Great Activities You Can Share With Your Dog

Think back to when you adopted your first dog.  Did you dream of having a perfect, almost cosmic connection with your pet?  Dogs are amazing creatures but we often leave them to languish at home while we work, play and get on with our lives. Guess what?  You can still create that special partnership with your dog and we’re going to show you how.

There is a world full of fun activities you can share with your pet.  No matter what the breed, as long as your dog is healthy enough, the two of you can add excitement and fun to both of your lives.  It’s also the best way to build a lasting bond with your dog

Listed below are just some of the many activities that are out just waiting for you and your dog.


  • Animal Assisted Therapy: Do you have a dog that simply loves people and attention?  There are programs available to certify both you and your dog for therapy work.  Not only will you have the joy of building the human-animal bond yourself but you get to share it with others. For more information check out this link. https://www.redcross.org/pa/harrisburg/local-services/animal-assisted-therapy


  • Tracking: Do you own a highly energetic beagle or one of the other “nose” breeds?  Try tracking. It can be competitive such as events put on by AKC https://www.akc.org/events/tracking/getting_started.cfm or as part of a search and rescue effort https://www.searchdogfoundation.org/.  Either way, tracking allows your dog to use his/her natural ability to find and follow human scent.  It’s outdoors, great exercise and can be both fun and a life-saving activity.


  • Carting: Think carting is just for horses? It can also be a wonderful activity for larger breed dogs, many of whom were actually used for this purpose in the past.  Carting can be either a competitive sport or a fun past time. The choice is yours. https://k9carting.com/


  • Lure Coursing: This is a great sport for Sight Hounds. AKC Lure Coursing events use an artificial stimulant to awaken the natural coursing instinct. It is not dissimilar to track racing but much more fun because it is non-competitive and usually takes place outdoors in a large field.  https://www.apps.akc.org/classic/events/lure_coursing/getting_started.cfmhttps://www.asfa.org/


  • Agility Training: Agility is a fast and very fun activity for all those hyper, athletic Border Collies and other busy breeds.  It is basically a competitive (although you can just do it for fun) obstacle course for dogs and they LOVE IT!  https://dogs.about.com/od/sportsrecreation/a/agility_training.htm


  • Flyball: This is fetch on steroids and another perfect activity for high energy breeds.  Dogs compete in teams of four where they race over four hurdles, catch a tennis ball launched from a box and then race back over the hurdles to their owner again!  https://flyballdogs.com/FAQ.html


  • Dock Dogs: Really…what could be more fun than watching a bunch of crazy, happy Labradors, and other water loving breeds jump as far as they can off the end of a dock and into the water after a dummy?  If one of them is your dog, all the better! Check it out at: https://www.dockdogs.com/.


  • Herding:  It is an amazing thing to see instinct kick in on a dog bred for herding. Who knew all that ankle biting actually had a purpose? If you own a Border Collie, Cattle Dog, Sheltie, or Collie breed you may want to check your area for a nearby club or demonstration  https://bccc.pair.com/getstart.html


  • Earth dogs: In a Lab and Border Collie world it’s nice to know that the terriers and Dachshunds of the world can get their “game on” through Earth dog competitions.  These little guys are born hunters and these competitions celebrate them.  Check them out.  It’s a good time and no-one gets hurt. https://www.akc.org/events/earthdog/index.cfm

  • Hiking/Camping: If you are interested in something that is not group oriented there is always this standby.  It’s great exercise for both of you.

Hopefully we got you thinking about something new to try with your dog. Here’s wishing you both a beautiful and lifelong partnership.

9 Ways to Help Your Pet Live Longer

  • Spay and neuter:

    • Spayed females have a greatly decreased risk of ovarian and breast cancer and zero chance of an infected uterus.  The earlier you spay, the greater the benefits.

    • Guess who gets hit by cars??  That’s right…intact males.  The urge to breed is strong and can put your Romeo in harm’s way.   Neutered males don’t develop testicular cancer either.

    • Every puppy that isn’t born makes the chance of a shelter pet finding a new home that much greater.

  • Good dental care makes for a longer life:

    • It’s a fact.  Bacteria from the mouth can harm the heart, kidney and liver.

    • Painful dental disease can lead to weight loss and poor body condition.

    • In people periodontal disease has been linked to poor control of Diabetes.

