Monthly Archives: April 2009

Being Your Pet’s Advocate

As pet owners, we are responsible for our pet’s care and feeding. This includes veterinary care as well. While we don’t actually provide the care itself, we are responsible for making sure our pets have regular vet visits, that their vaccinations are up to date and that their overall health is good. You don’t need to use the most expensive vet you can find, but you need to make sure the vet you pick understands your pet and their specific individual needs. 
If you have children, you probably looked long and hard to find a pediatrician to fit their needs. You should look at your pet’s veterinarian in the same light. For example, will the office hours fit in with your schedule? Do they have emergency hours or are they open on Saturdays? Are they open to alternative forms of treatment, if that is what you are interested in? Will they listen to your explanations or will they expect you to follow what they want you to do?
On Easter Sunday evening I found a lump the size of a medium sized egg under Skye’s jaw. I was flabbergasted as I had just put a new collar on her four days before and there was no lump there then. After calming myself down, I immediately called the breeder to discuss the situation. The breeder felt that it was probably an enlarged lymph node. We discussed the options, as Skye’s regular vet is about an hour an a half away. So we decided that I would call the local vet I had used for my other dogs and see if he could see Skye on Monday morning. 
Here is where being your dog’s advocate comes in. I kept Skye’s original vet because they knew her history and when I had an initial interview with my local vet about Skye when she first came to live with me, he was questioning why she was not on more modern drug therapies for her seizure issues. The local vet felt that Skye would be better served if she was on a more modern drug and not one that had been used since the turn of the twentieth century. I felt that you use what works and if an older drug was keeping her from having seizures, I was not going to play with her medications. So I personally felt more comfortable with going back to the original vet Skye had and we go back to him every six months for her blood tests.
I was able to get Skye in to see my local vet on Monday afternoon. I have gotten to know Skye’s body language pretty well and she was uncomfortable about being at the local vet’s office. While we were waiting to see him, Skye began pacing around the exam room like a tiger in a cage at the zoo. Not only that, she began to shed profusely, not just a few hairs here and there but lots of hair. It looked like I had never brushed her at all. Pacing and shedding are both signs of stress, so Skye my normally calm, people loving dog was not having a good time; and we hadn’t even seen the vet yet.
When we got to see the vet, he aspirated the lump under Skye’s jaw and after looking at a slide determined that it was not a lymph node, but an encapsulated abscess with no draining tracts, as he found pus in the sample. In laymen’s terms, Skye had gotten something under her skin and her body trying to protect itself, walled the foreign body off much like an oyster with a grain of sand in itself does. I was told that it had probably been there for two to three weeks. I found this hard to imagine and explained about the new collar and the fact that I would have notice something to the vet but he felt that I could have missed it.
Now I am having doubts about my care of this wonderful dog and how could I have not seen something? I asked the vet what he would suggest and he felt that the lump should be removed. The vet put Skye on amoxicillin for the infection. So I scheduled Skye for surgery for two days later and went home with her. I called the breeder as soon as I got home to discuss what the vet had mentioned. I discussed my misgivings and feelings and she said she would call the vet that Skye had been seeing and would get back to me.
Please remember this: As your pet’s advocate you are entitled to a second, even a third or fourth opinion, whatever it takes to get and keep your pet healthy. Don’t stop at just one if you are having doubts or issues with what you are being told. The hardest part is that you have to get past your own emotions and do what is best for your pet, and if you are not happy with the first diagnosis or have questions, get a second opinion. As your pet’s advocate you have this right, and this is the most important thing to remember.
This story has a happy ending. I was able to get Skye in to see her regular vet. It was not an abscess, it was an enlarged lymph node and Skye did not have to go under anesthesia, which could have sent her into a seizure, though I did not know that at the time. We still don’t know what caused the infection, but now my little girl is just as sassy and demanding as she was before she got sick, and I learned first hand what being your pet’s advocate means.

