Category Archives: safety

Three Options For Affordable Veterinary Care

Just like with human health, there are many options when it comes to care for you dog. From “primary care” from an ongoing veterinarian, to “urgent care”-style services from a mobile or “next available” vet, there are all kinds of services to meet every need your dog has.

Each of these three types of veterinary services is designed to fit the needs and lifestyle of any type of dog owner. Mobile veterinary services, Vets in store, and full service permanent veterinarians offer the full line of whatever services you are looking for.

Mobile Veterinary Services

Mobile veterinary services will travel to you and meet you in the comfort of your home or farm, and at a time that is convenient for you. This is the most convenient option as you can book an appointment that works in your schedule, and often your dog (or animal’s) primary care veterinarian will schedule regular visits. Not only will your pet be most relaxed in their own environment, but they can get to know and be comfortable with a recurring person.

Veterinarians like Dr. Andrea Switch realized there was a need to meet animals on their own turf, and to offer a convenient option to pet owners, so she launched her mobile service.

While mobile services are very convenient, they are limited to the procedures they can perform due to the limited amount of equipment they are able to travel with, and lack of surgical space.

A few veterinarians and services that offer home visits include VetPronto, HousePaws, VettedPetCare, and ValetVet.

Community Vet Clinics

Another convenient option that bridges the gap between home visits, and a traditional veterinarian is the community vet clinic. Often these clinics are located at pet stores and have convenient times like weekends and evenings. When the host store or center doesn’t have the space inside, often you will find the clinic in a tent outside. One of the independently owned chains that often hosts clinics is Pet Supplies Plus.

These clinics often do not require an appointment can offer a lower cost than a traditional veterinarian office because they have fewer fixed costs. Listed on the VIP Pet Care site, they have the following services listed as available at their clinics:

  • Microchipping
  • Vaccinations
  • Rx Flea and Tick Control
  • Heartworm Prevention
  • Testing and Deworming
  • Titer Testing
  • Nail Trims and Grinds (select locations)

Canine services include:

  • 5-in-1 (DAP + PARVO) Vaccine
  • Canine Rabies
  • Bordetella Vaccine
  • Leptospirosis 4-way
  • Roundworm/Hookworm Dewormer
  • Fecal Test

Feline Services include:

  • 3-in-1 (FVRCP)
  • Feline Leukemia Vaccine
  • PureVax Rabies Vaccine
  • Roundworm/Hookworm Dewormer
  • Fecal Test

Community vet clinics typically offer emailed records, walk-up service, and convenient locations that you already visit, and may offer lower prices than traditional veterinarians. While these locations are staffed by professional veterinarians and technicians, they can suffer from high turnover rates due to the intense travel requirements, so you may not have the same veterinarian or technician working with your pet on separate visits.

Full Service Permanent Veterinarian

Traditional veterinarians offer the most comprehensive service due to their permanent facilities and the ability to install specialized equipment that may not be able to travel. Bringing your dog or cat to a veterinarian location may have certain drawbacks, like needing to visit during their established hours, and due to the increased overhead expenses they may be more expensive than other options, but having a permanent staff may ease the anxiety of your pet as they become familiar with the team who work there.

Full service veterinarian offices are often facilities accredited by the American Animal Health Association (AAHA). These voluntary standards help to ensure that your pet has the most enjoyable and safest experience possible while in your vet’s care.

Conclusion

There are so many variables that each pet owner must take into consideration when looking to find the best care for their pet, and finding the right balance of cost, convenience, and quality. With more service providers recognizing that pet owners today are looking for veterinary care, there are ever-expanding options to find the right type of care for your pet.

Keeping Your Dogs Cool In The Car

With school letting out across the United States, we are ready to mark the official start of Summer, which means the temperature will soon – or has been – start to rise. While the heat is a welcomed addition to the lives of many people, we also need to be more aware of the comfort and safety of our canine friends.

If we get overheated, we don’t need to rely on someone else to move us to a cooler area. We don’t have to communicate our discomfort to anyone and depend on their action for relief. Unfortunately, that is the case for dogs. They rely on us to ensure that the environment is comfortable.

One of the places where dogs don’t have an ability to control their own temperature is in vehicles. Summer is a great time to hit the open road and take a trip with your furry friend, but please be sure to not put them in a situation where they can be harmed due to overheating in vehicles, and tragically there are deaths every year.

As I was picking up groceries this weekend, I saw a sign posted at my local Wegmans grocery store that said the following. The sign had this text, which I have copied from a circular and pasted here.

