diarrhea and constipation, but are they safe for our pets? While there are some “safe” OTC medications that can be administered to our dogs and cats, there are also many that can be ineffective and more importantly dangerous. Did your dog play a little too rough or seems sore after going on that long hike with you? You noticed that your kitty seems to be favoring one of his legs? What to do now? While it may be tempting to reach into our medicine cabinets for some Ibuprofen (an NSAID) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol) just like you would take for aches and pains, these are two of the most common pet poisons. Aspirin, once commonly recommended by Veterinarians is now on the “do not give” list of OTC medications as it had been found to potentially cause gastrointestinal (GI) ulcerations, bleeding or even kidney failure. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) also potentially toxic to our canine companions can be lethal if ingested by cats. Even Pepto-Bismol which can be tempting to use for stomach upset and diarrhea contains bismuth salicylate which is similar to aspirin and can also cause toxicity in dogs and cats. While most pain medications (NSAIDs and Tylenol) and most medications that are ingested orally are the most common culprits, even some topical medications can be problematic. Allergies are a very common ailment in our dog and cat patients and rashes/hives on skin often accompany allergies. Topical creams that contain steroids should be avoided as they can potentially make certain skin conditions worse, and can be problematic if your pet is able to lick the spot where the cream was applied. Other things best to avoid are topical ear and eye medications, as many products contain additives that may not be safe, or can be alcohol based (ear cleaners) that can burn and make ears even more sensitive. Pain management, allergy relief and soothing an upset stomach are very important but it’s always best to check with your Veterinarian before administering any medication-even if it’s something you’ve used before or had left over from another pet in the house. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!
The recent outbreak in Chicago by a new strain of Canine Influenza is still under investigation. Cornell University has identified the type of virus strain involved and has found it to be different from the one used in the current Canine Influenza Vaccines (CIV). It is not yet known if these vaccines (CIV) will offer any cross -immunity. There is no evidence that this virus can be transmitted to people but it has caused respiratory infections is some cats. For further information please go to the AVMA website.
Help us fill an animal’s food bowl and spread some holiday cheer this season! From December 9th to January 9th, every time we get a like on Facebook we will donate a scoop of food in partnership with Hill’s Pet Nutrition to the Animal House Rescue – an animal rescue in our area. Please help us by spreading the word! When we post on any of our social media accounts, please share, retweet, or create something on your own. We’re aiming to get 1,000 likes (that equals about 10 40-lb bags of dog food!) and we can’t do it without you! So please let all your friends, family, coworkers, and anyone else know so we can make this holiday season just a little bit better for these animals in need. Visit our Facebook page to make a difference! Animal House is a different type of rescue. Animal House Rescue is a 501(c)(3) no kill dog rescue that specializes in the problem children! Many of our adoptable dogs are ready to go, but we also welcome the dogs with character. Our dogs can be bounce backs (returns), abused or neglected, and the misunderstood. We have found that these dogs will make perfectly good (and safe) companions. Someone just needs to understand them – and that’s where we come in!
Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away and soon enough you will be sitting down for your big dinner and your pet will place himself next to you and just stare at you—waiting and begging for you to drop just a morsel of turkey on the floor. A poll of petMD readers showed that 56% of people share Thanksgiving food scraps with their pets. We do not encourage families to feed their pets from the table as it can be unhealthy and can cause negative behavior, but we also know that sometimes the temptation is too great. If you know that you are one of these families, please follow these tips and keep your animals safe! The YES List: Turkey can be a great lean protein for your pet. Remove any skin or fat from the meat and only offer your pet dry, white meat. Turkey gravy often has ingredients that can be bad for animals. Unless your pet is used to table scraps, keep the serving sizes small to avoid gastrointestinal issues. As long as they’re plain, green beans are actually a healthy and good treat for pets. Do not feed your pet green beans if they are marinated or in a green bean casserole. If you want to feed your pet mashed potatoes, be very careful of any additional ingredients. Cheese, butter, garlic, onions, gravy, and more should not be a part of your pet’s diet. When served in a small portion, cranberry sauce can be enjoyable for your pet but careful with the amount of sugar in it. As long as you know that your pet’s stomach is okay with dairy, macaroni and cheese is another okay option. If you are at all unsure, only give him or her plain macaroni. The NO List: Along with gravy, also make sure your pet does not eat any alliums (onions, garlic, leeks, scallions, etc). These can be toxic to your pet. If you have grapes at your meal, do not let your pet eat them. Grapes and raisins have been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs. Do not give your pet any food with xylitol or artificial sweeteners. While you may be trying to make your meal healthier by not using real sugar, sweeteners containing xylitol are poisonous to pets. Chocolate is an absolute no. Be aware of what contains chocolate and keep it out of reach of pets. Especially if the food contains baking chocolate. Keep your alcohol to yourself. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning in animals. Make sure to throw away all packaging, wrappers, bones, and other items properly. A pet can easily get into the garbage and choke on something. Educate your guests on what they can and cannot give your pet. Also make sure that there is somewhere for your pet to escape to if they are overwhelmed or stressed. Most importantly, enjoy your holiday! We will be closed on Thanksgiving Day but if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!
