Category Archives: Wednesday Wild Card

Signs Your Dog May Have Arthritis

Just like people, as dogs get older they have a tendency to take on certain aliments that the youth are generally exempt from. One such thing would be arthritis. And where we would not like to think upon our canine companions in a state of pain from this condition, it has been reported that it is very common in dogs. There are three main forms of arthritis in dogs. These are Osterarthritis, Immune related arthritis, and infective arthritis. Here are a few signs that your dog may have arthritis.

Limping or favoring one side of the body

As arthritis attacks a joint, pressure on the limb would cause pain for your pet. If you notice that your dog has shifted its weight to one leg or one side of the body, it may be an indicator. Also, look for your dog raising up a leg when he/she walks. Where this may be a sign of a more severe problem (such as a broken leg or an animal bite) this can also be a sign of arthritis. Your dog may also scoot across the floor more. This is due to the pressure and pain caused by arthritis (of course if the dog is scooting its butt across the floor it is probably not arthritis but worms). Look for the legs dragging or a slow crawl.

Difficulty Standing or Sitting

Older dogs, especially, may find that sitting or standing is difficult. If your dog gets up a bit slower than it used to it may be a sign. However, consider that age does affect your dog as well as you. Just because your dog does not have that spring in their step does not mean they have arthritis. It may simply be old age. You are looking for abnormal behavior. Your dog may appear to be disobedient (for example they will not sit on command or come to you), more irritable when sitting, or whine when walking. These are signs that arthritis may be present.

An increase in weight

Dogs that are active work off what they eat much in the same way that we as human do. Inactivity will cause your dog to gain weight. If your dog is not moving about like they used to or if you notice that your dog is sleeping more frequently, it could be a sign that your dog has arthritis. If your dog is not excited about play time, walking, or jumping about, it could also be a sign. Remember, these are not definitive markers. Your dog could also just be depressed.

A short temper

Passive dogs may start to show aggression if arthritis is present. As anything (human or animal) is more likely to show aggression and irritation when in pain, this should be taken as an indicator. Take special note of when the aggression occurs. Where the aggression may linger, those dogs which tend to get more irritable when sitting or walking may have arthritis.

What to do if you see the signs

As stated, these are signs and may or may not mean that your dog has arthritis. It is best to visit your vet and see the best course of action to take. In the meantime, try to make your dog as comfortable as possible.

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How to Responsibly Rehome a Pet

When you adopt a pet, you do so with the idea that the animal will become a part of your family. You expect that he or she will live the rest of his life in your care. That’s ideal, of course, which is why we stress the importance of making sure you are truly ready and choosing a pet that suits your lifestyle. There are some cases, however, where unexpected life events render you incapable of caring for your best friend any longer. When this happens, you owe it to your pet to find a new home that will pick up where you left off.

There are a number of options available to those wishing to responsibly rehome a pet. Unfortunately, Craigslist and other similar classified ad websites are not one of those responsible choices. A quick glance through the “pets” section will show that a heartbreaking number of unwanted animals are being offered free to the first taker, without any thought for the pet’s well-being. It’s absolutely true that some of these ads are coming from loving pet owners who are sending out a plea for help, but the majority of them are careless and simply wish to dispose of an animal.

If you have determined that you are no longer able to keep your pet, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that your pet’s new home will be a safe, wise choice:

  • Before advertising that your pet is available for adoption, speak with your inner circle to see if anyone you know is looking for a new pet. Trusted friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors are a great place to start.
  • Consider speaking with your family veterinarian about your need to rehome your pet. He or she may know of a responsible family who is looking, or the clinic may have a place for you to advertise on-site.
  • If someone contacts you about adopting your pet, be sure to interview them. Ask as many questions as necessary to give yourself peace of mind. Allow them to meet the animal and watch how they interact. If they have other pets, ask if they are comfortable providing proof of adequate veterinary care.

Once you have found a good fit for your furry sidekick, make the transition slowly. If possible, allow the pet to become acquainted with his or her new family over the course of several consecutive days. Just keep in mind that the last goodbye should be exactly that. After your final visit, and once the pet has been completely transitioned into the new home, avoid repeat visits. This will only confuse the animal and may lead to anxiety (for both of you!).

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Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Pet Parents

By now, we all know that the traditional chocolate Valentine’s Day gifts can be hazardous to pets, but that doesn’t mean that your best friend has to miss out on all of the fun.  In fact, an article that was published a few years ago on Business Insider claimed that Americans spent approximately $815 Million on Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets in 2013!  We’re not sure if that’s the wisest choice, but it is certainly a lot of fun.  After all, pets are very much a part of the family, and we all enjoy spoiling them from time to time.

