Pet Sun Safety

Did you know that dogs and cats can get burned by the sun? Pets need to be protected from sun exposure, especially those with short or light-colored fur. Here are seven sun-safety tips that will keep your pets healthy all summer long.

Don’t Shave Long-Haired Pets

Your pet’s fur acts as a barrier to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. If your dog or cat has long hair, consider using a shedding comb or Furminator to thin out its coat.

Pay Special Attention to Pets with Skin Conditions or Hair Loss

If your cat or dog has bald patches due to alopecia, dermatitis, or another type of skin condition, don’t forget the sunscreen. Your pet will have lost its natural ability to protect itself from sunburn.

Sun Bathers Need Attention

Some pets like to spend their days worshipping the sun. If your dog or cat is an avid sunbather, be sure to protect their skin. Read the label of the pet-safe sunscreen you use and reapply as often as directed.

Help for Sunburns

If your pet does get a sunburn, cool, wet towels laid gently over your dog’s body can help it feel better. If your dog receives a severe burn, make an appointment with your favorite vet here at the hospital for more comprehensive treatment.

Choose the Right Sunscreen

Be sure to choose the right sunscreen for your dog. Most sunscreens that are safe for human babies are safe for dogs. Cats are a bit more difficult. There are many pet-safe sunscreens on the market designed especially for your four-legged friend.

Avoid Zinc Oxide

Zinc oxide is toxic to pets. No matter which sunscreen you choose, be sure that it does not contain this dangerous-to-pets ingredient.

Consider Protective Clothing

If your pet has been recently shaved, has short hair or a light coat, consider putting a T-shirt on your animal. One made specially for dogs or one made for humans…the choice is yours.

If you need any more tips or advice for protecting your dog or cat from the hot summer sun, feel free to contact us.

 

 

Giving to CATSS for the Holidays

Are you wondering what to get the cat lover in your life who has everything? We suggest supporting one of our local charities by giving a donation in your loved one’s name. CATSS, or Community Action to Save Strays, is a local organization that works tirelessly for the feral cat populations in Oberlin. CATSS works solely on donations and always welcomes help.

Here at Douds, we work closely with CATSS and are proud to do so. You may have noticed the group’s donation jar next to our Keurig machine, or you may have purchased an ornament for our annual CATSS tree. If you’d like to make a difference for local animals, a holiday donation to CATSS is a fantastic way to do it.

olive dickie

Photo: Olive and Dickie – Two baby sisters adopted from CATSS by staff members from the hospital. Now 3 years old and living the high life with their respective families.

What Is CATSS?

CATSS is a non-profit group that was started here in Oberlin 12 years ago and currently dedicates its efforts to the city’s feral cats. The group operates a trap-neuter-return program, catching homeless cats, attending to their medical needs, having them spayed or neutered, and returning them to where they were found. From time to time, CATSS has adult cats for adoption, and the group almost always has kittens available for adoption.

What CATSS Is Not

Many people believe that CATSS is a shelter. Quite the contrary, the organization works with volunteers spread throughout Oberlin. There is no central location for the group. Instead, CATSS works as a network of volunteers who foster and transport kittens and cats in their care. While the organization provides for veterinary care for these animals, the foster volunteers provide love, care, food and socialization, helping to turn these great animals into perfect companions.

Helping CATSS and Oberlin’s Homeless Felines

CATSS has a number of positions available if volunteering your time is more desirable than donating money. From the CATSS, catssoberlin.org, website:

“CATSS offers a wide variety of opportunities for interested individuals to volunteer with us. Volunteer positions include:

  • Feral Cat Population Management (e.g., Trappers and Caretakers)
  • Fundraising and Grant Writing
  • Foster Homemakers and Direct Caregivers
  • Administrative Details (e.g., Data Entry)
  • Community Outreach
  • Literature Creation, Photography, etc.”

We love CATSS and everything that they do for the city of Oberlin. In fact, several of our staff members have frisky feline friends that were adopted from the organization! If you would like to donate to CATSS this holiday season in your name or as a gift in the name of a loved one, you can do so by sending a check or money order to:

CATSS
P.O. Box 422
Oberlin, Ohio 44074

 

 

Pets as Presents: Why It’s Not a Good Idea Any Time of Year

With the holidays approaching, you may be thinking of purchasing or adopting an animal for that special someone in your life. Wait! Visions of your favorite family member opening a squirming, wriggling package and crying tears of joy are running rampant in your mind, but is that really what is going to happen? Not necessarily. Here’s why we feel strongly that pets are not presents during the holidays or any other time of year.

