Pet Care Tips From Nose to Tail
Dr. Marty Becker, Fear Free Pets
Dr. Marty Becker, America's Veterinarian is back once again to give us some great pet tips, which includes everything for your pet, from nose to tail!
Dr. Becker says literally no one is going to brush their pet's teeth on a regular basis, even though you should. So, you need to use some kind of daily oral care that's typically in the form of an edible toothbrush. His three favorites are: Greenies, which can be a little pricey and dogs consume them very very quickly; Milk Bone's new Brushing Chews (not the other Milk Bones that have been around for years); but the one that Dr. Becker uses on his own dogs and highly recommends is the CET HEXtra Chew, an enzyme impregnated rawhide with Chlorhexidine, which is very palatable and is available at your veterinarian or online.
The old myth that dry food is better for dental care in dogs than wet food is just not true! Both dry and wet food is the same on their teeth. However, semi-moist food can cause higher levels of periodontal disease because they are sticky sweet.
You will never completely stop the shedding (and you don't want to - it is good for your dog's coat) but there are two products that Dr. Becker likes. One is bathing your dog frequently. This was another old myth that you shouldn't bath your dog very often. That is not true! You can bathe your dog frequently if you use the right products. Bathing your dog can flush allergy triggers off to reduce environmental allergies, but also the hair that was going to fall out anyway, is now in your tub instead of all over your house. One product is Zoom Groom by the Kong Company. It is a device that you hold in your hand that has rubber fingers that goes down and gets the shampoo really deep into your pet's skin, leaving you with a device full of hair that is easy to dispose of. Next is the Furminator comb. But be careful, as you can be too aggressive with this comb and can actually irritate your pet's skin.
If you do have hair all over your carpet, a great tip is to use a balloon. Just rub an inflated balloon over the carpet and it will make the hair stand up, making it easy to vacuum.
Visit Fear Free Happy Homes for tips on making your home fear free and to locate a Fear Free Veterinarian near you. Go to Fear Free Pets to become certified.
Listen and Explore the Fear Free Expert Series
The Dog Park Phenomenon
Matthew Gilbert, Off The Leash
Boston Globe TV Critic (a great gig if you can get it) Matthew Gilbert investigates the dynamics of dog parks. There was a time when he didn't like dogs. In fact, he was afraid of them until his spouse introduced him to a dog that would forever change his view. Matt shares stories about the nutty fellow canine-lovers at his dog park.
Matthew Gilbert grew up in a home where they never had a dog and was terrified of them. He said if he ever saw a dog, they seemed so mysterious and unpredictable. He also felt that they were dirty, and if he touched a dog accidentally, he said, "My hand would buzz until I could wash it!" This went on for many years, up until his 40's.
So what changed? Matthew met and fell in a love with a person, who turned out to be a dog person. They are now married, and Matthew knew he had to loosen up and relax around dogs, because he was now constantly around them. He learned to trust them and has actually reached a point in his life where he states, "I couldn't imagine living without a dog!"
From someone who couldn't touch them without washing his hands, Matthew now kisses his dog Toby, a yellow lab, on the mouth and can't get enough of him.
Before Toby, Matthew, being a TV critic, spent most of his time in front of the TV. But Toby wasn't having that. Toby is a very social dog and needed to get out. Matthew then found himself being dragged to the dog park, which ultimately became a great experience for Matthew and allows him to re-energize.
The Book, Off The Leash, is a group portrait of dog people, specifically the strange, wonderful, neurotic, and eccentric dog people who gather at Armory Park, overlooking Boston near Fenway Park. And it's about author Matthew Gilbert's transformation, after much fear and loathing of dogs and social groups, into one of those dog people with fur on their jackets, squeaky toys in their hands, and biscuits in their pockets.
Dog-park life can be tense. Dog parks bring in people of all ages, all different walks of life; people that you might never normally meet. Matthew's favorite dog park types are the ones that love to talk. They tell you everything about themselves. Matthew calls it "dam burstage" because you are standing there and they are telling you their entire life's story, when you don't even know their names.
