Thursday, April 25, 2013

Vitamins for Dogs with Joint Issues

While many veterinarians feel that healthy eating supplies the nutrient requirements needed in most dogs, vitamins can be a vital part of your pet’s diet. Though if your dog has joint problems, vitamins can be very useful to keeping your pet at peak performance. But beware, over-supplementing is possible in dogs, so be careful when choosing the right vitamin for the benefits most necessary.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin are the most common supplements used for treating joint problems and can found either by themselves or as part of a multi-vitamin. These are probably the most popular supplements because they occur naturally in healthy joint fluid and cartilage. Research has shown that giving these supplements to your dog can not only ease joint pain but replenish the nutrients in joint fluid and cartilage that has been worn away from any number of factors.

Cosequin, combines the helpful rejuvenating powers of glucosamine and chondroitin and adds them to manganese to relieve joint pain in dogs. Manganese is an anti-inflammatory and is found in many foods such as nuts, seeds, and vegetables. The vitamin is available in many forms, but perhaps the two easiest forms of it to administer to your pet are through a powder that can be dusted over food and flavored chewables.

Nupro Joint Support
Nupro Joint Support is a combination of glucosamine with MSM and special ingredient ester-C. MSM is another anti-inflammatory much like manganese, and is sometimes used in humans to ease osteoarthritis. Ester-C is added because it’s a form of vitamin C, which some researchers claim helps it enter the body’s cells faster.

Cetyl-M is combined mix of cetyl myristoleate and glucosamine and is probably the most expensive option on our list. The purpose of this supplement is two-fold; first, it acts as an anti-inflammatory while helping boost the immune system to maintain the health of the cartilage in the body and second, it helps to rebuild existing cartilage by cutting down on friction so as to help get back as much flexibility in the joint as possible. This supplement is probably best effective in dogs with signs of severe hip dysplasia, or for pets that have just had joint surgery; Cetyl-M is a means to help speed up their recovery.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cats and Heart Murmurs

Cat heart murmurs are sometimes nothing more than an incidental occurrence with no medical significance. They’re the result of uneven blood flow through the heart and are signaled by a specific sound that veterinarians listen for in the rhythm of the cat's heart. Tests such as ultrasound are used to diagnose a murmur, but any irregularities in a cat’s heart are often an indication of this type of unique condition. The severity and the type of murmur will vary based upon a variety of symptoms.

There are two types of murmurs which are the most common; a physiological murmur as the result of an illness in the cat through anemia or fever, and a pathological murmur found among the irregularities in the valves or chambers of the heart. Doctors grade the severity of murmurs on a six point scale, with one being mildest and six being very severe. These grades don’t speak to the cat's health, but are merely a system for analyzing how the murmur sounds. A grade six murmur does not mean the cat’s life is being threatened, nor does a grade one mean that the cat is entirely healthy.

The most visible signs of a possible heart murmur in your cat are shown through the way they’re behaving. Look for signs in your cat that lead to lethargy or a general weakness in its mannerisms. A change in the color of the mouth or skin is also an early hint of a murmur and a trip to the veterinarian may be in order.

Though they may seem extreme, heart murmurs do not usually need treatment. But keep an eye on your cat’s behavior and bring your pet in for examinations every three to six months to watch for any medical signs or other indicators that the murmur is worsening. If the cat doesn’t show any discomfort, then it's likely the murmur is nothing more than a harmless noise that will go away eventually.

Like any medical condition, it is very important to report any changes in your cat's behavior so a veterinarian can run vital tests to assess if your cat has a murmur. Early detection is your best weapon against heart disease in your cat and staying vigilant will keep your furry friend healthy and happy for a long life to come.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Children and the Death of a Pet

The loss of a pet can be a devastating experience for everyone in the family. But for young children, it can be especially painful and difficult to understand and process, because they are still unfamiliar with the concept of death. All they know is that the beloved pet who was their best friend is no longer around and they're going to look to you for answers as to why. To them, death is a sudden upheaval in their lives and sooner or later this simple fact of life is going to need to be explained. There are a few things to consider when this challenging situation finally arises.

First; because they are going to have questions, be prepared to answer them. Listen carefully and respond matter of factly, but delicately. But be sure to keep the answers concise and to the point. Your child is already trying to process this shocking incident in their head, try to give them information that is easily understood and digested. The answers will likely lead to more questions, so patience is paramount. Work with your child until they're able to grasp what's happened and let them take as much as time as they need.

Second, you want to tell them the truth. Our first instinct is to try to shield children, especially young ones, from the blatant facts of difficult situations such as this, but it's best to refrain from trying to protect them. Telling your child their pet has "gone away" or "lives someplace else" can be confusing instead of informative. It's best to explain that their pet has died and they are no longer here. Be ready to repeat yourself to them as they will have many questions about death and its permanence.

Finally, help your child remember and honor their pet's memory. Have them talk about their deceased pet, look at photos of times they spent with their pet and have them draw pictures or write down their favorite memories. It will help them to understand that death is permanent but it doesn't need to keep them from moving forward with life. They may say that they will never forget their deceased pet and you can encourage them to keep that positive approach. And after some time, maybe it will be appropriate to consider getting another animal in the home. Not to replace the pet they lost, but to meet and love a new best friend.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Maybe We Need Ruti On Our Team!

