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My Dog ate Halloween Candy! What now?!

October 31st is now behind us but there is still candy lurking about. Dogs are great at using their nose to hunt down any delicious treat they might want so now is the time to be extra careful. Make sure to place Halloween candy in a secure areas where you pet cannot reach it. Sometimes dogs are just too smart for us and find ways around what we think is a great hiding spot. What do you do then? This article from moderndogmagazine.com will save the day.

Chocolate is poisonous to pets because it contains toxic theobromine, and different types of chocolate affect pets differently because they have varying levels of theobromine. Baking chocolate has the highest concentration, and is therefore the most toxic – followed by dark, milk and then white chocolate.

If a dog eats chocolate, pet parents need to know three things: how much theobromine the chocolate contains, how much your dog ate and how much he weighs. If your dog ingests close to 20mg of theobromine per pound of body weight, he’s in the danger zone for food poisoning.

Milligrams of theobromine per ounce:
Baking chocolate – 450mg/oz
Dark chocolate – 160mg/oz
Milk chocolate – 64mg/oz
White chocolate – 1mg/oz
Here’s how to do the math: Multiply the ounces of chocolate ingested by the milligrams of theobromine per ounce and divide that by the weight of the dog in pounds. The closer the resulting number is to 20, the worse the toxic effects will haunt him. For example:

A 25-lb. dog who eats 3 ounces of milk chocolate:
3oz x 64mg/oz = 192/25lbs = 7.7mg/lb (non-toxic level of theobromine)

A 25-lb. dog who eats 3 ounces of dark chocolate:
3oz x 160mg/oz = 480/25lbs = 19.2mg/lb (dangerous level of theobromine)

What to do next: A number close to 20 indicates a toxic level of theobromine that can terrorize a pet’s health. Get to the vet or an emergency clinic immediately! If the number is well below 20, your pet’s tummy may turn on him, but you don’t need to be spooked. Call the vet for tips on how to treat signs of trouble.

Make sure to keep some doggy safe treats on hand at home so your pet stays out of the Halloween candy. The Barkery has tons of treats to choose from that your dog is sure to love. Stop on by today and pick up a treat for your pooch.

Benefits of Egg for your Pet

Eggs are a very common thing that can be found in most refrigerators across America. Eggs are good for you and delicious for breakfast, hard-boiled on a salad or even as an afternoon snack. Did you ever consider making an extra egg for your pet? There are health benefits to your pet and this article from petmd.com explains.

There is evidence to support eggshells as an excellent source of calcium and protein for your pet. For strong bones and teeth, crush the eggshells and sprinkle about a half teaspoon into your pet’s regular kibble. And although research does not point to eggshells as a source of salmonella poisoning in cats and dogs, if it is a concern, you can boil the shells first — allowing them to dry thoroughly — and then crush the shells in a coffee grinder, food processor, or with a mortar and pestle.

The egg is also a great source of protein; it helps build muscle, strengthen the hair, and repair tissue. Hardboiled is the most foolproof and straightforward method for feeding eggs to your pet, since there is no need for extra non-stick ingredients (i.e., butter, oil, or margarine for scrambling). The cooked egg can be cut into heart chunks, or diced and mixed into the usual kibble. The egg can even be given as is — after it has cooled thoroughly.

Again, if you are at all concerned about your pet’s ability to handle a whole unbroken egg, you can tap the egg against a counter top, tapping the egg on all sides until the shell is cracked all over. Then your dog or cat will be able to bite right into the egg, shell and all.

Raw eggs, on the other hand, are not generally recommended for cats and dogs. While there have not been health scares involving raw eggs and transmission of any major illness to domesticated animals, it is still better to be safe. Raw eggs do not impart any significant health benefit, and may only cause problems — issues of which are nullified by cooking the egg.

It is recommended that you do not feed your pet more than one egg per day. For other healthy and tasty treats for your pet stop by the Barkery and check out our selection of food and treats for your pet!

Make your Cat Smile: 7 Simple Tips

Cats are known for being finicky. Ever wonder what you can do to make your cat a little happier? We have 7 tips from moderncat.com that will make your kitty smile.

 

1. Let your cat graze

Plant cat grass so your cat can nibble indoors. Cat grass is not only a digestive aid, it’s a delicacy—most cats simply enjoy the taste. For the uninitiated, cat grass is a fiber-rich cereal grass, usually barley, oats, wheat or a combination thereof and can easily be grown indoors in pots.

