Helpful Tips for Pets with Arthritis

138-1-arthritisWhat is arthritis?
Arthritis is not solely a human disease. Both dogs and cats can suffer from arthritis. Arthritis or degenerative joint disease is generally defined as “inflammation of the joints”. There are several different types and causes of arthritis and it has become to be used as kind of a catch-all phrases to signify painful joints.

What causes arthritis in my pet?

Many different factors may allow arthritis to develop in your pet:

  • Trauma to the joint through prior injuries, breaks or sprains to the bone or ligaments
  • Developmental conditions such as elbow or hip dysplasia
  • Congenital disorders such as luxated patella
  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory joint disease such as Lyme disease

What can be done to relieve the pain of arthritis?
There are many prescription and over-the-counter medications for dogs and cats that can help alleviate the pain of arthritis. If you think your pet is showing signs of arthritis, you should discuss a treatment plan with your veterinarian.

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You can also help address the chronic inflammation that is the root cause of arthritis in their diet in several ways:

  1. Reducing inflammatory foods (processed foods, grains, wheat, sugars) and replacing them with whole foods.
  2. Add Omega-3 oils which have been found to help balance the fats in your pet’s diet and reduce inflammation
  3. Add foods high in anti-oxidants such as blueberries, goji berries and turmeric that can help prevent cell damage.
  4. Exercise!

How does exercise help arthritis?
While arthritis affects senior pets most often, it can strike younger pets, so it’s important to keep to a regular exercise routine from the start. Exercise helps keep the muscles, tendons and ligaments around your pet’s joints healthy and strong. Exercise also promotes a normal range of motion, helping to prevent stiffness in the joint. It stimulates the production of high-quality joint fluid to lubricate the joint and keep the cartilage healthy, but most importantly, exercise helps keep your pet slim and fight off obesity. That extra weight puts added stress on the inflamed joints, making it even more painful. Lastly, exercise can induce the body to release “feel good hormones” like endocannabinoids (endorphins) that can help with pain.

What exercises are safe for arthritic pets?
Any low-impact exercise that helps strengthen the muscles is beneficial. Just like humans, walking is probably the best overall exercise, but you can mix in swimming, walking up and down stairs or slow jogging. The exercise should be geared to your pet’s physical condition, don’t start out to fast and injure them.

Try to put a little added focus on the weak spots. For instance, if your dog has arthritis in the rear hips, try to do some exercises to strengthen those joints such as hill work or squats (yes dogs can do squats by walking under a low fence). Water treadmill therapy can also be beneficial in strengthening a weaker joint as it allows them to exercise but alleviates some of the joint stress.

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Most importantly, the exercise program you design for your pet must be consistent in order for them to reap the full benefits. That means every day, not just weekends.

As with any exercise program, double check with your pet’s veterinarian before you start.

Sources:

http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/arthritis-dogs/

http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-diseases-conditions-a-z/arthritis-dogs

https://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/lhuston/2012/oct/living_with_an_arthritic_senior_cat-27615

https://www.petmd.com/cat/general-health/arthritis-treatment-cats

http://slimdoggy.com/tips-for-exercising-senior-dogs/

Are You Brave Enough to Give Your Cat a Bath?

140-1-cat_bathEveryone knows cats hate baths, right? Well, that’s mostly true, some cats, especially cats in the wild like cougars and jaguars actually like water and will soak in it if given the opportunity. Some breeds of domestic cats that are more acceptable of getting wet and may even enjoy water are Maine Coon, Turkish Angora, Japanese Bobtail, American Bobtail, Manx, Norwegian Forest Cat, American Shorthair, Turkish Van, and Bengal cats.

If your cat is one of those oddballs, you may find them soaking in your bathtub or swimming pool, but most cats are not fans of water, so how do you keep them clean and how do you give them a bath if they need one?

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Cats do manage to keep themselves fairly clean, spending a large portion of the day in grooming. It may be enough to keep them clean with good, regular brushing. But even indoor cats can get into mischief that lands them in need of a good cleaning. Cats that are overweight may have a hard time self-grooming and cats are known for their curiosity which can sometimes lead to sticky or even toxic substances in their fur.

