Posts Tagged ‘Informative Pet Posts’

Ways to Winterize your Pets

December 3rd, 2012

winterize your dogA Fresh Look at a Boring List

It seems each year that the same seasonal pet articles appear. The trouble is, the audience that reads them is the audience that least needs to. In the past I have written them here for this blog, and I continue to write them for different publications at their request, but I have to wonder: who the hell benefits from these lists?

Perhaps someone benefits from the knowledge they provide but I am not sold. Here I present to you a few of my favorite and most obvious things to know about how to endure the bitter cold winter (despite the fact that I am a St. Pete Fl Vet), should you live somewhere that actually still gets a bitter cold winter. If you are experiencing an unseasonably warm season, feel free to skip straight to number one—you need to read it more than anyone.

5.Winter gear for dogs

Personally I find dog clothes a bit embarrassing, but as long as they are on your dog and not mine, I’m all for it. Still, it goes without saying, if you don’t enjoy walking with snow stuck between your toes for 15 minutes, your dog won’t either. Ice is cold and it hurts, and tiny dogs with little body fat or insulating fur will need a winter coat.

4. Antifreeze is anti-life!

Changing the coolant in your car should really be done in an auto shop as it needs to be done via pressured reverse flush. Then there is the whole fact that it is illegal in every state to dump the antifreeze down a drain, on the ground, or send it to the dump in your trash. Still, if you are someone that changes his or her own antifreeze, take note: this colorful liquid is not a superfood smoothie. Antifreeze is incredibly toxic and causes kidney failure in a very short time. Keep away from pets as they do like the smell and taste of it!

online vet

Unacceptable!

3. Apparently some people still keep their pets outside. They probably don’t call them pets actually. Still, if you keep “animals” outside, they need fresh liquid water, NOT THE FROZEN KIND, at all times. They also need a shelter of some sorts. Animals get frost bite! And it hurts! Yes, animals feel pain! Despite some old school folks’ opinions (some vets are amongst that group, shameful and humiliating to the profession, I know), it is decidedly so that pets (animals included) feel pain. I’m pretty sure if you don’t know this, you probably don’t care, and you will definitely never read this article. Animals can live happily and safely outdoors, but If you know people that aren’t aware that winter weather brings additional precautions, educate them! If they are resistant and responsible for a pet’s suffering or neglect, report their ass.

2. Indoor pets (distinctly different from those ordinary outside “animals”) may gain a little weight in the winter if their exercise level decreases.

Really? I never stopped to think that less exercise when the weather is cold and I’m too lazy and wimpy to take my dog on as long or frequent of outdoor walks means that Fido and myself are more likely to plump up a bit. Fascinating stuff! I wonder if I can secure any federal funding for a study to back this up.

1. For the last item, I will offer something useful which many pet parents seem to be unaware of. Don’t assume that cooler weather eliminates the threat of diseases like heartworm, which are spread by infected mosquitoes, or other diseases spread by ticks and fleas. These pets have been known to survive well into the winter months, thanks to indoor havens and protected microclimates existing within larger, cooler climate zones. For this reason, I strongly recommend year-round heartworm protection for dogs (cats are debatable and I see both sides of the argument) and year-round flea/tick prevention for both.

This post is not intended to offend anyone, but is simply a means for me to express my frustration with the repetition of content in the veterinary writing world, especially seasonal topics. Though I will undoubtedly continue to write them once my snarky attitude passes (I’ve got to pay the bills somehow after all), I find it a bit dull to say the least. Pet parents are smarter than this.

If you do have any unique ideas that you think are important or useful to help other pet parents prepare for winter with their pets, do please share. There has to be something new to learn out there!

Home Dog Boarding Site Rover.com Joins with VetLIVE

November 7th, 2012

We Are Pleased to Announce That Home Dog Boarding Site Rover.com Partners With VetLIVE

Rover.com and VetLive.com are partners

Planning a trip without your dog can often be stressful, but with Rover.com, making arrangements just became easier. Rover.com provides a unique alternative to traditional kennels by allowing your dog to stay in a loving home with someone just like you. Since 2011 the Rover community has expanded to thousands of cities across the U.S., and with more than 70,000 members it makes finding the perfect dog sitter a snap.

