Importance of Clean Pet Dishes

We’re all busy. Every day rushing from one task to the next. But we’re always certain to fill our pets’ dishes. After all, they are our beloved fur children.

However, when was the last time your cleaned your dog or cat’s bowls?  It doesn’t seem like a big deal until we actually consider the germs, bacteria and mold that can make our pets sick. In fact, NSF International, a public heath organization, rated these little containers as the fourth dirtiest spot in our homes. Luckily, there are a few great ways to tackle this cleaning process to make sure you’re doing the job right.

NSF recommends either placing the bowl in a dishwasher or soaking it for about 10 minutes once a week in a solution of one part bleach to one part water. Then, rinse well and dry. However, if you don’t feel comfortable using bleach, VetStreet recommends cleaning the dish after every meal with hot water and soap. Or better yet, Tina Wismer, DVM, medical director at the ASPCA’s animal poison control center in New York told Wendy Wilson of Ceasar’s Way, to combine equal parts of baking soda, warm water and salt and scrub the surface in a circular motion, and then rinse well.

There are plenty of easy ways to make sure you’re cleaning your animal’s bowl properly to help keep them safe and healthy. But, as always, it’s always a good idea to check with your veterinarian to get their advice on what will work best for your pet.

When Vaccinations are not Safe

Deva Khalsa, VMD, shares cautionary information with Animal Wellness Magazine regarding instances when giving vaccinations to canines is not safe.

BRANDON, an Australian Shepherd, was brought to me after he went into a coma following a vaccination. He had been in the intensive care unit for about a week and was now up, but was awfully shaky on his legs and not sure about life at all. Acupuncture and holistic treatments helped him a great deal, but some of the brain damage he suffered could not be repaired. He was never a normal dog again after that.

If you’ve ever wondered how to protect your own dog from infectious disease without subjecting him to potentially dangerous vaccinations, it’s most likely you’ve already done so. If he had a vaccine for distemper and parvo after six months of age, he will most likely be protected for the rest of his life from these diseases. Dogs just don’t need that many vaccinations to acquire full immune protection.

A Tide of Change

Conscientious veterinarians are speaking out more and more about what can happen to dogs that are over-vaccinated. There’s even a term for it – vaccinosis – commonly defined as the acute symptoms that can occur right after a vaccine. Like Brandon, many dogs have severe reactions that may debilitate them for life – or even kill them.

Many veterinarians are even more worried about the growing incidence of chronic diseases resulting from vaccination. I think you’ll agree with me that too many dogs are developing allergies, cancer, irritable bowel disease, ear infections, liver and kidney problems, autoimmune diseases, compromised immune systems and glandular changes. In my opinion, you can credit over-vaccination for the rise in these illnesses. There is no scientific documentation to back up the label claims for yearly vaccinations; at the same time, research unequivocally shows that these same vaccines subject a dog to the risk of many diseases.

In short, once a puppy has had his initial vaccines, annual shots are not necessary and are even detrimental. You can easily check to see if your dog remains protected from infectious disease through a simple blood titer test. I did titer tests frequently at my own practice two decades ago, and found that all dogs were showing protection. Excellent long term research has backed up my clinical experience. Veterinarians now know it’s important to minimize the potential for chronic long term medical problems from vaccinations. The new mantra for vaccinations is “less is more”.

When vaccines should not be given
Aside from what we’ve already discussed, there are several specific situations and conditions in which you should not vaccinate your dog, or at the very least, take extra precautions.

1. Take care with puppy shots

Vaccinating puppies too early and too often actually prevents vaccines from having the desired effect. First of all, maternal antibodies in the mother’s milk identify the vaccines as infectious agents and destroy them before a four- to nine-weekold nursing puppy can benefit. Additionally, vaccinations too closely spaced interfere with a puppy’s immune system response because immune components from the earlier vaccine nullify the following one. To prevent nullification, the ideal interval between the first vaccine and the next booster shot should be three to four weeks.

2. Don’t vaccinate when dogs are stressed

If you have adopted a puppy, keep him at home for a week or more before you rush to the veterinarian to get vaccines. If you want to follow the minimal vaccine protocol mentioned in the in the sidebar (right), you can get the little fellow examined as soon as you like, but wait on the vaccines. Get him on a good diet and healthy supplements. As well, if you are moving to a new home or taking your dog on a plane, be careful not to vaccinate during these stressful periods.