And when dogs fight, their owners might also bare their teeth at each other, too. Amid the rollicking dog play, feelings tend to surface faster, unedited. But Matthew shows how Armory is an idyllic microcosm, too, the home of enduring friendships and, as the droll but vulnerable Hayley knows, romantic crushes. Meeting daily, a gathering of dog owners can be like group therapy, or The Office, or a standup concert.
"HERO PEOPLE OF THE WEEK" - Silvie Bordeaux, Muffin's Halo
Our Hero Person this week invented a bumper, or better described as a 'halo,' that protects blind dogs from bumping into furniture and other obstacles. Sylvie Bordeaux was tired of seeing her blind dog bash into stuff. With needle and thread in hand, she created a genius product that is helping vision-impaired pups from being discarded to shelters.
Muffin, who was Silvie Bordeaux's 14-year-old toy poodle, went blind due to cataracts. She was devastated, since he kept bumping into walls and falling down the stairs. He became very depressed and was afraid to move around. She could not let him out of her sight and carried him around everywhere. People even told her that she might have to have him "put down."
Silvie searched the Internet extensively for solutions and assistance. That was when she realized that there is a great need for products to assist blind and visually impaired dogs, so she invented an aid for dogs called "Muffin's Halo Guide For Blind Dogs ® " that has changed Muffin's life, as well as hers. She wanted the device to be like a halo or like a headgear bumper. This would allow him to navigate, but would alert him and redirect him when he bumped into things and he wouldn't get hurt.
Muffin's Halo is a 3-piece item. First you put on the harness, which makes them feel cuddled, because blind dogs have a lot of anxiety and feel very insecure. Next are the angel wings and the attached halo, which sits on their neck. The halo guides them and when the halo taps a hard surface, it alerts the wings that sit on the neck and they are automatically redirected.
Muffin now knows his home again and can also travel with Silvie to any hotel or friend's house and gets familiarized with any new surroundings, quickly. He just loves this aid and is back to his peppy confident self! Muffin also loves all the attention he gets when she takes him on walks, as he looks like a little angel. Most importantly, she can leave him at home for hours and know that he is safe.
Muffin's Halo's come in many sizes for all dogs. She can even make them for miniatures horses and cats! She also has the angel wing halo in red and blue, as well as a butterfly and a quarterback halo.
Silvie has also set up a non-profit called "Second Chances For Blind Dogs" that donates Muffin's Halo to blind dogs in shelters and rescues to help them find their furever homes quickly.
Ticks Hitchhike on City Dogs Too - Dr. Debbie
Ticks are common parasites known to infect people, pets and spread disease. Over 850 tick species exist worldwide, although fewer than a dozen species are of risk to pets in the U.S. But here in Las Vegas, pet owners often dismiss the existence of ticks with the likes of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. Think ticks are only a problem for pets that travel or visit the mountains? Think again.
The Tick Tale
Ticks are parasites known to infect mammals, reptiles and birds and feed on their host's blood. Although of tiny size, ticks ingest 200 to 600 times their weight in a blood meal.
Ticks are attracted to a host's movement, body warmth or exhaled carbon dioxide and then latch on. Through this feeding behavior they can transmit diseases to pets such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichia, Babesia and Tularemia. Disease transmission takes some time and may occur after 36 to 48 hours of feeding behavior.
Some ticks can live months or up to a year off its host without a feeding, so year-round prevention is important for pets at risk for continued exposure.
There are many topical tick control products available for pets. Speak with your veterinarian for an product that is effective and safe with your pet's individual health in mind. Cats are sensitive to some ingredients, may develop toxicity, and should never be treated with a product labeled only for dogs. Additionally, pet owners using multiple products on their pet should first consult with their veterinarian to ensure safe use of combined products.
In addition to topical tick control, environmental treatment with foggers, sprays or pest control service should be considered for heavy infestations. Limit tick habitat zones by maintaining landscaping, avoiding overgrown grass and keeping shrubs and plants trimmed.