If you find that your cat needs a bath, the best advice we can give you is to be prepared. Be sure and have all your bathing supplies ready and close at hand before you start because you won’t be able to retrieve them once Fluffy is wet.

A suggested list of supplies to have on hand:

  • Non-drying shampoo formulated for cats
  • A tub or sink
  • Mineral oil, to protect your cat’s eyes from shampoo
  • A cotton ball to put in their ears
  • Cat comb or brush
  • Non-breakable cup or pitcher
  • Washcloth
  • Towels
  • Hair dryer
  • Protection for your forearms and hands
  • Cat carrier

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Prepare your cat for their bath by combing or brushing her. Make sure to carefully remove any mats in their coat, since water will just make them worse.
As an optional step — and if your cat lets you — place half of a cotton ball in each of their ears to keep water from getting in, and a drop of mineral oil in each eye to protect them from shampoo.

A few helpful tips to get you through the actual bathing:

  • Acclimate your cat to the tub by placing them in it for a few minutes for several days before the bath.
  • Enlist a helper to assist by holding the cat or helping to pour the water.
  • Be sure and have some tasty treats available for distraction purposes.
  • Use a non-slip mat in the bottom of them tub so they aren’t slipping and sliding all over.
  • Thoroughly rinse your cat using the pitcher or shower head. Leftover soap may cause itchy skin.
  • Be sure and dry your cat thoroughly with towels or the dryer. If they are still damp, use the cat carrier to keep them in a warm, dry place until thoroughly dry themselves.

Once your cat is wet, work fast, if they manage to escape you, you’ll probably never catch them again.

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Sources:

https://www.petcentric.com/articles/care-and-grooming/how-to-give-your-cat-a-bath/

https://www.preventivevet.com/cats/giving-a-cat-a-bath-why-and-how

https://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/how-to-give-your-cat-a-bath/

http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/why-does-my-cat-hate-to-take-baths

Not So Healthy Ingredients for Your Pet: Chocolate

141-1-chocolateWhat is a Chocolate?
Chocolate is made from Theobroma cacao seeds. The cacao seeds themselves are actually quite bitter and are roasted and ground to extract the cocoa flavor. Chocolate is an extremely popular food and the sweet chocolate we eat contains the ground cacao, but also cocoa butter or added vegetable oils, and sugar.

Why would Chocolate be in pet food?
It’s unlikely you will ever find chocolate in your pet’s food as it contains a toxic ingredient, theobromine. While humans can break this down and metabolize theobromine, dogs and cats process it much more slowly and it can build to toxic levels. It also contains high levels of caffeine.

Are there any risks to feeding your pet Chocolate?
YES! The toxicity of the chocolate is dependent on how much and the type of chocolate eaten. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains so dark chocolate and baking chocolate are the most toxic. White chocolate (which is not chocolate and contains no cocoa), and milk chocolate contain less and are therefore less toxic. Obviously larger dogs may be able to handle more than smaller dogs.

Mild chocolate poisoning may result in stomach problems and diarrhea. Theobromine poisoning can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack. The onset of theobromine poisoning is usually preceded by severe hyperactivity.

If you think your pet has ingested a large amount (or even an ounce) of chocolate, your best bet is to call your veterinarian for instructions. Symptoms don’t occur immediately and may take 6-10 hours to develop. This article from Petful [https://www.petful.com/pet-health/how-much-chocolate-toxic-dogs/] has a formula you can use to figure out the potential harm and toxicity levels to your pet if they ate chocolate – you will need to know their weight and the amount of chocolate they ate.

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Luckily, cats are less inclined to eat sweet things and unlikely to accidentally ingest chocolate like your dog. But, it is still just as toxic for cats, so be sure to keep it out of their reach as well.

Chocolate Factoids:

  • White chocolate isn’t really even chocolate as it contains no cacao.
  • The inventor of the Chocolate Chip Cookie sold the idea to Nestle Toll House in return for a lifetime supply of chocolate.
  • Benjamin Franklin sold chocolate in his print shop in Philadelphia.