3. Know that certain medications suppress the immune system

Steroids such as prednisolone, prednisone and dexamethasone significantly suppress the immune system. If your dog has recently been on steroids, the vaccine won’t work. Just a short bout of steroids can reduce immune function over 75%! Also note that a relatively new drug called Atopica is now being used for dogs who don’t respond to steroids; it also dangerously suppresses the immune system, so you should never vaccinate a dog that is taking this drug.

4. No vaccines for dogs with cancer or other serious illness

I do not recommend that a dog diagnosed with cancer of any kind – even if the cancer has been removed – be vaccinated at all. Dogs with liver or kidney problems, immune dysfunction problems, infections, and many other chronic diseases should also not be vaccinated. Although the rabies vaccine is required by law in most regions, the AVMA has recently released new guidelines that permit your veterinarian to write a note to the city stating your dog is ill and will not be given a rabies vaccine at this time.

5. Avoid vaccines near pregnancy

Responsible breeders should know that the vaccination of pregnant moms can result in birth defects or abortions along with a slew of vaccinosis problems in the pups later in life.

The times are changing as far as vaccines go. Literature and research discussing the adverse effects and chronic disease that vaccines cause has been available to veterinarians for almost 20 years, and research advocating reduced vaccination schedules has been around even longer. Unfortunately, many mainstream vets have not paid attention. That means you’re the one who has to make educated decisions for your dog. Fortunately, many preeminent veterinarians and researchers, such as Dr. Jean Dodds, Dr. Schultz and Dr. Jordan have made it their mission to get the word out. I take my hat off to them.

Prevent Your Housetrained Dog from Having Accidents in the House

Pat Miller of the Whole Dog Journal gives insight into a common problem

It’s very disconcerting when your well-housetrained dog suddenly starts having accidents in the house. It may be human nature to think he’s doing it to spite you, but that’s not the case – a well-trained dog doesn’t just start soiling indoors on a whim. There’s a legitimate reason it’s happening, and you owe it to your dog to find out why.

“Illness, pain, side effects of medication, stress, and a lack of capacity are the most common reasons that a housetrained dog reverts to eliminating indoors.”

 

 

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Explore possible medical causes. Something as simple as a urinary-tract infection or as complex as diabetes (causes increased thirst and water consumption, which causes increased urination) can be the cause of your dog’s indoor puddles. There are many common medical causes of increased urination. Gastrointestinal distress, which causes anything from slightly loose stools to liquid diarrhea, can prompt your dog to defecate indoors as well. Any dog can have an accident, but if yours has uncharacteristically started house soiling regularly, get thee to thy veterinarian as soon as possible for a complete workup.

2. Check medications, if any. A number of canine medications used to treat common health conditions can also cause increased water consumption followed by increased urination. Prednisone, used to treat a variety of ailments, is a prime example. Other medicines can cause gastrointestinal distress, which can also result in house soiling. If your dog is on any medications, ask your veterinarian whether that could be the cause of his break in training.

3. Look for stressors. Urination and defecation can be a dog’s response to stress. Check your environment to see if there’s something going on that might provoke this stress response in your dog. Construction next door with loud machinery? Neighborhood kids who have discovered it’s fun to bang on your door to tease the dog? A watch alarm beeping in a drawer? Set up your laptop camera or nanny cam and see if you can make a correlation between stimuli, stress, and soiling. If you can’t find a specific trigger, then evaluate your dog’s total stress load and see if removing as many stressors as possible can help him return to his prior fastidious habits.

4. Evaluate Your Routine. Are you working overtime a lot? Stopping on the way home at a local pub for some face time with your new honey? Perhaps your dog was just barely holding it with legs tightly crossed before, and the extra time it’s taking you to get home now is just more than he can handle.
If so, and if you can’t return to your prior schedule, then make arrangements with a neighbor or family member to let your dog out at midday or late afternoon, or hire a good petsitting service to do it.

5. Revisit Housetraining 101. It’s worth putting serious energy into discerning the cause of your dog’s house soiling. If you discover and remove the cause of his problem, your dog may immediately return to his former pristine ways.

Or he may not. If that’s the case, or if you simply can’t find a reason, it’s time to go back to basic housetraining. You probably won’t have to implement the puppy “every hour on the hour” routine, but you do need to make sure he gets outside more often than he has to go. If you work all day, this might mean putting him back in a crate or exercise pen until he is successfully retrained, and hiring a professional petsitter (or arranging with a friend or neighbor) to let him out for a potty break at least once, preferably two or even three times during the day.