1. Pets are Personal

Sure, your significant other can’t stop watching cute cat videos on YouTube. Your mother has a particular affinity to other people’s mastiffs. But does that mean that a cat or a 200-pound dog will be welcome additions to the family?

Pets are very personal things, and no one knows that better than our hospital staff. While we all absolutely adore each other’s “kids,” it doesn’t mean that we want those same pets in our own household. A new pet is something that someone should be able to pick out for themselves, not something that is chosen for them.

2. Pets are a Lifetime Commitment

When you give someone a pet as a present, you are also giving them 10 or so years of bills. Pet food, toys, beds, accessories, and vet care can quickly add up. According to Investopedia, the average yearly cost of keeping a pet dog is close to $1,600. The average cost of owing a cat? About $1,000 each year. Is your loved one financially able to make this type of commitment? This is something that you need to consider when thinking of giving a pet as a gift.

3. Pets Can Be Overwhelmed

Let’s say that you are 100% positive, no doubt in your mind, certain that your loved one wants a pet for the holidays. Maybe they have found the perfect pet at the rescue or maybe a responsible breeder has a litter that is ready to go. The holidays are typically not a good time to bring a pet into your house, no matter how sure you are that a dog or cat would make a fantastic pet.

A pet should be brought into your home when the atmosphere is calm. Your schedule should be somewhat typical, and your pet should have time to adjust to its new human family members. Think of how hectic the holiday season is for you and your family, and think how overwhelming that could be for a new pet. Wait until after the holidays are over to bring your new pet home!

We know that you have the best of intentions when presenting a pet as a gift! We only ask that you consider the above before you choose a pet for someone else this holiday season. If you have any questions, please send us a message on our Facebook page or send an email to Doudsvethospital@yahoo.com.

The Gift of Canine Pancreatitis Is Best Avoided

The holidays are quickly approaching! If your family is anything like our families, gift lists are being made and meals are being planned. If you will be hosting a gathering at your home and including your canine companions, there is one gift that we suggest not giving: Pancreatitis!

What Is Pancreatitis?

The pancreas is an organ that produces enzymes that help break down the food that your dog eats. If these enzymes are thrown into overtime or become activated within the gland itself, they begin to break down the tissue within the pancreas and create inflammation. This inflammation is called Pancreatitis.

pancreatitis

Photo Credit: Flickr.com

One of the Most Common Causes

While there are several causes of pancreatitis, including trauma, toxins, and decreased blood flow to the pancreas, one of the most common causes is very easy to control: foods high in FAT!

It’s not unusual for pet parents to want to share festivities with their favorite furry companions. For some lucky dogs (or unlucky dogs in our opinion), this includes skipping the dog food in favor of a plate of whatever the rest of the family is having. Turkey, ham, roasts, duck, gravy, candied yams, and even green bean casserole all have the potential to make your dog very ill. Not only are some of these foods high in fat, but your dog’s system simply isn’t accustomed to handling them.

Symptoms of Pancreatitis

Every dog will not exhibit the same symptoms when it comes to pancreatitis. Some dogs may experience one or a combination of the following:

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Swollen Abdomen
  • Abnormal Posture
  • Arching of the Back
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Restlessness
  • Gagging

Many dogs will  stop eating and drinking when they have pancreatitis. If your dog exhibits these symptoms, alone or in combination, it’s important that you contact the hospital.

Treating Pancreatitis

Treatment of pancreatitis can vary depending on the symptoms, their severity and their duration. In some cases, once pancreatitis has been diagnosed, treatment is as simple as giving your dog medication for a specific period of time. In more serious cases, pancreatitis requires intensive care in the hospital, with IV fluid therapy, injectable medications, and a special diet. It is important for owners to understand that pancreatitis is a serious illness that, if left undiagnosed or untreated, can be fatal.

You Can Help Prevent Pancreatitis in Your Dog!

One of the easiest ways to prevent pancreatitis in your dog is to avoid sharing holiday meals or your meals at any other time of year! If you want to treat your dog to a special feast this holiday season, Merrick has special “holiday editions” of their canned pet food that is safe for your dog. Add 1/4 can to your dog’s normal kibble for a festive treat!

If you like to bake, why not bake holiday treats for your furry friend? Check out our website for some of our favorite holiday treat recipes! No matter how you decide to treat your pet this holiday season, do it in a safe way and avoid human foods! As always, we are happy to answer any questions that you may have; just give us a call!

Ticked Off? The Low-Down on Ticks and Lyme Disease

Whether or not you’ve found ticks on your canine companion, chances are that you have questions about ticks and their ability to transmit lyme disease. There have been confirmations of dogs contracting Lyme disease in our area, and we feel that tick prevention is an important component in your dog’s overall health plan.