A Pennsylvania shopper wrote us recently with an impassioned plea to pet owners not to leave dogs in hot cars. She cited some information about temperature escalation in a hot car, and I wanted to share this with you. I had not realized how quickly auto temperatures can rise on a hot day (though hot days have been few this season). And since 62% of American households have a pet – and 40% of these are dogs – it seems worth mentioning.

The customer cited information on a website www.MyDogIsCool.com, from United Animal Nations (UAN). Example: On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car … with the windows slightly opened… will reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes. In 30 minutes, it will go up to 120 degrees. On warmer days, of course, it will go even higher. Studies show that leaving the window open a crack does nothing to reduce the heat inside the vehicle.

A dog’s normal body temperature is 101.5 – 102.2 degrees. A dog can withstand a body temperature of 107 – 108 degrees F. for only a very short time before suffering irreparable brain damage, or even death. The closed car interferes with the dog’s normal cooling process.. that is, evaporation through panting. If you dog is overcome by heat exhaustion, UAN recommends giving immediate first aid by immersing him/her in cold water until body temperature is lowered.

At Wegmans, we pride ourselves on quick checkout, but even so, consider these facts next time you have your dog in the car, and run into the store for “just a minute”. The website mentioned above is a source of additional information.

May Ellen Burris – Senior Vice President of Consumer Affairs, WegmansCircular text

I checked out the website and found that there are great resources there to help raise awareness including printable sheets to share on people’s cars, hang in your business, or promote on social media.

Questions and Answers About the Seresto Collar for Dogs

Every dog in his house has worn a Seresto collar. They are an easy, and maintenance-free way to prevent fleas and ticks. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about Seresto collars for dogs.

  • How tight should I fasten the Seresto collar around my dogs neck?

According to the product manual, the Seresto collar should be tightened firmly enough so that the loose end of the collar pulls through the clasp at the end, and you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and neck.

  • Can I bathe my dog while they are wearing a Seresto collar?

Yes. The Seresto collar is designed to be worn during bathing and still achieve 8 months of prevention. However, the efficacy of the collar will be reduced when dogs are shampoo-bathed or go swimming more than once a month.

  • Are the chemicals in the Seresto collar safe to use around the house?

The pesticides used in the Seresto collar are safe to use in the household. Special precautions should be taken when the collar is used in the same household as children. Do not allow small children to play with the collar or reflectors. Avoid contact with eyes, skin, and clothing. Wash hands with soap and water after fitting the collar. The collar must not be used on animals other than dogs. Scratching or mild coat loss may occur after a new application of a collar.

  • What pesticides are found in the Seresto collar?

The active ingredients in the Seresto collar are Flumthrin, and Imidacloprid. Read more at this blog post about these ingredients and those found in other flea and tick collars.

  • Must I attach the reflectors to the Seresto collar?

No, it is not mandatory to attach the reflectors to the Seresto collar. Attaching them to the Seresto collar will help increase visibility at night if you dog goes outside. To ensure safety, they must be installed according to the package insert.

  • Is the Seresto collar a choking hazard for my dog?

When fitted according to the instructions in the packaging insert, the Seresto collar is safe to leave on your dog. It features a ‘break away’ design that will loosen the collar if it becomes entangled.

  • Are the active ingredients in the Seresto collar different from other brands?

Manufacturers of several brands of flea and tick collars use a combination of several pesticides. Find out which brands use a mix of which chemicals by reading this article.

  • Where is the best place to buy a Seresto collar for my dog?

Seresto collars are available at most major pet stores and are often in a large display. Amazon keeps Seresto collars in-stock year round, and you can elect to add them to a subscription so new collars will automatically ship when it is time to replace it.

  • What size Seresto collar should I buy for my dog?

Seresto collars are available in two sizes; for large and small dogs. Dogs under 18 pounds should wear the Small size, and dogs 18 pounds and over should wear the Large size Seresto collar.

  • What company manufactures the Seresto collar?

BayerDVM is the veterinary-focus subsidiary of pharmaceutical manufacture Bayer Health that produces the Seresto collar.

Start A Walking Routine With Your Dog For Better Health, And A Free Magnet

The American Kennel Club (AKC), the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs, is proud to announce the AKC FIT DOG program.

AKC FIT DOG is an introductory level incentive program that will offer dog owners who reach a specified fitness goal a free car magnet featuring the AKC FIT DOG logo. Participation in AKC FIT DOG will bring health benefits to both dogs and their owners.