Just keep in mind that there’s a reason your housetrained dog might eliminate indoors – and neither spite, anger, jealousy, nor any other human emotion we might blame has anything to do with it. It’s up to you to find the reason and help him return to spotless living.

How to Introduce a New Cat into Your Home

It’s typically pretty easy to take your dog to a dog park and let it socialize with other dogs – in fact, it’s usually fun to watch them get to know each other! But there’s a reason we don’t have cat parks, and any cat owner can tell you why: cats are finicky and territorial. That’s not to say cats won’t eventually bond with each other, but it is tricky. So, what do you do when you’d like to bring a new cat home? Here are some tips from the Humane Society.

Set realistic expectations

First, it’s recognizing and accepting that you can’t force your pets to like each other. We don’t have a crystal ball to predict whether or not your pets will be friends, but we do have techniques for you to use to increase your chances of success. Most importantly, choose a cat with a similar personality and activity level. For example, an older cat or dog might not appreciate the antics of a kitten.

You need to move slowly during the introduction process to increase your chances for success. You mustn’t throw your pets together in a sink-or-swim situation  and hope they’ll work it out

The nature of cats

Cats are territorial, and in general they don’t like to share. A cat who’s unhappy about a newcomer may express his displeasure by fighting with the other pet and marking territory (peeing on the floor, wall, objects).

Cats also dislike change, and a new cat in the house is a huge change. These two character traits mean you could have a tough (but not impassable) road ahead.

Being social

Some cats are more social than other cats. For example, an 8-year-old cat who has never been around other animals might never learn to share her territory (and her people) with other pets in the household. But an 8-week-old kitten separated from her mom and littermates for the first time might be glad to have a cat or dog companion.

All of this means that your current pet and your new cat need to be introduced very slowly so they can get used to each other before a face-to-face meeting. Slow introductions help prevent fearful or aggressive behavior from developing. Below are some guidelines to help make the introductions go smoothly.

Be aware that the introduction process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, or even a few months in extreme cases. Be patient.

Confinement

To allow time for the newcomer to adjust to you and her new situation, keep her in a small room with her litter box, food, water, scratching post, toys and a bed for several days to a week.

  • Feed your resident pets and the newcomer on each side of the door to this room, so that they associate something enjoyable (eating!) with each other’s smells. Don’t put the food so close to the door that the animals are too upset by each other’s presence to eat.
  • Gradually move the dishes closer to the door until your pets can eat calmly while standing directly on either side of the door.
  • Try to get your pets to interact with a toy. Tie a toy to each end of a string, then place it so there’s a toy on either side of the door. Hopefully, they’ll start batting the toys around and maybe even batting paws.
  • Be sure to spend plenty of time with your new kitty in her room, but don’t ignore your resident cat.

The old switcheroo

To animals, smells are far more important than appearances, so you want to get your pets used to each other’s scent before they meet face-to-face.

  • Swap the blankets or beds the cats use or gently rub a washcloth on one cat’s cheeks and put it underneath the food dish of another. If there are more than two animals in the house, do the same for each animal.
  • When the pets finally do meet, at least their scents will be familiar.
  • Once your new cat is using her litter box and eating regularly while confined, let her have free time in the house while confining your other pets to the new cat’s room. It’s best to introduce yur new cat to a room or two at a time and increase her access to other rooms over a few days. This switch provides another way for them to experience each other’s scents without a face-to-face meeting. It also allows the newcomer to get familiar with her new surroundings without the other animals frightening her.
  • You can do this several times a day, but only when you’re home to supervise. If you have to leave the house, put your new kitty back in her room.
  • Next, after you’ve returned the cats to their designated parts of the house, use two doorstops to prop open the dividing door just enough to allow the animals to see each other.
  • Repeat the whole process over a period of days—supervised, of course.

Slow and steady wins the race

It’s better to introduce your pets to each other gradually so that neither animal becomes afraid or aggressive. Once the cats are face to face, though, there will be some kinks for them to work out.

If you’re really lucky (and your cats are inclined), they may do some mutual sniffing and grooming, and you’re on your way to success. They may sit and stare at each other. You can provide distraction by dangling toys in front of them at the same time. This may encourage them to play together.

