(BPT) - It's that time of year again, where you celebrate the holidays with loved ones and the furry friends that are part of your family. But with colder weather, less daylight and holiday parties filled with a few too many calories, the most wonderful time of the year can also take its toll, and it's important to give your dog the care he needs, too. To help you enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season with your furry friends, Beneful teamed up with Dr. Kurt Venator, director of veterinary strategy and programs at Purina, to offer these tips:
Go light on the treats. While this season brings many tasty meals for you, it's important to not over-indulge your dog. Give treats responsibly -make sure you don't give too many or pieces that are too large, and avoid table scraps (although a bite of fresh carrot or celery won't hurt). Also, be sure to keep festive sweets like chocolate or nuts out of nose-range, and don't let your dog get near dishes that have onions or garlic, which can be toxic.
Run wild. Weather permitting, spend as much time as you can outdoors. Take your dog on a long walk, or visit your favorite dog park to play together and work off holiday meals and extra cookies (or treats). Just be sure to clean Fido's paws afterwards if you're walking on salted sidewalks, and look for signs he's ready to head inside, like lifting his paws from the ground. If you can't get outside, engage in some indoor games and playtime to give your dog the exercise and enrichment he needs.
Avoid the mistletoe. While beautifully festive, some holiday plants can be poisonous or toxic, especially to children and dogs. Steer clear of holly, mistletoe, and amaryllis - all of which can make your dog sick if ingested. If eaten by mistake, be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately.
Give them the good stuff (that's actually meant for them). You look forward to those holiday meals all year - from ham to turkey, sweet potatoes to stuffing - so don't forget to fill your dog's bowl with food that's just as good. Beneful dry dog foods are a great choice - they come in a variety of flavors, offer real beef or chicken as the number one ingredient and taste great to your dog.
Dressed to the nines. Routine brushing and grooming is important to make sure your pet has a healthy coat. Treat your best furry buddy by splurging on a good grooming to ensure they're looking their best all season long.
String up the lights with care. While light strands look beautiful on the Christmas tree and in holiday decorations around the home, it's important to note that they can represent a serious hazard to your dog. Puppies and inquisitive dogs that tend to chew can be at risk of serious burns or electric shock if they bite cords. The best recommendation is to be aware of the potential risk and to focus on prevention and appropriate supervision, especially when it comes to puppies. If you suspect your dog may have been electrocuted, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Plan ahead. This time of year, many families travel and bring their dogs or leave them in the care of others. Either way, make sure you have your veterinarian's contact information and a 24/7 emergency contact. Always keep these numbers posted in an easy-to-find location in case of emergency. If you're traveling, make sure your dog is current on all vaccinations and remember to bring proof of vaccination records with you on your trip. And lastly, don't allow them on your lap while driving.
As you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the holidays, be sure to keep these tips in mind for a safe and carefree season with your best buddy.
The holiday season is synonymous with family gatherings, dinner parties, gift openings and plenty of festive food, all of which can pose challenges for pets. This advice can help keep pets safe, healthy and happy this holiday season and throughout the cold winter months.
Keep Pets Safe, Healthy During the Holidays
Lisa Darling, DVM, PetSmart's resident veterinarian and pet care expert, offers this advice for keeping pets safe, healthy and happy this holiday season and throughout the cold winter months.
Create a Safe Home
Christmas trees can also pique the interest of curious cats and playful pups. Darling urges pet parents to firmly anchor trees so they can take any potential playful swatting and to keep breakable glass ornaments higher up on the tree, out of pets’ reach, along with temptations like tinsel and ribbons.
Candles can also be problematic, so it’s best to avoid burning them or put them far out of pets’ reach. Seasonal plants like holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs and cats, so if you plan to decorate your home with them, place them in an area your pet cannot reach.
Savor the Season
“Table scraps such as turkey, gravy and stuffing may look harmless, but even small amounts can lead to serious health issues,” Darling said.
Instead, include pets in your festive feasting by offering them pet-friendly treats that look and taste like the real thing. An option like Simply Nourish Merry Meals, in flavors like Turkey, Sweet Potato and Cranberry, are healthy alternatives to the human food on the holiday table. Additionally, PetSmart’s meat and cheese tray, pie slice and turkey leg made of rawhide are fun takes on holiday feasting specifically formulated for pets.