A sampling of pet foods that contain Chocolate:
Thankfully, we found NO foods containing chocolate in our Petnet Pet Food Database.

Sources:

https://www.petful.com/pet-health/can-cats-eat-chocolate/

https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/nutrition-feeding/is-chocolate-bad-for-dogs

https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/dogs-and-chocolate-get-the-facts#1

https://www.factslides.com/s-Chocolate

How Pet Shelters and Rescues Work

137-1-pet_sheltersAnimal shelters as we know them today evolved from animal pounds which were used in colonial times to house unclaimed, loose livestock. There wasn’t very much control over the treatment of the animals in these facilities (mostly horses) until 1866 when the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded by Henry Bergh. The stated mission of the ASPCA is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”

Over the years, as cities grew, homeless and loose dogs and cats became more of a problem. Communities started issuing dog licenses to cover the costs of animal sheltering and in 1874, the Women’s Branch of the Pennsylvania SPCA in Philadelphia became the first organization to focus on the humane treatment of shelter animals.

While the ASPCA focuses on cruelty intervention, they also operate a large shelter facility in New York and coordinate advertisements and adoption with local shelters across the country. Today there are animal shelters in thousands of communities with over 5,000 in existence in the United States. The main goal of these shelters was to get stray dogs/cats off the street and house them safely until they could be adopted.

Animal shelters are funded and run by local governments, or from private donations and run independently. The most well-known animal shelter in the United States, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary based in Utah, is a 20,000+ acre facility that houses @1,600 animals including dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, pigs, birds and exotics.

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In San Francisco, in 1989, under the leadership of Richard Avanzino the no-kill shelter movement began. This set off a wave of like-minded animal lovers across the country and many shelters have adopted that policy. But many shelters are not “no-kill” and due to overcrowding, some animals that are not adopted may be euthanized.

Adopting a pet from a shelter is straightforward. You can visit the facility, view and meet all the pets they have available and select the right one for your family. There is typically a small fee to help them cover costs, but you can usually take your new pet home the same day.

Animal rescues work differently. These private individuals or groups are usually funded through private donations and adoption fees. They do not have a physical location to house the pets but rely on a network of foster homes where the animals live and are evaluated before they are adopted.

Some rescues may focus on a particular breed or size of pet and are known to roam the local animal shelters for dogs/cats of their breed, remove them from the shelter and prepare them for adoption through their rescue. Most rescues will also take turn-ins, or pets surrendered by their owners who can no longer care for them.

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Some rescues are also known for their dramatic rescues of homeless pets or pets housed in large breeding operations (puppy mills).

Rescues will pay for some initial medical evaluation and treatment if needed and will evaluate the overall temperament of the dog to help ensure they are matched to the right family. When they feel the pet is ready for a forever family, they advertise the animal through their websites and social media. Adopters can respond to these ads and begin the adoption process.

In order to limit adoptees being returned, rescues try hard to match the right family with the right pet. Their adoption process may include a home visit and evaluation as well as a lengthy interview and screening process before adopters are approved for adoption.

Since rescues run from private funding, their adoption fees tend to be higher than shelter fees. Which is why donations are critical in order for the rescue to continue to operate. (Donations are also encouraged at shelters as well, however the shelter does not require the donation to continue operations).

Whether you choose to adopt from a shelter or a rescue, the most important task is to find the right pet for you and your family. Stay tuned for our next post in our series on adoptions where we will discuss some critical criteria for you to consider when adopting a pet.

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Sources:
Animal sheltering in the United States: Yesterday, today, and tomorrow
Animal Rescue and Animal Shelter: What is the Difference?

Getting to Know Your Rottweiler

135-1-rottweilerThe next breed we are featuring in our Getting to Know Your Dog Breed is the Rottweiler. The Rottweiler is part of the Working group of the AKC and ranks #8 in the AKC most popular breed list.

Life expectancy: Rottweilers have a fairly short life expectancy of 9 – 10 years.

Size:
They are a medium-large, solidly muscled breed with a typical male weighing between 90 – 135 lbs. They are a strong and confident dog and part of the Working Group of the AKC.