How Do Dogs Get Ticks?

Dogs can get ticks anywhere, but the insects typically live in areas with tall grass and weeds. If you take your dog into any area like this, chances are high that a tick will jump aboard and hitch a ride.

While this is a common form of transmission, it’s important to know that your dog can pick up a tick anywhere. From your backyard to the baseball field, ticks can happily make a home in almost any outdoor location.

How Do I Find Ticks On My Dog?

It’s usually easy to spot a tick on a short-haired dog like a boxer or bulldog; not so easy on a medium- or long-haired dog. Ticks like to hang out around the ears, head, neck and feet, but being the opportunistic arachnids that they are, they can attach to any area of the body.

Run your hands over and through your dog’s fur daily. If you go for long walks outside or go to watch your kids play ball, inspect your dog immediately after. Don’t forget to lift your dog’s ear flaps and look there, too!

Why You Should Be Concerned About Ticks

Ticks transmit a number of diseases. These include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease. Each of these diseases are considered serious and require prompt veterinary care if they are to be treated successfully. If veterinary care is not sought, these diseases can be fatal.

The good news is that ticks must attach to your dog and then feed for at least 48 hours before Lyme disease can be contracted.

What You Can Do To Help Your Dog

There are a number of things that we offer here at Douds Veterinary Hospital to protect your dogs from ticks and the diseases that they transmit.

Frontline Tritak is a topical product that can protect your dog from ticks. NexGard is an oral chewable tablet that can do the same. Each of these products is administered every 30 days as preventive maintenance.

We are also happy to include the Lyme vaccine in your pet’s wellness plan. If your puppy or dog has never had a Lyme vaccination, please be aware that a booster will need to be administered three to four weeks after the first vaccine is given. Your pet will receive a yearly Lyme vaccination thereafter.

What To Do If You Find a Tick

If you find a tick crawling along on your dog’s fur, go ahead and catch it. If, on the other hand, you find a tick attached to your dog’s skin happily feasting away, resist the urge to pull it off quickly. You can easily detach the body from the head, leaving the head embedded in your dog’s skin.

For less than $10, you can get a tool called the Tick Twister. This handy little crowbar-shaped tool makes it simple to remove a tick from your dog safely. Once the tick is removed, simply drown it in a small container of rubbing alcohol and dispose of it.

We understand that removing ticks is not an everyday experience for many of our clients. If you find a tick on your dog and would rather that we handled the removal, just give us a call; we are happy to do it for you!

It’s Hot…Don’t Do THIS

If you have Facebook, you’ve seen the memes and posts about how hot the inside of your car can get on a summer day. You know that it’s never a good idea to leave your dog in the car, even with the windows cracked. You are well aware that it can climb to well over 100 degrees inside of your car when you leave it parked.

There’s more to keeping your dog safe in the heat of the summer than leaving him home when you go shopping. Here are four things NOT to do or avoid this summer if you want to help prevent your canine companion from overheating.

Traveling

It’s not only a parked car that can be dangerous for your pet. Traveling in a poorly ventilated car can be just as harmful. If your car doesn’t have air conditioning, or you don’t like to use it, it can quickly become too hot for your dog (even with the windows down). If you are hot in your car, imagine being that warm and wearing a fur coat! If your car has poor ventilation or lacks air conditioning, leave the dog at home.

Over-Exertion

Most dogs love to run and play! While summer being here doesn’t mean that you have to give up exercising with your dog altogether, it does mean that you have to be smart about it. Don’t let your dog run to exhaustion in the middle of the day. The sun is typically highest in the sky from 10 am until 4 pm. Let your dog outside to go potty, but don’t play hours’ long games of fetch.

Long Walks

Many guardians think that a leashed walk is just fine during the day. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, especially for brachycephalic breeds like Boxers. You don’t have to skip your walks in the summer, but they should be early in the morning or late in the evening.

Burning Pavement

Have you ever stepped from the grass onto the concrete and quickly jumped off of it? If the concrete or asphalt burns your skin, imagine what it may do to the pads of your dogs feet. Asphalt and concrete can burn the pads on your dog’s feet quicker than you may think. Here’s a test: Lay the back of your hand on the pavement; if you can’t keep your hand down for at least 7 seconds, it’s too hot for your pet’s feet.

asphalt

Image taken from http://www.atonkstail.com

If you have any questions about keeping your pets safe during the hot summer months, please send us an email. We are always happy to provide more information!

 

 

Heartworms Only Infect Outdoor Pets…Right?