Keep Them Calm
“Before company arrives, try putting your dog or cat in a Thundershirt, which is designed to provide a calming effect when they experience fear or discomfort,” Darling said. “Many pet parents also find that supplements can work by promoting calmness and behavior which may help stabilize pets’ moods.”
Keep Them Cozy and Warm
Darling says that sweaters, coats and booties to protect their paws are all smart (and comfortable) solutions. Booties are particularly important for icy areas that may be salted and can help guard paws from the harmful solution.
A safe home is a happy and festive home this holiday season. Keeping these tips in mind can help avoid emergency trips to the vet, which means the whole family can celebrate a joyful holiday season.
It can be dangerous to feed human food to pets. This holiday season, look for human-inspired treats specially formulated for pets – like this turkey leg-shaped rawhide chew.
Find more pet-friendly tips for the holidays at PetSmart.com.
Photo courtesy of PetSmartSOURCE:
Like people, dogs and cats can suffer from diabetes. In fact, this disease is on the rise among dogs and cats. While a diagnosis of diabetes requires lifestyle changes and heightened health monitoring, your pet can still live a happy, healthy life when you work together with your veterinarian to provide proper care. Untreated, diabetes can be fatal in dogs and cats, but veterinary care and at-home blood glucose monitoring can help you manage the disease in your four-legged friends.
Manage Your Pet’s Diabetes with Home Care
(Family Features) Like people, dogs and cats can suffer from diabetes. In fact, this disease is on the rise among dogs and cats. While a diagnosis of diabetes requires lifestyle changes and heightened health monitoring, your pet can still live a happy, healthy life when you work together with your veterinarian to provide proper care.
The 2016 State of Pet Health report from Banfield Pet Hospitals found the number of dogs with diabetes rose 80 percent from 2006-2015, while diabetes in cats increased by 18 percent. The report looked at data from more than 900 Banfield hospitals nationwide and covered 2.5 million dogs and 500,000 cats.1
Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body cannot process glucose (sugar) into cells, resulting in too much glucose in the blood and not enough glucose in the cells for energy.
Untreated, diabetes can be fatal in dogs and cats, but veterinary care and at-home blood glucose monitoring can help you manage the disease in your four-legged friends.
The first step is identifying warning signs. Certain risk factors may increase the chances of your pet getting diabetes. In both dogs and cats, these include age, obesity and breeds with a genetic predisposition. Dog breeds prone to diabetes include the Australian Terrier, Keeshond and Yorkshire Terrier; Burmese cats also have a genetic predisposition to diabetes.
Signs of diabetes in pets are often similar to those in humans and include fatigue or weakness, increased hunger, weight loss, increased thirst and increased urination. If you observe one or more of these signs, consult with your veterinarian to determine the cause.
If your veterinarian diagnoses diabetes, he will create a management plan that addresses your pet’s dietary and dental care needs. The plan may call for monitoring blood glucose levels and may also include a prescription for insulin.
At-home monitoring systems for pets are different than at-home monitoring systems for humans and should not be used interchangeably. You actually can use the same at-home monitoring system that your veterinarian uses, such as AlphaTRAK® 2, which is available through your veterinarian. Specifically calibrated for dogs and cats, it is easy to use and priced affordably to make at-home monitoring convenient and economical.
There are also a variety of free tools available designed to help pet owners manage their dog’s or cat’s diabetes. For example, diabeticpetconnection.com provides a veterinary discussion guide and emails with tips for pet owners. The PetDialog app, available for download on iTunes and in the Google Play Store, allows pet owners to quickly and easily report a diabetic pet’s blood glucose directly to their veterinarian.
Successful diabetes management is possible when you work together with your veterinarian to follow your pet’s prescribed plan, including at-home blood glucose monitoring, consistent communication and follow-up appointments. Visit AlphaTRAKmeter.com to learn more about diabetes management.
1DVM360.com. Banfield 2016 report shows increase in diabetes, dental disease; decrease in heartworm. May 17, 2016. http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/banfield-report-shows-increase-diabetes-dental-disease-decrease-heartworm?pageID=2. Accessed November 21, 2016.