Color: The standard coloring for Rottweilers is black with rust/brown markings on the face, chest, underbelly and paws.

Origins: The Rottweiler originated in Germany where they were bred to herd livestock and drive the cattle to market. Eventually, when cattle herding was outlawed, the Rottweiler’s role evolved to hauling meats and other provisions using a cart. Today’s Rottweiler is heavily used in police, military and customs work.

Personality: Rottie’s are a strongly confident and courageous dog. They can be both aloof and serious or a little goofy when they let their playful side emerge. They are known for their ‘wait and see’ attitudes and are wary of strangers, but affectionate and playful with family. They can be wonderful with children, but their natural tendency to herd may cause issues, so early training on acceptable behavior with children is critical. They have natural tendency for dominance and have developed a reputation as being an overly aggressive dog and therefore require early and extensive socialization and strong leadership. They are not particularly friendly with other dogs.

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Health Issues: Rottweilers are one of several breeds predisposed to hip dysplasia, an ailment where the head of the femur does not fit properly into the hip socket. They are also predisposed to Progressive Retinal Antropy (PRA), cataracts and other vision problems. Rottweiler are known to develop heart problems, including cardiomyopathy and subaortic stenosis (SAS), a narrowing of the aorta that carries blood away from the heart. Owners should have their Rottie’s checked for these issues regularly.

Rottweilers are also more likely than other breeds to develop bloat, a condition in which the stomach distends with gas and can twist on itself (called gastric torsion), cutting off blood flow. This is a very dangerous condition that requires immediate veterinary intervention.

Fitness/energy level: Rottweiler’s are working dogs and as such, need a job to make them feel fulfilled. Their energy needs on outlet otherwise they will develop bad habits. They make excellent running or hiking partners and will find herding, nose work or carting lessons enjoyable as those are their natural instincts. Mental exercise such as obedience classes are also beneficial for the intelligent Rottie.

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Native foods for the Rottweiler:

  • Wild boar
  • Duck
  • Trout
  • Cabbage

Good foods to feed your Rottweiler:
Taste of the Wild™, Southwest Canyon Canine Formula with Wild Boar
Nutram™, Total T23 Grain Free Turkey, Chicken & Duck
Horizon™, Legacy Adult

Fun facts about the Rottweiler:

  1. The Rottweiler descended from a Roman Mastiff-type dog called the Molossus.
  2. The Rottweiler is a German breed, so if you want to pronounce it the German way, it’s rott-vile-er. If you’re in the United States, rott-why-ler is acceptable.
  3. They possess huge appetites and can easily go through a 5lb bag of dog food a week. Watch their intake to prevent overeating and obesity.

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Sources:

http://www.therottweilerclub.co.uk/

http://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/rottweiler#

http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/rottweiler

http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/reviews/rottweilers.html

National Heartworm Awareness Month

134-1-heartwormApril is National Heartworm Awareness Month so we thought it appropriate to talk about this common and serious pet health issue.

What is heartworm?

Heartworm is a serious canine and feline disease caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis. Heartworm disease is caused by foot long worms that live in the heart and lungs of your pet and cause lung disease, heart failure and other organ failure.

Will my pet get heartworm?

Heartworm has been reported in all 50 states in the US but is more prevalent in the warmer, more humid areas in the east and southeast. The American Heartworm Society has prepared incidence maps so that you can examine the prevalence in your area. And the Companion Vector-Borne Disease (CVBD) World Forum has created one for worldwide incidence.

How do dogs/cats get heartworm?
Heartworm is spread through the bite of a mosquito. The host mosquito bites an infected animal, it ingests baby worms that mature within 10-14 days. When the infected mosquito bites another animal the infective larvae are transmitted to the new animal and they become infected as well.

What are the signs of heartworm?
Heartworm is known as a silent killer because frequently the damage is done before your pet shows any symptoms. That is why prevention is the most effective treatment.