  • Preventative vaccines save lives:

    • Every year thousands of pets die from diseases such as Parvovirus and Distemper which can easily be prevented by a vaccine and let’s not forget Rabies which kills almost without exception.

  • Heartworm disease causes permanent damage to the heart:

    • Preventatives can save your dog or cat from the devastating effects of Heartworm disease.  Congestive heart failure, pulmonary clots with concurrent damage to the lungs, liver enlargement, weight loss and eventual death are all the results of untreated Heartworm disease.

    • In cats, just one or two worms can cause death.

  • Parasites rob your pet of more than just food:

    • Roundworms absorb nutrients, interfere with digestion and can damage the lining of your pet’s intestines.

    • Hookworms can cause anemia and severe diarrhea.  Small puppies can and do perish from Hookworm infestation.

    • Giardia and Coccidia cause diarrhea and poor body condition.

    • Fleas and ticks not only feed on your pet’s blood but also carry dangerous diseases such as Plague, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, Ehrlichia and Anaplasmosis.

  • Obesity kills:

    • Excess weight damages joints, the heart, liver and kidneys.  Many diseases such as diabetes are closely correlated to obesity.  Yes Virginia, you can love your pet to death.

  • Yearly blood profiles can spot problems before they become serious:

    • By the time many problems are visible through decreased activity or other behavior changes your pet may be very sick.  They can’t tell you that they don’t feel well but blood work can speak for them.

    • Blood work can catch changes in body systems early in the disease process before major damage has been done. The earlier we treat a disease such as diabetes or kidney failure, the better the chance to extend the quality and length of your pet’s life.

  • Obedience Training  Saves Lives:

  • Having a good “down” on your dog can save them from becoming a “Hit by Car” statistic.

  • Well behaved pets receive better medical care because we can examine them more closely.

  • Good manners make rehoming a pet much easier should the need ever arise.

  • Dogs that bite put themselves and others at risk of injury and death.

Adopt, Don’t Shop!

 

This seems like a pretty straight forward concept: “Adopt, Don’t Shop.” If you take it at it’s most literal sense, it means adopt or rescue your pets, don’t buy them from a store. Seems pretty logical to me. The majority of pet stores, unfortunately, don’t have the best background work on who they’re getting their pets from. Some larger stores cannot even dictate what comes in their door, they just have to take on whatever corporate deems appropriate. Occasionally this means that if you are purchasing a pet from a store, you are inadvertently supporting puppy mills or inexperienced breeders who are not going through the appropriate steps of care for the puppies or their parents. These irresponsible breeders then profit from your purchase and the vicious cycle continues. Instead of appropriately investing these dollars back into the health and well being of their pets, they keep it for themselves. If a breeder is responsible, that is not the case. If you’re adopting a pure bred puppy (or purchasing) you should be able to see the facility where the puppy was bred and meet both parents as well as have access to background information and important medical conditions of both. This is not the case with pet store puppies.

 

There is so much more involved in this phrase than what I’ve just explained. By adopting and not shopping you not only get to rescue a pet, but you get to save the life of another. Every adoption that occurs from rescues and/or shelters makes room for another animal to take it’s place that may have not had a chance. Every year, 3-6 billion pets are euthanized because there simply isn’t room for them in shelters or rescue organizations.

 

You may be asking yourself, but what if I want a puppy or a purebred animal?  Not to worry! Many shelters see purebred dogs all the time and there are also rescue organizations dedicated to specific breeds of dogs! Many shelters will even set you up in a ‘match’ program and with a little patience, they can find a breed or age range you are looking for.  In fact, my purebred monster, Baloo, a Great Pyrenees, was adopted from a rescue organization in Bloomington, IL that only rescues Pyrenees!

 

Another reason some people may shy away from adoption is that you cannot be sure of the animal’s past. Although some animals from rescue situations are slow to warm up, or have some obedience problems, this isn’t the norm. Several dogs from rescue organizations are actually well trained and now basic commands!

 

One of the most gratifying things about adopting is that feeling of saving. You got to save a life. Anyone who has ever adopted a pet can relate to that underlying feeling of gratitude that your new companion has. They seem to know that you saved them.  In the end though, it becomes so much more obvious that they saved you instead.

