03.20.2015 | 09:57 am
It is not uncommon for your dog or cat to be allergic to certain things. The most important thing is that you be able to recognize the symptoms, know how to treat any allergic reaction, and also to learn about ways that you can possibly prevent these allergies. This knowledge will help you to deal with any allergies that your pet may have.
Signs and Symptoms
Recognizing the signs and symptoms that your pet exhibits is a very important part of determining what type of allergy that your pet may have.
This is the most common allergy among dogs and cats and is often seasonal. Common sources of this type of allergy are pollens, molds and dust mites.
- Pollen allergies tend to surface around April and May
- Dust mite allergies are usually at their worst in the winter time
- Ragweed allergies are more common in the fall
Common symptoms for these allergies are –
- Red or inflamed ears or recurrent ear infections
- Chewing of the feet
- Facial scabbing in cats
- Rubbing face against carpet or furniture
- Wheezing in cats
- Flea allergy dermatitis – This is a common allergy and it is a direct result of flea bites.
This includes allergies to carpets, cleaners, or plastic and are much less common than Atopy. Symptoms of contact dermatitis allergies can include –
- Red bumps or blisters on areas of the body with less hair, such as the belly
- Excessive scratching
- Hair loss in serious cases
Food allergies only account for a small percentage of allergies in pets. Symptoms can include –
- Recurring skin infections
- Ear problems
- Chronic itching
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
If you suspect that your pet is dealing with allergies, the first thing that you should do is schedule a visit with your veterinarian. They will do a complete history workup and physical examination to try and determine the source of the allergic reaction. If needed, they will do some skin and blood tests and possibly even an elimination diet to get further answers. Once the source of the allergic reaction is determined there are many different treatment solutions –
- Flea control medication for all of the pets in your home
- Weekly bathing with prescription shampoos for skin allergies
- Frequent washing of your pet’s bedding to keep it free of potential allergens
- For suspected food allergies, consider placing your pet on a grain free diet.
- If the source of your pet’s allergic reaction is something that cannot be removed from their environment, allergy injections are available
- Antihistamines such as Benadryl can be used, but only after consulting with your veterinarian and determining proper dosage amounts
- Topical solutions containing hydrocortisone
- Oral and injectable steroids
There are some things that you can do to avoid some of the triggers of allergic reactions.
- Keep pets in uncarpeted rooms
- Keep pets indoors during high pollen season
- Use dehumidifiers in the room that your pet sleeps in
- Avoid stuffed toys
- Keep grass cut short
- Choose a diet for your pet with wholesome and natural ingredients and less additives
Watching your pet struggle with the symptoms of allergies can be painful. The best thing that you can do as a pet owner is to educate yourself about pet allergies so that you can recognize the symptoms early and even learn how to prevent and lessen the chances of certain allergies developing.
02.16.2015 | 12:20 pm
We love our pets every day of the year, but that is not stopping us from dedicating an entire day to making them feel special. February 20, 2015 is Love Your Pet Day, and that is reason enough for us to shower our pets with extra love. Need some help coming up with the perfect way to celebrate this special day with your pet? Maybe it’s a special outing, a new treat, or a day at the doggie hair salon; we have some great suggestions, and your four-legged best friend will never know that you didn’t come up with the idea yourself.
For the Love of Dogs
Dogs spend every single day loving us unconditionally, so let’s talk about some ways that we can show some extra love in return on this special day.
- Turn your ordinary daily walk into an extraordinary one by taking a path less traveled. Find some new trails nearby, take a walk in a new neighborhood, or explore the local state park together, as long as it is pet friendly.
- Love Your Pet Day can be the perfect playdate for your dog. Take your four-legged friend to the local dog park and let him mingle in the social scene of the dog world.
- We all like our dogs healthy and happy. Love Your Pet Day is a great time to schedule a yearly check-up at the Vet Clinic to make sure that your pet is exactly that – healthy and happy! This one goes for all pets.
- What dog doesn’t love treats? Love your dog by scoring him some new healthy treats. The best part? You don’t have to feel guilty on those days that you give in to an extra treat or two.
Pamper Your Pet
- Does your dog need a fresh haircut, or maybe just a really good bath? Make your furry friend an appointment at the hair salon for the full treatment, complete with good-smelling pawfume and a pawdicure.