They might sniff each other, hiss, and walk away. That’s to be expected. This may go on for a few days or so, and then you’ll probably find them both sleeping on your bed.

Break it up

If you’re not so lucky, they may be very stressed. Fortunately, they may only posture and make a lot of noise. But, as soon as there are signs of increasing aggression (flattened ears, growling, spitting, crouching) make a loud noise by clapping your hands or throw a pillow nearby to distract them. If the standoff continues, very carefullyherd them into separate parts of the house to calm down. This could take up to 24 hours and the cats may take out their stress on you.

Be careful

If the cats fight repeatedly, you may need to start the introduction process all over again and consider getting advice from a vet or animal behaviorist.

Note: Never try to break up a cat fight by picking one up; You’re bound to get hurt.

Reducing tension

There are other things you can do to help ease tension between feline roommates.

  • Have your cats examined by your vet before introductions to make sure they’re all healthy.
  • Have one litter box per cat plus an extra one.
  • Try to keep your resident pets’ routine as close to what it was before the newcomer’s arrival.
  • Make sure all cats have a “safe” place to escape to.

New Bathing Specials

We’re excited to announce our NEW Bath Specials!

It’s the perfect time to bring in your four-legged friend and  check out our new weekday self-serve bath specials! Whether you’re looking for special bonuses, such as having your pal’s nails trimmed, or chompers shined up, or even want to hang out in Brookside with a another dog loving friend, we’ve got something for everyone!

These deals will change frequently, so be sure to become a member of our VIP email list to get the latest specials, and follow us on social media for updates.

Click here for the current specials

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Cats and Dogs

In his new book Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs, David Grimm spends four years studying the journey of pets from wild animals to family members. Here are a few things he learned along the way.

More homes have dogs and cats than have kids. Nearly 150 million cats and dogs live in the U.S., one for every two people. More than half of all homes contain either a dog or a cat — five times more than have birds, horses, and fish combined. Dog and cat ownership has quadrupled since the mid-1960s — double the growth rate of the human population.

Cats aren’t from Egypt. Historians long thought that cats became domesticated in Ancient Egypt around 4,000 years ago, based on the appearance of felines in the art of the time. But recent archaeological and genetic evidence suggest that cats arose instead in what is today Israel, Turkey, and Iraq, and that they first became domesticated nearly 10,000 years ago — 5,000 years before Egypt even existed.

Dogs can outsmart chimpanzees. Point at something, and a dog will look at what you’re pointing at. Though this may seem a simple skill, our closest relatives, chimpanzees, can’t do it. That means dogs (and it turns out, cats too) may possess a rudimentary “theory of mind” — an ability to intuit what others are thinking that is rare in the animal kingdom.

Kitty litter wasn’t invented until 1947. Cats and dogs didn’t begin becoming bona-fide members of the family until they started living in our homes. The advent of flea and tick shampoos began to bring dogs indoors in the late 1800s. But cats would have to wait until 1947 — the year kitty litter was invented.

Pets are now rescued in natural disasters. Nearly half of the people who didn’t evacuate during Hurricane Katrina stayed behind because of their pets — and many of them died. In the aftermath of the storm, Congress passed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act, which impels rescue agencies to save pets as well as people during natural disasters. To date, more than 30 states have passed their own versions of this act, which have been implemented in everything from tornadoes to wildfires.

 

Source Huffington Post

7 Ways Dogs Can Help Your Health

Can owning a dog make you healthier? The experts say yes.

Dogs and Cardiovascular Health

Could owning a dog keep your heart healthy? Research has supported a connection between owning a dog and reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. In addition, a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that male dog owners were less likely to die within one year after a heart attack than those who did not own a dog.

Dogs and Anxiety

For people with all forms of anxiety, having a dog may be an important coping mechanism. This is especially true in times of crisis. A study out of the Medical College of Virginia found that for hospitalized patients with mental health issues, therapy with animals significantly reduced anxiety levels more than conventional recreational therapy sessions.

Dogs and Loneliness

Dogs function as important companions and family members, but certain groups may benefit more than others. The elderly, particularly those in residential care facilities, often become socially isolated once separated from immediate family. Researchers in Australia have found that dogs improved the well-being of residents by promoting their capacity to build relationships.

