Sunday, September 29, 2013

What to Know About Dog Allergies

The Science Behind Allergies
Just like humans, many of our beloved mutts will suffer from environmental substances, or allergens, from time to time. These allergies usually occur when the dog's body mistakes the allergens as harmful substances. Therefore, the immune system sees it as a threat and goes into overdrive.

Symptoms to Look Out For
Depending on the allergy, you may notice that your mutts are behaving differently. Excessive licking, itching, scratching especially around the face, ears, feet, armpit, and belly areas are all typical signs of allergy symptoms. More serious allergy situations may also include redness (or hot spots) and hair loss.

Things That Can Cause Allergies
There are certain things that can cause allergies in dogs such as pollens, dust bites, molds, and fleas. Other allergies can come from food products including chicken, beef, fish, and soy.

At-Home Remedies to Treat Allergies
If your mutts' allergy situation is minor, there are a few things you can do at home to do to help make your dogs more comfortable. On the days that the pollen count is high, wipe your dogs' feet with a cold, wet towel when coming into the house from outside to avoid tracking in the pollen. Scheduling a weekly bathe in cool water can also rinse off any unwanted residue on your mutts' body. Be sure to consult your trusted vet before giving your dogs any allergy medicines or vaccines.

Keep your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Top 4 Tips to Choosing the Right Veterinarian

As loving and responsible pet owners, we naturally want to provide our mutts with the best animal care, and a huge part of that is finding the right veterinarian. Unfortunately, not all vets and vet clinics are created equal.

Below are six tips to keep in mind when you are shopping around to find the perfect pet care and physician for your mutts:
  • American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accreditation - This organization helps with ensuring that a veterinary practice is operating at a high level of standards in pet care. Even though animal hospitals are not required to be accredited with AAHA to practice medicine, a place that has the membership will help guarantee a certain level of expertise and professionalism.  
  • Medical equipment, service & information - A good medical clinic or hospital should have the right medical equipment to help provide the best quality care for their patients. Getting timely, honest, and clear answers from doctors and technicians are important too. Ask to tour the facility and meet the physicians - a good organization should have nothing to hide from its customers.
  • Staff customer service - The staff's attitude, energy and overall customer service of a vet clinic or hospital should be a big indicator as to how they treat and value their patients. Again requesting to meet the staff in person and/or going online to read multiple reviews on the clinic will help you determine whether or not this is a good place to take your pets.
  • Personal convenience - Another important point that some people tend to forget to consider is the convenience of the clinic or hospital. Finding a medical center that is close to where you live, is easy to find, and have office hours that work well for you and your dogs will make a big difference in cases of emergencies.
Keeping your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tips to Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy

As our beloved mutts age, it is essential for pet owners to become more aware of the needs of their senior dogs. Implementing healthy habits is the key to your mutts' (and you as a pet owner) quality life, especially for the latter years. While different dogs may require different needs, below are a few tips as to how to keep your senior dog healthy:
  • Healthy, appropriate diet - Feeding your old mutt a high-quality diet can significantly help with their bodily health. If your dogs have heart disease, giving them a dog food that has lower sodium levels will help. Foods that have controlled levels of calcium, phosphorus, or other electrolytes are ideal for mutts that have kidney disease. Consult your trusted vet to see which diets are appropriate for your mutts.
  • Weight control - Exercising your senior dog is just as important to weight control as watching what you feed them. Even though your aging mutts may not be as energetic or speedy as when they were a pup, consistent exercise is still going to help maintain their healthy weight, joints, and muscles. Being overweight is extremely harmful to dogs' bone structures which often result in hip dysplasia. 
  • Dental care - Not taking care of your mutts' teeth and gums at an early age is one of the biggest mistakes pet owners make, and they usually don't realize it until it is too late. Dental disease is painful and usually causes your dogs to loose its teeth when they get old (some even get diagnosed as early as 2-3 years old!). This may cause your senior mutt to stop eating overall and result in unhealthy weight loss.
  • Regular vet visits - Taking your senior dog to the vet at least yearly is critical even if they appear healthy (more needed visits for unhealthy dogs). It is also smart to ask for a body condition evaluation each time to make sure that there are no hidden signs of major illnesses. Remember, health prevention is a lot cheaper and less time-consuming than disease treatments!
Keeping your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!