There are tons of gifts available for pets on this super-sweet holiday, so get a little creative and show your sidekick some V-Day love!  Here are some great examples of Valentine’s Day gifts that we found from around the web.  Enjoy!

The Heart Pet Bow Tie – This is such a cute gift, and it will really come in handy if you’re expecting company for Valentine’s Day.  Dress your dog or cat up for the occasion!  Find it HERE on Etsy.

The Pooch Heaven Valentine Dog Gift Basket – This is such a cute gift basket, and it’s overflowing with things that your pup is sure to love.  It even includes dog biscuit mix and a bone-shaped cookie cutter so you can put your baking skills to the test.  (Of course, you should avoid this option if your pet has any special dietary restrictions.)  Read more about the Pooch Heaven Valentine Dog Gift Basket HERE on Pampered Paw Gifts.

Queen of Hearts Pet ID Tag (in oxidized copper) – This is one of the prettiest pet ID tags you’ll find.  They are made to order and hand-stamped, which means that yours will be completely unique.  We’re also a huge fan of the safety and practicality of this gift. Check it out HERE on Etsy, and be sure to browse through the company’s other designs while you’re there!

Striped Heart Crochet Dog Toy by Dogo – For a pooch, you can never go wrong with a squeak toy!  We love the simplicity of this toy, along with its claims of durability and flexibility.  Find it HERE on The Uncommon Dog.

Imperial Cat’s Valentine’s Day Cat Kit – This Cat Kit is a sure-fire way to make your kitty’s Valentine’s Day a delight!  It includes a variety of entertainment, such as toys, teaser wands, and scratchers.  Check it out HERE, courtesy of The Old Maid Cat Lady.

Finally, if you’re in the mood for a do-it-yourself kind of Valentine’s Day, check out this great article for some gifts that you can create for your pet right at home.

Featured Photo Credit: geckoam via Compfight cc

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Pet Parents

By now, we all know that the traditional chocolate Valentine’s Day gifts can be hazardous to pets, but that doesn’t mean that your best friend has to miss out on all of the fun.  In fact, an article that was published a few years ago on Business Insider claimed that Americans spent approximately $815 Million on Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets in 2013!  We’re not sure if that’s the wisest choice, but it is certainly a lot of fun.  After all, pets are very much a part of the family, and we all enjoy spoiling them from time to time.

There are tons of gifts available for pets on this super-sweet holiday, so get a little creative and show your sidekick some V-Day love!  Here are some great examples of Valentine’s Day gifts that we found from around the web.  Enjoy!

The Heart Pet Bow Tie – This is such a cute gift, and it will really come in handy if you’re expecting company for Valentine’s Day.  Dress your dog or cat up for the occasion!  Find it HERE on Etsy.

The Pooch Heaven Valentine Dog Gift Basket – This is such a cute gift basket, and it’s overflowing with things that your pup is sure to love.  It even includes dog biscuit mix and a bone-shaped cookie cutter so you can put your baking skills to the test.  (Of course, you should avoid this option if your pet has any special dietary restrictions.)  Read more about the Pooch Heaven Valentine Dog Gift Basket HERE on Pampered Paw Gifts.

Queen of Hearts Pet ID Tag (in oxidized copper) – This is one of the prettiest pet ID tags you’ll find.  They are made to order and hand-stamped, which means that yours will be completely unique.  We’re also a huge fan of the safety and practicality of this gift. Check it out HERE on Etsy, and be sure to browse through the company’s other designs while you’re there!

Striped Heart Crochet Dog Toy by Dogo – For a pooch, you can never go wrong with a squeak toy!  We love the simplicity of this toy, along with its claims of durability and flexibility.  Find it HERE on The Uncommon Dog.

Imperial Cat’s Valentine’s Day Cat Kit – This Cat Kit is a sure-fire way to make your kitty’s Valentine’s Day a delight!  It includes a variety of entertainment, such as toys, teaser wands, and scratchers.  Check it out HERE, courtesy of The Old Maid Cat Lady.

Finally, if you’re in the mood for a do-it-yourself kind of Valentine’s Day, check out this great article for some gifts that you can create for your pet right at home.

Featured Photo Credit: geckoam via Compfight cc

Tips for Surviving NYE Fireworks with an Anxious Pet

The start of a new year brings a lot of excitement.  For pet owners, however, that excitement is not always a good thing.  Unless your pet is one of the lucky few, celebrations involving fireworks are anything but fun.

