“My dog doesn’t need a yearly check up, he’s always healthy.”
I’m sure many pet owners have that thought cross their minds when they get their yearly postcard reminder in the mail from their vet. While your pet might by all appearances be healthy, he could have warning signs and underlying symptoms your vet could pick up in an exam and correct or slow the progress of. During a yearly exam your vet does more than administer vaccinations – He checks out your dog’s entire body from nose to tail. Here is what you can expect during an annual exam and the important of each.
Nose, Eyes, Mouth, and Ears - Your vet will check your dog’s nose for nasal discharge. He is looking for more than a cold – a runny nose is a symptom of many different diseases. The eyes will be checked for infection, discharge and debris. Dull eyes are a warning sign of parasites, stress, and many more serious ailments. He’ll check your pup’s teeth and gums for plaque, disease, abscesses, and tumors. As pet’s age, tartar builds up on their teeth, just like it does on humans and eventually your pet will need a cleaning. Your vet will determine if this is necessary. The ears should be clean and clear of foul odors. Ear odor is a sign of infection and mites.
Lungs, Heart, Coat, and Abdomen - Using a stethoscope, your vet will check your dog’s lungs for abnormal breathing patterns, congestion, or cough. The heart will be listened to for abnormal beating. Your vet will check your dog’s skin for parasites, as well as cuts, swelling, scrapes, lumps, and condition of the coat. A dull coat is a sign of illness. By feeling your dog’s stomach and groin area, your vet can evaluate your dog’s organs and check for signs of pain or discomfort which is a sign of illness. He’ll also check your pup’s lymph nodes for swelling.
Back, Tail, Hips, Legs, and Paws – Your vet will feel your dog’s back and tail to check for spinal issues. The hips and legs will be checked for pain, joint swelling, and stiffness that are caused by arthritis, muscle damage, and other diseases. Finally, the paws and nails will be examined for infection or cuts.
There are many optional tests and vaccinations our vets offer and it can be confusing as to whether they are necessary for our pets. Here is a brief explanation of each, so that you can decide if they are right for your pet:
Fecal Exam: During this exam the vet will examine a fecal sample from your pet to check for intestinal parasites. These parasites are not only harmful to your pet – Many are transmittable to humans, particularly small children.
Rabies Vaccination: This vaccination is required by law in the U.S as either a 1 year or 3 year vaccination, depending on your state’s legislation. Rabies is 100% fatal in dogs and there is no treatment available.
Distemper/Parvovirus/Adenovirus: This vaccination protects against all three of these life threatening diseases that any dog could come in contact with. Along with the rabies vaccine, it is considered a core vaccination and shouldn’t be skipped. It should be given every 3 years or more.
Bordetella: This vaccine is recommended for dogs in high-risk environments and is required for dogs who participate in dogs shows, are boarded, or before surgery. Kennel cough is not usually serious but can be dangerous to young puppies and is highly contagious. It is given annually for most dogs but for high risk dogs 6 month boosters are available.
Lyme Disease: This vaccination is generally only recommended for dogs that have a high risk of being exposed to Lyme disease carrying ticks. This vaccine is administered annually. You can find out if you are in a high risk area here.
Leptospirosis: This vaccination is generally restricted to established risk areas. Your pet is usually exposed to leptospirosis in areas of standing water and areas with rodents. This vaccination is administered yearly.
Canine Influenza: This vaccination is similar to the bordetella vaccination and is recommended for the same reasons. It is also administered yearly.
Heartworm Test and Parasite Prevention: Parasites are very harmful to your pets and in addition to making them miserable, some parasites are even deadly. Your pup’s annual exam is a great time to stock up on flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. Your vet will need to do a heartworm test annually to ensure that your dog is free of heartworms. There are many different forms of flea, tick, and heartworm prevention and your vet will help you pick out what is best for your pup.
Don’t let financial troubles keep you from taking your pup in to get the care he needs. There are many organizations that offer low cost vet care, including vaccinations. Many are mobile vets that offer high quality care with no exam fees. A little research online could save you a lot of cash while still ensuring your pet is healthy!
