Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish
Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish

ARCHIVE

2013

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Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish

Tag Archives: pet health

Keep Pets Cool during the Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer are here and we humans aren’t the only ones suffering.  For our canine best friends, long hot summer days in a house without air conditioning or a backyard without shade can be misery.

All pets – even those that spend a lot of time outdoors — are potential victims of summer heat.  Because dogs and cats don’t sweat, they don’t have an efficient way to cool themselves down.  That’s why heat exhaustion is one of the most common ailments to affecting pets during the summer months.

It’s important that we take steps to keep our pets cool during summer’s hottest days.  Best Friends experts offer the following tips:

  • Be sure your dog or cat has shade and plenty of cool water.
  • Exercise your pet during the coolest times of day – early in the morning or after the sun goes down.
  • If your pet enjoys water, provide a sprinkler or wading pool on hot days.
  • If your cat or dog has a white or light-colored coat or has exposed skin, be careful of sunburn.  Check with your veterinarian about using a sunscreen on your pet.
  • NEVER leave any pet in a car in the heat.   On an 80-degree day, the temperature inside a car can rapidly increase to 120 degrees – even with the windows open.

If you see signs of heat stress in your pet — excess panting, reddening of the area around the mouth and nose, and an increased heart rate – get him out of the heat immediately.  Cool him down with cool, not icy cold, water.  If symptoms persist, see your veterinarian.

On very hot days, it’s best to keep pets indoors – in the air conditioning or near a fan.  If that’s not possible, consider bringing your dog to doggy day camp, where he can spend the day in the air conditioning, playing with other canines under the watchful eye of trained counselors.  You’ll appreciate not having to take him for exercise in the summer heat when you get home!

Tags: Dog safety, Doggy daycamp, Dogs, Pet advice, Pet health, Pet info

Want to live longer? Get a pet!

The medical community has long stated that owning a pet will reduce stress in your life. That comes as no surprise to us! Just last week, the American Heart association came out with a report stating that pet owners actually live longer than non pet owners!

In this report the American Heart Association released the findings of a study which reveal that having a pet might lower your risk of heart disease. So what are you waiting for?

Tags: Activity, Cats, Doggy daycamp, Dogs, Exercise, Pet advice, Pet health, Pets, Weight

Is Your Pet Reaching the Golden Years?

As hard as it is to face, our pets age faster than we do.  Being informed and proactive about health care ensure the best quality of life for your pet for as long as possible.

What makes a pet a “senior”? The idea that multiplying by seven translates a dog’s age into “human years” is very misleading because pets age at different rates depending upon size, breed and other factors.

Generally, smaller breeds of dogs live longer than larger breeds, and cats live longer than dogs. So, a giant breed may enter his senior years at age 8, while the toy breed next door might not reach her golden years until age 12.

Of course, life span also varies with the individual, depending upon many factors including overall health and lifestyle.  As they age, pets undergo changes remarkably similar to those of aging humans:  hair turns gray, hearing wanes and joints stiffen.

Loss of sight and hearing

Progressive loss of hearing and sight are common in older pets, so it’s important to pay attention to changes.  Excessive drainage, mucus, or bulging of his eyes may indicate a serious problem like glaucoma or dry eye. Any change from his normal appearance should be evaluated right away in order to preserve his sight as long as possible and prevent further damage.

Be sure to make allowances for his limitations.  If your best friend is losing his eyesight, avoid moving furniture or your pet’s food and water bowls and bedding.  When you take your dog into unfamiliar territory, keep him on a lead and walk him slowly through the new place.  Stay close by and reassure him.

If your pet’s vision is normal, you may be able to compensate for deafness by using hand signals.  Dogs, in particular, normally communicate with each other through body movements, so they will readily understand hand signals. Never let a pet that is visually or hearing impaired roam freely outside.

Coping with arthritis

Osteoarthritis affects dogs just it as does people. If you notice your dog limping, having trouble climbing stairs or not being able to find a comfortable place to rest, a visit to your veterinarian is also in order.

There are well-tested medications available that can lessen the pain and stiffness of arthritis so your pet can move with greater ease and enjoy a better quality of life.

You can help ward off some of the effects of arthritis by keeping him slim, since excess weight put unnecessary stress on joints.  It’s important to keep him as active as possible, too.  Lack of exercise can increase joint stiffness and may lead to muscle atrophy from lack of use.  Be sure to get him out for a walk every day. If your dog is otherwise healthy, consider doggy day camp a few times a week.  The excitement of being around other dogs may encourage your senior to get moving.

Regular exams are key

Many diseases that are known to afflict aging humans also affect our aging pets: kidney, heart, and liver disease; tumors and cancers; diabetes; and even dementia.  Regular physical examinations and laboratory blood and urine tests by your pet’s veterinarian are critical for early detection of problems.

Weight loss, a significant decrease in appetite, excessive panting, constant whining or pacing, loss of housebreaking, hair loss and changes in behavior can be early indicators of a medical problem.  If you see new any of these problems, have your pet checked by his veterinarian.

Even if your pet has no unusual problems, regular screenings can help you maintain your pet’s body weight and condition and ensure a better quality of life during those senior years.  Most experts recommend twice yearly visits for dogs in their senior years. It may seem like a lot, but if you think of it in terms of how fast your pet is aging, it would be like a person going for an annual physical every 3 to 4 years.

Your veterinarian understands that your pet is part of the family and can help make all the years that you share with your pet rich and fulfilling.

Tags: Dogs, Pet health, Weight
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