When it comes to heartworm preventive, we get lots of questions from our clients. There are many myths regarding heartworm disease in dogs and cats. Now that the warm, humid summer is upon us, it’s time to dish the dirt about the myths surrounding this potentially deadly disease.

Myth 1: Heartworms are only present in certain states.

Truth: Heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states. Our doctors, and the American Heartworm Association, recommend heartworm preventive like Heartgard, Trifexis or Revolution be given all year long. There is also a 6-month injectable preventive available for dogs – Proheart.

739_heartworm-mapPhoto taken from http://www.amc-la.com

Myth 2: Heartworm disease only occurs in the summer.

Truth: Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes have been seen actively moving about even in the cold months, especially indoors where they seek out warmth. Preventive should be maintained all year.

Myth 3: Indoor pets don’t need preventive.

Truth: Indoor pets need preventive as much as outdoor pets. There are very few dogs that never go outside, and 27% of cats diagnosed with heartworm disease were labeled by their owners as “indoor only.” Also consider the size of a mosquito. If spiders, flies and other creepy-crawlies can enter your home, mosquitoes can, too!

CompliancePhoto taken from http://www.trifexis.com

Myth 4: Heartworm disease is easy to spot and quickly detected.

Truth: Animals infected with heartworm disease often show no signs of illness until the disease has progressed. In cats, signs of heartworm disease very closely mimic other diseases. In cats, it is not unusual for the first system, unfortunately, to be death.

hwlifecycle

Myth 5: Pets can be easily treated for heartworm disease once they are diagnosed.

Truth: The treatment of heartworm disease dogs is extensive and expensive! Worse yet, there is no treatment for cats. It is often less expensive to purchase year round, monthly prevention for the life of your pet than it is to treat the disease. It makes good financial sense to keep your pet on preventive!

If you have any questions regarding heartworm disease, its treatment, or the types of preventive that are best for your pet, please contact us! We are also here to provide heartworm tests for your pets by appointment! Our staff is always happy to help you keep your pet healthy.

 

 

 

Finding the Truth in Pet Food Labels

Pet nutrition can be a difficult thing. If you ask 10 people what you should feed your pet, you will undoubtedly get 10 different opinions. From dry to canned; from raw to home-cooked; there are foods that pet guardians swear by. While we all have our favorite foods, the best is the one that your pet thrives on.

One of the biggest favors that you can do for pet (and yourself) is to learn how to read pet food labels. Pet food bags, cans and pouches are marketed toward humans. Flashy colors and cute graphics are all chosen by advertising and marketing departments with the sole goal of getting you to purchase the product.

This graphic from Petsweekly.com provides a fantastic lesson on how to read a pet food label:

pet food label

When you’re choosing a pet food for your pet, there are a few important things to consider:

Pet’s Age – Life Stage

Puppy and kitten foods are formulated especially for the growing needs of these small animals. In general, these foods are fed to puppies and kittens until they are 1 year of age. There are some instances where we may suggest switching to an adult food sooner or later but, in general, animals are considered “babies” until they are 1.

puppy kitten

Adult maintenance food is what you want to look for if you pet is between the ages of 1 and 7. These foods have the correct nutrition to support and maintain a healthy adult. Once your dog or cat reaches the age of 8, you may want to consider switching to a senior formula. This is especially true if your pet is sedentary. Again, in some instances, we may advise you to keep a senior pet on a maintenance formula. It is always best to confer with your favorite veterinarian about the right formulation for your furry friend!

Food Sensitivities

Is your dog or cat sensitive to certain foods? If this is the case, you may want to consider a limited ingredient diet (LID). Many of the popular manufacturers of dog foods feature these products among their lines. These foods are helpful if you know what your dog or cat is sensitive to. If you are unsure, we can help you with an elimination diet!

Medical Conditions

sick-dog

Does your dog or cat have a specific medical condition that we or another veterinary hospital has diagnosed? A prescription diet may be necessary to better support your animal’s health. When this becomes true for your animal, we are happy to provide those diets. Prescription diets cannot be found in pet stores.

Ingredients

No matter which brand of food you choose, our doctors recommend looking for a food with a protein source as the first ingredient. Avoid foods that list corn, corn gluten meal, wheat or soy as the first ingredient. Ingredients are listed by weight and protein is a very important component of pet food. Consider how light grains are in comparison with protein! When you see a grain listed as the first ingredient, it comprises the bulk of the food.

As always, if you have any questions, we are happy to help. Give us a call or send us an email. You can also ask us about nutrition at your pet’s next wellness visit!

Top 10 Pet Poisons

When it comes to our pets, we all try to be as alert as possible. Unfortunately, no matter how well we puppy- or kitten-proof our homes, our four-legged friends can get into trouble.