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

EmailGoogle GmailBlogger PostTwitterFacebookGoogle+Share

Earth Day is April 22, 2009

Earth Day is upon us and CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods is committed not only to pets, but to our environment as well. So, what’s all the ruckus about? Well, to keep it simple – Earth Day was designed to bring awareness of our world into our living room. The protection of our animals, as well as our pets, comes down to our commitment in saving our environment.
 
Did You Know?
  • The patron Saint of ecologists is St. Francis, who also happens to be the patron saint of animals.
  • Earth Day is celebrated in more than 175 countries.
  • After Christmas and Halloween, Earth Day is the largest celebrated holiday in schools.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to watch TV for three hours –the equivalent of a half gallon of gasoline.
  • More than 20 million Hershey’s Kisses are wrapped each day – 133 square miles of tinfoil. All that foil is recyclable.
  • The Peace Bell, made from coins donated by school-children to further peace on our planet, is rang every Earth Day at the United Nations.
  • More than 100 billion plastic bags are thrown away each year in the U.S., the equivalent of dumping 12 million barrels of oil. More than 1 million birds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die each year from them.
  • If all U.S. households installed water-efficient appliances, we would save more than 3 trillion gallons of water and more than $18 billion per year.
  • Plastic doesn’t biodegrade so it can persist for centuries. All the plastic that has ever been made on earth is still around and will exist long after we’re gone.
  • In 2007, 56 percent of the paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling — an all-time high. That’s nearly 360 pounds of paper for each man, woman, and child.
Find out where the nearest Earth Day celebration is to you and learn what you can do to help the environment that we all count on!  Visit the Earth Day website today.

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Humans Aren’t the Only Ones with Weight Issues

Humans aren’t the only ones with weight issues these days. Our companion animals are fighting obesity too, but with proper feeding, exercise and the right food they can lose weight too.
This is the success story of Rubie a medium sized lab/chow mix that had a weight problem. She should weigh between 65 to 70 pounds according to her owner, Shari. In November of 2006 during a vet visit, Rubie stepped on the scale and weighed a whopping 105 pounds.
When Rubie joined Shari’s household she was a four month old stray that had been dumped after Christmas of 1998. There were two other dogs in the household that Shari was free feeding and as that seemed to work for them, she continued doing it for Rubie too. After two moves and adding a few more dogs, Rubie’s weight kept climbing steadily. Shari jokes about catching her older brother feeding Rubie a sandwich and wanting to blame him for Rubie’s weight gain. Every time her brother had a sandwich he felt the need to give Rubie one also. Shari’s heart would break when friends would come over and comment on how heavy Rubie was.
The breaking point came in 2006 after her chart topping 105 pounds. Rubie now had arthritis, and struggled with walking up stairs, standing and just reaching around to clean herself. Shari knew she had to take a hand in Rubie’s weight loss if she wanted to have Rubie around for a while. The vet at the clinic put Rubie on a prescription diet and told Shari that she had to stop free feeding and feed only twice a day. In December of 2006 Rubie was down to 102.6 pounds, but Shari had expected to see better results than she did. The problem
was that Rubie was the only dog on the prescription diet and she would try and bully the other dogs away from their bowls so she could have what they were eating. So Shari had to watch her like a hawk to make sure that didn’t happen. By February of 2007, Rubie was down to 97.8 and then in August she was at 96.6 pounds. However that was only a weight loss of 8.4 pounds and Shari felt that something else had to be done.
So Shari contacted her local pet shop Paw Prints, to have them help her research different foods to see if she could change Rubie’s situation. Shari wanted a food that she could feed all the dogs that would promote good health for all of them and one that they would all like. Shari decided to try feeding CANIDAE Platinum. She was feeling bad about having to cut down Rubie’s ration of food to 1 cup in the morning and 1 cup in the evening, so she added green beans to add fiber and try to fill Rubie up. Rubie loved the green beans and thought she was getting special treatment. According to Shari, Rubie has a lot to say when it is time to be fed.
Shari continued to feed the CANIDAE Platinum and began to notice a difference. Rubie’s weight began to drop, not only that her energy level increased and Shari also noticed that Rubie along with getting healthier was feeling better. Instead of looking like a walking shelf, Rubie now had hips again and her skin and coat improved too.