It makes sense for your pet to be so nervous.  The noise made by fireworks is entirely unnatural, and your pet has no way of understanding what all the ruckus is about.  Since we can’t turn down the volume on those cracks and booms, it’s up to pet owners to make our best friends comfortable until it’s over.

Here are a few tips:

  • Make sure your pet has had plenty of exercise before the commotion begins. Whether for humans or pets, physical activity has a proven calming effect, and it really makes a difference in stressful situations.
  • Don’t leave your dog or cat unattended, especially when the noise is at its peak. If you have other plans, arrange for someone to stay with your pet.  This gives your pet a calming voice and a soothing touch to help him or her get through the tough parts, and because pets can be unpredictable when they are panicked, it will also minimize potential damage to your home.
  • It should go without saying, but keep your pets indoors during celebrations involving fireworks. This is important for a number of reasons.  Obviously, it’s more stressful for them to be outside where the uproar is happening, but outdoor pets have also been known to make a break for it when they get stressed.  Avoid losing your pets by keeping them indoors where they are safe and secure.
  • If at all possible, ring in the New Year somewhere quiet. Not every town has fireworks displays, and a trip to the country sounds like a great way to welcome 2015.

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When it comes to keeping your pet’s anxiety under control, preparation is key.  In addition to the tips we’ve provided here, you can also take extra steps like making sure that they are surrounded by all of their favorite things.  Keep them close, give them treats, and soothe them in the best way you know how.

Of course, if your pet’s panic becomes too extreme, speak with your family veterinarian about other options that may be available, including medications.

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Tips for Preparing for the Sudden Injury or Illness of a Pet

It’s not something that any of us like to think about, but just as it happens with people, unexpected illnesses or injuries are common among pets.  In fact, veterinary practices see thousands of emergent cases every year.  According to Petplace.com, roughly 92% of all pets will experience some type of emergency situation over the course of their life.

Included in the list of the most common pet emergencies are:

  • Fractures and Soft Tissue Trauma (most often the result of being hit by a moving vehicle)
  • Poisoning (including anti-freeze, pesticides, and other household chemicals)
  • Gastrointestinal Complications (such as “bloat” or ingestion of a toy or other foreign body)

Whatever the emergency, it helps tremendously if you are prepared.  Here are some tips for making sure that you are ready, should your pet become unexpectedly ill or injured.

Have an established relationship with your veterinarian.  Don’t wait until your pet is severely ill to visit your vet.  Routine wellness visits and preventive care are incredibly important to your pet’s longevity and overall quality of life.  These visits also establish a baseline for your pet’s vital signs, meaning that your vet will have “normal” data for comparison, which can be extremely helpful in diagnosing your pet.

Keep vital information handy.  Whether you keep your pet’s health information stored in an iphone app or your trusty notebook, make sure that it is readily accessible in times of panic.  If your pet is suddenly injured, you aren’t likely to be thinking clearly.  Make it easy on yourself by having all of your pet’s details stored in one place, rather than having to dig around for papers or call your vet’s office for records.

Know your veterinarian’s after-hours protocol.  While some practices operate 24 hours a day, this is not the normal for most primary care veterinarians.  Some will provide overnight and weekend care only to existing patients, while others have a nearby emergency service to which they refer.  During your pet’s routine appointments, ask your doctor what you should do in the event of emergency.  Store any necessary phone numbers or instructions with your pet’s records, so that you will be able to move quickly during a crisis.

Most pet parents are very familiar with their furry loved one’s normal behavior, and can spot signs of illness or injury right away.  If you notice any cause for concern, don’t hesitate.  If there is ever any doubt, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Featured Photo Credit: William Doran via Compfight cc

Tips for Preparing for the Sudden Injury or Illness of a Pet

It’s not something that any of us like to think about, but just as it happens with people, unexpected illnesses or injuries are common among pets.  In fact, veterinary practices see thousands of emergent cases every year.  According to Petplace.com, roughly 92% of all pets will experience some type of emergency situation over the course of their life.

Included in the list of the most common pet emergencies are:

  • Fractures and Soft Tissue Trauma (most often the result of being hit by a moving vehicle)
  • Poisoning (including anti-freeze, pesticides, and other household chemicals)
  • Gastrointestinal Complications (such as “bloat” or ingestion of a toy or other foreign body)

Whatever the emergency, it helps tremendously if you are prepared.  Here are some tips for making sure that you are ready, should your pet become unexpectedly ill or injured.

Have an established relationship with your veterinarian.  Don’t wait until your pet is severely ill to visit your vet.  Routine wellness visits and preventive care are incredibly important to your pet’s longevity and overall quality of life.  These visits also establish a baseline for your pet’s vital signs, meaning that your vet will have “normal” data for comparison, which can be extremely helpful in diagnosing your pet.