For many Americans, the Fourth of July is a very festive celebration. Firework shows, cook outs, boating, camping… All great ways to relax and commemorate the birth of our nation. Since most people consider their pets a part of the family, our first thought would be to include them in the party. While this might seem like a great idea, it could have a potentially bad outcome for your furry friend. July 5th is considered animal shelters’ busiest day due to panicked pets bolting from the noise of firecrackers. Vets are busy as well, with injuries, poisonings, and upset stomachs. Here are 10 tips gleaned from the ASPCA for keeping your canine companion safe and happy this Fourth of July:
1. Keep pets inside: Even if your dog is used to being outdoors, they could panic and bolt from fireworks and other loud celebratory noises. In their attempt to find safety they could get lost, run over, or injured.
2. Do not use insect repellent or sunscreen that isn’t formulated for pets: Just because it isn’t toxic to humans doesn’t make it dog friendly! Poisonous side effects of sunscreen are drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and excessive thirst. DEET is a common insecticide and can cause neurological damage to your pets.
3. Alcohol is poisonous to dogs: Keep alcoholic drinks out of reach! Even a small amount of alcohol can cause your pup to become dangerously intoxicated. This could cause them to go into a coma or die of respiratory failure. Even beer is off limits; fermented hops and ethanol are poisonous to both dogs and cats.
4. If you are attending a fireworks display, leave your dog at home: A crowd of people watching a display of beautiful lights sounds like fun to humans but is not at all a good time for your dog. The combination of loud noises and too many people will freak your fur baby out.
5. Proper identification is a must: If your pet does manage to escape, proper ID goes a long way to getting them back to you. ID tags with their name and your up to date information are a must. Microchipping your pet is a great idea as well, since collars can slip off and get lost.
6. Say ‘No’ to glow jewelry: Dressing your furry friend in festive attire can be fun, if your pet allows it but refrain from adorning them with glow jewelry. They liquid is not toxic, but if your dog chews up the jewelry, it can cause gastrointestinal irritations and the plastic could cause an intestinal blockage from swallowed pieces of plastic.
7. Keep your pet out of the way of fireworks: Curious pets could be seriously damaged from fireworks. Their paws and face could be burned and serious damage could be done to their insides if a lit firework is swallowed. Even unlit fireworks pose a danger – Some contain potentially toxic substances like arsenic and potassium nitrate.
8. Stick to your dog’s normal diet: It can be tempting to indulge your dog in delicious holiday food but this could seriously upset their stomachs. Even if you avoid known toxic ingredients, just changing your pup’s diet for one day could cause severe indigestion and diarrhea.
9. Lighter fluid and matches are harmful to pets: Matches contain chlorate and if ingested, it could cause labored breathing, blood cell damage, and kidney disease. Lighter fluid can cause skin irritation on contact, gastric problems if eaten, and respiratory problems if inhaled. Be sure to keep these out of reach!
10. Citronella products contain toxins: Citronella candles, oils, and insect coils can cause serious respiratory illnesses if inhaled, like pneumonia and if eaten, they can harm your pet’s nervous system
Keep your pet at home and indoors in a quiet, secure space. This is the easiest way to ensure your pup has a safe and happy Fourth of July!
Happy Independence Day from Doggie Vogue!
The month of June celebrates National Pet Preparedness Month. With all of the recent news coverage of the tornado devastation in Oklahoma and the impending hurricane season, we are reminded of the importance of having an emergency evacuation plan in place for our family. The best way to protect your family from the effects of a disaster is to be prepared and this plan must include your pets. When disaster strikes, there is not always a lot of time to react. Having a set plan in place could save the lives of your family and pets.
Find a safe place to take your pets. Local and state health and safety regulations don’t permit the Red Cross to allow pets in disaster shelters, so you will need to find another option. Make a list of pet friendly hotels outside your local area, including phone numbers, and keep it with your disaster supplies. Ask friends and relatives if they would be able to shelter your animals in the event of a disaster. Whatever you do, if you must evacuate DO NOT leave your animals behind. If it is not safe enough for you, it is not safe enough for pets either.
Keep an emergency supply kit for your pet along with those for your family and make sure everyone knows where it is. This should be clearly labeled and easy to carry. Your pet’s kit should include:
• A spare dog collar, leash and harness
• Food, bowls, and bottled water (and a can opener if you feed canned food)
• Health records and medication
• Current photos in case you become separated from your pet.
• Information on your pet’s feeding schedule, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets unexpectedly.