2. Provide the appropriate number of litter boxes—one per cat

Cats greatly prefer not to share litter boxes. By providing a litter box for each cat (and cleaning them regularly!), you’ll reduce the chance of litter box mishaps. Cats eliminating inappropriately is one of the top reasons cats are surrendered to shelters. Prevent the frustration of bathroom “accidents” by giving your cat his own place to go.

 

3. Brush your cat every day

This accomplishes several things: bonding, the loosening of hair and thus the prevention of hairballs, and it allows you to check in with your cat and note any changes or sore areas so you can alert your vet if need be. If, at first, your cat isn’t super keen on brushing, have some treats on hand to sweeten the deal and make sure she associates grooming time with something good. Bonus: brushing will significantly reduce the amount of cat hair adhered to surfaces/blowing around your home!

 

4. Set aside time to play with your cat every day

Spending time actively engaging with your cat every day will cement your bond and keep your cat mentally and physically active. Many people erroneously think their cats don’t like to play but chances are they’re just doing it wrong. Try out different playing styles (both up high and slithering along the floor, as well as an assortment of toys. If you have more than one cat, separate them then play with them one at a time. Cats sometimes won’t play with another cat present.

 

5. Install a window perch

Allow your indoor cat a vantage point from which to bask in the sun’s rays streaming through the window and watch the birds and squirrels outside. This keeps them mentally engaged.

 

6. Microchip your cat

 

All cats, both indoor and out, should be microchipped. If your cat slips out the door and goes missing, having her microchipped greatly increases the odds of your reunion.

7. Clean the litter box daily

Would you want to use a filthy bathroom? ‘nuff said.

Need a new toy for your kitty? How about a brush or even grooming to keep their coat shiny? The Barkery has you covered! We have everything to keep your cat happy, stop by today and check us out!

 

Keep your Dog Calm on Halloween

Halloween is only a few days away so it’s time to make plans for your furry friends! TheBark.com had some great ideas to keep your fur babies safe and sound.

Halloween offers a very specific opportunity to protect your dog with a commitment to preventing trouble. Between the doorbell and the monsters (literally!) at the door, the night is far more trick-y than treat-y for most of our beloved canines. Many of them react with fear, excessive exuberance or even aggression.

Since this holiday happens only once a year, it’s hard to give dogs practice with the situations unique to it. Jumping up too far in the process can be damaging to dogs and actually set them back. Avoidance is a good route to go sometimes. This may mean staying in the back room with your dog while another member of the household answers the door and passes out candy. It may mean having your dog spend the evening visiting a friend who gets no visitors on Halloween. Another option is to put candy out on your porch with a note saying, “Take a piece of candy to save my shy dog from listening to the doorbell ring.” If you really want to go to extremes, you can turn your lights out, draw the shades, and pretend you’re not home. None of these options are ideal, but they all have the advantage of protecting your dog from getting overly excited or spooked this Halloween and exhibiting undesirable behavior as a result.

Life can be hard, and for many dogs, that is especially true on Halloween. Let’s not miss out on opportunities to make it easier when we can.

Join the Barkery for safe  Trick-or-Treating on Halloween from 3:00-5:00pm!

Best of The Pitch!

The Barkery Wins “Best Groomer” from The Pitch, AGAIN!

Readers of The Pitch have voted us “Best Local Pet Grooming!” We have been honored to receive this award for the last several years in a row! Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote!

Bring you pet in to the Barkery today for our top notch grooming!

 

15 Tips That Will make Your Cat Adore You

Everyone knows that cats can be stingy with their affection. Ever feel like you cat just doesn’t care about you? Believe it or not there are things you can do that will change your cat’s ways! These 15 tips from pet360.com will make your kitty adore you.

Signs Your Cat Loves You

Even though your kitty is standoffish sometimes and may even disappear for hours, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you. To learn to love like a cat, simply watch what she does and imitate her, understand that she’s a child who never grows up, and appeal to her senses. Here’s how:

Cat Watching

Be on the lookout for these affection-showing moves:

The head bump. It’s her way of saying hello, by using the oil glands in front of her ears to greet you as if you’re a cat and leave her scent on you. She sees you as one of her clan, so bump her right back.

The butt presentation. When your cat backs up to your face and lifts her tail, she’s waiting for you, her mom, to clean her. If you gently blow at her rear end, she’ll think that this is what your cleaning style is and will go on about her business.