As a dog-care industry leader, Rover.com was founded on the commitment to provide peace of mind for owners, and safety for dogs. Unlike caged kennel facilities, Rover.com allows sitters to care for dogs in their own home as well as the dog’s home; wherever the dog will be most comfortable!

“Cages can’t cuddle. We believe people feel much more at ease knowing that their dogs are receiving real love, in real homes when they are away” explains Aaron Easterly, CEO at Rover.com. “A significant goal of Rover.com is to give pet owners true peace of mind while their dog is under the care of one of our member-sitters.”

In-home dog care has many benefits for the dog. The stress of a new environment such as a kennel can be very overwhelming for a dog in addition to any separation anxiety they may be experiencing. The most important benefit of in-home boarding is the dogs safety, happiness and parent’s peace of mind.

Home Dog Boarding

Boarding kennels can be very busy which may be distracting to caretakers at the facility. The caretaker may not have the appropriate time to spend with each dog to address its needs, provide the exercise it needs and make sure it is as comfortable as possible. While your dog is with an in-home sitter, they are are treated like the sitter’s own dog in an environment they are completely familiar with. To ease any worries an owner may have, Rover.com has an insurance and satisfaction guarantee. “We have a community of sitters who love dogs and are committed to the health, safety and well-being of those in their care, so our insurance option just enables us to meet their goal and ours,” says Easterly. A new added bonus is our new partnership which gives members access to 24/7 vet support.

Rover.com helps their members create bark-worthy profiles by encouraging them to include photos, credentials, past and current experience, home details and other relevant information. Badges on sitter profiles indicate certifications such as CPR and First Aid. Profiles allow pet owners to learn about their potential sitter and to help them feel at ease about the person they are contacting.

Rover.com makes offering your pet sitting services easy and simple. Being a sitter is a great way to earn money while doing something you love – caring for dogs!

Perhaps the best part about being a Rover sitter is the opportunity to help the dog community through Rover.com’s Sit a Dog, Save a LifeTM program, which enables sitters to donate a portion of their dog-sitting proceeds to participating charities. Rover.com encourages a meet-n-greet with the sitter before the stay, so dogs and owners feel comfortable with the choice. Before the stay, owners receive an itinerary with important information such as feeding instructions and Veterinary care details. During the time of care, sitters and owners can take advantage of the Rover mobile app to check-in, share photos and log activities like walks or trips to the park.

We are beyond thrilled for our new partnership with Rover.com and hope you utilize their services the next time you travel without your pet! Check out Rover.com for more information.

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Dr. Laci Schaible

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 »

Online vet advice to keep your pet safe at Easter

April 6th, 2012

online vet advice, ask a vetEaster is a very fun time of your for children and adults alike, but there are some dangers that the pastel holiday poses to our pets. Ask a vet and they are certain to agree that the following items are off limits.

Chocolate is toxic for dogs and cats as well.

Foods containing the artificial sweetener xylitol (think candy, gum, many baked goods and even toothpaste) which can cause a fatal drop in blood pressure and death.

Easter basket grass can cause intestinal obstruction in cats and smaller dogs and may lead to emergency surgery.

easter food toxic for dogsEaster lilies are highly toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure and even death.

Also posing a risk are candy wrappers, sticks and plastic eggs.

If your Easter dinner contains any atypical holiday foods, here are some friendly reminders for foods that are toxic to dogs and cats: Read the rest of this entry »

Ask a vet for advice on choosing a pet

March 30th, 2012
By Online Vet Dr. Laci

ask a vet, online vet, online vet reviewsWhen I asked once on our Facebook page how pet parents chose their pets, the overwhelming majority say that their pet chose them. While it certainly is important to have that “chemistry” and initial exciting spark about a pet that you are considering sharing your life with (potentially for close to 20 years for some pets), it is also wise to follow some guidelines in selecting a pet.

Seeking guidance before obtaining a new pet can prevent countless behavior and health problems in pets. There are so many things to consider! You must not only decide how to select the best pet for your household, but also prepare in advance for the new arrival. Ask a vet or pet expert and they will tell you topics to consider include the species, breed, age, and sex of the pet, where to obtain the pet (rescue or breeder, just not a puppy mill or pet store please!) and how the kennel, breeder, and pets can best be assessed. As for the “homework” you must do before Fido or Fluffy arrives, you should decide where the pet will be housed, what type of bedding, feeding, training, exercise, scheduling, veterinary care, and if pet insurance is something you are interested in.