Keep vital information handy.  Whether you keep your pet’s health information stored in an iphone app or your trusty notebook, make sure that it is readily accessible in times of panic.  If your pet is suddenly injured, you aren’t likely to be thinking clearly.  Make it easy on yourself by having all of your pet’s details stored in one place, rather than having to dig around for papers or call your vet’s office for records.

Know your veterinarian’s after-hours protocol.  While some practices operate 24 hours a day, this is not the normal for most primary care veterinarians.  Some will provide overnight and weekend care only to existing patients, while others have a nearby emergency service to which they refer.  During your pet’s routine appointments, ask your doctor what you should do in the event of emergency.  Store any necessary phone numbers or instructions with your pet’s records, so that you will be able to move quickly during a crisis.

Most pet parents are very familiar with their furry loved one’s normal behavior, and can spot signs of illness or injury right away.  If you notice any cause for concern, don’t hesitate.  If there is ever any doubt, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Featured Photo Credit: William Doran via Compfight cc

The Importance of Regular Veterinary Care for Your Pets

The infographic below provides a breakdown of the basic care you should provide for you pet.  It’s extremely useful for new pet owners and also serves as a great “refresher” for seasoned pet parents.  If you have questions about specific local restrictions in your area, ask your veterinarian!  He or she is your most helpful resource when it comes to the care of your best friend.

Pets and Vets: The Importance of Regular Veterinary Care for Your Furry Friend

If you like this infographic and would like to share, visit Visual.ly for more information.

Featured Photo Credit: Home Solutions First via Compfight cc

The Importance of Regular Veterinary Care for Your Pets

The infographic below provides a breakdown of the basic care you should provide for you pet.  It’s extremely useful for new pet owners and also serves as a great “refresher” for seasoned pet parents.  If you have questions about specific local restrictions in your area, ask your veterinarian!  He or she is your most helpful resource when it comes to the care of your best friend.

Pets and Vets: The Importance of Regular Veterinary Care for Your Furry Friend

If you like this infographic and would like to share, visit Visual.ly for more information.

Featured Photo Credit: Home Solutions First via Compfight cc

Chubby Pets are Cute!… Right?

In the United States, an estimated 57.6% of dogs and 52.6% of cats are obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.  The problem has reached epidemic proportions.

More than half of our furry loved ones are significantly overweight, and it’s time we give those statistics a second look.  Just as it does with humans, obesity severely affects our pets’ overall quality of life.  There are considerable consequences that come from ignoring this problem, and we owe it to our pets to understand exactly what those problems are.  Some of the risks associated with obesity in pets include:

  • Arthritis and general joint discomfort
  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Kidney Disease
  • Increased Risk of Cancer

Do any of those issues sound familiar?  They should.  They are the same problems that humans experience as a result of poor body condition.

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Unfortunately, owners of obese pets suffer right alongside them, and it hits you where it really hurts: your wallet.  Pick any one of the secondary diseases that come about as a result of your pet’s obesity, and you will find that the cost to maintain their care is significant.  All of these diseases require ongoing monitoring, medications, and in some cases, life-saving procedures.

Financial impact aside, the biggest bummer of them all is watching your companion lose his or her ability to enjoy life.

If your pet is young, avoid these problems altogether by helping your pet maintain a healthy weight throughout his or her life.  It’s common sense, really.  Don’t overfeed, don’t feed junk food, and promote a playful and active daily routine.

If your pet is already obese and you want to stop the disease before it progresses further, the time to act is right now.  Start by speaking with your pet’s veterinarian about a healthier diet change.  There are oodles of high-quality, low-calorie diets available that are specifically formulated to help your pet shed some pounds.  Depending on the severity of your pet’s condition, it’s likely that your vet will recommend a few routine diagnostics (bloodwork, x-rays, etc.) before you begin the transition to a new food.  Once everything checks out fine, begin the transition.  Your vet will provide instructions for a gradual diet change, spread out over several days.

Once your pet has made the switch to a healthier diet, slowly begin to introduce more activity into his or her daily routine.  If you choose to go for walks, gradually increase the distance, speed, and frequency.  For cats, make exercise fun by introducing new toys.  Of course, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, adopt a playful new friend for your pet.

If you have concerns about the diet you are currently feeding or your pet’s current body condition, speak with your veterinarian.  He or she knows your pet’s individual situation best and can provide invaluable advice for helping your pet live a long, happy, healthy life.

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