All trademarks are the property of Zoetis Services LLC or a related company or a licensor unless otherwise noted. © 2016 Zoetis Services LLC. All rights reserved.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
(BPT) - Zika-carrying mosquitoes had their moment this year as the nation's top headline-grabbing pests, but the arrival of cooler weather means the resurgence of another disease-carrying insect. Ticks transmit a number of diseases, including Lyme disease, that affect people and pets. And while cold weather may kill off mosquitoes, ticks remain a year-round threat.
The ticks which spread Lyme disease - adult black-legged or deer ticks - are most active during fall and winter, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), which predicts 2016 will be a banner year for ticks. Annually, about 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme Disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate.
Multiple diseases, multiple risks
The CDC lists 15 different diseases transmitted by ticks, including Lyme, anaplasmosis, two types of rickettsiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF). These diseases can vary greatly in severity and duration; some can be debilitating and even fatal.
Ticks thrive virtually everywhere in the country, with different species preferring different locales. While ticks are commonly found in heavily wooded areas, they also thrive in domestic settings such as gardens, landscape plantings and backyard grasses. In fact, experts estimate that the majority of people who contract tick-borne diseases came in contact with the tick that made them ill right in their own backyards.
Tick prevention starts with deer
Ticks hang out on shrubs, trees and in grass waiting for a host to pass by. Hitching a ride on suburban deer and other animals, including pets, is one of their main means of transportation. Cooler weather means deer are more likely to come closer to homes looking for mates, or to dine on suburban landscapes as wild food sources dwindle.
Ticks may travel to your backyard riding on the deer that's dining on your landscaping, only to stay behind when the deer moves on. Once they're in your environment, it's just a waiting game for the tick to find a host; a person, dog or cat passing by.
While you may know the need to inspect humans for ticks after spending time outdoors, it can be harder to detect their presence when they're hidden in pet fur. Both dogs and cats can pick up ticks that they bring into your home, where the tick may transfer to a human or stick with the pet and make it sick.
The CDC recommends homeowners discourage deer away from residences in order to help minimize potential exposure to ticks.
"Tick populations do not decrease substantially unless deer are eradicated or severely reduced," the CDC says.
You can discourage deer from entering your environment in a number of ways, from long-term measures like planting vegetation deer don't like, to sure-fire but challenging tactics like building a tall fence. However, these tactics have their limitations. With cold weather approaching, you don't have time to install new plantings and deer will eat just about anything available in cold weather. Plus, many communities restrict the height of fences and deer have been known to easily jump over fences as high as 10 feet.
One of the easiest, most effective and practical ways to deter deer is through the use of a topical foliar spray like Bobbex Deer Repellent. The spray can be applied year-round; it uses taste and scent-aversion ingredients to deter deer from grazing on foliage, shrubs and trees. During spring and summer months, gardeners rely on Bobbex to protect their gardens from deer damage. It's also effective in winter to not only protect plants, but also people and pets - by keeping tick-carrying deer away from homes.
It's safe for use around children and pets because the product is all natural. It works in fall and winter as well as during warm weather, and won't wash off under rain or snow. In testing by the Connecticut Department of Forestry and Horticulture, Bobbex was found to be 93 percent effective in deterring deer when compared to like repellents, and second only to a physical fence. Learn more at www.bobbex.com.
Human and companion animal health experts agree: keeping deer away from your home is essential for reducing exposure to disease-bearing ticks. What's more, experts warn, don't rely on the weather for help.
Although drought in many areas of the country could affect tick populations, the nymphs responsible for most of the biting ticks have gone into hiding and missed the worst part of the drought. They'll re-emerge as adults in October, according to an ABC News report.
"(Ticks) have seen lots of changes and are ecologically very successful," Sam Telford, a professor of infectious diseases at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts told ABC. "One or two years of severe weather may depress their numbers, but remember ... the successful feeding of one female tick on a deer translates to 2,000 eggs. It does not take much to reset the clock, as it were, if there was significant mortality for a few years."
Holiday season means it’s time to start picking out stocking stuffers and gifts that perfectly match every friend and family member – including four-legged ones – on your list. Instead of spending more time head-scratching than gift-wrapping, keep everyone jolly by going for one of these great gift ideas.
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