November is National Pet Diabetes Month. Are your pets at risk? The likelihood of your cat or dog developing diabetes is anywhere between 1 in 100 and 1 in 500 and experts say those numbers are increasing. Diabetes mellitus, the clinical name for “sugar diabetes,” is a disease that affects glucose in your pet’s blood and is caused by a shortage of insulin or when the body can’t process insulin properly. Diabetes in dogs is usually type 1 while diabetes in cats is usually type 2 but can progress to type 1. The food that your pet eats is broken down into small components that the body can use. One of the components, carbohydrates, is converted into sugar or glucose. If there is too little insulin or the insulin cannot be processed correctly, then the glucose is not able to enter the cells and provide energy. Because the cells cannot absorb glucose, a diabetic pet may always want to eat but still look malnourished. If your pet exhibits the following symptoms, he or she may have diabetes: -Excessive drinking or urination, -increased appetite (early stages) or loss of appetite (late stages), -weight loss, -lethargy or weakness, and -vomiting or other intestinal problems. If your pet has these symptoms then let us or your veterinarian know so we can get started on creating a plan for your and your pet. Although diabetes is not curable, it can be managed with daily insulin injections and changes in diet (and exercise for dogs). Oral medications have shown to be not particularly helpful. Successful management of your pet’s diabetes means that he or she can live a happy and healthy life. Making sure that your pet is eating a proper diet, gets regular exercise, and maintains a healthy weight can be a big help in preventing diabetes. For more information about pet diabetes, visit https://www.petdiabetesmonth.com.
Halloween is a holiday that humans and animals can enjoy together. There are many exciting aspects of Halloween but that doesn’t mean there are no risks. See below and read how to have fun while keeping your animal friends safe. CANDY – Don’t feed your pets Halloween candy! Chocolate in all forms, especially dark or baking chocolate, can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is found in most sugar-free candy and it is also toxic to animals. Also be sure to throw away all wrappers as they present a choking hazard. CANDLES – Make sure to keep any lit candles or jack-o-lanterns out of reach from pets. They are attracted to the bright light and can either burn themselves or cause a fire. CHIP YOUR PET – Make sure your pet is properly identified with a microchip and collar and tag. They can easily escape through an open door when you greet trick-or-treaters or while trick-or-treating. Only 22% of lost dogs and less than 2% of lost cats that are not microchipped are ever returned to their owners. COSTUMES – Make sure any costume you put on your pet fits properly and is comfortable. Also make sure that it doesn’t have any pieces that can be chewed off and doesn’t affect your pet’s seeing, hearing, breathing, or moving. You should also avoid any costumes with metal pieces. Some metals (like zinc) are dangerous if ingested. If your pet does not want to wear a costume, you should not force it. Never leave your pet unattended while he or she is wearing a costume. DECORATIONS – Make sure to keep all wires and electrical cords out of reach of pets. If they chew on them, they could suffer from cuts, burns, or receive a shock. Also keep pumpkins and decorative corn out of reach. While these are considered relatively nontoxic, they can produce stomach upset if ingested. GLOW STICKS – Although the liquid in glow sticks and glow jewelry has not been known to be toxic, it causes pain and irritation in the mouth and will make your pets salivate excessively and act strangely. KEEP YOUR PET INSIDE – There have been reports of pranks being played on pets that are outside. You should bring any outdoor cats inside a few days prior and a few days after Halloween as well. If you bring your pet trick-or-treating with you, make sure you keep them on a leash with a firm grip. Animals can be spooked by all the people and costumes they may see. While inside, put them in a safe space where they are comfortable. The constant motion of trick-or-treaters at the door can be stressful and upsetting to pets. We hope you have a wonderful and safe Halloween full of devilish dogs, cool cats, boo bunnies, and more!