Debunking Myths and Misconceptions about Dogs

Friday, 24 August 2012 15:50 by Dr. Jane
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Dog Magnify Glass

Remember the old party game “telephone” where a message is passed secretly through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group? If you’ve played the game, you’re well aware that the initial message gets drastically altered as it’s passed on from one person to the next. The same thing can happen with any information – including “facts” about pets. As a caring pet parent, it’s important to stay “in the know” regarding the furry companions who reside under your roof. The internet provides a wealth of resources at your fingertips, however, you are not only exposed to helpful tips and advice on how to best care for your companion animals, you’ll also see some misinformation. So let’s take a look at five of the most commonly shared myths about pets and discover why you can’t always trust everything you read when it comes to your four-legged friends. More...

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Successful Aging - Factors in Lifespan Determination

Friday, 24 August 2012 15:48 by Dr. Sarah

Welcome to the final installment in our Successful Aging Series! In this episode of Pet Talk, we’ll devote time to one of the great mysteries of health … is it due to some sort of genetic luck-of-the-draw or does it have more to do with living wisely? Our hope is that a deeper understanding of this topic could assist all pet parents, aiding them in their attempts to ensure longer and healthier lifetimes for their dear companions. Dr. Sarah explains recent research conducted in this fascinating arena, all with an eye towards the potential benefits in regards to the longevity of our furry four-footers. Additionally, Dr. Sarah will reveal a startlingly simple and ingenious method of feeding that shows great promise for helping extend the natural life of not only companion animals, but humans too! This is one episode you won’t want to miss. Be sure to share this important health message with your friends and family.

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Foundation Award to Save a Kitty

Friday, 24 August 2012 15:46 by Life's Abundance

Ranch Kitties

It gives us immense pleasure to announce one of the latest financial awards given by the Dr. Jane HealthyPetNet Foundation, this time to Save A Kitty, a donor-supported, non-profit, no-kill, cage-free cat rescue in Los Angeles County, CA.

An all-volunteer organization, Save A Kitty is dedicated to saving the lives of homeless, abandoned and abused cats while simultaneously working to help prevent more unwanted births in Southern California. Officially incorporated as a non-profit in 2008, they have been actively involved in the rescue business for much longer. More...

Feline Feeding Behavior & Why it Matters

Thursday, 26 July 2012 16:53 by Dr. Jane

Kitty at the table

Cats are enigmatic creatures. Having an appreciation for their motivations will not only help you to develop a deeper bond, it could make your cat healthier, too.

Feeding your feline optimal nutrition not only requires an understanding of your cat’s unique nutritional needs, but also of their feeding behavior. In fact, understanding the nuances of feline consumption can help combat one of the most common feeding disorders in cats - obesity. More...

Foundation Extinguishes Needs of Fire Victims

Thursday, 26 July 2012 16:51 by Life's Abundance
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Waldo Canyon Fire

The U.S. is experiencing one of the worst droughts in its history. More than 1,000 counties, in states stretching from Florida to Oregon and even including Hawaii, have declared states of disaster. The drought has impacted farmlands, water reserves and has created conditions which are conducive to disaster, including wildfires like those which raged uncontrollably in Colorado in June and July. Even though the fires are now relatively under control or extinguished outright, a state of fear reigned just a few short weeks ago.

Near Colorado Springs, the Waldo Canyon Fire was a disaster of massive proportions, consuming several thousand acres of woodlands and driving residents and companion animals from their homes. Adding to the heartbreak, many dogs and cats were separated from their pet parents in the fiery maelstrom.

In times of great need, however, heroes arise to help save the day. That’s why it brings us such immense pleasure to relay the story of All Breed Rescue & Training, an animal rescue organization that took extraordinary measures to care for pets displaced by the Waldo Canyon Fire. More...

Camping with your Canine Companion

Thursday, 26 July 2012 16:49 by Dr. Sarah

Are you looking for an affordable alternative for summer vacation? Do you yearn to explore the Great Outdoors? Are you tired of leaving your dog behind when you leave town? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, then this episode of Pet Talk was made just for you! In this special summertime message, our intrepid, happy-go-lucky staff veterinarian Dr. Sarah applies her ready-for-anything attitude to a great American pastime with a twist … canine camping. Aided by Alma, her fun-loving, Goldendoodle co-star, our pet expert is on location in the Colorado woodlands, sharing her insights and practical tips to help prepare you for your next nature-land adventure.

As an added bonus to our readers, we’re including a full explanation of what you’ll need to pack to mount your next expedition into the wilds. And be sure to download the handy checklist version to take the last-minute guesswork out of what you’ll need to pack.

