Posts Tagged ‘How To’

Ask a vet for advice on choosing a pet

May 18th, 2012
online vetPart 2, by Online Vet Dr. Laci

Trying to answer the question, “What breed is best for my home and family?”

Okay, you’ve decided if you are going to go dog or cat, but the the next decision is a bit more difficult. Whether it is important to you to go with a purebred or a mixed breed is something you should spend a lot of time deciding. By selecting a mixed breed from a pound or a purebred from a breed-specific rescue agency, an abandoned animal will be re-homed so this is really something to consider. You will be changing the world for this pet! Also, with a mixed breed, some of the genetic problems associated with inbreeding can be avoided and the initial cost to acquire the pet will be considerably lower by sticking with a mixed breed.

If you are set upon a certain breed, the best way to predict the attitude and physical attributes of an adult pet is to do your research about their parentage–and don’t cut corners. Unless you know the parents, it is merely a guessing game trying to predict the size, health, or behaviors the pet will develop as they grow up. It sort of defeats the point of getting a purebred in the first place and you might as well adopt or rescue. In contrast, selecting an adult, something that often not considered, whether rescue or purebreed, allows you to actually see their physical characteristics, health and behavior of the animal. You also skip many frustrating steps of puppyhood when you adopt an adult. Read the rest of this entry »

How to toilet train your cat, part 2

February 29th, 2012
The Online Vets‘ quest towards a litter-free existence, continued from part 1

toilet train a cat, online vetAfter several days on step 2, which is a solid red bowl that fits inside fake white toilet frame, meaning no access or view of the sparkling toilet water below, we were pretty confident. We have the smartest kittens in the world, after all. I mean Rigby does tricks, she sits, she fetches, and sweet little Mackenzie, well, she just never could do anything wrong and the fact that she somehow convinced Rigby to listen to her without so much as a hiss is proof of her intelligence. Such a sweetie pie.

Anyways, we had the veterinarians’ meeting of the minds conversation where we discuss their future as if we deciding which school to send actual human children to, and we decided our girls are ready for the next step.

Step 3 is the orange bowl, and in the middle of the orange insert, there is a rather large hole. As you go through the steps, you essentially trick the cat into just peeing in the toilet while perched on the rim of the toilet seat. You slowly take away the litter tray and hope they are so used to the toilet, that they accept it and you say cianarra to cat litter–and more importantly, changing it–forever.

And we decided it was time to move onto step 3. Our brilliant kitten minds could handle it! Read the rest of this entry »

What to get your vet for the holidays? An online vet review!

December 19th, 2011

online vet reviews, ask a vet, what to give your vet for christmasPerhaps it has never crossed your mind to get your vet something for the holidays, but there are a number of pet parents that do shower our clinics with tokens of appreciation. (Thanks guys!  You are in the minority and are appreciated!)

It is almost always in the form of desserts. Cookies, brownies, homemade candy…our lunch room overfloweth with endless calories that most of us really don’t need.

Instead, this year if you would like to share the holiday spirit with your vet and their staff, I would encourage you to give something of lasting value that also happens to be free—a positive online vet review.

It’s no secret that angry people are far more likely to go the trouble of ranting online with negative reviews than satisfied customers.  It is no different in the veterinary world.

As a veterinarian, I have received many handwritten cards, letters, and thank you notes from clients over the years; I cherrish and keep every single one. They warm my heart and remind me of why I am in the veterinary profession, which all the thankless irresponsible pet parents our there do a pretty damn good job of sometimes making me forget.

But I am the only one who sees them! Read the rest of this entry »

Ask the vet: What is the deal with Pet Dental Care?

February 25th, 2011

dog dental cleaning, ask a vet, online vet, pet dental careHaving the conversation with pet owners that are dubious that their pets need dental care is a repetitive part but essential part of being a veterinarian.  It is true that periodontal disease is by far the most common disease I see in dogs or cats older than a mere two or three years of age, and while more and more pet owners are recognizing that they pets can get toothaches like they can, there are still a large number of pet owners that ignore the fact that pets need dental care too.

Bad dog breath is not normal. It usually signals periodontal disease, which leads to tooth decay, oral abscesses, bleeding gums, tooth loss, and systemic infections that affect the kidneys, liver, and heart. And that doesn’t even mention the pain associated with periodontal disease.

So how often should you brush your pet’s teeth? Daily. This is one of those do as I say and not as I do. I am guilty of not brushing our pet’s teeth daily. I understand how difficult it is, and am not passing judgment. But if you strive for daily and perhaps reach every other day, I can vouch in the difference it will make.

Luckily, most general practice vets are trained in dental cleanings. While the procedure does require anesthesia as we are poking in the backs of their mouths with tickly instruments and headlamps, it is not a reason to shy away from the procedure. I would seek out a vet that includes pre-anesthetic blood-work (including both a complete blood cell count and a serum biochemistry panel) as part of the package deal. If your veterinarian has the blood work itemized separately and as an option, they really don’t have your pet’s best interest at heart and it is a red flag warning that they are willing to cut corners and risk your pet’s health.