- Let your dog join you on a trip to the pet store to pick out a favorite new toy.
For the Love of Cats
Only true cat lovers can fully understand the loyalty of a cat and the comfort that they bring to our daily lives. They are known for being self-sufficient in many ways, so let’s talk about some ways that we can give them the extra attention they deserve.
- If your cat spends most of his days indoors, plan a special outing that will allow your cat to safely enjoy some fresh air. They are sure to enjoy it even if you aren’t venturing farther than the back yard.
- If your cat spends most of his time outdoors, a day inside could be all he wants and more. Bring your cat inside and plan a movie marathon on the couch – chances are he will be so pleased that he will even let you pick the movie.
- Let your cat explore his frisky side – bring home some catnip and let the games begin! Be sure to have your phone handy because there is sure to be some video worthy moments and you wouldn’t want to miss a good social media post!
- Surprise your cat with a pâté party! Holistic Select offers many grain-free wet cat food recipes that can be served as a meal or mixed in with their daily dry food. Grab a few new recipes for Fluffy to try a sampling of to celebrate Love Your Pet Day.
Share the Love
Whether or not you own a pet, everyone can celebrate Love Your Pet Day. If you have a love for animals in general, you can be part of the celebration and help out a four-legged friend in the process.
- Adopt a pet from your local shelter
- Make a donation to a local shelter or volunteer your time
- Most shelters have websites and/or social media pages that list the animals that are up for adoption; spread the love by sharing these pages on social media to help find shelter animals a loving home.
The love of a pet is unconditional and as pet owners and animal lovers alike, we know that our pets deserve a day of celebration. Take advantage of Love Your Pet Day and show your appreciation for your four-legged best friend in a way that only you can. Be thankful for your pet, and take this day to also remember the shelter animals that are patiently waiting for their day to become someone’s beloved pet.
02.06.2015 | 11:50 am
They say dog is man’s best friend, which actually makes a lot of sense when you consider how similar dogs and cats are to humans both emotionally and medically. They’re just as excited to see you as you are to see them when you get home; they like to eat just as much as you do; and they need regular exercise to stay healthy –just like you!
As veterinary science progresses, researchers are learning pets have more in common with their owners than just habits; dogs and cats are also subject to major diseases. As pet diabetes is on the rise, now is the perfect time to figure out if your pet may have or be a likely candidate for the disease.
Recognizing the Signs of Pet Diabetes
Many pet owners don’t realize that their dog or cat is just as likely for getting diabetes as humans are. Just like in humans, pet diabetes is the result of both genetic and environmental factors. Certain pet breeds have a higher likelihood of contracting diabetes, so if you have a Siamese cat, a Dachshund or Cairn terrier, for example, you may want to have your pet checked regardless of whether signs of diabetes are present.
While signs of pet diabetes can easily be confused with signs of other ailments, be on the lookout for the following:
- Extreme thirst (polydipsia)
- Frequent, excessive, or irregular urination (polyuria)
- Increased hunger despite maintaining or losing weight (polyphagia)
- Weak hind legs
- Blindness or “whiteness” of eye lens due to cataracts
- Poor skin such as dandruff or an oily coat
Pets that are older (7-9 years for dogs; 8-13 years in cats), have never been spayed (females), or that are obese are of an increased likelihood to fall into the narrowing bracket of animals diagnosed with diabetes.
Risks and Effects of Pet Diabetes
There are two types of pet diabetes or diabetes mellitus (DM):
- Type I DM: Type I DM is the result of the body not producing enough insulin. This type of diabetes is treated via twice-daily received syringe of insulin for the remainder of a pet’s life. Type I diabetes is most often seen in dogs.
- Type II DM: Type II DM sees some insulin production from the pancreas; however, the production is not adequate or there is something disabling the body from using it. The treatment for Type II DM is the same as Type I; however, the good news is that with Type II DM, the treatment doesn’t have to last for the remainder of the pet’s life; rather, it may only be needed for a few months to a few years.
Cats vs. Dogs
Both cats and dogs are capable of having DM; however, the effects and consequences of diabetes in canines are much direr than they are for felines.
