Pet safety tips from House Method

Hi Loyal Followers,

Every once in a while, someone sends me interesting articles to post on my blog or web site. Dylan Farrow, the Editor for pet care and pet safety at House Method sent me four articles that I thought I would share with you. All the information is good.

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I have only one exception to the recommendation in one of the articles. It says that you must bathe your dog once a month. This is not always a good idea because it can dry your dog’s coat causing your dog’s skin to flake. Dog coats are not meant to be washed that often. Some breeds that have oilier coats can tolerate it, but please check with your veterinarian or groomer to see how often your dog needs a bath.

Sue

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Weight gain in cats

In a first of its kind study by researchers at the University of Guelph, Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), Dr. Adam Campigotto, along with Bernardo and colleague Dr. Zvonimir Poljak tracked the weights of 19 million cats to see if there was a pattern of weight gain or loss.

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This information is important because weight gain or loss can indicate health issues in cats. Also the study offers a baseline for the weight of cats. What is interesting is that the research showed that cats continue to gain weight until they are about eight years of age.

It is interesting to note that the researchers found that male cats tended to reach higher weight peaks than females. Also spayed or neutered cats tended to be heavier. What was also interesting is that they found that the average weight of neutered eight-year-old cats increased between 1995 and 2005 but was steady after that.

The researchers want to focus on ways to reduce obesity in cats as well as on keeping cats healthy. They recommend that cat owners buy a scale and regularly weigh their cats to help maintain a healthy weight for their cat.

Breast Cancer in Dogs

Mammary tumors in dogs can manifest itself the same way as it does in humans. According to Karin Sorenmo, a veterinary oncologist at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine, Mammary gland carcinomas are the most common in intact dogs. Yet veterinarians have not had a reliable way to determine which dogs are fine with surgical treatment only, which dogs might need chemotherapy or hormonal treatment.

Dr. Sorenmo has developed a new “bio-scoring” system that gives veterinarians a more reliable prognosticating method. The work has been published in the journal Veterinary and Comparative Oncology.

The beauty of this system is that it is easy for veterinarians to use, taking much of the guess work out of evaluating dogs with breast cancer. This method was developed by a team of veterinarians, coauthors were Amy C. Durham, Michael C. Goldschmidt, and Darko Stefanovski of Penn Vet; Veronica Kristiansen of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences; and Laura Pena of Complutense University of Madrid.

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Homemade cat food

In an attempt to give cats a healthier lifestyle many cat owners have opted to make their own cat food. A search on the internet will turn up many recipes. But is homemade cat food good for your cat?

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A first of its kind study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, have determined that most homemade diets do not provide cats all of their essential nutrients. Not surprising, some recipes may contain ingredients that are potentially toxic to cats.

Even recipes that were written by veterinarians lacked nutrients and/or were deficient in meeting the nutritional needs of cats. For example, some recipes lacked up to 19 essential nutrients.

The study suggests that if you want to make your own cat food that you should consult a board certified veterinarian nutritionist to design a diet that will meet your individual cat’s needs. Keep in mind that age and health issues will change a cat’s nutritional needs.

It is a good idea to check with some online sites that evaluate cat and dog food. http://catfooddb.com/blog/cat-food-advisor

K9 Obedience Training: Teaching Pets and Working Dogs to be Reliable and Free-Thinking by Susan Bulanda

I am very excited to announce that my latest book is now available. If you would like an autographed copy please go to my website and order one, http://www.sbulanda.com.

If you live outside of the USA the postage may cost more than the book, but if you still want a copy please email me at: sbulanda@gmail.com and I will check how much the postage will cost. The book is also available as an Ebook. Below is a summary of what is in the book. As always, if after you read the book you can email me with any questions that you may have.

K9 OBEDIENCE TRAINING COVER PRINT

Obedience is the foundation for any reliable, well-trained dog. Without obedience, working dogs are ineffective in operations and pet dogs can be annoying and possibly a danger to themselves or others.

In K9 Obedience Training, you will learn the techniques that I have developed during my career as a dog trainer and then certified animal behavior consultant. The methods outlined in my book will let your dog be free-thinking as well as obedient. I also cover the latest research about how a dog thinks, what they understand and what they are capable of solving.