Kneading you or “making biscuits.” If you maneuver yourself into the right position, you’ll get a free massage out of this one. This is another sign that Kitty-Face thinks you’re her mom, since she’s trying to get milk out of you. It also means she’s happy.

Licking you. Your cat may think you taste good, but grooming is actually a social practice to establish a common scent among a clan of cats. In other words, she’s claiming you as one of her own. The exfoliation is an extra added bonus.

Gumming you. This is another way Kitty-Face blends her own scent with yours, establishing a common “family scent.” Take advantage of it by feeling all of her teeth to gain her trust for when you actually need to be in her mouth.

Appeal to Her Sense

Show her you love her through your touch and your voice.

Sing to her. In your little kitty voice. Whether you have talent or not. She doesn’t care.

Greet her.Tell her “hi” and say her name, even if you just saw her a minute ago. She’s choosing to be near you, which is a big deal to a cat.

Meow back.Imitate her sound exactly, and she’ll think you’re one of her kind.

Carry on a conversation.She meows, you talk. Just make up what she’s asking and answer what you think she wants to know.

Tell her what she wants to hear. Cats seem to know what the word “beautiful” means, especially in reference to them. Hearing it makes them very content.

Give her a neck massage. Kitties are very alert and watchful, holding their head up almost constantly. Relax her with a gentle neck massage to pamper her.

Hold her hand. Stroke her paw, both on top and underneath on her toe pads, and loosely wrap your hand around her paw. This should feel good to both of you.
GETTING IN TOUCH WITH HER INNER KITTEN

Nurturing her inner kitten will strengthen your parent-child bond and provide hours of fun.

Play fetch. Cats like this game almost as much as dogs, especially Bombays. Rather than balls, toss items they can easily fit into their small mouths, like toy mice.

Turn the faucet on. Drinking water is good for your cat, and is even more fun from a running tap. Plus a flowing stream encourages water play.

Indulge their sense of fun. Being brought a palmetto bug may not be much fun for you, but it’s Kitty-Face’s way of showing you what a great huntress she is and that you’re worthy of her prey. And in the world of kitty, that’s a very big compliment.

You’ll probably come up with even more ways of bonding with your cat as you get to know her on a deeper, more intimate level. But one thing’s for sure, you’ll have a very happy kitty — a cat that loves you!

The Barkery has all the tools you’ll need to make your cat love you. Stop by today and check out our selection of essentials for your cat from food to toys!

Acupuncture for your Pet

Does your pet have joint disease? Is he not getting around as well as he used to? Not sure what to do for your little guy? According to this article from animalwellnessmagazine.com acupuncture might just be the thing to make him feel a lot better!

It can effectively reduce pain, improve mobility and better his quality of life.

If you’re interested in alternative therapies, then you probably know something about acupuncture. It uses thin metallic needles to stimulate certain anatomical points on the body. Although considered a relatively “new” modality in Western medicine, acupuncture is one of the oldest of medical treatments, originating in China over 2,000 years ago.

Acupuncture is one of the five key components of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), along with food therapy, Tui-na, herbal medicine and Qi-gong. TCM is based on the belief that an essential life force called Qi (pronounced “chee”) fl ows through the body along meridians. These meridians act as channels that irrigate and nourish the body’s organs and tissues. Any obstruction in these channels acts like a dam that blocks the vital energy flow, creating pain and disease. In TCM, the body is seen as a delicate balance of opposing and connected forces – yin and yang. Among the major assumptions in TCM is that health is achieved by maintaining the body in a balanced state, and that disease is due to an imbalance of yin and yang.

More than 2,000 acupuncture points connect to the body’s meridians. They occur in areas where there is a high density of nerve endings, inflammatory cells and small blood vessels. Stimulating these points with acupuncture can promote the flow of Qi, alleviate pain, and restore balance in the body. This stimulation results in several physical effects: it releases endorphins (the body’s pain relievers), reduces inflammation, and deactivates trigger points (tender, reactive areas within muscles). Acupuncture can also help balance and regulate the immune, gastrointestinal, hormone and reproductive systems.

JOINT PROBLEMS IN DOGS AND CATS

Joint disease is common in dogs and cats. Arthritis, cruciate ligament rupture and intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) are some of the joint conditions that can be treated successfully with acupuncture.

Arthritis and acupuncture
Arthritis is inflammation of one of more joints. The main symptoms are pain and stiffness. The animal may have difficulty getting up, be reluctant to play or jump in the car or on furniture, be unable to walk long distances or stand for long periods. He may also limp on the affected limb or lick excessively at the painful joint. The most common types of arthritis in dogs and cats
are osteoarthritis and immune-mediated arthritis.

1. Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common joint problem affecting older dogs and cats. It’s caused by chronic inflammation due to the deterioration of joint cartilage. OA can be a primary disease, caused by “wear and tear” on the joints with aging, or secondary to underlying disease. Secondary causes of OA include congenital abnormality of the hip or elbow (dysplasia), trauma, dislocation of the knee or shoulder, and osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) in which an abnormal flap of cartilage forms within the joint. Regardless of the cause, OA results in pain, stiffness, decreased mobility and a reduced quality of life.

In humans, there is increasing evidence that acupuncture can play a role in the treatment of chronic OA. One study conducted by the National Institutes of Health concluded that combining acupuncture with conventional drug therapy can relieve pain and improve movement in people with arthritis of the knee better than drug therapy alone. A systematic review concluded that the use of acupuncture to manage OA symptoms in people is associated with significant pain reduction, improved mobility and better quality of life.

Acupuncture can also be helpful in the management of OA in dog and cats, by decreasing pain, increasing mobility, and potentially reducing the amount of conventional drug therapy that might be required for pain control.

2. Immune-mediated arthritis occurs when the body’s own immune cells invade the joint, causing inflammation. Conventional therapy requires high doses of immune-suppressive medications such as steroids, which can cause unpleasant side effects. Acupuncture can help manage pain and balance the immune system, reducing the dose of conventional medications the patient is taking, and in some cases, allowing them to be discontinued altogether. Studies in humans show that acupuncture is capable of reducing the inflammatory markers associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Several studies have demonstrated a reduction in pain as well as a decrease in morning stiffness with the use of acupuncture for RA.

Cruciate ligament rupture and acupuncture
This problem is common in dogs, and less so in cats. Conventional therapy often consists of surgical stabilization of the knee, and anti-inflammatory pain relievers. Acupuncture is helpful in the treatment of cruciate ligament disease in both dogs and cats. In cats and small to medium-sized dogs, it can promote healing and return the leg to full function within three to four months – without surgery. Larger dogs may not have these results with acupuncture alone; however, acupuncture used post-surgically in these dogs can help reduce post-operative pain and facilitate a quicker return to function.

Intervertebral disc disease and acupuncture
IVDD is a degeneration of the fibrocarilagenous “cushions” that sit between the vertebral bones of the spine. These degenerated discs can bulge or even rupture into the spinal canal, causing pain or paralysis.

Multiple studies demonstrate the benefits of acupuncture in dogs with IVDD. One showed that it took dogs less time to recover their ambulation and experience relief from back pain when treated with electroacupuncture (EAP) as opposed to conventional drug therapy. The relapse rate was also significantly lower in dogs receiving EAP. Another study suggests that EAP was more effective than decompressive surgery for recovering ambulation and improving neurologic deficits in dogs suffering from long-standing thoracolumbar IVDD.

HOW MUCH ACUPUNCTURE WILL HE NEED?

The number of acupuncture treatments your dog or cat will need depends on the nature and severity of his disease and the associated pain, as well as his response. The more long-standing and severe the problem, the longer it will take for balance to be restored and improvements in pain and movement to be noted.

For most chronic pain conditions such as osteoarthritis, treatments are recommended once weekly for four to six weeks; after that, the intervals between treatments are gradually increased.

Animals with IVDD in which paralysis has occurred are treated two to three times weekly until ambulation returns, then at less frequent intervals until full function is noted. These animals will often benefit from regular maintenance therapy every three to four months to prevent relapse.

For osteoarthritis, particularly in the geriatric animal, chronic maintenance therapy, generally once a month, is needed to maintain comfort. For more acute joint disease, such as IVDD, trauma or cruciate rupture, treatments may be discontinued once function has been restored.

Acupuncture points are selected to treat the TCM pattern observed in the animal, but commonly involve tonifying or strengthening the kidneys (for the bones); liver (for the tendons and ligaments); and spleen systems (for the muscles). Local points at the site of injury or pain (hip, knee, elbow, neck, back, etc) will also be treated. For immune-mediated diseases, points to strengthen the immune system and relieve heat will be selected.

Most animals will receive ten to 20 needles per treatment.

In summary, acupuncture is a useful adjunct in the management of joint disease in dogs and cats. It can help with pain control, improve mobility, reduce the need for conventional pain medications and enhance overall quality of life. And most animals appear to enjoy the treatments.