- Cats are able to receive supplementary oral medications (oral hypoglycemic agents) that help lower their blood sugar. When cats are diagnosed with diabetes, their life expectancy isn’t necessarily compromised especially when the feline is also being treated with a high-protein diet and weight loss because a successful treatment regimen can resolve the diabetes in cats.
- Dogs are not receptive to supplementary oral medications, and the lifespan of dogs diagnosed with diabetes is typically lowered to two to five years following diagnosis. Lastly, even with a rigorous, successful treatment regimen, canine diabetes can never be resolved.
In any animal, diabetes left untreated will be fatal. Thus, it is of extreme importance to take as many preventative measures as possible to ensure your furry best friend is not one diagnosed with diabetes.
The good news about preventative measures for pet diabetes is that they are easy to do; also, they are things that you probably do with your pet anyway…so, all you have to do is do them more often (and as an added bonus, at least one of these things is good for your health, too).
- Exercise: Your pet should get regular exercise just like you to ward off obesity; obesity in pets is on the rise (over half of dogs and 60% of cats are considered overweight or obese). As we all know, obesity is one of the number one preventable causes of diabetes, so taking your pup out for a half hour walk before or after work will not only help keep him or her in shape, it will also ward off diabetes. For indoor cat owners, here’s the perfect excuse to buy that laser pointer you’ve never been able to rationalize to your spouse. As an added bonus, watching the kitty chase that little red dot is worth a heart-healthy barrel of laughs.
- Diet: Consult your vet to determine which natural pet food is best for your animal. In pets with diabetes, maintaining glucose concentrations is essential, so something created for your pet’s age, size, breed, lifestyle and dietary needs can make a big difference in prolonging his or her life.
- Monitoring: Now that you know the signs, be on the lookout for any significant changes in your pet’s diet, energy levels, thirst, or urination habits / frequency. Immediately take your pet to the vet if any concerning changes are noted.
Only a licensed veterinarian can diagnose your pet with diabetes or help you best determine if your pet is at risk. If you think your pet might be at risk, there’s no harm in having him or her checked out. In the meantime, make sure you’re feeding your pet high quality natural pet food and –while you’re at it– tack an extra 15 minutes onto the day’s walk because it could save your pet’s life and if nothing else, it will lead to a healthier, happier, longer life for both of you.
12.10.2014 | 10:45 am
‘Tis the season to be jolly – wrapping gifts, baking cookies, visiting family and having parties. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, and yet, for pets, it can be confusing and oftentimes dangerous. This holiday season, give your pets an early gift: pet-proof the holidays to ensure your buddies stay safe and the holidays go off without a kink.
Tinsel, Glitter and A Trip to the Pet ER
Decorating the home has been a favorite pastime of families for years. Every year, the decorations that are annually packed away, are brought out again to illuminate the home with holiday cheer. As you’re decking the halls, keep in mind these tips for protecting pets from dangerous decor:
The Tree Itself – If your holiday plans inspire the putting up of a lighted tree within your home, take every precaution to ensure pets aren’t lured into this dangerous fixture. Cats may try to climb the tree, and dogs may knock it over trying to grab an ornamental bird from its high branches. If possible, put your tree in a room that doesn’t have pet access, and keep the doors closed. Also remember that the tree stand will hold water, and this too is an attraction to pets. They won’t realize they are creating a fire hazard by removing the tree’s water source and also possibly poisoning themselves with toxic preservatives in the tree.
Ornaments, Tinsel, Holly and Mistletoe – Tinsel, and glitter, and holly, oh my! Shiny, pretty objects hanging from trees, wreaths, mantles and more – your pets won’t understand that these are not new toys. Ornaments and tinsel can present a choking hazard, and holly and mistletoe are poisonous to pets. Make every effort to keep holiday decorations out of pets’ reach, and avoid a quick trip to the vet over the holidays.
Christmas Lights and Other Electrical Dangers – We’ve all seen the scene in Christmas Vacation where an unfortunate cat chews through a strand of lights on the tree and becomes, in the words of Cousin Eddie, ‘Fried Kitty.’ While this movie obviously takes a more lighthearted look at the scenario, there’s no joke involved when it comes to the possibility of your pet suffering a similar fate. Ensure all electrical outlets are properly protected, and keep all lights out of reach. Also remember that the animated Santa in your yard that belts out ‘Ho Ho Ho’ whenever anyone comes near – could be an attraction to your protective canine roommates. Be sure to supervise your dog if you have an outdoor display.