“There are many reasons to walk for exercise,” says Ann Green in this NBC interview, M.S., past heptathlon world athlete, yoga teacher and fitness studio owner. “Walking improves fitness, cardiac health, alleviates depression and fatigue, improves mood, creates less stress on joints and reduces pain, can prevent weight gain, reduce risk for cancer and chronic disease, improve endurance, circulation, and posture, and the list goes on…”

“The most commonly recommended exercise to improve fitness by both physicians and veterinarians is walking,” said Mary Burch, Director of the AKC Family Dog program. “AKC FIT DOG has adopted the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 30 to 40 minutes of walking for a total of 150 minutes per week. If we can get people walking with their dogs, we can contribute to the overall health, fitness and well-being of dogs and their owners.”

To participate in AKC FIT DOG and earn your free car magnet while supplies last, please go to: https://www.akc.org/sports/akc-family-dog-program/akc-fit-dog/

Dozer’s Dental Chews And Other Great Made In America Dog Products

One of the values that we find in buying American Made products is that there comes with it goodwill of the country. We have an implicit understanding that the products will be high quality and the people making them will stand behind them.

Dozer’s Dental Chews are Made in the USA of eight simple ingredients, but formed in shapes and sizes to help clean your dogs teeth as they chew. The first three ingredients are potato, rice, and chicken. The chew itself is dense but not overly hard like some nylon chews can be. While the small pieces of nylon chews will safely pass through a dogs tract, Dozer’s Chews are made of food(!) so they are a great treat as well.

Dozers Dental Chews

Why we like this:

– Made from food ingredients so they are a fun treat as well!
– Fun and stimulating shapes to interest your dog and clean all areas of their teeth
– Come in a variety of shapes and sizes for all breeds

 

Greenies Dental Chews and Breath Freshener are a household name. They are made in Kansas and came to be because “necessity is the mother of invention“; nothing like it existed! Their classic shape is almost iconic, and they now come in dozens of varieties, shapes, and formulations; perfect for every breed.

Why We Like These: The unique shape and the wide variety of flavors, along with the proven history of this company gives assurance that they deliver a safe and functional product.

King of Pups by King of Pops. This Atlanta-based creator of inspired popsicles also creates a version for dogs! They are made with yogurt, banana, honey, peanut butter, vegetable gums, and natural flavors. They are made with locally sourced ingredients and available by mail order!

 

Why We Like This: King of Pops goes out of their way to model sustainability and local sourcing. They use high quality ingredients and haven’t forgotten the importance of the human-pet bond.

Check out this great dog treat company from Stroudsburg, PA: WhiskerBiscuits makes fun treats for dogs in a variety of flavors and shapes. They are known for their ‘Peanut Butter Poo’, and “The Big Sack” which has a variety of all their products. They also have a subscription service – The Very Important Pet club – “VIP”. Each month you will receive a shipment of their latest flavor!

Whisker Biscuits - The Big Sack

Why We Like This: Subscription services such as these help to support our fellow countrymen, helping them embody the vision of the American Dream, as well as saving us time and money sourcing and buying treats for our canine friends.

Fresh Wave Lavender Odor Removing Packs in a basket with an assortment of essential dog supplies

Scare Away ‘Dog Smell’ With This Lavender Sachet

I am a huge fan of FreshWave. They make a complete line of all-natural home odor control products (air fresheners, vacuum beads, pet shampoo), and today in the grocery store I saw their new Lavender scent Odor Removing Packs.

All natural products are important to me as I like to minimize the amount of chemicals in the house, especially around the dogs.

FreshWave has a unique blend of  natural extracts of lime, pine needle, aniseed, clove, and cedarwood, they combine to achieve their signature odor removal.

 

Lavender Oil has long been used as an aromatherapy technique to soothe anxious dogs, and reduce their anxiety. I was intrigued to see it in a sachet that is easy to manage, is long-lasting (up to 60 days!) and from a brand that I regularly trust. I use their Pet Shampoo regularly, and pay full retail price for the products that I show here.

Fresh Wave Lavender Odor Removing Packs in a basket with an assortment of essential dog supplies

FreshWave Lavender Odor Removing Packs have a ‘natural’ home in our basket of dog supplies.

As soon as I arrived home from the store, I opened the packages, smelled how pure the scent of the oil is, and found a home for them in the ‘dog basket’. This basket is in the Family Room where we spend most of our time in the evening, and where the dogs spend their days while we are at work. The packaging says the sachet is designed for small rooms, but this is more of a medium sized, so I expect the scent to more more diluted than designed. That being said, the scent is pleasant, understated, and fresh. It doesn’t ‘hit you’ when you walk into the room, but you know that the room smells good.

Since one of our dogs is a shih tzu, known for being loud alert dogs, I am hoping that the mild lavender will keep him calm and relaxed. Please note that I won’t be placing the sachets in the same space as the dogs, or applying the oils directly to them. This article from Chargin Falls Veterinary Center and Pet Clinic has great advise about how to properly use essential oils around pets.