 

Interested in adopting a pet.  Check out these facilities in our area by clicking on their links below:

 

Humane Society of Scott County

K-9 Kindness

King’s Harvest

Quad City Animal Welfare Center

Rock Island County Animal Shelter

 

 

10 reasons Why Your Pet Should be on Flea Prevention

 

We love creatures of every different type at our clinic!  We love the barkers, the meowers, the squawkers, the rodents and the bunnies and the snakes and the lizards.  That said, there is one creature that we all hate. The flea!  Unfortunately, we have been seeing way too much of Ctenocephalides canis and felis lately.  Yes it’s spring and THEY”RE BACK!   It’s time to get your pet on parasite preventatives if they are not already on it.

 

  1. Fleas make their living by biting other animals and feeding on their blood.   When fleas bite they inject saliva into the skin of their host which can cause inflammation, itching, allergic dermatitis and hair loss.  Even worse, if the host is small enough or the number of fleas’ large enough, anemia can result from blood loss.

  2. Fleas don’t just bite your pet.  They bite you.  They bite your children.  Everybody gets itchy.

  3. A single female flea can lay up to 50 eggs each day and up to 2000 eggs in her short life time!!!  Of course by the time you discover that your pet has fleas, there are most likely eggs and larva throughout your home.Fleas act as a transport vehicle for the aptly named “Flea” tapeworm.    Pets ingest fleas as they groom.  Once the flea is in the digestive system, the larva breaks free and finds a home in your pet’s intestines. An adult tapeworm can grow up to 75 cm (29.5 inches).  According to CPAC (Companion Animal Parasite Council), “Infections of children with D. caninum following ingestion of an infected flea are occasionally reported. The disease induced in the child is generally mild, confined to the intestinal tract, and readily treated, but can still be distressing to the family.”

  4. Fleas carry the Plague – the Bubonic Plague.  This is particularly important in the Rocky Mountain States.

  5. Fleas carry Typhus and yes it can be transmitted to humans.  According to Pubmed Health, “Typhus is caused by one of two types of bacteria: Rickettsia typhi or Rickettsia prowazekii.” The form of typhus depends on which type of bacteria causes the infection. Murine typhus occurs in the southeastern and southern United States, often during the summer and fall. It is rarely deadly. Risk factors for murine typhus include:

    a.  Exposure to rat fleas or feces

    b.  Exposure to other animals such as cats, opossums, raccoons, skunks and rats

7.   Fleas can help to transmit “Cat Scratch” disease from one cat to another.  We humans get Cat Scratch Fever when we are scratched by an infected feline.

 8.  Fleas can transmit hemoplasmas, a blood borne parasite that can cause damage to the red calls which results in anemia in your pet.

 9.  Even if your pet never goes outdoors, you can carry fleas into the house on your pants legs. Fleas can survive the winter just fine as long as you continue to heat your home. 

 10. Once there is an established flea infestation, it can be time consuming and expensive to resolve.  Like so many other problems fleas are much easier to prevent than alleviate.

 I don’t know about you but I’m going to go make sure my dog is up to date on his flea prevention.

An Ounce of Prevention…

 

 

I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with the entire collection of animals on grounds at Niabi Zoo as well as their dedicated zookeepers and staff at least once a week.   Even though this part of my life is “scheduled,” I never know what my day will entail.   It’s the constant variety of daily tasks in zoological medicine that makes it that much more interesting for me:  the never ending challenge of diagnosis, developing treatment plans, and, most importantly, annual wellness and preventative medicine.  Preventative medical care and annual wellness screening is one of the most overlooked areas of zoological medicine in the public eye.  Not only is preventative medicine essential for the animal’s health and well being, it is also necessary for the safety of the staff and the visiting public.  However, depending on the animal we’re working on in the collection, this may be a challenge.

What does preventative medicine in a zoo entail?

Preventative medicine examinations performed on zoo patients are very similar to those performed on your own four legged friends, and equally important.  Much like our own four legged friends, obesity can affect animals in captivity, so accurate weight logs and body condition assessments are kept by keeper staff and the veterinarian. Many of the animals in Niabi Zoo’s collection are trained with positive reinforcement and operant condition to willing stand or sit on a scale on command to maintain accurate records of their weights. Any major changes can then be reported to the veterinary staff and further measures can be taken. This may seem like a small detail of an exam, but the zookeepers are the eyes and ears of the veterinary department and work tirelessly to help prevent disease outbreaks and illness in the animals they oversee.