 

Everyone needs a little TLC when you’re not feeling well and your pets are no different. Stop by the Barkery today and pick up a new toy or treat for your little guy to help him feel better.

Pet Therapy

The love from a dog can do so much to brighten someone’s day. Molly and Ed Fangman have been brightening the days of others for quite a while now. This article from animalwellnessmagazine.com tells you of their amazing story.

Meet Molly and Ed Fangman. The personable boxer and her person make up a Pet Partners therapy animal team and have made more than 1,000 volunteer visits to schools, assisted living facilities, day care centers and other sites. They’ve comforted seniors near the end of life, calmed frightened children, and eased the pain of hospital patients.

Before becoming a therapy dog, Molly was a rescue. When just three years old, she barely survived Hurricane Katrina. Abandoned and scheduled to be euthanized, she was given another chance by Boxer Aid and Rescue Coalition in Tallahassee, Florida.

That’s how Ed met Molly. The Florida retiree had recently lost a boxer and didn’t know if he was ready for another dog, but agreed to take a look. When the two met, it was love at first sight.

Molly quickly settled into her new home and Ed realized she would make a perfect therapy dog. “She is the most lovable, affectionate dog,” he says. So he and Molly applied to Pet Partners to become a therapy animal team. The duo has been touching lives in the Tallahassee area for over a decade now.

Ed tells the story of one man in an assisted living facility they visited for about a year. Charlie used a wheelchair and usually sat alone – at least until Molly arrived. To his delight, she would sit right next to him, sometimes putting her front feet and head in his lap.

When Charlie took a turn for the worse, the team visited him in his room, and Molly lay on the bed next to him, resting her head on his stomach. On the shelf in Charlie’s room was a photo of a boxer that his daughter identified as a dog from his past named Princess.

Although Charlie was very weak, he turned to Molly and said quietly, “Princess is here to say hello. Thank you Princess – I love you so much.”

Charlie passed away before Ed and Molly’s next visit. His daughter said his last words to her were: “Thank you for bringing Princess to see me one last time.”

Ed says becoming a Pet Partners therapy animal team with Molly is the best thing he’s ever done. “This is the most fabulous experience of my life. It’s a great experience for Molly and the people we visit as well… everyone wins.”

 

Interested in getting an extra dose of  pet therapy? Stop on by the Barkery where there there is never a shortage of furry friends wondering around. Bring in your pet too and get a new treat for him!

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for your Dog

Apple cider vinegar has long been used for recipes and dying Easter eggs. What many dog owners don’t know is that apple cider vinegar offers many benefits to boost our dogs’ health as well. Here’s an article from pet360.com that explains the benefits.

Apple Cider Vinegar as a Dog Supplement

Adding apple cider vinegar to your dog’s water or food offers many health benefits which include:


· improves digestion
· combats yeast infections
· relieves allergy symptoms
· supports joint health
· clears up tear stains

It is recommended to add 1 teaspoon for small dogs and 1 tablespoon for medium and large dogs.

Some dogs are turned off by the strong smell initially and adding 2 tablespoons of canned green tripe to their meal hides the smell.  If you plan to add apple cider vinegar to your dog’s water or food, start with a small amount (a capful) and gradually increase the amount until you reach the recommendation shared above.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Ear Infections

To keep ear infections at bay, it’s important to keep our dogs ears cleaned.  According to Dr. Karen Becker, “The rule is to clean your pet’s ears when they’re dirty. If there’s lots of wax accumulating every day, they need to be cleaned every day. If your dog’s ears don’t produce much wax or collect much crud, you can be less vigilant and clean them less often.”

Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and warm water to wipe down our dogs ears, paws and tummies with a washcloth a few times a week.  This will cut down on the itchiness that leads to head shaking (ears) and obsessive licking (paws).

If you suspect that your dog has an ear infection, it’s important to schedule a vet appointment to have the infection treated professionally before starting a cleaning regime using apple cider vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar as a Cleaner

Odor remover: The strong odor produced by apple cider vinegar makes it a perfect odor remover.  Putting a small pot of apple cider vinegar and water on to simmer for an hour is a great way to get rid of any unwanted smell.

Dog shampoo:  A 1/2 a cup of apple cider vinegar is an effective dog shampoo when mixed with 2 cups of warm water and 1/4 of Dawn dish detergent.  Just keep the mixture away from your dog’s eyes, nose and mouth.

