Pet Advice & Ideas

Can Kids with Allergies have Pets?

Girl with her dog

“Mom, Dad, can we get a pet? Please?”

It’s a question that many parents hear from their youngsters. Unfortunately, the decision process can be difficult to navigate if the child in question suffers from allergies related to dogs, cats, bunnies and birds. Parents shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by this situation, as the following brief review of current research may help those seeking a solution that makes everybody happy. More...

Rules for the Dog Park

If you haven’t made time lately to take your canine companion to a local dog park, you’re both missing out on some serious fun! In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah’s on location at the Spring Canyon Dog Park in Fort Collins, CO. With the help of her Goldendoodle co-star, Alma, Dr. Sarah will share the code of proper dog-park conduct, for both canines and humans, to ensure maximum fun for everyone. Learning about companion animal etiquette has never been so much fun!

Pet-Kidnapping by Dr. Jane

 

Kidnap Dog It’s every pet parents worst nightmare. And, according to reliable sources, it’s a crime that’s on the rise.

According to the American Kennel Club, the number of pet kids reported stolen is rising. In fact, the selling of abducted companion animals has become so common that a new phrase has been coined: pet-kidnapping.

Whether you realize it or not, there is a black market for pets. Dogs in particular are assessed in these underground circles according to their “street value”, the going price if sold illicitly. Puppies, purebreds and dogs with unusual markings fetch the highest prices. Some thieves rob puppies from pet stores and animal shelters. Others swipe dogs left unattended outside stores or in cars. A spokesperson for the AKC said that they now receive pet-kidnapping reports nearly every day, ranging from nighttime home break-ins to broad-daylight attacks in public parks.

The abducted dogs and cats are then sold at roadside stands, flea markets or online through community-based classified forums. Recently a story was published about a Washington family being reunited with their stolen Great Dane, all because they noticed a “for sale” posting for their prized pup on a popular online classified forum for $150. More...

Canine Facial Cues

 

If some of your best friends have been dogs, you’ve probably noticed that they can be particularly attuned to your moods. This perceptiveness may have less to do with mind-reading than face-reading. That’s right! Dogs naturally observe facial cues for information. But how do they develop this skill? Born of instinct to read other dog’s expressions, can they really adapt to accurately read the expressions of humans? Even though this enigmatic mystery has confounded canine behaviorists for decades, Dr. Sarah devotes this episode of Pet Talk to reveal the latest developments in this area, demonstrating how you can use facial cues to improve your interspecies communication.

Socialization

Socialization is vital to raising a well-adjusted, calm and happy dog. And there’s no better time to start socializing your dog than when he or she is a puppy. In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah’s joined by a very special guest who will help demonstrate the ins-and-outs of early canine socialization. Learn what to expect at certain periods of development, what to avoid when teaching puppies and the importance of positive reinforcement. In this video, Dr. Sarah shares valuable tips that can help your puppy grow up with the social skills needed over a lifetime.

Canine Grooming Tips by Dr. Jane

Family Washing DogNo one likes a bad hair day … and that includes your dog. Just like with humans, the skin is the largest organ of a dog’s body. Every day, their skin and coats are exposed to UV rays, pollution, infectious agents, drying heat or wind. Because it can contribute to a dog’s overall health, grooming should be an essential part of companion animal care. However, despite your best intentions, it’s not unusual for grooming habits to hit a glitch. Or two. Or three! While bathing a dog, I think all of us have experienced getting wetter than your dog, being interrupted by phone calls, or, worst of all, a sudsy canine tearing off, leaving a wet, sudsy trail behind him. As a veterinarian with a good deal of grooming experience, I can tell you that planning ahead can reduce unwanted problems and stress, so here are a handful of my best tips.

BEFORE THE GROOMING SESSION

Unfortunately, bathing can be stressful for some dogs, as some just tolerate it better than others. For those pups who are particularly skiddish, consider brewing some chamomile tea to calm your dog. Thirty minutes before you bathe, give your dog a cooled cup of chamomile tea with honey, followed by a dog treat that’s rich in carbohydrates, like our Antioxidant Health Bars. The carbohydrates will help deliver the calming tea straight to your dog’s brain. Better yet, you can both sit down with some tea and play soothing music, to set a calming tone for your upcoming grooming session. You can also give your dog tea during the grooming session. As we’ve already mentioned, just make sure the tea has cooled off (no hotter than room temperature). More...