• Pet first aid kit
• Travelling carrier
Depending on the type of disaster, some warnings are issued hours or even days in advance. Don’t take these warnings lightly. At the first hint of disaster, act to protect your family and pets. Call ahead to confirm emergency shelter arrangements. Make sure to bring all of your pets indoors at the first sign of a storm or disaster. They can become disoriented and scared and wander away. Make sure your pet has proper, up to date identification like a microchip and ID tags. Tags should have your dogs’ name, address, telephone number, and immediate health needs. Write your pet’s name and your contact info on the pet carrier. Store all your emergency supplies and leashes as close to an exit as possible.
In the event that you are not at home when evacuation orders come, find a trusted neighbor or family member who would be willing to take your pets to you or shelter them. This person needs to be comfortable with your pets, know where your disaster kit is, and have a key to your home.
Planning and preparation will allow you to evacuate quickly and safely with your pets but keep in mind that animals react differently when they are under stress. Keep them leashed at all times. Even the most trustworthy pets could get scared and run off, or try to bite and scratch.
Memorial Day Weekend is a great time for you and your furry friend to kick back in the sun. This long weekend is the kick off to summer fun! Hot weather, traveling, barbeques, and swimming all sound like a lot of fun, but these enjoyable activities could present many dangers to your canine companion. Here are a few tips to ensure your fur baby has a safe and fun holiday weekend!
• Keep your pooch hydrated: When exposed to hot weather, even the healthiest dog can get dehydrated, sunburn, or heat stroke. Make sure your pet has fresh water at all times. Our Handi-Drinks for dogs are an awesome portable water bowl!
• Only use dog friendly products: Buy sunscreen and insect repellent formulated specifically for dogs. If your pet ingests products made from humans (by licking themselves) it can make them sick!
• Never leave your dog unattended in the car: Even with the windows rolled down a bit, the temperature inside a parked car can skyrocket to deadly levels in just minutes. Even at just 70 degrees, a parked car is over 100 degrees inside with the windows rolled up.
• Supervise your dog at all times around water: Whether you are in the pool or boating on a lake, never leave your pooch unsupervised around water. Contrary to popular belief, no all dogs know how to swim! A dog life preserver can help keep your pooch above water.
• Keep fire starting materials out of your pet’s reach: Candles, matches, and lighter fluid can harm your dog’s stomach, lungs, and nervous system if eaten.
• Watch what your pup eats: If you’re having a barbeque, your guests might want to treat your dog to some of their off limits people food. Any delectable treats left laying in your pooches reach can tempt him to dig in. These new foods can upset your fur baby’s stomach. Some are even toxic! Alcohol is also harmful to dogs. Keep it out of reach! Reward your deserving dog with a dog treat or bone and he will be more likely to leave your food alone!
• Give your dog a quiet, cool place to rest: Keeping up with all the action can be exhausting to your furry friend. Make sure they have a comfy place to lay down in the shade to rest and relax. Our Cool Pup Dog Beds are a great way to cool off your pet!
Have a safe and Happy Memorial Day weekend!
This month the ASPCA launched their National Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. There are countless innocent animals abused or neglected by their owners every year. This month is a great time to spread awareness and help pets in need. There are many simple things you can do to crack down on animal cruelty in your community. Knowing who to report to is key. Each town is different; some rely on the police department for taking action in animal cruelty cases and some rely on the local animal control agency. If you suspect a case of animal cruelty, be sure to call and provide as much information about the incident as possible including type of cruelty, who was involved, dates, times, and where it took place. Be sure to observe pets in your neighborhood. If you familiarize yourself with the animals around you, you’ll notice if an animal has lost a lot of weight or changed their demeanor. Here are some additional signs and symptoms of animal abuse:
• Tick or flea infestation
• Wounds on the body
• Patches of missing fur
• Extremely thin
• Repeatedly left alone without food or water
• Left outdoors in extreme weather
• Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when owners approach
• Dogs who need medical attention and aren’t taken to the vet
• Pets housed with too many other animals
• Overgrown nails, matted fur, filthy
• Weakness, drowsiness, confusion
If you notice any animals displaying these symptoms, or if you witness physical abuse such as hitting or kicking firsthand, be sure to alert authorities immediately. If you don’t want to give your name, you can always call anonymously. Animals depend on their owners to provide them with food, water, shelter, and kindness. Pets are innocent creatures and need you to step in if they are suffering.
