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  • Pet Obesity on the Rise for Sixth Straight Year

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    One of America’s most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight, and statistics show that pet owners should share that goal with their dogs and cats. Data from Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, reveals that pet obesity is on the rise for the sixth straight year. In 2015, Nationwide members filed 1.3 million pet insurance claims for conditions and diseases related to pet obesity, equaling a sum of more than $60 million in veterinary expenses. The boost in total obesity-related claims signifies a 23 percent growth over the last three years.

    Similar to their human counterparts, excessive body fat increases the risk of preventable health issues and may shorten the life expectancy of dogs and cats. Nationwide recently sorted through its database of more than 585,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 dog and cat obesity-related conditions. Below are the results:

    Most Common Dog Obesity-Related Conditions Most Common Cat Obesity-Related Conditions
    1.    Arthritis 1.     Bladder/Urinary Tract Disease
    2.   Bladder/Urinary Tract Disease 2.    Chronic Kidney Disease
    3.   Low Thyroid Hormone Production 3.    Diabetes
    4.   Liver Disease 4.    Asthma
    5.   Torn Knee Ligaments 5.    Liver Disease
    6.   Diabetes 6.    Arthritis
    7.   Diseased Disc in the Spine 7.    High Blood Pressure
    8.  Chronic Kidney Disease 8.   Heart Failure
    9.   Heart Failure 9.    Gall Bladder Disorder
    10.  Fatty Growth 10.   Immobility of Spine

    “Obesity can be detrimental to the livelihood of our pets,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for Nationwide. “Pet owners need to be aware of the quality and amount of food or treats they give their furry family members. The New Year presents a perfect opportunity to create regular exercise routines for our pets and begin to effectively manage their eating habits to avoid excess weight gain. Scheduling routine wellness exams with your veterinarian is the most effective way to get started on monitoring your pet’s weight, particularly for cats.”

    In 2015, Nationwide received more than 49,000 pet insurance claims for arthritis in canines, the most common disease aggravated by excessive weight, which carried an average treatment fee of $295 per pet. With more than 5,000 pet insurance claims, bladder or urinary tract disease was the most common obesity-related condition in cats, which had an average claim amount of $442 per pet.

    Below are simple steps you can take to help regulate your pet’s weight:

    • Avoid feeding your pet table scraps.
    • Keep a consistent diet by monitoring the amount of food you give your pet.
    • Regulate the amount of treats you give your pet.
    • Establish a healthy and fun exercise schedule.

    *Consult your veterinarian to best determine your pet’s weight loss protocol.

    *Source courtesy of Pet Age

  • How to Put the Brakes on Pet Car Sickness

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    With summer travel right around the corner, many of us plan on hitting the road with our pooches for a little summer fun.  However, for some four-legged family members, road trips can mean upset tummies.

    Queasiness in the car is not just a human problem. Dogs and puppies do sometimes experience motion sickness on car rides.  Unfortunately, car sickness can make any kind of pet travel a distressing ordeal for both dogs and their families.

    Car sickness doesn’t have to be a serious or lasting problem for your pet. With the right treatment, it can be mitigated, or even stopped altogether.

    There are several causes of car sickness in dogs and puppies. The most common include:

    • Immature ears. In puppies, the ear structures that regulate balance aren’t fully developed, which can cause them to be extra sensitive to motion sickness. Many dogs will outgrow car sickness as they age.
    • Stress. If traveling in the car has only led to unpleasant experiences for your dog – to vet exams, for example — he may literally be worried sick about the journey.
    • Self-conditioning. If your dog experienced nausea on his first car rides as a puppy, he may associate car rides with illness, and expect to get sick in the car.

    Car sickness doesn’t look like you might expect it to in dogs, and you might not even realize that this is the challenge you’re dealing with. Here are some symptoms to look out for:

    • Inactivity/lethargy
    • Restlessness
    • Excessive/repetitive yawning
    • Whining/crying
    • Hyper-salivation (drooling)
    • Vomiting

    If your dog is suffering from car sickness, symptoms will typically disappear within a few minutes after the car comes to a stop.