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Some initial signs might be:

  • Soft, dry cough
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing

How is heartworm treated?
Heartworm can be diagnosed by a simple blood test. It is easily prevented, but not so easily treated. The objective is to kill the worms infecting their organs, without further damaging the organs. Typical treatment is a drug called Immiticide, an arsenic based injectable given to the pet on two or three occasions. It has to be administered over time to ensure complete removal of adult worms as well as any larvae.
It is imperative to closely monitor your pet and keep them quiet and contained during this treatment time as the possibility of organ damage from the dying worms is high.

How do I prevent heartworm in my pet?
Heartworm is easily prevented through regular dosing of ivermectin or similar heartworm medications. These drugs don’t prevent your dog from being infected, but they are designed to kill the larvae before they grow into worms. Most veterinarians recommend giving your pet these drugs every month.
Some pet owners feel that’s a lot of toxicity to give to their pet, and is a consideration to keep in mind when deciding on a prevention program. There are more natural preventative measure such as mosquito spray and keeping your pets indoors when mosquitoes are out.

Can I catch heartworm from my pet?

Heartworm is only passed through mosquitoes. In very rare cases a human may develop heartworms, but the larvae do not complete their life cycle and results in only small tumors. Again, VERY RARE.

April is National Heartworm Month, a good time to educate yourself on heartworm and how to prevent your pets from contracting this disease.

Sources:

https://www.heartwormsociety.org/

https://www.petful.com/pet-health/warning-signs-your-dog-has-heartworms/

https://www.heartwormsociety.org/images/pdf/2014-AHS-Canine-Guidelines.pdf

http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/monthly-heartworm-prevention-why-its-unnecessary/

Healthy Ingredients: Spinach

136-1-spinachThe next ingredient we’re covering in our ongoing series on Healthy Ingredients for Your Pet is spinach. We all know that Popeye found his strength in spinach and it does pack quite a powerful nutritional punch for humans and for your pets.

What is Spinach?
Spinach is native to Asia and a member of the goosefoot family and is a relative to beets, quinoa and chard. Spinach can grow to almost a foot tall, with large, dark green leaves that are eaten raw or cooked as a vegetable.

Why would spinach be in pet food?
Spinach is high in nutrition and low in calories. The dark green leaves pack a superfood punch of health benefits including:

  • Antioxidants that help fight diabetes
  • Chlorophyll, a cancer fighting agent
  • Vitamin K which promotes bone health
  • Iron and Potassium for healthy blood
  • Fiber for a healthy digestive tract

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The best way to serve spinach to your pet is steamed. Raw can be too bitter and hard to digest and boiled spinach destroys most of the nutrients. As with any fruit or vegetable, be sure to wash it carefully to remove any pesticides. There are also many pet foods that contain spinach – see our list below.

Are there any risks to feeding your pet spinach?
The taste of spinach may be a little bitter for your dog, so you might consider adding just small amounts to their food. Do not add seasoning, butter or other ingredients, your pet doesn’t need them. Spinach is also high in oxalic acid which may impair the ability of the kidneys to absorb calcium which could lead to kidney damage, so be sure an monitor the amount of spinach you give your pet. Note, it would have to be huge volumes to have an impact, but it’s always good to be aware of potential issues.


Spinach Factoids
:
In the 1930’s U.S. spinach growers credited Popeye with a 33% increase in domestic spinach consumption.
The city of Alma, Texas holds a spinach festival each April.
The name spinach is derived from the Persian word ispanai meaning green hand.

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A sampling of pet foods that contain spinach:
Nutram™, Total T25 Grain Free Salmon & Trout
Acana™, Regionals Meadowland
Orijen™, Fit & Trim

Sources:

https://pethelpful.com/dogs/Vegetables-That-Are-Good-For-Dogs

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/natural-foods/can-my-dog-eat-spinach/

https://www.rover.com/blog/can-dog-eat-spinach/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270609.php

Petnet Exercise Tips: Exercising Your Small Dog

132-1-fitness_small_dogSo far in our Petnet Exercise Tips series, we have covered, Exercise Tips for Your Cat and Exercise Tips for Your Large Dog . Today we are going to offer a look at exercises for your small dog.