Palliative Care

 

It’s one of those terms that not everyone is familiar with, but once you’ve witnessed “palliative care” in the case of a loved one, you’ll never forget it. According to the World Health Organization, palliative care is a medical approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing complications associated with life-threatening illness, often through the prevention and relief of suffering by treatment of pain and other problems. These treatments are offered regardless of whether or not there is any hope of a cure by any means.

While palliative care has been available to humans for decades, more and more veterinarians and pet parents are advocating for similar treatments for companion animals, too. As a pet parent, you owe it to yourselves – and your companion animals – to watch this special episode of Pet Talk.

Feline Diminished Thirst Reflex

Dr Jane Bicks
The French veterinarian Ferand Mery famously said, “God made the cat in order that man might have the pleasure of caressing a tiger”. While the domestic cat cannot claim the venerable tiger as an ancestor, it is true that our cuddly feline companions are believed to have descended from felis sylvestris lybica, the African wildcat. Also known as “the desert cat”, this feline is a desert-dwelling species that inhabits harsh environments notable for their lack of food and even less water. To survive, the African wildcat can shed nearly all of her reserves of fat and protein, up to 40% of her weight! But even this highly adapted animal is much less tolerant to dehydration. And yet, it continues to thrive in desert climates without easy access to water.

Water is the single most vital component necessary to sustain the normal functioning of all living cells. Water has many functions: it eliminates waste, lubricates tissues, regulates body temperature, cushions joints and internal organs, aids in digestion, and much more.

In the wild, cats tend to eat small game characterized as high-protein and high-moisture content, such as rabbits, birds and rodents (even some juicy insects). Prey animals like these contain about 70% water, providing most of the moisture that wild cats need. Unsurprisingly, wild cats have failed to evolve a strong "thirst reflex" like that of dogs and humans. A thirst reflex involves complex interactions between the kidney and the brain. When we are dehydrated, the kidney releases chemicals that communicate with the brain, which in turn makes us consciously aware that we are thirsty and need to drink. More...

Are you traveling without your pet this summer?

 

One of America’s favorite summer pastimes is vacation travel. Often, these trips do not or cannot include our pets, so what do you do with your beloved companion when you cannot take them along? The most important thing is to not worry - the more we worry the less fun we have. Here are some of Dr. Sarah’s favorite tips to help your animals when you travel.

Do Pets Have Psychic Abilities?

Dr Jane Bicks
Have you ever wondered whether or not your companion animal has psychic abilities? While some might scoff at the idea, many are convinced that this is certainly the case.

Over the years, I’ve heard so many stories of animals exhibiting behaviors that seem as though they might fall within this realm of experience. For example, did you know that during the massive tsunami in December of 2004, scores of elephants in Sri Lanka, Sumatra and Thailand moved to higher ground before the destructive waves struck land? There were even reports of buffalo grazing by the beach in Thailand who lifted their heads in unison, stared out to sea and then stampeded up into the hills. Most, if not all of the villagers who followed the lead of these animals were saved. How did these elephants and buffalos know what was coming? Did they pick up on slight tremors that seismologists themselves were not able to detect? If so, why was it only the animals in low-lying coastal areas who exhibited strange behavior and not the rest of the animals in Southeast Asia?

There are many other documented incidences of animals sensing earthquakes all over the world. No one really knows how they sense an earthquake, although theories abound, from sensing vibrations, noticing changes in the Earth’s electromagnetic field or smelling released subterranean gases. Some of these theories could also explain why dogs ‘freak out’ before avalanches, but what about human-made catastrophes? During World War II, families in Britain and Germany relied on their pets’ behavior to warn them of impending air raids while the enemy planes were still hundreds of miles away! Just how did these pets know what was looming in their immediate futures? More...