Category Archives: Health

Top Ten Cold Weather Tips

BigStock photo
BigStock photo

I’m watching The Weather Channel, waiting for the snow to reach us here in Canton, Ohio, and realizing that there is snow deep into the south, where they are not quite as used to it as we are. So, a few cold weather tips for you and your dog:

1. Bring your dog inside if at all possible.

2. If the dog must stay outside, provide straw or blankets and a shelter where s/he can get out of the wind. Continue reading Top Ten Cold Weather Tips

Nerd Out Piece About Sled Dog Feet

Photo:  Iditarod.com
Photo: Iditarod.com

I know many people worry about the health and welfare of sled dogs during long races like the Iditarod. Here’s an interesting (if you’re a nerd like me) article about how these dogs’ feet can withstand being in snow and ice for nine days, written by the Iditarod’s veterinarians.

A penguin, a sled dog, and a manatee walk into a diner…

Well, maybe not. But even if they don’t frequent the same restaurants, they do share similar adaptations that help them overcome the challenges of life in cold environments. Continue reading Nerd Out Piece About Sled Dog Feet

FDA Expands SportsMix Food Recall After 70 Dogs Die

Fast Facts

FDA is alerting pet owners and veterinary professionals about certain Sportmix pet food products (see list below) manufactured by Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. in their Oklahoma plant that may contain potentially fatal levels of aflatoxins.
As of January 11, 2021, FDA is aware of more than 70 pets that have died and more than 80 pets that are sick after eating Sportmix pet food. Not all of these cases have been officially confirmed as aflatoxin poisoning through laboratory testing or veterinary record review. This count is approximate and may not reflect the total number of pets affected.
This is an ongoing investigation. Case counts and the scope of this recall may expand as new information becomes available.
Aflatoxins are toxins produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus, which can grow on corn and other grains used as ingredients in pet food. At high levels, aflatoxins can cause illness and death in pets.
Pets experiencing aflatoxin poisoning may have symptoms such as sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice (yellowish tint to the eyes or gums due to liver damage), and/or diarrhea. In severe cases, this toxicity can be fatal. In some cases, pets may suffer liver damage but not show any symptoms.
Pet owners should stop feeding their pets the recalled products listed below and consult their veterinarian, especially if the pet is showing signs of illness. The pet owner should remove the food and make sure no other animals have access to the recalled product.
FDA is asking veterinarians who suspect aflatoxin poisoning in their patients to report the cases through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling their local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. Pet owners can also report suspected cases to the FDA. Continue reading FDA Expands SportsMix Food Recall After 70 Dogs Die

Canine Thanksgiving Dinner

Theron Turkey

I know, we all want to share a little of our Thanksgiving feasts with our dogs, especially because we may not have as many visitors in this virus-filled year. Just keep in mind there are some things on your table that may not be suitable for your dog.

The biggest problem may be herbs and seasonings. Garlic is a big no-no for your dog. Onions, too, can cause a problem. Grapes, raisins, avacadoes, and nuts are also on the no go list. And no chocolate or alcohol!

So, what can you feed your pup? Continue reading Canine Thanksgiving Dinner

Do Sled Dogs Need Lots of Carbs Before a Race?

When we humans prepare for a marathon, we eat lots of carbs in the days before the race to increase stored muscle energy. But sled dogs have much different metabolic needs. For them, fat content is far more important, with fats making up as much as 60 – 70% of their diets.

How do I know this? Because the Iditarod has launched a new Ask an Iditarod Vet feature, answering all your questions about sled dog health.

I know there are people who think these endurance-based sled dog races are cruel, but these athletic dogs love their jobs and are probably treated better than yours and mine. And it’s not just about racing; I heard today that some of Alaska’s ballots were delivered to their election boards by sled dog!

You can send questions for Iditarod veterinarians to Krystin at [email protected]

Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!

Breast Cancer Awareness

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Want to know the best way to prevent mammary cancer in your dog? SPAY HER. Mammary cancers are extremely rare in dogs who have been spayed. So in addition to preventing unwanted litters, spaying could save your dog’s life.

It used to be that vets recommended spaying early, before the dog goes into heat, but current thinking is that the ovarian hormones are important in bone and joint development, so they recommend waiting until 8 – 12 months, as long as the dog is in a secure environment where pregnancy is unlikely.

Whether you spay early or later, the cancer protection is worth the cost of the surgery.

Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!

Saturday Survey: Drive-Thru Food

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As you may recall, National Coffee Day was this week, and we talked about how dangerous it is to give caffeine to a dog. Which doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy Starbucks with you; you just have to be smart about what you get for them.

Many of us take our dogs out for car rides, and car rides often include a stop at a drive-through. Do you indulge your dog when you’re there?

Do you buy your dog food from drive-throughs?

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Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!

Happy National Coffee Day

BigStockPhoto
BigStockPhoto

For many, that morning cup of coffee is an absolute necessity, so I hope you are enjoying a free cup today from one of the many retailers offering that perk.

However, please remember that caffeine is toxic to your dog. Even decaf can cause some stomach upset.

Although there are a few brands of “dog coffee”, they are really more of a collection of herbs that just look like coffee.

It’s much better to stick with the occasional “puppuccino” cup of whipped cream if you want your dog to enjoy your Starbucks with you.

Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!

Chewy Introduces Free Vet Chat

Vet ChatThe good folks at Chewy recognize that the pandemic has changed everything, including vet care. They’ve now introduced a feature allowing you to chat with a licensed veterinarian for free, right from home. To participate, you must be an autoship customer, which means you set up your pet’s food and other items to ship to you automatically on the schedule you choose. The service is available 8 AM – 8 PM, Monday through Friday, for dogs and cats residing in the following states: Connecticut, District Of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia.

Once you are an autoship customer, simply sign into your Chewy.com account and navigate to the Connect With a Vet page to get started.

Chewy continues to amaze with excellent customer service, and this is just one more example. Kudos!

Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!

Carbon Footprints

BigStock Photo
BigStock Photo
One need only look at the wildfires raging in the Western US or the storm activity in the Caribbean to know that climate change is real. We all know we have a carbon footprint we should be trying to shrink, but did you know your dog has one that can be reduced, too?

Sherry Listgarten, writing at PaloAltoOnline.com, lists ways in which we can reduce the carbon pawprint. Here’s what I see as the top three of her suggestions. Continue reading Carbon Footprints