From here on out, camping won’t be complete without your canine companion. So, shake the moths out of your tent, dust off your backpack and buy a pack of strike-anywhere matches. Don’t forget to share your camping stories with other Life’s Abundance customers in the comments section below!

Packing List for Camping with your Canine Companion

Identification tags: If your pup is out of the house, she should wear her ID tags (license, vaccination & home address) labeled with your name, city, state and phone number. For your camping trip, consider purchasing an inexpensive, temporary tag for her to wear along with the standard tags. Some stores have engraving kiosks - simply enter the relevant info (such as your dog’s name, the name of the park where you’ll be camping and your assigned campsite number). If your park of choice doesn’t assign numbers ahead of time, or if you’re camping on a wilderness trail, include the phone number of the nearest ranger station. If there’s space enough, include pertinent information about medical conditions (such as ‘Diabetic’) or behavioral issues (like, ‘Cat Aggressive’).

Leash: In addition to your standard leash and collar (make sure they’re in good condition while you’re at it), consider bringing back-ups. It’s a good idea to have one short lead, especially if your destination is heavily wooded - you don’t want Max’s retractable lead wound around a couple of trees when he’s in an excited state.

Tether or Crate: You need to have a way to safely restrain your dog while you are setting up camp, cooking, etc. - just ask anyone who’s ever tried to pitch a tent while holding a leash - not pretty. If your dog routinely sleeps in a crate, and you’re driving to your campsite, bring it along. Obviously, it’s not something you want to carry on your back if you’re hiking to your site. However, a crate is a safe place she can return to while you’re busy prepping or cleaning up your camp site.

Bedding: Bring an all-weather tarp to place under the bedding to shield you and your pup from the ground, especially for camping in cold weather. Laying on the ground risks exposure, as body heat is quickly absorbed into the earth, and we don’t want you or your dog experiencing hypothermia.

Cold Protection: To further protect your pup, especially if she has a short or thin coat, pack a doggie sweater for her to wear. Again, there’s no reason to risk hypothermia.

Booties: Depending on the terrain, presence of ice on the ground, prevalence of fire ants or if your dog has weak footpads (i.e., predisposed to tearing, not uncommon in older dogs), booties are a good solution for paw protection. Don’t forget to do some trial runs with the booties before you leave … wearing shoes for the first time takes some getting used to.

Food and Water: Don’t wing it when it comes to having enough food and water. Do not simply trust the safety of streams, rivers and lakes as a source of hydration, for you or your dog. It’s rare these days to locate natural water that isn’t tainted by giardia, toxic chemicals or other harmful bacteria. If you insist on using water from a natural source, bring giardia tablets (follow the label instructions) and a tiny bottle of bleach (you only need a couple of drops per gallon) to purify the water. When it comes to food, pack two extra days of dog food beyond your planned stay. Preserve the food in a sturdy water-proof container. If your campsite features a “bear box” (a storage container high off the ground, often on a pole), please use it - it’s there for a reason. If you don’t have travel bowls, pack your pup’s regular ones – even these can evoke a measure of comfort in an unfamiliar environment.

Toys: Even though the Great Outdoors may captivate your attention, boredom’s a distinct possibility after your dog has marked his or her territory and sniffed around the camp site a couple of times. If your dog is fearful under the stars, a favorite toy from home might provide a measure of comfort.

First Aid Kit Items: Chances are, you already plan to take some first-aid items … by adding a couple of more products, you’ll be well prepared to handle many canine emergencies, too.
Take the following items and keep them safely stored in clear storage bags … that way, you won’t waste precious time in an emergency situation digging through your backpack.

Bandages: Vetwrap (self-stick gauze), butterfly bandages (used to close open wounds), waterproof surgical tape, duct tape, 4” X 4” gauze pads and non-stick sterile pads
Styptic Powder, to stop bleeding (Kwik Stop is a good brand)
Small Scissors
Tweezers
Hemostats or needle-nose pliers
Small razor (to shave hair from injured area)
Irrigation syringe (to flush eyes and wounds)
Ear and eye ointment (ask your vet or vet tech for which brands for common conditions)
Triple antibiotic ointment with lidocaine (that last part will help with stinging, painful wounds - check with your vet)
Medication for insect stings in both a topical spray and oral capsules (again, talk with your vet about brand choice and dosages)
Hydrogen peroxide (to disinfect the wound)
Towel
Muzzle (if your dog is in pain, you need to take steps to prevent him from biting you or others while addressing the emergency)

If you are planning a camping trip in a remote location, it would be wise to consider enrolling in a back-country EMT course, which should be available through your local community college.