Perform daily tick checks during tick season. Examine your pet for ticks in areas that the parasites hang out - around the head, behind ears, armpits and between toes.
When removing a tick, avoid handling it directly. Wear gloves or handle with Kleenex since ticks can pass infections to people as well. Grasp the tick with tweezers close to the skin. Extract the tick by pulling straight out of skin. Don't squeeze, twist or leave any legs behind. Disinfect the area and dispose of ticks in rubbing alcohol.
Here's a photo of a typical tick, born and bred in Las Vegas and recently extracted from one of my Shih Tzu patients named Kane. Kane never leaves the state, doesn't hike in the mountains, and enjoys the comforts of a house-dog lifestyle. A tick was discovered on Kane after a day of supervising his owner's yard work and shrub trimming.
Maybe Kane's story will be an eye-opener for city dwelling pet owners. Pet parasites like fleas, ticks and mosquitoes still lurk in that urban jungle.
Visit the Dogs & Ticks website for more information ticks, diseases and prevention.
Featured veterinarian known as "Dr. Debbie" on national pet radio program, Animal Radio. Ebook author of "Yorkshire Terriers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Pugs: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Mini Schnauzers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; and "Shih Tzu: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend." Dr. Debbie's books.
Animal Radio News with Tammy Trujillo
What Do You Get When You Cross A Goat And A Sheep?
How about a geep named Butterfly. She's the product of a pygmy goat and a sheep and was born a few weeks ago at My Petting Zoo in Scottsdale, Arizona. No one at the Zoo knew that the mother sheep was even pregnant. Butterfly appears to be the first of her kind. She was named Butterfly because of her various black spots. She has the feet and face of her goat father but the fuzzy wool and longer tail of her sheep mama.
Do You Get Kisses From Your Dog Or Your Cat? Who Doesn't!
Maybe it's not such a great idea to get kisses from your pet. Dr. Ira Roth of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine says dogs, in particular, carry some pretty nasty germs like these in their mouths. The risk of getting sick from close contact with your pet is very low, if you're healthy. But if you have a chronic health condition, or a suppressed immune system, sharing germs may not be safe for you. Roth says the symptoms can be pretty unpleasant, such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting.
What To Do With That Unwanted Fur
Apparently a lot of other people have been given old fur and refuse to wear them. Now a national organization called Born Free USA has come up with a fantastic idea. It collected unwanted furs and sent them to wildlife rehab centers in Texas, California and Missouri where they were cut into small pieces and used for orphaned babies and injured animals to snuggle in.
Declawing Is Major Surgery
For years there has been controversy about declawing cats. Now the American Veterinary Medical Association has amended it's policy to clarify that declawing is a major surgery that should only be performed as a last resort to prevent destructive clawing, but it stopped short of suggesting a ban on it. The new policy stresses the importance of educating cat guardians about normal feline scratching behavior, alternatives to declawing and that declawing is actually the amputation of the first digit of the cat's toes. The AVMA says there may be some situations where declawing might be necessary to keep a cat with it's family, pointing out that cats may present a risk of injury or disease to people who have compromised skin integrity such as the elderly or who have compromised immune systems. The AVMA says the decision should stay with the cat's guardian with the aid of their vet.
Kids & Pets = Vegetarians
Kids who grow up with pets are more likely to become vegetarians later on in life. At least that's what a new study done at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky shows. It found that such kids develop deeper empathy toward other animals and that can result in more of desire to avoid eating meat. In the study, when the participants did eat meat, people who were attached to a pet during childhood tended to justify eating meat by 'looking the other way,' keeping from thinking about the origin of the meat, while those who had no or a lesser attachment to a pet as a child more often justified the meal in a direct, unapologetic way, such as that humans are supposed to eat meat.
Send Your Pet's Remains Into Space
There's been a lot of talk lately about how to memorialize our pets after they pass. Now a company in Houston that already sends people's remains into space is offering the same for pets. Celestis says rockets carrying the cremated remains of dogs and cats will start this fall. The price will be about the same as for humans, starting at about $995.
Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#1087)