We defined large dogs as being over 40lbs, so let’s define our small group as dogs weighing under 20 lbs. Exercise for your little Chihuahua or Pug should be quite different than for a big Labrador or German Shepherd. Smaller, companion dogs don’t make good long distance running partners, nor are they usually well suited for herding, dock diving or other sports the bigger dogs excel at.

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But these little lap warmers aren’t necessarily powder puffs and can be tough as nails. They may prefer being pampered, but they still need both physical and mental exercise. The amount and intensity of the exercise can be shorter and more relaxed, but you still want it to be fun and interesting for your pet.

A few ideas of exercises for your small dog:

  • Walking is obviously a staple for any size or age of dog. Smaller dogs have shorter legs, so they may not go as far or as fast, but a good 20-30 minute walk once or twice a day will help keep them limber and fit. If you want to run with your smaller dog, keep the mileage down to a mile or less and keep a close watch on how they look to make sure they aren’t getting overly fatigued.
  • Obstacle course runs are easy to create in your house for your little dynamo. You can easily have a mini-agility course with jumps over boxes or a hula hoop and tunnels made from cushions.
  • Mental games are just as important for small dogs as for larger pups. We all need mental stimulation. You can accomplish this with treat games, hide and seek or obedience training.
  • Hide and seek is a great indoor game to play with your pup you can even play it with little food treats and turn it into a “Find the Food” game.
  • Don’t hold to the mistaken belief that all small dogs are content to have a light level of exercise. Their breed is more of a factor then their size when determining the proper exercise routines. Terriers, for example, need tons of exercise, even though they are considered a smaller breed.

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A good measure of whether your dog is getting enough exercise is their demeanor and behavior. If a dog becomes destructive, tearing up the house or their toys or barking uncontrollably that might be an indication they are bored and need to get out and expend some energy. Likewise, if they are restless and constantly demanding attention, it may be a sign they need a mental challenge.

You also need to be aware of smaller dog’s physical limitations. Be cautious in the heat or if your dog is a brachycephalic breed (Pug), breathing may be harder for them, so shorter exercise jaunts are necessary. Some smaller dogs have shorter legs like the Dachshund or Corgi and may need a slower pace.

It’s also important to always check in with your vet when you start a new exercise routine with your pet. It’s important that they weigh in on any physical limitations they may have in order to keep your little guy safe.

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Sources:

https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/exercise-dogs

http://3lostdogs.com/9-ways-to-exercise-your-dog-without-walking-him/

http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/match-your-dogs-breed-type-to-the-right-exercise?page=2

Trimming Your Dog’s Toenails

127-1-dog_nailsDog’s have four toes on each paw. They also have a vestigial toe (dewclaw) on the front paws and some breeds have them on the rear paws too. A few breeds (St. Bernard, Anatolian Shepherd ), even have a double dewclaw on the rear paw. At a minimum your dog has 20 toenails to clip.

If you’ve ever tried to cut your dog’s toenails, you will know that it’s not an experience they enjoy. Many dogs don’t even like their paws touched or held, much less having their toenails cut.

If you are lucky and you walk/run your dog frequently, they may wear their nails down naturally on the pavement or hiking trails and you never have to worry about them. But for many dog owners, particularly if your dog is an indoor dog, with their outdoor access limited to grass at best, then you are probably going to have to deal with cutting their nails.

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A first step should be to get your dog used to you holding onto their paws. Just hold them, give them a treat and let them go. Do this daily until they are comfortable with you holding their paw for several minutes. You should also introduce your dog to the clippers a few times before you actually start clipping. Just hold their paw and show them the clippers, don’t do anything, just acclimate them to the scenario.

Be sure and purchase good quality clippers. Don’t try to cut them with scissor or human nail clippers, invest in good quality clippers designed for dogs. Alternatively, you can use a dremel – kind of a power nail file that will slowly grind down their nails.

Now that you have the right tools and you’ve gotten your dog comfortable with holding their paw, take a good look at their nail from the underside. You will note the hard shell of the nail and then inside you will see what is called ‘the quick’ which contains the blood supply to the nail. There is no feeling in the nail, but the quick contains a nerve so you want to be careful not to nick it when trimming their nails.