What is free-thinking? This is when a dog can apply what he has been taught to situations that he has not encountered before. His training allows him to solve problems and even perform obedient disobedience. An example of obedient disobedience is when a person directs a dog to do something, but the dog knows that it is not safe to do it. For example, if you toss a ball and it drops over a ledge that is unsafe, the dog will not retrieve it even though you have told him to “fetch.” This allows the dog to make decisions. It does not undo the training that the dog has had.

In my book I cover many topics that are part of obedience but not part of the basic obedience exercises. This includes teaching your dog to allow you to groom him, handle his body parts for things such as nail clipping, brushing the coat and teeth.

The book also covers basic manners such as not jumping, bolting in and out of doors and other safety exercises.

What is also very important is the discussion about who should train the dog and the rules that you must follow to successfully train the dog. Everything is explained in detail so that you can understand the purposes behind the rules.

I also cover food and how it affects your dog’s behavior. There is so much more in this book including some fun tricks to teach your dog. And for fun, at the end of the book is a photo gallery of some of the animals that have shared my life.

Here is a list of major topics. Many of these have sub-topics as well.

Part I Training Your Dog to Think Freely

  1. What is a Free-Thinking Dog?
  2. A Positive Training Philosophy

Part II Pre-Training Basics for The Free-Thinking Dog Trainer

  1. Talking to Your Dog
  2. Questions to Ask Before You Start Training
  3. House Training and Crate Training
  4. Handling Your Dog’s Body for Grooming and Hygiene

Part III

  1. The Equipment
  2. Setting Up for Success
  3. Basic Obedience Training
  4. Advanced Obedience for Safe Work, Sport and Play
  5. Exercises for Common Behavioral Challenges
  6. Tricks

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) in dogs revisited

Because so many people have clicked on my HGE article, I thought it might be a good idea to write another article about it.

As I stated in my earlier article, my Parsons Russell Terrier had it twice. Once when he was young which is when it usually manifests itself in dogs, and another time when he was about 8 years old.

What is critical to understand about this illness, is that it can kill a dog in 24 hours and must be treated by a veterinarian. While it is typically found in small dogs such as Toy Poodles and Miniature Schnauzers, it can attack any dog.

The Signs:

  1. Sudden vomiting
  2. Bloody diarrhea
  3. Low blood volume
  4. Severe concentrated blood
  5. Hypovolemic Shock
  6. Very lethargic

If your dog gets HGE, you will see three critical signs, sudden vomiting, bloody diarrhea and your dog will be very lethargic. Very small dogs cannot survive long with these symptoms.

The exact cause is unknown. However, it is suspected that an abnormal reaction to bacteria or a reaction to toxins from the bacteria is one cause of HGE. Another possibility is an extreme reaction to food. This is one reason why it is very important to only feed your dog the highest quality of food. I strongly suggest checking one of the many sites that analyze pet food. Most pet food is not safe or good for your dog. Nothing that you buy at a discount store or supermarket is the high quality that you want.

Another cause is Colostridium perfringens which is another type of bacteria. This has been found in quite a few dogs who have gotten HGE.

The articles that I have researched mention that HGE appears to be similar to canine parvovirus (CPV), making it critical that you take your dog to a veterinarian at the first signs of vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog is up to date on his shots it is not likely to be CPV. There are other illnesses that have similar signs as well which is why an immediate veterinary visit is necessary.

When my dog got it again, he started the symptoms while we were asleep. When my husband woke up early, Riley was very sick. Not knowing when the symptoms started, I immediately took him to the emergency veterinary clinic. When my regular veterinary clinic opened, we transferred Riley to them to spend the rest of the day. By evening he was recovered.

Your veterinarian will start intravenous fluids immediately and will treat the other symptoms which can last up to two days. If you take your dog to the veterinarian right away your dog will most likely survive. Only about 10% of dogs with HGE do not survive. As I experienced with my dog, and statistics show that up to 15% of dogs that get it may get it again.

In my practice as a behavior consultant, I have seen where people whose dog has gotten sick, wait a day or so to see if the dog gets better before they take their dog to the veterinarian. If your dog has HGE, this is a death sentence. Take your dog to the veterinarian at the first signs of any illness.

I hope this article has helped you understand this very dangerous illness. Riley is going on 13 and is very healthy.