Flea treatment: Apple cider vinegar can be used as a safe and natural flea treatment for dogs.  Simply add equal parts apple cider vinegar and water to a spray bottle.  If you have a dog with sensitive skin, test a small area first to make sure there isn’t a reaction.  Avoid your dog’s face with the spray.

Buying Apple Cider Vinegar

According to Dr. Becker, “when purchasing an apple cider vinegar, you’ll want to avoid the perfectly clear, ‘sparkling clean’ varieties you commonly see on grocery store shelves. Instead, you want organic, unfiltered, unprocessed apple cider vinegar, which is murky and brown.”

The Barkery has a wide selection off all the other items you’ll need to keep your pup in tip top shape! Stop in today and check out our selection!

Kidney Disease in Dogs and Cats

Have you ever watched your pet eat its meal and thought, “Wow, did they even taste it?” Though some pets require more energy than others, it is important to know your pet’s normal eating and drinking habits so you are more likely to detect any dietary abnormalities. Being familiar with your pet’s standard schedule of urination and defecation is also important, as any continuous irregular activity could be a sign of an illness. Modern Dog Magazine will take us though what kidney disease is and what causes it.

One of the most common ailments in dogs and cats is kidney (renal) disease, a broad term that applies to any disease process that leaves the kidneys unable to effectively filter toxins out of the blood and maintain water balance in the body. In acute kidney disease, signs can occur quickly and can be very severe, while chronic renal issues include non-specific signs and the disease develops slowly.

Dr. Johanna Heseltine, clinical assistant professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explains how being familiar with your pet’s normal diet can come in handy. “In the early stages of kidney disease there are often no clinical signs. The earliest clinical signs of kidney disease are non-specific and often include increased thirst and urination, decreased appetite, and decreased energy levels,” she said. “As the kidneys begin to fail and toxins build up in the bloodstream, other signs can develop, such as vomiting and loss of appetite.”

So what exactly causes kidney disease? According to Heseltine, there are many sources of renal issues. “Causes of acute (sudden onset) kidney injury include toxins (like lilies in cats and grapes in dogs), certain infections (such as bacterial urinary tract infections that spread to the kidneys or leptospirosis), and underlying health problems (like high blood calcium levels or shock),” Heseltine said. “In many patients with chronic (long-standing) kidney disease, the underlying cause cannot be determined.”

Although older pets are especially affected by kidney disease, dogs and cats at any age are susceptible to renal issues. Blood and urine tests are used by veterinarians to determine if there is a kidney infection present and what the primary cause might be. “When possible, we treat the underlying cause,” explained Heseltine. “For example, if there is a kidney infection, an appropriate antibiotic is administered. It is important that patients with kidney disease stay well-hydrated, so some patients require IV fluids. If needed, we give medications to control nausea and vomiting,” she continued. “Some patients with chronic kidney disease benefit from being fed a prescription diet designed for pets with kidney disease. Other therapies are tailored to the individual patient’s needs.”

So without treatment for kidney disease, can a dog or cat suffer from complete kidney failure? According to Heseltine, the answer is yes. Kidney failure can occur in both acute and chronic kidney disease, depending on the severity of the case. Heseltine emphasizes the importance of the kidneys in the body and explains that a lack of filtration can lead to deadly consequences. “The kidneys have many important roles, including filtering toxins from the body. When the kidneys cannot filter adequately, the toxins build up in the bloodstream and make the pet sick,” she said. “We assess this by measuring urea and creatinine concentrations in their blood. These increased lab values do not occur until approximately 75 percent of kidney function has been lost. Patient outcome depends on how high the lab values are, how sick the pet is, whether the underlying kidney disease can be treated, and how quickly the kidney damage is progressing,” she continued. “Some patients with chronic kidney disease live for many years, while for other patients, decisions about quality of life have to be made.”

Though kidney disease is fairly common in dogs and cats, there are ways pet owners can help prevent renal issues. Since many acute kidney disease cases are caused by toxic substances, be sure to keep poisons and pesticides away from your furry friends, as well as any specific foods or plants that can cause harm. Feeding a balanced diet is always important, but consider looking into specialized pet food that aids in preventing kidney disease. Lastly, remember to take note of your pet’s normal behavior so you are more likely to notice even the slightest change in diet, urination or defecation. Make an appointment with your local veterinarian if you notice a change in behavior that lasts several days.

Although pets of all ages are susceptible to kidney disease, older pets are at an even higher risk. By monitoring your pet’s behavior and attending regular veterinary check-ups, you can help prevent kidney disease and preserve your pet’s quality of life.