After getting a clean and squeaky smile to move forward with, you can ask a vet to demonstrate how to effectively brush your pet’s teeth. It may take some practice (okay, guaranteed it will), but give it time. Also, make sure to use a toothpaste specifically for dogs or cats. Since they don’t rinse and spit, if they swallow our toothpaste it can be dangerous for them.

We are nearing the end of Pet Dental Month. How many times have you brushed your dog or cat’s teeth this month? Make the last few days count if you’ve forgotten! What are your best tips for fellow pet owners?

Dr. Laci


Dr. Laci Nash Schaible, DVM

Our Portly Pets: Obesity Epidemic Reaches Pets

December 20th, 2010

ask a vet, what should my dog eat to lose weight, fat dogAs the holidays are upon us, many of us will find ourselves packing on some extra padding around our midsections as we go back for seconds, thirds, and midnight snacks. Before sharing these multiple meals with your beloved four-legged kiddos, think about this number: about half of the U.S.A.’s dogs and cats are overweight.

The obesity epidemic, especially in America, does not just affect over-fed owners, but now more than ever effects our pets.  The reasons, however,  are the same.

Increased food intake

Unhealthy food choices

Convenient fast food.

As if this weren’t enough to pop the button on our pants, we demand more escalators and moving walkways, thereby become less physically active bordering on lazy.

ask a vet, ask a vet online, is my dog overweight, dog health problemsFollowing hand in hand with our rear ends resting more on the couch, it is likely that your pooch is resting idly as well, either on the sofa with you or at your feet. Our pets suffer the same negative consequences of obesity as people are.

Among the list of diseases that can result from obesity, not just in people, but yes in Fido as well?
ask a vet, ask a vet online, dog health symptoms

Read the rest of this entry »

Do you know how to winterize your pets?

December 16th, 2010

How to Keep your Pet Safe & Healthy this Cool Season of the Year

ask a vet, ask the vet, dog health problems

1. Proper shelter and bedding. For the outdoor pets, make sure that they have adequate shelter, such as a dog house with appropriate bedding to shield the cold. Proper bedding is help support pets with arthritis. For the indoor pooches, while many dogs enjoy sleeping on cool tile in the summer, make sure your pet has a comfortable place to sleep this winter—if they aren’t taking up half your bed, that is.

2. If you decide to bring your pets into the garage, make sure they don’t have access to dangerous substances. Anti-freeze and rodenticide poisonings all increase during the winter as pet owners allow their pets into garages without realizing the dangers their pets are exposed to.

cat health issues, what is toxic to dogs, how to winterize your pets3. Bang the car hood! Cats are known to climb into car engines to stay warm. I have unfortunately lost more than one feline patient brought in to the ER after the car engine was started. Please bang on the hood, honk the horn, AND locate your feline before you crank the ignition.

4. On a lighter note, be sure to make sure your petite and less furry pets are appropriately clothed. While certain breeds of dogs are fully equipped with their coats to blaze a winter blizzard, our petite chihuahuas are certainly not.

dog health symptoms, ask a vet, ask a vet online

Suited for the cold vs. suited for a cozy dog bed by the fire

Read the rest of this entry »

Veterinary Approved Holiday Sweets & Treats

November 26th, 2010

what is okay to feel your pet dog at dinner table ask a vet what to feed my dogI’m assuming most everyone shared at least part of their Thanksgiving meal with their beloved pets yesterday, and perhaps you are still sharing those leftovers today. As long as you follow some basic principles (not too much, no bones they could choke on, nothing too fatty that could upset their stomach, etc.) this can get my veterinary stamp of approval.

One area though that I really encourage you not to share with your pooch is the dessert tray. Everyone now knows that chocolate is bad for dogs, but cheesecake, pumpkin pie, and mincemeat are no nos as well.

Here are some safe ways you can indulge your pet’s sweet tooth! Minimal cooking required.

Yogurt is a great source of protein and calcium. Mixing in a little with your dogs meal makes for a special meal. Even betterwhat is safe to feed my dog? Slice a banana and add to the mix and you’ve got a doggy dessert Dr. Laci would fight you for.  Plain (non-sweet yogurts) are best, as extra sugar or artificial sweeteners can be dangerous or even toxic to pets.

Fruits! Perfect as a small quick treat, fruits are packed full of vitamins and antioxidants. Which fruits? Blueberries, bananas, slicked apples, raspberries, the list goes on, but make sure it does NOT include GRAPES or RAISINS! Make sure you don’t forget that many holiday breads have raisins.

dog nutrition, ask a vet, what is good to feed my catIn honor of supporting Dwight Schrute and all the real beet farmers out there, beets! Messy, yes, but packed full of nutritional power–folate, manganese, potassium, and flavonoids. There are really few negatives to adding a small amount of beets–raw, baked, grilled, boiled–to your pet’s bowl. Unless you feed them on carpet. Read the rest of this entry »

How to keep your dog from eating too fast – fast eating can lead to bad things…

November 13th, 2010

Dogs don’t really have to chew their kibble if they don’t want to.