Spring has sprung! Or, it’s starting to anyway… Temperatures are slowly rising above freezing and us humans aren’t the only ones delighted about the warmer weather! Our furry friends suffer just as much as we do during the long cold months. As the days get longer, it’s time to start thinking about spring cleaning. While most homes do household spring cleaning, dog owners have more on their plate. Here are a few tasks you might want to consider adding to your spring cleaning to-do list this year:
1. Clean out your dog’s toy box – Throw away any damaged toys. Set aside any toys your pup doesn’t play with and donate them to a local shelter. Give any keepers a good cleaning – Throw plush toys in the washer and wipe down any rubber toys with a pet-safe cleaning product, such as a mixture of vinegar and water.
2. Go through treats and medication – Check expiration dates and discard expired ones. Check prescriptions to see if any are expiring soon and if so, make a note to call your vet to set up an appointment.
3. Clean your dog’s bed – Wash any bedding your pup sleeps on. If your dog bed has reached the end of its life, now is a great time to buy a new one.
4. Have your floors and upholstery professionally cleaned – Vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping can only do so much. Our fur babies leave a build up of fur, dander, dirt every where they go. Having your carpet and upholstery cleaned yearly will prolong its life and make your home that much cleaner. If having it done professionally is not in your budget, many places rent out professional equipment by the hour, which works much better than any regular home appliance when it comes to removing dirt and dander.
5. Make sure your pup is up to date – Check your dog’s tags and make sure that the information is correct. If you’ve moved or changed your phone number, it’s time to get a new tag. Also check that the information is still readable – Tags get scratched and become illegible. That’s the last thing you want if your pet gets lost!
And lastly and most importantly: Enjoy the beautiful weather! Spend some long awaited time outdoors with your pup! Go on a long walk, play fetch, take a trip to the dog park… The possibilities are endless. You and your canine companions have been cooped up for months. April is a perfect time to stretch your legs and spend some time in the sun!
St. Patrick’s Day is only a few days away! This delightfully fun day is renowned for drinking green beer and eating traditional Irish foods, like cabbage and corned beef. These two party ingredients might taste great to you but they are both unlucky for your pup! Alcohol can easily poison your pet. Make sure you keep alcoholic beverages out of your pooch’s reach! Typical St. Patrick’s day food – especially corned beef – is high in salt, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea for your furry friend. If you want to give your canine companion a special St. Paddy’s Day dog treat, stick to something dog friendly, like our Shamrock Dog Treats.
If you are having an Irish shindig at your house, make sure there is a quiet place away from the party where your pets can rest. Strange people coming and going can make your pup nervous. People who have been drinking can become loud and animated and this can scare your pets. If you decide to take your dog to a parade or other outdoor festival, watch out for drunk drivers and make sure your pooch is on a leash and has a light up or reflective dog collar after dark.
Decking our pets out in green for St. Patty’s Day can be a lot of fun. Make sure any clothing or accessories fit properly and don’t hinder movement or breathing. If your pet is just not happy with their outfit, don’t stress them out by forcing them to wear it. If you choose to dye your dog’s fur, only use something specifically formulated for pets, like our Dye Gel for Dogs or our PetPaint Color Spray.
Have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day!
March is National Poison Prevention Month and now is a great time to take a look at your home and stop any potential dangers in their tracks. There are many common household items that are harmful, if not deadly, to our precious pets. According to reports from Poison Control Centers, over 90% of the toxic substances our pets ingest come from inside our own homes. Here is a list of the top toxic substances our pets accidentally ingest:
1. Human medications – When pills are dropped on the floor, our pets will find them and in many cases, eat them. The top medications animals are exposed to unknowingly are heart medications, antidepressants, and pain medications. If you drop a pill, make sure you pick it up right away so that your pup doesn’t mistake it for a snack.
2. Insecticides – We use these on our animals, in our home, and in our yards. Improper use of these substances can cause seizures and skin issues for our pets, especially cats.
3. Pet medication – Most pet medication is flavored with an irresistible taste to make it easier to administer. This same yummy taste could convince them to eat the entire bottle if give the chance.
4. Household items – Paint, drain cleaners, and other cleaning products should be kept away from pets. Pets’ curious nature could lead them to trouble if these are ingested!
5. People food – Many seemingly harmless treats such as raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, and garlic can cause severe issues in our pets ranging from upset stomach to death. Be aware of what foods are poisonous to dogs and keep those far away from your pooch.