The lifespan of pets:

    Pet Average Lifespan
    Cats 14 years or more
    Dogs 10 years or more
    Goldfish 2 years or more
    Birds 7 to 80 years
    Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, Mice 2 to 10 years
    Reptiles 2 to 20 years

What pet might be best for my family?
The primary reason that pet owners might one day need to relinquish their pets is because of the unrealistic expectations that they had when they first entered into pet ownership—too much time, too many accidents, restricting your spontaneous schedule, Read the rest of this entry »

Ask a Vet | Aggressive Cat Behavior

March 20th, 2012
By Online Vet, Dr. Laci

It is a problem that I had heard clients complain about before but had never had the stress of dealing with myself. Cats A and B are best friends and do everything together. Cat A goes to the vet and Cat B stays home. Cat A returns to receive anything but a warm welcome from Cat B, who hisses, attacks and seems determined to destroy Cat A. Cat B is convinced Cat A is an enemy and a threat. A previously wonderful cat relationship seems destroyed, and the household is a tense environment for all humans and furkids involved. “Will this ever improve…” you may ask a vet? Read about my own experiences.

ask a vet, online vetWe travel with our pets, like many people across the world do nowadays. Usually this works out okay, but our calico cat Mackenzie did become ill on a recent trip and we soon found ourselves in the vet emergency room at 1am. While Mackenzie suffered no long-term ill effects from the cup of espresso she managed to lap up while I was in the other room, the vacation condo was anything but relaxing when I returned home the next morning with Mackenzie in her carrier.

Rigby, our Siamese did not greet us with a welcome, to say the least. There was hissing, fur flying, growling, screaming, and full on attacks. Initially, I (and Mackenzie) was frozen and shocked, and then as soon as I could compose myself, I realized that Rigby was experiencing what is called non-recognition feline aggression. She didn’t know that Mackenzie was her beloved sister, as Mackenzie smelled like a stinky vet hospital and it is believed that cats recognize each other off their scents, not visual clues.

Non-recognition aggression in cats is an bizarre phenomenon that does not seem to occur in dogs—thank goodness. What it is about these mysterious felines’ personalities or sensory perception that leads to these events remains largely hypothetical, but it does happen and the bad news is there is no easy fix.

What finally worked for us was bathing both the cats in addition to feeding them in the same room. The bath really seemed to help speed things up in our household, but that isn’t always the case.

If you find yourself in this situation, you must separate the cats for as long it takes for the aggresion to end. This may be a few hours or you may be unlikely like we were and it make take upwards of two weeks. You can try to counter condition the aggresor cat by offering food only when the other cat is in sight; even if they are on opposite sides of the room. Make sure the aggressor is on a harness for the safety of all involved. You gradually decrease the space between the cats. Whenever one shows any aggression, distact him/her by making a loud noise, for instance. Read the rest of this entry »

Pet Nutrition: Pet Food Label Tips from your Online Vet

November 29th, 2011
Part 2: Ask a Vet

online vet, ask a vet, chat with a vetAs we reviewed last week in part one of pet nutrition, AAFCO stands for Association of American Feed Control Officials. This organization sets the nutritional standards for pet foods sold in the United States.

Easy things first–

online vet, ask a vetMOISTURE

There are four product forms for pet foods based on moisture level of the food:

1.  Dry = < 20% water content

2. Semi-moist = >20% and <65% content

3.  Wet = >65%  water content

4.  If the moisture level is above 78%, the product must be labeled as a stew, gravy, sauce, broth, milk replacer, expensive pet food in water, etc. The reason is that the maximum moisture declared on a wet pet food shall not exceed 78%

pet food nutrition, how to read a pet food labelThis probably seems pretty basic and logical to you.  Moving forward with how nutritional adequacy is actually determined.  There are two methods.

1. Formulation method

This method is less expensive, and results are determined more quickly because actual feeding or digestibility trials are not required. There is no guarantee of pet acceptance or nutrient bioavailability when utilizing this method.