Another important area annually assessed is the animal’s mouth. Dental disease is one of the most common pet health problems diagnosed at Animal Family and is also common in zoo collections due to some undesired, stereotypical behaviors. The challenge in a zoological collection is that the animal’s mouth can also be it’s most dangerous weapon! Some of these animals require sedation to have their teeth examined.  Other animals are trained with hand signals and will hold open their mouth open on command for visual examination.  Just like in dogs and cats, the veterinarian looks for tartar, gingivitis, signs of periodontal disease, fractured teeth, or missing teeth, and develops a treatment plan accordingly.

Fecal examination and intestinal parasite screening is one of the most frequent tests performed at Niabi Zoo.  There are several intestinal parasites such as roundworms and hookworms are considered zoonotic, meaning they can pass from animals to people and cause disease. Not only is it important to screen fecals for the health of the animal, but we also screen for the public’s health! The Centers for Disease Control estimates that almost  14% of the population of the United States is infected with roundworms!  If any animal comes back positive, a deworming treatment is developed.  The zoo animals are on similar monthly, year round prevention products like Frontline and Heartgard for treatment of intestinal parasites, fleas, ticks, and heartworm disease.  

Speaking of heartworm and tick-borne disease,  the very same test 4DX Snap Test and Blood Parasite Screen  that is recommended for your domestic animal is used on several animals at Niabi Zoo! Prevention of heartworm disease is key in a zoological collection, especially since the disease can be life threatening and extremely expensive to treat.  Due to the importance of conservation in a zoo collection, a life lost due to heartworm disease could mean a drastic blow to a genetic line under conservation.

Last, but not least, the animals at Niabi Zoo also undergo an annual vaccination routine, which is extremely important due to the exposure of these animals to wildlife and the public. Animals in the collection are routinely vaccinated for Rabies and Distemper annually since their risk of exposure is so high. These vaccines can be done every three years in our domestic dogs and cats.

The bottom line is preventative medicine is the most important medicine and can save your animal from having to suffer from illness long term. For some of our pets and the zoo collection, this means every year we need to make a thorough assessment, nose to tail, to keep our animals as healthy as possible.

 

Is Your Pet Ready for Spring

  • Is your pet current on vaccines? 

    • Dogs: Rabies, Distemper, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, Hepatitis and if there is a concern, Bordetella and Lyme.

    • Cats: Rabies, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calici virus, Panleukopenia and where there is a concern, Feline Leukemia.

    • Exotics: Rabies and other vaccines recommended by your veterinarian.

  • Has your pet had their Heartworm or Feline leukemia Tests.

  • Are your pet’s current on their parasite testing and protection?

    • Dogs: Intestinal and Heartworm prevention

    • Cats: Intestinal and yes, Heartworm prevention

    • Exotics: Absolutely, intestinal parasite prevention

  • Has your pet been spayed or neutered?

    • Spring is the time for love and that cute kitten or puppy you got around Christmas is ready for reproduction.  Are you?

  • Have you cleaned up the rodenticide that you put out last fall? 

    • You may have forgotten about any poisons you put out in the fall but rest assured your pet will find them. 

    • Accidental poisoning is a common and preventable year round problem

  • Properly dispose of antifreeze when you drain your radiator.

    • This deadly poison takes lives every spring.

  • Once the snow melts check your yard for items that could be hazardous to your pet.

    • Glass, nails and other items can become buried in the snow and forgotten.  Be sure to do a sweep of your yard every spring.

  • Mend your fences.

    • Fences can be damaged over the winter and it may not be visible until the snow melts.  Check gate latches as well.

  • Did your pet slow down over the winter?  Spring is a great time to work on getting winter weight off.  The great news is it works for both of you.

    • Start any exercise program slowly and watch your pet for signs of arthritis or injuries that may go unnoticed during the sedentary winter months.

  • Don’t forget the leash!  Everybody has cabin fever by the end of winter.  Make sure your pet is safely under leash and not able to follow the urge to wander.

New Help For Old Painful Pets

 

Animal Family Veterinary Care Center is excited to offer our  clients Companion Laser Therapy. Laser therapy provides a non-invasive, pain-free, surgery-free, drug-free treatment which is used to treat a variety of conditions and can be performed in conjunction with existing treatment protocols.  Relief and/or improvement is often noticed within hours depending on the condition and your pet’s unique health status. Whether your pet is rehabilitating from trauma or injury, healing from wounds, or simply aging, your companion can benefit from this innovative approach to treating pain.