Here are the top 10 poisons for dogs and cats, according to the volume of calls received by the Pet Poison Hotline.

 

poison

Dog Poisons:

1. Chocolate
2. Rodenticides (Mouse and Rat Poisons)
3. Vitamins and Minerals
4. NSAIDs
5. Cardiac Medications
6. Cold and Allergy Medications
7. Antidepressants
8. Xylitol (An artificial sweetener most commonly found in chewing gum and toothpaste)
9. Acetaminophen (Tylenol, etc.)
10. Caffeine Pills

Cat Poisons:

1. Topical Insecticides (Some flea and tick topicals for dogs)
2. Household Cleaners
3. Antidepressants
4. Lilies
5. Insoluble Oxalate Plants
6. Human NSAIDs (and Veterinary NSAIDs)
7. Cold and Flu Medication
8. Glow Sticks
9. ADD/ADHD Medications/Amphetamines
10. Mouse and Rat Poison

If you have any suspicion that your dog or cat has ingested any of these objects, please call us immediately. Your other option is to call the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680. Please be aware that there is a $39 fee per phone call. (Price as of May 2014).

The Honest Kitchen Pet Food – It’s Honestly Good!

honest_kitchen_logo

If you’ve received a puppy or kitten pack from us, chances are that you’ve also received a sample of Honest Kitchen Food. Because we’ve gotten such a great response, and because several of our own staff members are using this food for their very own pets, we’ve decided to start carrying it here at the clinic.

Amy, our practice manager, and Nicole and Kelsey, both vet assistants, have been feeding this food to their dogs and cats with fantastic results. Amy and Nicole’s packs love Preference, the base mix, while Kelsey’s dogs adore Embrace. Nicole is feeding her four cats Prowl and reports that their fur has never been so glossy nor the litter box quite so “unsmelly” (thanks for that one, Nicole)!

Here’s what we love about The Honest Kitchen company and its foods:

1. Human-Grade Ingredients

You’ll see a lot of foods on the pet store shelves that claim to be organic or all-natural. These are words that companies are free to use as marketing tools. The Honest Kitchen produces the only line of dog and cat foods that have been approved by the FDA to be labeled as “Human Grade”. What does this mean? It means that every ingredient in each formulation is fit for human consumption.

2. Dehydrated Raw

Many of our clients have expressed an interest feeding raw foods to their pets. This is something that we try to encourage our clients to avoid. Feeding a proper raw diet is so much more than feeding meat. To be properly balanced and safe, there are supplements and vitamins that must be added in the right ratios.

The Honest Kitchen, or THK, has done all of the calculating for you. You simply measure out the proper amount of food, add warm water, and wait for 3 minutes. It’s really that simple to feed your dog a raw, wholesome diet.

Honest-Part-1

3. Customer Service

We have found the customer service at THK to be exceptional. Customer service is a big deal for us here at Douds, and its something we always strive to improve. We pay attention to the way that we’re treated, and we’ve been nothing but pleased with the support we’ve gotten from the company. Amy, Nicole and Kelsey have all had positive experiences as customers as well.

4. 10lbs = 40lbs

THK boxes may look small, but 10lbs of dehydrated raw food nets 40lbs of fresh food. That means that a box of THK will last you as long as a comparable-sized bag. If you normally buy 40lbs of kibble, you want a 10lb box of THK. Buy 25lb bags of kibble? Opt for the 4lb box of THK.

Here’s a quick guide to the formulations that we either carry or can order for you:

Grain-Free Dog

  • Force – Chicken (for adult dogs)
  • Embark – Turkey (for puppies and adult dogs)
  • Love – Beef (for puppies and adult dogs)
  • Zeal – Fish (for adult dogs)

Whole-Grain for Dogs

  • Thrive – Chicken and Quinoa (for puppies and adult dogs)
  • Keen – Turkey and Organic Oats (for adult dogs)
  • Verve – Beef and Organic Grains (for adult dogs)

Grain-Free for Cats

  • Prowl – Chicken (for adult cats)
  • Grace – Turkey (for kittens and adult cats)

Base Mix for Puppies, Adult and Senior Dogs

  • Preference – Vegetables and Fruits. Note: This mix requires that you add your own protein (beef, chicken, turkey, etc.)

We have informational brochures available if you are interested in learning more about THK. Our staff would also be happy to talk about the ways that this food can benefit your pets, and we can answer most questions about the THK company! Stop in and ask for a sample for your favorite companion…we know they’ll lick their dish clean!

Visit TheHonestKitchen.com to learn more about this great food!