Although this is a common characteristic of dogs in general, it is very beneficial to slow down the speed of their ingestion. Large dogs, like St.Bernards, Dobermans, Great Danes, labs, etc. are at risk of bloat and even a more dangerous condition and potentially fatal called gastric dilatation/volvulus (GDV) when a torsion of the stomach occurs.  So how, as pet owners, can we prevent bloat and GDV and what are the risk factors?

Risk factors for bloat and GDV:

  • Narrow and deep chestDog eating with baby
  • Once-daily feeding
  • Rapid eating
  • Exercise after eating
  • Consuming large quantities of food and/or water
  • Fearful temperament
  • Being underweight
  • Eating from a raised feeding bowl
  • Stress

Strategies to prevent, bloat, vomiting, and gastric dilatation volvulus:

  1. Feed kibble that measures at least 3 cm forces the dog to bite down on the kibble before swallowing, thus limiting the risk of aerophagia (swallowing of air), a known risk factor for gastric dilatation. There are large kibble foods available at leading pet stores
  2. Feed your dog using a slow-eating dog bowl or a puzzle toy. See the bowl recommendations below. They range in quality and price. Be sure that if your dog eats plastic to splurge on the stainless steel versions.

  3. Feed smaller portions more frequently. A deep-chested dog should be fed 3-4 times a day smaller meals to prevent bloat. Never feed just once a day. Read the rest of this entry »

Online Veterinary Advice | Keeping Your Pets Safe on Halloween

October 30th, 2010

Online Veterinary Advice for your pet this Halloween

Wiener Dog Costume | Online Veterinary AdviceUse some common sense and avoid being a pet owner that has to rush to the vet ER this weekend!  Follow our easy tips and you will be set!

1.  Don’t give your pet candy! This applies to chocolate, non-chocolates, sweets, and their wrappers.

2.  Use caution and care around lighted flames. Whiskers and curious pets get singed all too often.

3. Halloween costumes should not be hindrances to your pet’s safety. Bells that can be ingested (because dogs only eat things that make sense, right…) and cause metal toxicities or foreign object blockages, bobbling antlers than can spring into a pet’s eye, costumes a size to small or that otherwise restrict your pet’s movement or breathing–all these things should be avoided at all costs!

4.  Halloween is probably more fun for you than your pet; consider leaving Read the rest of this entry »

Separation Anxiety | Why Buffy (The Dog, Not The Vampire Slayer) Always Walks Backwards Through a Door

October 17th, 2010

Separation anxiety is very common in dogs.  And, the dog symptoms are very unique.  The behaviors associated with the distress of being in the absence of their pet parent or not having adequate access to their pet parent can manifest in the destruction of property, chewing, peeing, pooping, barking (and the subsequent law enforcement officer showing up at your door), and more.

Online vet talks about Separation anxiety in a Shih Tzu

It is estimated that 14% of dogs have separation anxiety in some form.  Although dogs are the main patients who usually start showing signs at the age of 12 to 36 months, cats are also affected but at a slighter older age.  My sister’s cat has separation anxiety manifesting as self-mutilation. Unfortunately, she spent a lot of money at vet offices trying to figure out why her cat chewed on her nipples before driving a far distance to have us check her out.  Her cat got very attached to her when she was at home with an illness for over a month, and when she went back to work, the separation anxiety ensued.

That is not uncommon… when a pet has exclusive access to a person and they are suddenly cut off from them, they feel abandoned, their stress increases, and they try to cope with “abnormal” behaviors – like nipple licking in my sister’s cat’s case.  Other contributing factors to separation anxiety (SA) include traumatic occurrences in the absence of their pet parents (lightning strike, a break-in, or a fire), or severe illness that decreases the pet’s ability to cope.

One of the most common misconceptions is that pets that have separation anxiety have been spoiled or have been coddled.  This has been disproved in the behavior literature.  Explain how your pet is behaving and ask a vet if your pet may have signs of separation anxiety.

Buffy, The Moonwalker

Here is an example of a dog that had acute onset of SA after a traumatic occurrence while their pet parent was not home.  Buffy is a 13-year-old Shih Tzu who was brought to my office for destroying pillows and pooping on the carpet.  Buffy never did this before, but the strangest thing was that her behavior changed after a thunderstorm and that she suddenly began to walk through the sliding door to the sun room backwards – only when leaving the sun room to go back into the living room. She also had disappeared in the basement for several hours until she was pulled out from behind the drier after a thunderstorm.

Walking backwards- I wanted to see this so the client took a video.  I should have kept that video. Turns out, after Buffy was done sunning, she would walk to the sliding door, do a 180, and then walk backwards for four feet, turn around and run.  It turns out that lightening struck while her back was turned during a lightening storm, so she had to be sure to “watch her back” and destroy things to cope. Read the rest of this entry »