The packaging says that the only ingredient is “plant oils”, so you certainly can’t get any more simple or natural than that!

According to the Fresh Wave website, they have been making all-natural odor-removing products for over 20 years. While they source their oils from around the world, all their products are manufactured in Rising Sun, Indiana.

Speaking of lavender, I came across this blog post from Barking Botanicals what shows 6 Ways To Use Lavender In The Car To Calm Your Dog. They have some unique suggestions such as making a vehicle spray, buying a portable essential oil diffuser, and treating your dogs collar.

 

Effective Treatments For Dog Ear Infections

While the title of this post isn’t that appealing, ear infections are common for many floppy-ear dog breeds such as shih tzu, poodle, pit bull, cocker spaniel, and Shar Pei.

Infections generally fall into two categories; bacterial, or yeast. WebMD says the main contributing factors of ear infections are: ear mites, excessive hair, moisture or wax, foreign bodies, allergies, and hypothyroidism. Not adequately drying or airing out ears after swimming, or exploring overgrown areas outdoors can expose your dog to the contributing causes of ear infections.

Infected ears can be uncomfortable for your dog, both because of the irritation in their ear canal, but also excessive scratching can cause cuts and increase the redness, as they attempt to scratch the itch away.

From time to time I have had to treat ear infections in my dog at home and found the following to be helpful to treat both kinds. When the non-prescription products don’t work after a few days, then a trip to the vet is necessary. I have found that often my grocery store pharmacy can order pet prescriptions. If you know you have a prescription coming your way from the vet, it is helpful to call the grocery store pharmacy to check their pricing to ensure you don’t overpay at the vet. If your pet prescription requires refills, you might as well save a stop and get them at the same time as your prescriptions (if any), or your groceries!

The five medications I have at home to treat my dogs ear infections are:

Prescription Non-Prescription
Otibiotic Vet’s Best Ear Relief Dry
Otomax VetOrganics EcoEars
Virbac Epi-Otic

Effective medications for treating dog ear infections

 

Otibiotic is made by VetUS (Henry Schein Animal Health) and comes in a 15g tube, with instructions to administer 5 drops in the ear each day, for 14 days. The ingredients are gentamicin sulphate, betamethasone valerate, and clotrimazole and they are mixed in a mineral oil paste. It controls bacteria and fungus, and is an anti-inflammatory. It has the same active ingredients and proportion of ingredients as Otomax, however it is less expensive.

Otomax is made by Merk Animal Health and was the original prescribed product we had received to treat both the bacterial and fungal ear infection. It contains gentamicin sulphate, betamethasone valerate, and clotrimazole, and is mixed with a mineral oil paste to aid in application.

Epi-Otic made by Virbac is a clear rinse that helps remove cellular debris and wax from the ears and contains an anti-irritant. The active ingredients are diethylene glycol monoethyl ether, salicylic acid, and chloroxylenol. It is applied by filling the ear, massaging for 60-90 seconds, then allowing the dog to shake out the excess. After that, a cotton swab should be used to wipe out the remaining, along with any debris or wax that has been loosened. Any following medication should be applied after the Epi-Otic has dried.

EcoEars is a natural product made by VetOrganics in the USA. The ingredients are: deionized water, witch hazel extract, denatured grain alcohol, vegetable glycerin, polysorbate 20 (food grade), boric acid, tea tree oil, ionic silver solution, organic mullein leaf extract, rosemary extract, and fingerroot extract. It is a clear liquid that can be administered directly in to the ear, or for squirmy dogs, a cotton ball can be soaked and the liquid squeezed into the ear.

The VetOrganics website goes into further detail to describe how each of the ingredients work to clear up the infection. I have found that it works well as a maintenance product. The label recommends using it twice per day for 10 days, or longer as necessary; weekly as a maintenance product. I found that the prescription medications show a visible improvement in the appearance of ear cleanliness and smell within hours of applying them.

Finally, Vet’s Best Ear Relief Dry is another natural formula made in the USA (Texas, to be exact) and contains Calendula, Clove Oil, Aloe Vera, Chamomie, Tea Tree Oil, Silica and Echinacea. It too is a white paste that dries to a powder which helps absorb moisture which can cause bacterial and yeast growth. The recommended application is to squeeze into the ear canal and let dry. This should be used before and after bathing or swimming, and can be used regularly as a maintenance product. I find this especially useful after baths because I know there is often water remaining inside Dexter’s floppy ears.

Some of the product links above are affiliate links to the product pages on Amazon.