 

Applications for laser therapy include:

  • Treatment of arthritis, degenerative joint disease, or hip dysplasia

  • General pain management (sprains, strains, and stiffness)

  • Post-surgery pain (spays, neuters, declaws, and other surgeries)

  • Skin problems (hot spots, lick granulomas, infections)

  • Dental procedures

  • Fractures and wounds (bites, abrasions, burns, and lesions)

  • Ear infections

 

How Does Laser Therapy Really Work? 

Click on this link to watch an animation of laser therapy in action: 

 Therapy Laser Animation

Animals in the Service

 

 

 

In honor of all the military related festivities in the month of November, like the USMC 238th Birthday and Veteran’s Day, I felt it only appropriate to discuss some of the unique ways animals have also helped to preserve our nation’s freedom. We are all familiar with many a battle on horseback in our nation’s history, but did you know horses and canines are not the only animals who help our brave men and women?  Listed below are some of their unique roles today.

Dolphins and the U.S. Navy

Dolphins have been serving in the U.S. Navy for more than 40 years as part of the Navy’s Marine Mammal Program, and they were used during the Vietnam War and Operation Iraqi Freedom. These highly intelligent animals are trained to detect, locate and mark mines — not to mention suspicious swimmers and divers.

What happens if a dolphin finds an intruder? The dolphin touches a sensor on a boat to alert its handler, and the handler then places a strobe light or noisemaker on the dolphin’s nose. The dolphin is trained to swim to the intruder, bump him or her from behind to knock the device off its nose and swim away while military personnel take over.

Sea Lions

Trained sea lions, another part of the U.S. Navy’s Marine Mammal Program, locate and tag mines just like dolphins, but that’s not all these “Navy Seals” do — they also cuff underwater intruders. The sea lions carry a spring clamp in their mouths that can be attached to a swimmer or diver by simply pressing it against the person’s leg. In fact, the sea lions are so fast that the clamp is on before the swimmer is even aware of it. Once a person is clamped, sailors aboard ships can pull the swimmer out of the water by the rope attached to the clamp.

These specially trained sea lions, part of the Navy’s Shallow Water Intruder Detection System, patrol Navy bases and were even deployed to protect ships from terrorists in the Persian Gulf.

Honeybees

Honeybees are natural-born sniffers with antennae able to sense pollen in the wind and track it down to specific flowers, so bees are now being trained to recognize the scents of bomb ingredients. When the bees pick up a suspicious odor with their antennae, they flick their proboscises — a tubular feeding organ than extends from their mouths.  Watch them in action at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T7d0bze4kM

A honeybee bomb-detection unit would look like a simple box stationed outside airport security. Inside the box, bees would be strapped into tubes and exposed to puffs of air where they could constantly check for the faint scent of a bomb. A video camera linked to pattern-recognition software would alert authorities when the bees started waving their proboscises in unison.

Pigeons

Homing pigeons were widely used by both American and British forces during World War II. The U.S. Army had an entire Pigeon Breeding and Training Center at Fort Monmouth, N.J., where the pigeons were trained to carry small capsules containing messages, maps, photographs and cameras. Military historians claim that more than 90 percent of all pigeon-carried messages sent by the U.S. Army during the war were received.

The birds even participated in the D-Day invasion because troops operated under radio silence. The pigeons sent information about German positions on Normandy beaches and reported back on the success of the mission. In fact, homing pigeons played such an important military role that 32 were awarded the Dickin Medal, Britain’s highest award for animal valor. Recipients of the medal include the U.S. Army Pigeon Service’s bird, G.I. Joe, and the Irish pigeon known as Paddy.

As you can see, a wide variety of creatures have participated in military efforts and are active in service today.  My sincerest thanks and gratitude to all the brave men, women, and animals who selflessly protect our nation’s freedom.

Majority of information for blog came from https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/photos/10-ways-animals-have-served-the-military/in-the-army-now

 

 

Trick Or Treat, Smell My Feet… please don’t let Scruffy steal chocolate treats! (and a few other Halloween safety tips)

 

  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays BY FAR! Who doesn’t love an excuse to slightly over indulge on lovely chocolate and sweet treats, especially anything with peanut butter (Reese’s are my true weakness)!  As much fun as the chocolate can be for us, it is extremely dangerous for our pets and the calls to animal poison control centers increase for chocolate ingestion now more than any other time of year!  Listed below are several other potential dangers for your pets during All Hallows Eve. If we become more informed about all of the potential issues, this can save major headaches (and cash money) over the holiday season.