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Gauging how far to trim your dog’s nails is a challenge. You should make small incremental clips and check the nail after each cut. If your dog has white nails, you want to stop just before they begin to turn pink. If your dog has black nails, they are a little trickier, but you want to stop when the cut surface of the nail begins to show a black center.

If you happen to nick the quick and it begins to bleed, don’t freak out, even the best of dog manicurists have accidents. You can treat it with a styptic pencil to stop the blood flow. Be sure and distract your pet with some yummy treats.

Check some of the sources listed below for further tips and pictures to help guide you.

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How do you know when their nails need a trim? If you can hear your dog’s nails clickety-clacking on your hardwood or linoleum floors, then it’s time for a trimming. Their nails should NOT touch the ground when they are standing upright. Nails that are too long will irritate the dog’s nail bed and paw each time they step. This can lead to painful paws and even arthritis.

If you are still uncertain or queasy about trimming your dog’s nails, your veterinarian can show you how to do it, or you can just ask them or your dog’s groomer do it for you.

Sources:

https://smartdoguniversity.com/dog-nail-trims-part-5-how-to-trim-your-dogs-nails-with-the-dremel-video/

http://caringhandsvet.com/trim-dog-nails/

https://www.vetbabble.com/dogs/grooming-dogs/trimming-dogs-nails/

Not so Healthy Ingredients for Your Pet: Nuts

130-1-nutsThe next ingredient we’re covering in our ongoing series on Healthy Ingredients for Your Pet are nuts. There’s a huge variety of nuts and many of them can be found in your pet’s food. But are nuts really good for pets? Not in all cases!

What is a Nut?
A nut is defined by Webster’s as a fruit consisting of a hard or tough shell around an edible kernel. Technically, many things we consider nuts are not actually nuts. Obviously, peanuts, which are a legume, but also cashews, pistachios, walnuts and almonds are seeds and not classified as nuts.

Why would Nuts be in pet food?
Putting aside issues with nut allergies which affect approximately 8% of the US population, nuts are a staple snack food for humans. They are high in calories, but also high in unsaturated fats, which work to help keep your heart healthy. They also contain plenty of complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

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But, nuts are not good for your pet and only a few types will be found in their food and in very limited quantities.

Are there any risks to feeding your pet Nuts?
YES. While there are many human health benefits to eating nuts, they do not translate to your pet. You may be surprised by that, especially when you hear advice from your vet to add coconut oil to your pet’s food. Coconuts are technically not a nut, they are classified as a drupe, a fruit with a hard-stony covering enclosing the seed (like a peach or olive). We’ve written about the benefits of coconut oil and it is a-okay to feed to your dog. (https://petnet.io/blog/superfoods-for-pets-coconut-oil)

But what about sharing a can of mixed nuts while snuggling on the couch with your pet? Tossing a few roasted and shelled peanuts, cashews or hazelnuts to your pet should be fine, it should be in very limited quantities. They are high in fat and rough on the digestive system. The high fat content could irritate your pet’s pancreas and results in pancreatitis. The shells and rough edges of nuts can be detrimental to your pet’s intestines – especially small dogs and cats – as they are not easily digested.

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Macadamia nuts, like grapes are highly toxic to your dog, so steer clear of them.

Peanut Butter, since it is smooth can safely be fed to your dog but buy a peanut butter that is all natural, contains no sugar or artificial sweetener, and low sodium and feed it in limited amounts.

Best advice: Leave the nuts for the squirrels.

Nut Factoids:

  • Pine nuts are actually found inside pinecones.
  • Peanuts Account for two-thirds of all nut consumption.
  • Pistachios are green due to their antioxidant content.

A sampling of pet foods that contain Nuts:
Timber Wolf Organics: Lamb & Apples Grain Free (Walnut oil, which contains omega-3 oils)
A wide variety of foods contain Coconut Oil.

Sources:

http://www.peanut-institute.org/eating-well/allergy/quick-facts.asp

https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_dog-owners-guide-to-nuts-and-seeds

https://www.wagthedoguk.com/2014/08/22/bad-nuts-for-dogs/

https://www.consumerreports.org/nuts/are-nuts-good-for-you/

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