Dogs and Rehabilitation

In the setting of a severe illness or prolonged hospitalization, therapy dogs can be integral in the process of rehabilitation. A review of the literature looking at the function of service dogs proved that dogs can assist people with various disabilities in performing everyday activities, thereby significantly reducing their dependence on others.

Dogs and Activity

Before a dog is introduced into the home, the most commonly asked question is, “Who is going to walk the dog?” Turns out this responsibility may be important for the health of the family as well as the dog. Studies from the American Journal of Public Health and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine have shown that children with dogs spend more time doing moderate to vigorous activity than those without dogs, and adults with dogs walk on average almost twice as much as adults without dogs.

Dogs and Doctors

With all of these specific health benefits, could dogs keep you away from the doctor altogether? A national survey out of Australia found that dog and cat owners made fewer annual doctor visits and generally had significantly lower use of general practitioner services.

Dog Bone Safety with Dr. Becker

Dr. Karen Becker of Healthy Pets by Mercola shares tips on how to select the right (and safe) bone or chew for your dog

How to Select Non-Toxic Bones and Chews

Whether a bone or chew is potentially toxic has to do with the country of origin, the source of the product, and how it was processed. You’ll want to look for “Made in the USA” labels on packaging, or feel comfortable about where the product was sourced, for example, from free-range herds out of New Zealand or Canada.

How to Select Bones or Chews That Are a Good Fit for Your Dog

Does the size of the recreational bone or chew present a potential choking hazard or intestinal obstruction? If a piece of bone breaks off and your dog swallows it, could it get stuck somewhere in the GI tract?

With regard to the consistency of the product – its density or hardness – you need to consider the health of your dog’s teeth and gums.

You’ll also want to think about the ingredients in the bone or chew. What nutrients does it provide? Does it contain additives? Does it potentially contain opportunistic pathogens that could pose a threat to your pet’s health? For example, some bones are naturally high in fat, so you wouldn’t want to offer those bones to a pet with a history of pancreatitis.

Gnawing and repetitive grinding are the chewing actions that wear down plaque and tartar on teeth, which means big recreational bones or chews that are meant to be worked on by your dog over a period of time. Smaller treats that are chewed and swallowed in a matter of seconds or minutes provide no dental benefit for your pet. So there’s a big difference between treats that your dog chews and swallows almost immediately, and big bones or chews that require effort and can help control plaque and tartar in your pet’s mouth.

Bones for Dogs Who Are ‘Scarfers’

Some small dogs, and many large dogs, are scarfers. If your pet tends to scarf down every morsel he’s offered, you’ll need to be cautious about any size bone or chew you feed him, because there’s a chance it could end up in his stomach whole. Or he may attempt to swallow it whole and fail, which can be just as disastrous. A scarfer’s primary objective isn’t to chew or gnaw, but to get the item into his stomach as soon as possible. So my safety tip for all sized scarfers is, go big. Whether your scarfer is a Labrador or a Yorkie, if you offer a recreational bone larger than the size of his head, it makes it nearly impossible for him to scarf. So that’s an important tip to remember.

Bones for Aggressive Chewers

Next on the list of potential problems involves the aggressive chewer. These dogs have one mission — to finish the bone! Aggressive chewers want to consume the thing in its entirety, as soon as possible. The problem many aggressive chewers develop is fractured teeth. They think nothing of creating multiple slab fractures in their mission to break the bone down as quickly as possible. These dogs get hold of a bone and chew like mad, fracturing or wearing down their teeth very quickly.

Aggressive chewers shouldn’t be given really hard bones like antlers. Offering rock hard bones to hard chewers can create really significant dental trauma. The veterinary dentist I work with likes to say he has funded an entire wing of his dental suite thanks to antler bones and the wrong size marrowbones offered to aggressive chewers. So word to the wise!

The Difference Between Raw Bones and ‘Room Temperature’ Bones

Real beef and bison bones come steamed, smoked, or raw. Steamed and smoked bones have been treated so they won’t spoil at room temperature. Through that process, the chemical structure of the bone changes and it becomes more brittle. Brittle bones fracture easily, so these bones aren’t appropriate for aggressive chewers.

Bones of all sizes can be preserved, so the way to tell the difference between treated bones and raw bones is you won’t find the former in the freezer or refrigerator section. They’ll be the ones sitting on open store shelves at room temperature.

To read the rest of the article and a video from Dr. Becker click here