Pick Your Poison:

Chocolate.   Everybody’s favorite, and the one that typically leads to the most calls to veterinarians this time of year. As many of you know, chocolate is problematic to cats and dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic, and the smaller the quantity necessary to see effects. For pets with pre-existing heart disease or seizure conditions, the concern is even higher, as these are two of the big ‘target organs’ for the toxic effects of chocolate.

Raisin toxicity. Known to be a problem for some dogs (and possibly some cats), raisins may be found in your child’s candy bag as part of certain chocolate bars, or on their own from well-intentioned neighbors trying to provide healthier Halloween treats. We don’t know which pets will be sensitive to the toxic effects of raisins, nor the number of raisins that must be ingested before problems are seen. It’s best to play it safe and take the necessary precautions to prevent all of your pets from ingesting any quantity of raisins. (Grapes and currants have the same toxic potential as raisins, and so should be similarly avoided.)

The actual treats in your kid’s Halloween bounty aren’t the only potential problem for your pets either. Candy wrappers that are eaten by your pet can also lead to digestive system inflammation and/or obstruction, resulting in episodes of vomiting and/or diarrhea, as well as an unplanned trip to the veterinarian, and possibly the surgery table. Keep candy well out of reach of all your pets. Hang your children’s candy bag high-up on a wall hook or coat rack, and don’t leave the trick-or-treat candy you are planning on distributing sitting out on the coffee table while waiting for the neighborhood kids to start arriving.

It’s bird, it’s a plane…it’s UNDERDOG!:

I don’t know about you all, but I love any chance for an embarrassing photo opportunity for my pet. Case in point…my little Underdog and her look of disgust below.  When it comes to costumes for our furry friends, keep these tips in mind:

  • Avoid loose pieces of fabric and dangling small objects (such as bells). Pets may be tempted to chew off such objects. And if swallowed, you could be looking at a veterinary bill in excess of $1,500 to have it removed from their stomach or intestines since many of these objects will not pass on their own.
  • Avoid masks on pets. Masks can obstruct your pet’s vision and/or their ability to breathe. If your pet can’t see well they’re at greater risk of traumatic injuries – such as broken bones from stepping in holes or falling off curbs, as well as from being struck by a passing car. Broken bones require expensive surgeries to repair, and hit-by-car injuries can result in prolonged intensive care hospital stays and/or death.
  • If you plan on taking your pet with you around the neighborhood for your night of Halloween fun, be sure to include some reflective or self-illuminating material on your pet’s costume. The earlier it gets dark out, the less visibility cars have overall so anything you can do to increase your pet’s visibility to passing cars will help to ensure that they won’t wind up getting hit by one of them. Also consider putting a flashing light on their collar for nighttime walks, at Halloween and throughout the year.

Leashes save lives!

While we’re on the topic of trick or treating, for pets that will join you around the neighborhood, keep them on a leash the whole time. A leash will not only keep your pet from darting in front of a passing car, but it will also help you prevent them from eating dropped candy which could be potentially toxic.  Leashes also prevent dog fights and keep spooked dogs from running off. Little children in costumes can set up a potentially terrifying situation for some of our more anxious pets. Importantly, don’t let a young child be the only one holding on to your pet’s leash during the walk. This is good advice throughout the year, but even more so on Halloween when passing trick-or-treaters are an additional factor that can cause pets to slip their collars or pull away from their leash.

Keep your cats inside on and around Halloween. Aside from all the normal dangers that outdoor cats face daily, Halloween (and the even more dangerous ‘Mischief Night’ that precedes it) potentially carries with it the additional dangers of twisted kids (and sadly, adults too) intentionally traumatizing, mutilating, or otherwise torturing cats on these nights, especially black cats. Though such incidences sadly occur throughout the year, there may be an increased risk associated with this holiday. Don’t take the chance – keep ‘em inside.