Candies, Cookies and Other Hazards of the Holiday Table
The holidays are marked by the delicious smells that permeate the kitchen air, like fresh gingerbread cookies, a pot of steaming hot chocolate, pecans roasting, or homemade candies. These smells will bring the pets closer to the action, so it’s important to remember a few tips regarding your favorite holiday treats:
Nuts and Berries – Cherries can cause a dangerous heart rate increase, shock, and even death in pets, and plums can cause vomiting and diarrhea (not exactly the dance of the Sugar Plum fairy). Many nut dishes are set out over the holidays, and their contents are also dangerous for pets, causing gastrointestinal upset, lameness, tremors, and even liver failure.
Anything Chocolate – Of course you’ve heard about the dangers of chocolate for dogs, and the abundance of its presence in holiday recipes should be enough to steer Fido clear out of the kitchen until January. Chocolate poisoning can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased body temperature and reflex responses, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, seizures, and worse, including cardiac failure and coma. The three most dangerous kinds of chocolate? Milk Chocolate, Semi-Sweet Chocolate and Baking Chocolate.
Santa Claus and Other Unusual Guests in the Home
Be it Mr. Claus himself or other holiday guests, an abundance of unfamiliar visitors can make even the calmest mutts restless or uneasy. Here are a few tips to combat holiday house guest hazards and keep your pets safe from harm:
Closed Door Policy – One of the main reasons pets go missing during the holidays is because they slip out of the house unnoticed during holiday bustle and tussle. When guests are in the home, make sure that everyone understands the ‘closed door policy,’ which includes closing all doors behind you and making sure that no pet has escaped during your exit. It’s also a good idea to expand that rule to include all interior doors as well, to prevent curious pets from nosing through Great Aunt Mildred’s suitcase.
Inform Guests of Any Need-to-Knows – It’s important to notify your guests ahead of time if your pets have any medical condition, food restrictions, or behavioral issues. If Rex is on a grain-free diet, make sure no one is slipping him scraps under the table. Does your cat Mr. Snuffins really (and I mean really) hate being petted by anyone he doesn’t know? That’s a good thing to tell your guests. Avoid any unhappy family members (pets or people) and give everyone the lay of the land as soon as they arrive.
Keep the Routine – As much as possible during the holidays, keep your pet’s usual routine. If your dog takes a walk every day at 4, try to stick to that schedule. If your cats are used to dinner every evening at 7, try to keep feeding to a similar time. It’s easier for pets to adjust to the excitement of holiday festivities if their routine stays as normal as possible for the essentials.
May your holidays be merry and bright, and even more, safe for your entire family. Stick to these tips for a pet-proof holiday season.
11.17.2014 | 10:41 am
Q: What are the best vegetables to feed my pet as a treat?
Green beans, spinach, carrots and pumpkin have vitamins and minerals as well as other beneficial nutrients for pets. We recommend using vegetables only as a treat fed along with a balanced diet of Holistic Select dry or canned foods. It’s important to wash the vegetables thoroughly and cut into small bite-size pieces. While they can be fed raw, boiled, grilled or baked, just be sure to cool them before feeding. Use unseasoned veggies as certain herbs can be harmful to pets. All Holistic Select dry recipes contain vegetables, such as the Holistic Select Weight Management Chicken Meal & Peas dry dog food which contains peas, carrots and pumpkin, for a healthy, balanced meal.
11.13.2014 | 11:28 am
Fall is a beautiful time of year; the cooler weather is ideal for outdoor walks, visiting parks and getting exercise with your pets. November kicks off both the holiday season and many pet-related events around the U.S. from fun classes, to wellness and educational outreach programs, to festive photo ops.
Ways to Give Thanks to Pets
Another thing that comes along with November is Thanksgiving which, in addition to being time for the greatest meal of the year, is a time for giving thanks. One thing pet owners are certainly grateful for are their furry best friends. Rather than pretending not to notice when Garfield and Odie make a break for it with the turkey leftovers, demonstrate a thankful attitude by participating in one of the many fun pet-friendly events taking place in your community and around the U.S.