    Fortunately, there are a number of different methods available to help prevent and/or treat canine car sickness.

    1.  Increase His Comfort Level
    • Turn your dog so that he faces forward. Motion sickness is related to the brain’s ability to process movement. The less blurring movement he sees out the window, the better he might feel.
    • Keep your dog as close to the front seat as possible (but not in the front seat). The farther back in the car you go, the more you sense motion.
    • Opening the windows a crack. This brings in fresh air, which is soothing, and helps reduce air pressure.
    • Avoid feeding your dog for a few hours before a car trip.
    • Transport him in a travel crate. A crate will limit his view to the outside, and will help to keep any sickness he may have confined to a small space.
    • Keep the temperature low. Heat, humidity and stuffiness can exacerbate car sickness.
    • Distract him. Toys, soothing music, or just hearing you speak may help calm and distract a high-strung dog.
    • Take frequent breaks. Getting out for fresh air or to stretch your legs can help him feel better periodically.
    • Exercise before your car ride.
    1.  Reconditioning  For dogs who have negative associations with riding in cars, reconditioning could be the answer. Reconditioning does take time and patience, but it really can help relax your dog.
    • Drive in a different vehicle.  Your dog might associate a specific vehicle with unpleasant memories.
    • Take short car trips to places your dog enjoys. This will replace negative associations with positive ones.
    • Gradually acclimate your dog to the car. Start by sitting with your dog in the car while the engine is off each day for a few days.  When he seems comfortable, let it idle. Once he is used to that, drive slowly around the block. Gradually progress to longer and longer trips until your dog seems comfortable driving anywhere.
    • Offer your dog treats, or offer him a special toy that’s just for car rides. This will make the car a fun and rewarding place to be.
    1.  Medication While motion sickness can be helped in natural ways for some dogs, there are cases in which medications is the only option. There are both over-the-counter and prescription medications available, including:
    • Anti-nausea drugs: reduce nausea and vomiting.
    • Antihistamines: lessen motion sickness, reduce drooling, and calm nerves.
    • Phenothiazine: reduces vomiting and helps sedate the dog.

    Caution: Always discuss any medications you plan to give your pet with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog is healthy enough to take them, will be given the correct dosage, and won’t suffer any adverse effects.

    1.  Holistic Approach  Holistic treatments are another way to go for dog parents. They really can be effective, and are worth trying.  Some common holistic choices include:
    • Ginger. Ginger is used to treat nausea. Try giving your dog ginger snap cookies or ginger pills at least 30 minutes before travel.
    • Peppermint, chamomile and horehound naturally help calm the stomach and nerves of your dog. These are available in pills and teas.
    • Massage can help sooth and relax your pet before you travel.

    As with other medications, always discuss any holistic remedies you plan to give your pet with your vet to ensure that it’s appropriate and the dosage is correct.

    In short, with some patience, training, or the right medications or holistic treatments, you and your dog will be able to ride safely and happily together anywhere you need to go!

    *Source courtesy of TripsWithPets.com

    About TripsWithPets.com
    TripsWithPets.com is the premier online pet friendly travel guide — providing online reservations at over 30,000 pet friendly hotels & accommodations across the U.S. and Canada. When planning a trip, pet parents go to TripsWithPets.com for detailed, up-to-date information on hotel pet policies and pet amenities. TripsWithPets.com also features airline & car rental pet policies, pet friendly activities, a user-friendly search-by-route option, as well as pet travel gear.

  • The Do’s and Don’ts of Taking Your Pet Outside

    Autumn is upon us and the weather is finally cooling off! The mid-summer heat may have made outdoor excursions intolerable, if not impossible. Now that the weather is less hot and humid, you may find yourself in a position where you can share the outdoors with your pets and provide them with additional physical and mental enrichment.

    Infographic Pets Outside 2

    Please keep in mind that the great outdoors can also be stressful for a small animal that hasn’t been outside before. By starting off with short intervals outside, your furry companion will be able to better adjust to new sights, sounds, and smells.