The constantly opening doors associated with gobs of tiny trick-or-treaters also pose a significant danger to pets. Pets with access to opening doors may take advantage of the opportunity to bolt out of the house, not only putting them in danger of the typical outdoor hazards unrestrained pets face, but also of having a paw, tail, or other part of their body caught in the door as they make their escape. Such traumatic events can cause injuries significant enough to warrant an expensive orthopedic surgery or a prolonged hospital stay. Confine your pets to a ‘safe area’ of the house to prevent their access to open doors. Use pet crates, baby gates, or closed doors to do so. Providing them with food, water, litter boxes, and anything else that will be necessary to minimize their stress (perhaps an interactive food toy or a turned on television or radio) will also help to decrease the likelihood of destructive behaviors or loud barking.

With a little effort, our pets have the potential to have just as much fun as their people this Halloween season. As long as we take the necessary precautions to keep our pets safe, there’s no reason we all

 have a HOWLING good time!  Happy Haunting everyone!

 

Pumpkin!

 

 

Hello Fall!

 I don’t know about you, but fall is my favorite season: The changing leaves, the cool, crisp breeze at night which is a perfect excuse for bonfires and s’mores, and most of all, PUMPKIN!!!  I’m sure I’m not the only one who waits for Pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING to hit the shelves, but did you know that pumpkin can actually have some great health benefits for our pets? 

Fiber

 Pumpkin contains nearly three grams of fiber per one cup serving. Fiber promotes a sense of fullness and can potentially enhance weight loss by reducing the urge.   Additionally, fiber can help with feline constipation. As cats mature into their adult and geriatric years, constipation is a serious problem. The primary emphasis of treatment is placed on diet. Increasing fiber levels helps increase motility through the colon by creating a bulkier amount of stool, which stimulates the colon wall to contract thereby helping your pet eliminate waste appropriate.

 Increased dietary fiber can also help pets suffering from diarrhea (opposite of constipation). Both cats and dogs are prone to different forms of diarrhea, but most often the primary offender is changes in diet or eating something the animal is not supposed (dietary indiscretion, aka our garbage lovers).

 Diarrhea is can be classified as large or small bowel diarrhea, depending on a number of characteristics of the patient and their feces. Large bowel diarrhea comes from the colon and is also known as colitis. The nature of large bowel diarrhea appears vastly different from its small bowel counterpart and may have one or all the following characteristics: mucus, blood, urgency to defecate, flatulence, and large or small volume.  Small bowel diarrhea relates to the small intestine, which is the part of the digestive tract that connects the stomach to the large intestine (colon). Small bowel diarrhea often takes on a pale appearance, lacks urgency in its production, and has a mushy consistency.

 Moisture

 Pumpkin can add a healthy amount of moisture (water content) to any cat or dog diet, but especially those that consume highly processed and dehydrated kibble. According to the University of Illinois Extension’s article, Pumpkin Facts, this healthful fruit (yes, it’s a fruit and not a vegetable) is composed of 90% water. Adding pumpkin to each meal or serving it separately as a snack can promote a pet’s improved state of hydration and reduce heat in the body.

 Miscellaneous, Healthful Benefits of Pumpkin

 

Pumpkin provides a natural source of many beneficial substances involved in the day to day cellular functions, especially potassium. Pumpkin even has more potassium content than a banana!  Potassium is an electrolyte essential for muscular contraction and recovery from activity. Pumpkin is also rich in Vitamin C, as one cup contains at least 11mg. Vitamin C is a substance vital for its antioxidant and immune system supporting effects. Additionally, pumpkin is a great, whole-food source of carotenoids, such as beta-carotene.

If you don’t want to go through the efforts of carving, cooking, and pureeing/mashing your pumpkin, then purchase the canned or glass bottled version to give your pet. Avoid pumpkin pie filling due to fat, sugar, and other ingredients (spices, flavorings, or other preservatives) that could cause digestive tract upset. Below is an easy, fun fall dog treat recipe involving pumpkin that you can try out for your furry friend!!!

Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups whole wheat flour

2 eggs

½ cup canned pumpkin (NOT PUMPKIN PIE MIX)

2 tablespoons peanut butter

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Whisk together flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add water as needed to make the dough workable, but the dough should be dry and stiff.
  3. Roll dough into a ½ inch thick roll. Cut into shapes or ½ inch pieces.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until hard, about 40 minutes.

 

Here’s a link for healthy pumpkin treats for people.

 

Much of this information was compiled from an article written by Dr. Patrick Mahaney.