- Pet Expo: From Ft. Lauderdale, to Atlanta, to Tucson, November is practically pet-expo month. For those who have never been to pet expos, pet expos are fun, exciting, pet-oriented events with booths, information, demonstrations, and more for pet owners and pet lovers. There are free samples, gift bags, silent auctions and even pet massages at these events.
- Pet Walks: Pet walks are fun, athletic events that get you and your pet outdoors for fresh air and fitness. Cost of participation is usually minimal, and the fees generally go toward charitable causes. In addition to the walk, there are often events, vendors, booths, and other exciting activities for you to explore after the walk.
- Holiday Photo Ops: Nobody understands that your pets are your babies better than fellow pet parents, which is why many cities across the U.S. organize pet photo ops with Santa Claus. Adorn your pet with a red cap and let him sit on Santa’s knee and tell Santa what kind of treat he wants in his stocking; get a photo to commemorate the occasion and make it your annual holiday card. Check your town for times and dates for pet photos ops. Most will have separate times designated for dog and cat owners.
- Educational Outreach: Did you know that November is Pet Diabetes Month? Some pet care professionals are taking extra steps to make this and other information widely known. For example, did you know that pets are just as receptive to the healing power of massage as humans are? Healing Touch for Animals has seminars throughout the year all over the U.S. and Canada.
Another fun November event for you and your best bud are Canine Crime Scene Investigation classes where you can solve your own mysteries while your dog learns new tricks. There are several different programs and offerings, so go online to check your local pet calendar to see what is going on in or near your community.
Livelihood of the Traveling Pets
Needless to say, many of the “big” pet events like Healing Touch, Canine Crime Scene Investigation, and pet expos take place in major cities, so if you’re already planning to travel to visit family for the holidays, bring Fido and Fluffy along for the ride and stop off at a fun pet event on the way there or back (it will be much-needed stress relief for both of you!).
If you are going to take your pet on the road, whether it is for a fun event or just to visit family for the holidays, make sure you obey a few pet travel tips:
- Keep Pets Warm: If you’re going to travel somewhere where it might snow or somewhere that’s much colder than your pet is used to, make sure to bring adequate pet-wear, blankets and pet beds for your buddy.
- Pet Identification: Whether you’re just hitting the road or going to an expo or a pet walk, make sure your pet has proper identification; it should be updated and securely fastened to your pet’s collar.
- Study Up on Leash Laws: Different cities, towns and communities have different leash laws, so even if you’re popping one town over for a photo with Santa, make sure you’re aware of what’s expected of you as a pet parent.
- Know Where You Can Get Help: You know where 10 different vet clinics (and the pet ER) are in your hometown, but what about in your in-law’s hometown or in the town you’ll be spending the weekend for the pet expo? Though you’ll hopefully have a fun, safe trip, find out where at least one or two clinics and the local animal ER are located.
- Car Riding 101: Pets are a lot like toddlers especially in the car; when they have to go potty, you pull over. When you do pull over, you have to make sure you stay close to prevent them from running away and getting lost. Also, don’t leave your pet alone in the car which can quickly reach dangerous hot or cold temperatures.
- Pet Accessories: Make a checklist before you hit the road; make sure you have your pet’s leash, carrier, medications, bug repellents, etc.
No matter what adventure you pursue, do something to show your pet how thankful you are for the joy they bring to your life, and they’ll be sure to thank you in return.
10.10.2014 | 03:35 pm
Q: My dog is epileptic. Is there a diet that will keep him healthy?
A: Epilepsy is congenital disorder and a dog’s diet generally does not play a role. Although rare, there are dogs that will experience an epileptic seizure as a result of allergies or food sensitivities. If you and your veterinarian determine that this may be a potential cause of your dog’s epilepsy, you can try the Holistic Select Anchovy & Sardine, Salmon Meals recipe which can be less likely to cause reactions in food-sensitive dogs.
A slow transition is important when switching to any new diet. Give the new diet at least 2 months trial, as it may take time for allergens to completely clear your dog’s system. You must use caution when treating food sensitivities, as something as small as a treat or human food may set off a reaction with your dog. Many medications such as chewable heartworm preventatives may contain meat flavors that should also be avoided. We recommend that you discuss any diet changes with your veterinarian.