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Riley as a puppy with Mom in the background

 

Pet Health Insurance

I am often asked by clients if they should purchase pet insurance. This is a tricky question for several reasons however, I have a few suggestions that might help you decide if pet insurance is right for you.

 

  1. Can you afford the premiums. Most pet insurance policies are flexible as to the amount of coverage that you can carry, the deductibles and what they cover. To help make that decision you can consider the following questions.

 

  1. Is your type of pet prone to illnesses? Certain breeds of dog are more likely to have genetic illnesses than others. The same is true for cats and other pets. Will the pet insurance cover the illnesses most likely to affect your pet?

 

  1. What is your pet’s lifestyle? If you are active with your dog, horse or other type of pet, or if you cat is an indoor/outdoor cat, your pet may be more likely to have an injury.

 

  1. If your dog is a larger breed of dog, he may be more prone to inherited problems such as canine hip dysplasia which can be corrected with surgery.

 

  1. If your pet is prone to a certain disease or inherited issue, find out what treatment costs then compare it to the estimated years it will take for the illness to manifest itself and see if the insurance is worth the cost.

 

  1. Consider the life span of your pet. Most pet insurance rates go up as the pet ages. Some insurance will not cover your pet after a certain age. Of course the most likely time you will need the insurance is in your pets old age when coverage may not be an option.

 

  1. Consider a personal savings plan to cover catastrophic health issues. If you take the projected life span of your pet and the amount of the yearly insurance fee, then multiply it, you will get an idea of how much the insurance will cost over the life of your pet. What you can do is set up a separate savings account and either yearly or monthly, deposit the amount that insurance will cost per year, and do not touch it for any reason. In all probability you will save enough money to cover any medical bills that your pet will have, especially if your pet is healthy into old age. If you do not need the money set aside for your pet by the time your pet passes, you will have money to put toward the new pet.

 

I hope I have given you some helpful suggestions. There is a good web site that can help you review different pet insurance companies if you decide that is the way to go.

https://365petinsurance.com/reviews/

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Homemade cat food

In the first of its kind study by researchers at the University of California, Davis they found that the recipes found on-line, even those written by veterinarians, did not meet the nutritional needs of cats. Some lacked proper instructions, did not clearly identify the ingredients and some even contained products that are toxic to cats.

 

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According to the article, about a decade ago toxic substances were found in cat food that was imported from China. This caused cat owners to stop using commercial cat food and switch to homemade food. (The same happened with dog food.)

The researchers point out that it is OK to feed your cat commercial foods. I suggest that you google sites that evaluate all brands of cat (or dog) foods to see which the best is. Avoid any food that is not made in the US and especially food that comes from China and possibly other countries. Since there has been contamination of produce for humans that originates from Mexico, I would be concerned if any pet food ingredients originate in Mexico as well. This is just my opinion. Keep in mind that the smaller the pet, the less toxic substances it will take to make the pet sick or cause death.

A new strain of distemper is a risk for dogs

“The new strain of canine distemper virus was identified by UNH pathologists in collaboration with colleagues at Cornell University, University of Georgia, Northeast Wildlife Disease Cooperative, N.H. Fish and Game, and Vermont Fish and Game. Over a one-year period, pathologists diagnosed canine distemper virus infection in eight largely carnivorous mammals in southeastern New Hampshire and north central Vermont. The animals included three fishers, two gray foxes, one skunk, one raccoon, and one mink.”

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While this new strain may not be a risk for the rest of the country, it would be diligent to alert your veterinarian to the new distemper strain. According to the report a raccoon in Rhode Island was found to have it in 2004. This indicates that it is not new and has potentially spread. There is always the chance in time, it will spread across the country.

 

A possible cause of endocrine disorders in older cats

Dr. Miaomiao Wang, of the California Environmental Protection Agency has published a study of older cats in Northern California that suggested a link between higher levels of per and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances in cats with hyperthyroidism.

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PFAS is found in chemicals that are used in industrial processes and consumer products. These chemicals are found in many household products such protective coatings for carpets, furniture and apparel, paper coatings, and  insecticide formulations, just to name a few products.

More research is needed but it is a good idea to keep this in mind. If there are health issues from this chemical in cats, we have to suspect dogs as well. Dogs are more likely to chew these products than cats are.