6. Chocolate - Chocolate is the number one toxic people food dogs ingest. While poisonous to all dogs, it affects each one differently in different doses. Symptoms can range from vomiting and diarrhea to seizures and in some, death.
7. Plants – There is a long list of household plants that are poisonous to pets. Take care to either not display these plants in your home or to put them far out of reach of your pets. Even a leaf that has fallen in the floor is sometimes enough to poison your pet.
8. Rat poison – When you put out rat poison, never underestimate how clever your pooch is. If they find the poison and eat it can cause internal bleeding, kidney failure, or seizures.
9. Lawn care and garden products - Fertilizers are made of dried blood, manure, and bone meal, making them very attractive to our furry friends. Try to only buy pet friendly products for your lawn and garden.
10. Automotive products - Gas, oil, and especially antifreeze should be kept out of reach. Less than one tablespoon of antifreeze – which has a sweet taste pets have a hard time resisting – can kill a 20lb dog.
Inspect your home and make sure any of these products are out of reach and put where your pet does not have access to them. If you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous, time is of the essence. Steer clear of online forums and don’t waste time doing internet research – The sooner you see your veterinarian the better chance your pet has for a full recovery.
Happy Love Your Pet Day! We love our furry friends every day of the year and don’t really need a special day set aside for it but today is a nice opportunity to give your fur baby a little extra time and attention. Here are a few ways you can show your precious pooch you care:
1. Take them for an extra walk
2. Give them a special treat
3. Buy or make them a new dog toy
4. Give them a bath or extra grooming time
5. Make them a home cooked meal instead of their regular food
Our pups love us unconditionally and appreciate everything we do for them, big and small. We all have busy lives and can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of work, chores, family, etc. Let go of a few tasks today and shower your pets with some extra attention they deserve.
The month of February is designated National Spay and Neuter Your Pet Month, with the 26th of the month being World Spay and Neuter Day. It’s hard to believe that in this age of knowledge and technology there are still so many people who are not aware of the benefits of spaying and neutering. Every year 3.5 million cats and dogs are euthanized because of pet overpopulation, yet so many pet owners allow their pets to have unwanted litters. There are many misconceptions about spaying and neutering that people use to justify their decision to leave their pets intact but the reality is that this operation allows your pets to live much happier, healthier lives as your companion, in addition to helping to reduce the pet population. How could we not want that for our fur babies?
Spaying eliminates heat cycles, which keeps males from being attracted. The risk of mammary gland tumors and ovarian/uterine cancers are eliminated if the procedure is done before the first heat cycle. Neutering reduces or eliminates the need for males to spray and mark. The risk for testicular cancer is eliminated and the risk of prostate disease is greatly decreased. Both spaying and neutering help your pets live longer lives, gets rid of unwanted litters, decreases aggressive behavior, and leaves them with less desire to roam.
There are many misconceptions about spaying and neutering. It will not make your pet fat- Lack of exercise and overfeeding are what cause your pet to put on extra pounds. Some pet owners think that spaying and neutering leaves their pet sexually frustrated or they believe that they are harming their pet by depriving them the right to reproduce. Some think that they need to allow their dog to have one litter before fixing them. All of these ideas are preposterous. Animals only breed because their hormones tell them to. If you eliminate that hormonal push, the desire to breed completely goes away. Allowing your pet to have a litter before spaying greatly increases her chance to get cancer. Even if you manage to find homes for every puppy/kitten in a litter, you are handing a death sentence to a dog or cat in an animal shelter. Financially speaking, getting your pet spayed or neutered is far less expensive than not. The cost of caring for an unwanted litter is much more costly, not to mention that there could be complications from the birth that require surgery or hospitalization. If you cannot afford to pay full price at a vet’s office, there are many free or low cost clinics that will spay/neuter your pets.
In addition to benefiting you and your pet, spaying and neutering benefits your community as well. Shelters are over run and are forced to euthanize otherwise healthy and lovable pets. Stray animals cause disturbances and spread sickness and disease, cause automobile accidents, and destroy property. There are no reasonable excuses not to spay or neuter your pet. If you have an unaltered furry friend, be kind to them and give them (and all their four legged peers in animal shelters) the gift of a longer and happier life on World Spay and Neuter Day!