The pet food product must simply meet the nutrient requirements for the specific life stage established by an AAFCO recognized nutrient profile. This is accomplished by a laboratory analysis.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why is it hard to talk about fat pets?

November 14th, 2011

angry pet owner, pet owner denying pet's obesityIt’s not just me or Dr. Jed–it’s every vet I know. As soon as we mention that Fido is getting a little thick around the middle, our pet owners who seconds ago loved us now stare at us with hatred and resentment in their eyes!

Why is it so hard to talk to pet owners about keeping their pets a reasonable weight?

From dog to hog, from rabbit to cat,
Most pets I treat are relentlessly fat.

True, I have my clients that are happy to hear this and work towards their pet’s optimum weight, but they are in the minority.  Not sure if your pet is overweight? Ask a vet!

Today, as obesity in people is unanimously recognized as being dangerous for our heart, liver, kidney, joints, why isn’t obesity in pets given that same recognition, that same warning?

fat dog, chihuahua, obese chihuahua, obese dog

This Chihuahua needs more than a StairMaster

Barring medical causes of weight gain and decreased metabolism, pet obesity is something that pet owners actually have control over.  If I had someone determining when and how much I ate, I am sure I would be much more fit than I am.  Why don’t more pet owners realize this?  Food is not love!

I once had a 42 pound dachshund as a patient.  He was so sweet, and I loved his parents, but they wouldn’t do anything about his weight.  His belly dragged the ground.  When he died, he couldn’t even walk.  In the world were we have control over very little, this is something pet owners should take charge of!

If your vet tells you that Fido is overweight, it doesn’t mean you’re doing a bad job!  We usually have at least one pet on a diet.
Is there a better way to approach the topic?  Let us know! This vet needs your input as to what the best “weigh” to talk to pet owners about when Fido the pooch develops, well, more than a pooch.

Dr. Laci

SIGNATURE DVM

Dr. Laci Nash Schaible, DVM


Best Dog for Family

September 17th, 2011

Ask a vet about which dog to adopt

It’s hard to believe it was almost a decade ago she came into my life. I lost my dog Bentley in my second year of vet school who was still practically a puppy. He was two, but if any of your have giant breed dogs, you know that two is nowhere near adulthood for the large canines of the world. While I did adopt Bentley when he was a puppy, I had honestly had enough puppy-hood to last me for a couple years. After all, I was single, living alone, and in vet school, which basically meant I was an endangered servant and was ready for a dog that needed a little less intense training and supervision.

Ask a vet about it.  The next time you are thinking of bringing a new pet into your home, consider which pet needs your love and home the most.  You won’t regret it.

I decided to adopt an adult dog. While I wanted to stick with a Great Pyrenees, as I had fallen in love with the breed, this time I decided I wanted to adopt a more needy dog, as it’s pretty much a guarantee that adorable bundles of white fluff with pink tongues and kitty-cat like ears on top will have a waiting list for perspective parents.

best dog for family, what kind of dog should i adopt, vet adviceI found Madison actually right off of Petfinder’s website. Madison was a young adult Great Pyr, but she definitely qualified as a special needs girl. She had a horrific case of scabies when I adopted her, along with Ehrlichiosis and heartworm disease. Basically she was doomed, which is why I thought that I would be her perfect parent, as I was a vet student who would make sure that she received the best medical care and I was able to do this more affordable, as I had endless free vet advice.

Read the rest of this entry »

Aggression in Cats

September 14th, 2011

aggression in cats, how to stop cats from bitingHissing, scratching, biting, screaming, fur flying…if you have been around cats, it is likely you have witnessed at least one of their displays of aggression. While aggressive behaviors in cats can be normal, they can become problematic and there is no quick fix.

Play aggression is perhaps the most common types of aggression cat owners have seen. So what is it? During a causal play session, the cat may suddenly begin biting and scratching. The playfulness escalates to an unacceptable level of aggressiveness. The aggressiveness is most often directed toward other cats or humans but may occasionally be directed toward dogs or other animals.

Kittens that have been removed from their mothers too early, or have had inadequate or inappropriate socialization of kittens to people and other cats may be a cause. This is because kittens that are bottle-raised have not been taught what is appropriate during play by their mother or littermates. They may not realize that their behavior is unacceptable. Read the rest of this entry »