    That being said, being outside can be a great opportunity for animals to exercise and explore. Your pet will greatly benefit from the physical, mental, and nutritional enrichment of being able to relax in their natural environment while engaging in behaviors such as grazing and foraging. Once proper precautions have been taken, your pet will undoubtedly enjoy the fresh air as much as you do!

    *Source courtesy of Oxbow Animal Health

  • 5 Alternatives to Leaving Your Dog in the Car

    Bringing your dog with you while you run errands can be quite fun. But during summer, it can be a daunting task as the temperature begins to rise. The summer months can be quite harsh, especially on your pets. That’s why it is important to keep the car ventilated and your dog hydrated as to avoid heat exhaustion. These five alternatives can help to keep your pup safe during the hot months.

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    *Source Courtesy of Petfinder

  • 8 Spring Dog Safety Tips

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    Spring is upon us and it’s time for you and your pup to enjoy the warmer weather. But there are some important things to remember to keep your furry friend happy and healthy. These 8 safety tips ensure that Spring doesn’t put a damper on your fun!

    1. Save the Sticks
    Sticks — now readily available after the winter thaw — can cause choking and severe injuries in dog’s mouths and throats. So if your dog likes to chew and chase, pack a Frisbee, tennis ball or other toy instead.

    2. Keep Fido Away from New Plants
    Many dogs like to eat grass, but if your dog likes to chew on other plants, now’s the time to get out your plant guide. Some native plants can cause vomiting, diarrhea or even death, so before you let your pooch chomp down on those leafy greens, check out this guide to toxic and non-toxic plants.

    3. Use Pet-Friendly Products for Spring Cleaning
    Spring cleaning is the perfect occasion to review your cleaning product’s pet-friendliness. If the bottles do not say their contents are dog-safe, it’s best to keep these products where your dog can’t get them. If your dog does ingest a household cleaner, the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association recommends you, “do not call a human poison control center; they do not have any information on pets. Instead, contact your veterinarian and/or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Hotline (888-426-4435) for accurate information.”

    4. Watch Your Dog for Signs of Seasonal Allergies
    Some dogs develop allergies to common seasonal plants, like ragweed. But, unlike people, these allergies usually present as skin problems in dogs, according to Dr. Stephanie Janeczko D.V.M. in How Do I Know if My Dog Has Allergies?

    “Because dogs with atopy [inhaled allergies] are frequently allergic to pollens and grasses, they often have a seasonality to their symptoms but can show signs all year long if they are allergic to something that is always in the environment (such as dust mites),” says Dr. Janeczko.

    5. Hide the Antifreeze
    Cars use antifreeze year-round, so you always need to stay vigilant to keep your pup safe. Many dogs like the taste of antifreeze because it’s sweet, but it’s also deadly. Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your dog’s been exposed.

    6. Start Flea and Tick Prevention Early
    The American Heartworm Association now recommends keeping dogs on year-round flea and tick preventatives to guard against heartworm disease. If your dog is not already on a preventative regimen, now is the time to start.

    7. Prevent Dog-Park Bullying By Knowing the Signs
    As the weather gets warmer, you may be bringing your dog to the dog park more often. Make sure it’s a safe and fun time for all by knowing the symptoms of bullying and how to deal with them.

    8. Keep Artificial Sweeteners Away from Your Dog
    Springtime and Easter go hand in hand and that means plenty of chocolate and other dangerous dog treats. Keep your pup safe as you celebrate spring by keeping all sweets, candies and gum away from your dog. While many people know about the dangers of chocolate, only a small amount of the common artificial sweetener xylitol can be deadly.

    *Source Courtesy of Petfinder

  • 5 Easy Ways to Save on Vet Costs

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    Being a responsible doggy parent takes a great deal of commitment – and often times a great deal of expense. Not only does your furry best friend require your time and attention, he or she also needs regular veterinary care. Caring for a dog isn’t just about putting out food and providing shelter – it’s usually a 10 to 20 year commitment that includes vaccinations, medications, and other expenses, especially as your pup reaches her senior years.