We like to think we have a pretty top-notch family here at PCW&T. All of our handlers love animals and try each and every day to better understand them. It's true that no human could ever fully comprehend what exactly goes on in the colorful and, undoubtedly, surreal minds of the dogs and cats we care for from week to week. But we do try, offering a kind and loving approach to working with all of our clients. Some may have special needs, others may have some gaps in their training, and still others just love to be outside and can get quite excitable. Whatever the situation, we're ready to take a cautious and considerate lead.

Jo has handpicked each member of the team because of their devotion to the animals in their care. But she's always on the look out for that perfect employee. The type who really knows how an animal thinks, really takes each visit from a low to the ground approach, someone who thinks two legs aren't enough...and, of course, it doesn't hurt that she can pay them in cans of Fancy Feast.

Well we may have found her dream team member. This kitty, named Ruti, made national headlines recently by doing something we do every day without much fanfare -- she walked the family dog. It's no secret that most cats consider themselves above many of their owners...and obviously above dogs in the hierarchy of the home. Any cat lover (and Garfield) knows that. But this kitty has gone one step further and proved just who holds the leash in this household.

The dog, well, he seems a bit confused by the whole thing. Like something here just ain't right, but like a good boy, he comes when he's called. You can hear Ruti meow at him when he stops to wonder if this is really a good thing or not.

We at PCW&T are quite impressed. 

From this group of dog walkers to another: well done, Ruti. Well done.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Oliver and Hutch...A Tale of Two Frenchies

Two of the most memorable characters that we spend time with each week are Oliver and Hutch, two french bulldogs who live with their owner, Annie. They couldn't be more different in personality, temperament and attitude. You might think that two dogs who were such distinct opposites of one another may not get along, but these two are simply the best of friends. 

But that doesn't mean they always get along. In fact, there are some days where they have two entirely different agendas and that can be tough when there's only one walker with two arms! 

Hutch is the adventurer, the one whose snout is waiting eagerly by the window when it's time for a walk. He loves being outdoors and wants to walk around the entire neighborhood enjoying some fun outside time. But he can also be the more aggressive of the two, sometimes barking at other dogs who he encounters along the way. Some days he's just cranky and he wants everyone around him to know that he's not in the mood. Yet who among us hasn't acted the same exact way on a Monday morning? 

Oliver is the more mellow of the two. Some days he just doesn't feel like going out. Could be because his allergies are acting up, or because he doesn't feel like it. But on the days he's excited to go out, he likes to set the pace...slow and curious. Oliver is a sniffer. He likes to check out everything single little flower, shrub, curb and tree. He is in no rush to go anyplace and usually Hutch is pulling against his leash, raring to go and often looking back at his buddy; imploring him to pick up the pace. 

Once Oliver does his business, he usually likes to make a bee-line back to home while Hutch would stay out all day long if he could. So these two are often moving in opposite directions, eager to get to the place they want to be. 

Luckily these two also know how to compromise...and so Oliver will traipse along with his buddy Hutch until they get to the end of the block and that's when Oliver gets to sniff a tree while Hutch waits patiently. It's all about give and take with these guys, and they've got it down pretty well...on most days. 

But the best part is when they get home and drink from their water bowls together, side by side. There they can finally agree on something, they're both thirsty from their walk. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

About Your Dog's Shedding...

So no matter where your furry friend goes, the car, the couch, the outside stairwell, your lap; the pooch leaves a little bit of themselves behind. Every devoted animal lover knows that a little bit of hair around the house is pretty much unavoidable. But there are ways to keep it under control, even if it can be an almost constant problem.

The lint roller is your greatest ally. That wonderful invention of detachable tape sheets that apprehend every last strand and follicle...or so you think. There's always one or two stubborn ones that seem to avoid the sticky surface as you run it along the couch, the bedspread, your cute little black dress that somehow ended up on the floor. Despite those few missed hairs, the lint roller does the trick pretty well. But did you know, there are other ways to help curb the excessive hair loss of your pet? 

First of all, what are we talking about when we're dealing with shedding? It's the routine loss of hair that sheds the old follices to make room for new ones that are coming in. This is a perfectly natural thing for most every dog to go through; however there are some factors that could come into play if your pet is shedding more than usual or if you notice a fairly excessive amount of hair loss. Skin related issues such as infections, allergies or flea infestations are a common cause of overly aggressive shedding. Other things like stress and hormonal changes are also possible reasons to consider. 

Keeping these in mind, there are a few ways you can help lessen your dog's shedding. Routine brushing is probably your best bet. It will ramp up oil production of the coat and eliminate the dead hairs that are getting ready to fall to the ground or the bed anyway. So capturing them before that happens puts you ahead of the game. Plus, the chances are very good that your dog will L-O-V-E it. So it's really a win-win, as you don't have to worry about running the roller across the carpet and your pup will have a soft and shiny coat. 

There are grooming products you can buy that are specifically suited for your dog's skin and when purchasing something like this, be it a shampoo or a brush, always keep in mind which ones work best for different types of dogs. Dogs with long fur or short hair, big or small, all have their own unique ways of shedding and amounts over time. This is connected to how their skin reacts to a list of stimuli and irritants. Ask your vet or pet care professional for some advice on which products will be the most beneficial to keeping your pet's skin smooth and soft and their coat healthy. 

Of course, a healthy pet usually means a healthy coat. Diet plays an important part in maintaining your dog's coat and feeding your pet a highly nutritious diet will help to keep the shedding under control . Elements in your pet food such as Omega 3's, vitamins and nutrients, fatty acids and pure meats are all beneficial to your dog's nutritional regimen.