It sounds like a lot of work, but if you’re adequately prepared, you’re more likely to have a blast. Enjoy your trip!

(Please note: Always consult your veterinarian on your first aid kit regarding items, brand choices, dosages and guidance on their uses.)

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Dealing with Gassy Pets

Thursday, 21 June 2012 16:37 by Dr. Jane

Wink

One of the endearing qualities of companion animals is a complete lack of awareness about social norms. If they’re hungry, they eat. If they have an itch, they scratch. And, if they have gas, they … well, they release it. No doubt, gassiness is a subject that can spark the giggles. A comic staple of popular films, whether you euphemistically refer to it as breaking wind, cutting the cheese, barking spiders, a case of the vapors, churchhouse creepers, low flying geese, smoofers, whootzies, silent but violents, talky shorts, paint peelers, caboose rumblers, intestinnabulation, drive by pootings, smurf killers, lighting the afterburners, under-thunder, one-gun salutes or disturbances in the force, excessive gassiness is just another issue pet parents have to tolerate … or do they?

Let’s look at the causes. Excess gas in canine and feline intestinal tracts can be a function of normal biological processes, but repeated episodes may signal that something is out of whack. While cats do experience episodes, this is a much more common complaint for pet parents of canines than felines (cat lovers, you may now feel appropriately smug). Dogs who eat too quickly can swallow a lot of air along with their food; if it isn’t burped out, gas will find an exit path on the other end. Large meals, especially those eaten rapidly, and a radical change in diet can both lead to poor digestion, resulting in excessive gas. More...

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Successful Aging - Maintaining Strength and Mobility

Thursday, 21 June 2012 16:35 by Dr. Sarah

Welcome to the next installment of our Successful Aging Series! In this episode of Pet Talk, we’ll discuss issues that effect many creatures as they age – maintaining strength and mobility. Watch as Dr. Sarah dispenses her valuable veterinary insights about nutrition, weight control, and the importance of strength training for the preservation of healthy bones and muscles. If your dog or cat exhibits gimpiness, or just isn’t as lively as in younger years, you’ll be especially interested in learning about what options are available to you to make a positive difference in their lives, now and long into the future. Our good doctor explains how pain may be at the root of some problems, while in other cases diet may be responsible for a hitch in the get-along. Additionally, we’ll reveal some simple exercises you can do with your companion animal to make them feel better and age with grace. Be sure to share this important health message with your friends and family!

(Consult your veterinarian before starting an exercise program with your companion animal.)

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Going Home Greyhounds

Thursday, 21 June 2012 16:17 by Life's Abundance
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Trent Henry

The noted aviator and writer Antoine de Sainte-Exupery once said, “In giving you are throwing a bridge across the chasm of your solitude”. In that sense, this month’s featured rescue organization has firmly established itself as a builder of bridges, connecting thousands of dogs and adoptive pet parents.

It’s our great honor to announce our financial award to Going Home Greyhounds, a non-profit that provides refuge, aid and care for retired racers. Based in Wexford, PA, this rescue has been in continuous operation since 1995 and their reach covers a 100-mile radius which encompasses Pittsburgh. Going Home Greyhounds (GHG) is guided by a board of five members who oversee the day-to-day operations of more than 70 volunteers. This massive team is responsible for a variety of duties, including transporting retired racers from track kennels, bathing newly retired dogs, fostering Greyhounds in their homes, doing meet-and-greets with people interested in adoption, participating in local parades and handling the details of fundraising events.
Every fosterer in their network commits significant time and energy to locating qualified and loving homes for these graceful creatures. Caretakers are actively involved in making sure the adoption process operates smoothly. As a “temporary parent”, they can provide valuable insights into the personalities and individual needs of every dog, helping to place the right Greyhound with the right family. More...

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Successful Aging - Cancer in Pets

Thursday, 24 May 2012 14:26 by Dr. Sarah

Welcome to the first installment of our Successful Aging Series! In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah addresses one of the most frightening and heartbreaking illnesses that afflict companion animals – cancer. According to the most recent data, nearly four million dogs will be diagnosed with cancer this year, which is why we’re dedicating an entire episode to “the C-word”. To aid you in your quest to help your fur kids age successfully, Dr. Sarah shares the latest news about our current understanding of how companion animals age and the obstacles they encounter later in life. Additionally, Dr. Sarah discusses prevalent pet cancers, what sorts of treatments are available now, and groundbreaking research into potential therapies and preventatives. Don’t miss this episode, as you’ll also discover news from the National Cancer Institute about its ambitious agenda to eradicate this silent killer. We encourage you to share this timely and vital message with your friends and family!

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