    Fortunately, there are simple preventative measures you can take that help cut your costly vet expenses, without sacrificing your dog’s well-being. In fact, by following these tips, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll help your dog live a healthier and happier life! You see, preventative care is the best way to keep your dog healthy as she ages.

    1. Spay or Neuter Your Dog
    Besides preventing unwanted litters of puppies, spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer in female dogs and keeps them from going into heat. Neutering prevents testicular cancer in male dogs and curbs their desire to escape and roam away from home. Altered pets tend to be much better behaved animals, too.

    So how does spaying or neutering save money on vet bills? Well the cost of this surgery is far less than the cost of raising litters of puppies and the cost of treating medical conditions like infections, cancers, or even injuries that may arise from unaltered dogs who escape their yards. Save even more money by searching for low-cost spay/neuter clinics in your area!

    2. Stay Current on Vaccines and Other Preventatives
    If you stay on top of vaccines and parasite prevention, you’re much less likely to incur vet expenses down the road from illnesses that are easily preventable!

    You shouldn’t wait for your dog to become infested with parasites. Instead, use flea and tick preventatives and, if you’re in an area of the country where mosquitos are a concern, use heartworm preventative, too. Call the animal control organization in your area or your veterinarian to inquire about low-cost vaccination options.

    3. Practice Good Hygiene
    Believe it or not, grooming and cleanliness can prevent infection. Start trimming your dog’s nails on a regular basis when he’s a puppy. Get a great pair of nail trimmers and get him used to having his paws handled at a young age so that the process is easy for both of you. Brush your dog’s teeth regularly or use dental cleaning water or food additives to keep your pup from developing plaque and gum disease. Use an ear cleaner or ear wipes to keep your dog’s ears clean and dry.

    4. Provide and Excellent Diet and Adequate Exercise
    Keep your dog at her ideal weight. More than half the dogs in the United States are either overweight or obese! Excess weight in your dog can lead to such health problems as Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory disease, joint disorders, kidney disease, some forms of cancer, and decreased life expectancy. All of these issues can lead to costly vet bills. The best thing to do is keep your furkid at a healthy weight, and the best way to do that is through a healthy diet and daily mental and physical stimulation.

    5. Dog-Proof Your House
    Protect your pup from potential household hazards by taking certain precautions that could prevent costly emergency trips to the veterinarian. Store your medications in tightly closed containers. Keep chemicals like household cleaners out of her reach, make sure your dog doesn’t have access to chew on your electrical cords, and be sure you don’t have toxic plants in your home.

    Remember, preventing an accident, illness, or disease is always more cost effective than treating one!

    *Source Courtesy of The Dogington Post

  • Taking Care of Your New Christmas Pet

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    Congratulations! The holidays are over and you came away with a new furry best friend! Like a child, your pet will depend on you for everything;  nourishment, medical attention, exercise, and safety. You’ll want to make sure you give them attention and the best care possible.

    PET DEPOT’s New Pet Care Sheets provide information on many areas of pet care, from crate training to dietary needs and help relieve some of the responsibility of caring for a new pet. The New Pet Care Sheets provide a lot of essential information. You’ll also discover helpful information on topics that pertain to your pet’s health, grooming, and the importance of their environment on their physical and mental health.

    With love, commitment and proper care, your pet will grow up safe and healthy and will enrich every aspect of your life. May you enjoy every moment that you share with your new furry best friend!

    Click here to find the right care sheet for your pet.

  • Holiday Season Tips for Pet Owners

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    The holiday season is upon us, and many pet parents plan to include their furry companions in the festivities. As you gear up for the holidays, it is important to try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. Also, please be sure to steer pets clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations.

    Here are some tips to ensure your holiday season is a safe one:

    1. Oh, Christmas Tree: Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.

    2. Avoid Mistletoe & Holly: Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.

    3. Tinsel-less Town: Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

    4. That Holiday Glow: Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!

    5. Wired Up: Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.

    6. House Rules: If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.

    7. Put the Meds Away: Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.

    8. A Room of Their Own: Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.

    9. New Year’s Noise: As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears. And remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.

    *Courtesy of www.aspca.org