How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears

Tuesday, 21 September 2010 16:20 by Dr. Sarah

Repeated head shaking. Foul-smelling, waxy build-up. Red, painfully inflamed ears. What do all these things have in common? All are symptoms of otitis externa, or what is commonly referred to as ear infections. If you have ever groaned inwardly and felt dismay the moment your dog starts shaking his head or rubbing his ears along the nearest available surface, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, too many pet parents are more than familiar with this recurring medical problem. Often, it is accompanied by an offensive odor and one can only imagine how overwhelming the smell is to the suffering pup!

Canine ear infections result from an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria in the ear canal, causing redness, irritation and a heavy accumulation of wax. Likely triggers of these maladies are skin reactions to inhaled allergens – like pollen, mold or dust mites – or food allergies and sensitivities. Be aware that both large ears and swimming predispose dogs to ear infections.

Humans tend to develop ear infections as a result of viral infections, typically in infancy or early youth. As youngsters, our Eustachian tubes are very small. Respiratory congestion can lead to blockage of these canals, resulting in otitis media (a middle ear infection). Because the infection is internal, they frequently require oral antibiotics. In contrast, pets usually develop ear infections as adults, and the infection is almost always localized in the external portion of the ear. In most cases, the application of prescription drops or ointments directly into the ear canal usually resolves the illness. If you suspect your companion animal may be suffering from an ear infection, please seek veterinarian assistance for diagnosis and treatment. If necessary, your vet may prescribe a topical medicine and advise routine cleaning.

In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah reveals the steps to safe and effective ear cleaning to promote overall ear health.

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Doggie Dunce Caps: Bad Behavior or Serious Medical Issue?

Thursday, 19 August 2010 16:00 by Dr. Sarah

Have you ever found freshly dug holes in your backyard? Or bits of your favorite chair strewn across your den? Are you the proud parent of a canine that greets your guests by repeatedly jumping on them? Does your furry friend beg at the table, bark incessantly or strategically deposit her poo next to the dining room table? Simply put, if your dog could star in a film entitled “Dogs Gone Wild”, then you share a common complaint among dog lovers worldwide: frustrating behavioral problems. More...

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Helpful Tips on Caring for Senior Pets

Thursday, 22 July 2010 16:08 by Dr. Sarah

A relationship with a companion animal can be one of the most rewarding experiences we humans encounter in our lifetimes. In the last 20 years, medical science has repeatedly shown that having a dog or cat in your life can result in health benefits for you, including improved, self-reported mental and physical health, and even fewer doctor visits compared to no-pet people. Additionally, caring for pets can help us to develop a greater sense of responsibility, elevate our own sense of self-worth and foster a mutually beneficial bond that enriches not only our lives but those of our pets, too. More...

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Tips for Better Nail Care

Thursday, 17 June 2010 15:53 by Dr. Sarah

Nail trimming is a vital part of your pet’s healthcare routine. Unfortunately, it’s often neglected as many pet parents never receive any training about the best method for trimming nails safely. Watch this short video for helpful tips for better nail care. More...

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Feline Inappropriate Elimination (Part 2)

Thursday, 27 May 2010 16:19 by Dr. Sarah

Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) is the most common lower urinary tract disorder diagnosed in cats. Symptoms can include painful urination, urination outside the litter box and blood in the urine. Stress is a significant factor in the incidence of FIC. Veterinary researchers have determined that cats with highly sensitized nervous and endocrine systems are more prone to FIC. Research indicates that felines suffering from FIC may experience high levels of stress without exhibiting any noticeable symptoms. Fortunately, there are specific alterations to your home and changes you can make in your cat’s daily routine that can help to prevent mental and physical stress. More...

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Feline Inappropriate Elimination (Part 1)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010 13:32 by Dr. Sarah
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Peeing outside the litter box, otherwise known as feline inappropriate elimination, is one of the most frustrating and common behavioral problems some cat lovers must endure. Feline inappropriate elimination refers to the location of the deed, and it is considered inappropriate by most cat owners because peeing on the bed, the rug, the curtains, the tile, the laundry or anywhere outside of the litter box is not considered appropriate!

What many cat guardians may not know is that urinating outside the litter box, or defecating for that matter, is a message from your cat. Cats have a natural inclination toward sand. They prefer to dig in the soil before they eliminate: that is why litter boxes are so effective, even in young kittens. Cats do not naturally choose flat, hard, or cloth-like surfaces, and they do not eliminate outside the litter box out of meanness or spite. Your cat is, in essence, letting you know that something is wrong and is asking for help. More...

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Dr. Sarah’s Tips for Emergency Situations

Thursday, 25 March 2010 10:43 by Dr. Sarah

For most pet parents, the mere prospect of a companion animal becoming sick or injured can be frightening. In the event of an emergency, many pet parents feel powerless to help, not knowing what to do to improve the likelihood of a good outcome. However, you are not powerless to assist, and with minimal preparation and some helpful knowledge, you can help your companion animal successfully navigate an emergency situation. More...

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Helpful Tips on Canine Winter Exercise

Monday, 15 February 2010 16:11 by Dr. Sarah

Is your dog getting ants in his pants? If you are like most dog owners, the plunge of winter temperatures has dampened your enthusiasm for outdoor activity, causing angst for your cooped-up canine. Many animal behavioral specialists reported that dogs that didn’t receive regular exercise during the winter became antsy and reactive in the spring and some developed unwanted behavioral patterns. Additionally, it is not good for a dog’s health to be active in the summer and a couch-potato in the winter. For optimum mental and physical health, many veterinarians recommend that dogs receive 45 minutes to an hour of daily, consistent exercise and enrichment, broken up into shorter intervals.

Even if we want the best for our canine companions, winter presents challenges that make it difficult to keep up a regular exercise routine for our dogs. If you are wondering how to keep your dog active, watch this video. In it, Dr. Sarah gives tips and advice from venturing outside to transforming your indoor space into a canine activity center. Most activities do not require fancy technology or major space overhauls – just some creativity and a sense of fun.

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Are you overlooking your dog's weight problem?

Friday, 15 January 2010 15:55 by Dr. Sarah

Now is a great time to develop better habits for your canine companion. Just like in humans, obesity is rampant in America’s pet population. When dogs carry too much weight they place an extra strain on all their organs, and they can be at an increased risk for diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and pancreatitis. Unsurprisingly, excess weight gain can interfere with a pet’s quality of life and actually shorten their life span.

Fortunately, dogs respond very well to simple weight-loss programs. By increasing your pet’s exercise and reducing the amount of calories he or she eats, you can help reduce your pet’s weight and the risk of health problems associated with obesity.

But how do you determine whether or not your dog is overweight? And, if your dog is overweight, what can you do about it? In this short video, Dr. Sarah shows you how to learn if your dog is carrying too much weight, and gives advice on how to help your dog shed unwanted pounds.

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Make the Holidays Safe and Stress-Free for Your Pet

Monday, 14 December 2009 21:03 by Dr. Sarah

If you’re like most people, you’re currently in the midst of another incredibly busy holiday season. With planning, traveling, baking, shopping, get-togethers with friends and family, there seems to be no end to the to-do list … or the holiday stress. Unfortunately, during all of the hustle and bustle, we sometimes forget about the needs of our four-legged family members. More...

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