When Shari took Rubie back to the vet’s office on October 3, 2008 and Rubie got on the scale, she was down to 71 pounds, a weight loss of 34 pounds. Shari and the vet were amazed and very excited. The vet praised Shari and told her that it was her efforts on Rubie’s behalf that made the difference. Rubie was back to the vet for another weigh in on January 17, 2009 and she is now down to 67.2 pounds, which is a total weight loss of 37.8 pounds.
There have been other benefits for Rubie as well. She is now playing with her ball like a soccer player, can climb stairs with ease and running and playing like the puppy she used to be. Shari feels that because of Rubie’s weight loss, Rubie has gained back several years of her life. Not only that, Shari feels that CANIDAE Platinum has helped her other dogs as well. The vet has told Shari that she can now level off Rubie’s food, as her weight is perfect now.
And Shari has a few words for the rest of us, “I just have to say to all of you out there that think you are depriving your family’s pets, because you think you are starving them, GET OVER IT. I did, and it paid off big. We as pet owners really need to take a better look at whet we are feeding our animals and whether we are doing what is in their best interest. Rubie is truly a success story for our family and we wanted to share our story with you.”

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Pets and the Economy

Let’s face it, the economy isn’t just hard on the human population these days. Many animals are being left behind or abandoned on the streets or given up at shelters because their owners can no longer afford to take care of them. This is a sad fact of life. However there is a bright spot for our unfortunate animal friends, there are places like Cat Adoption Team. In October of 2008, CANIDAE Pet Foods donated several hundred pounds of dog and cat food to the Cat Adoption Team for their shelter.
Cat Adoption Team has a monthly Cat Food Bank for cat owners who find themselves in need. Since the food bank began in June of 2008, CAT has distributed 4,500 pounds of food according to Kim Christiansen who is CAT’s Development Manager. She goes on to mention, that amount of food feeds an average of 69 cats per month. The lines at their food bank every month is evidence that the financial downturn is affecting pet owners.
Even despite a snow storm that shut down the shelter for four days, CAT was able to make their adoption goal of 3,250 cats. Not only that, by being able to team with donors, more cats can stay at home with their owners, and costs in the shelter are kept down with food donations and the fact that they are able to assist the pet owners in their community. By performing almost 3,000 spay/neuter surgeries CAT is also serving the community, as there are less feral cats on the streets and less kittens taken to shelters, because their owners can’t support them.
If you are an animal lover like me, you can contact your local shelter to see if they need volunteers. If you have extra space in your heart and home, you might even ask them if they have a foster program you can get involved in. Sometimes even a donation of old towels you don’t use any more can make a difference. The point I am trying to make is that no matter what you have, whatever you can give can help, even if it is just cuddling a little bundle of fur that needs a hug.
If you would like to donate to Cat Adoption Team, or would like more information about them, visit their website at www.catadoptionteam.org.

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Spring Flowers and Sick Animals

Spring is in the air and for many of us – it’s planting season. What type of flower garden is the best for you and your pets? 
Many flowers are toxic to our favorite felines and canines, and it is important to be informed on which plants to avoid when you have pets. 
Spring Flowers
During this time of the year, you really want to avoid common Easter plants such as lilies, chrysanthemums, crocus and tulips. These plants can cause severe abdominal pain, excessive drooling, and even death. Crocus and amaryllis are two more to avoid this year.
You’ll want to avoid Castor bean plants, which produce a toxin known as Ricin and can be life-threatening. Kalanchoe is another no-no around pets, and those beautiful Oleander trees are toxic as well. Oleander can even cause heart problems, hypothermia and death. The Sago Palm, one of my personal favorites, is also toxic to dogs and cats, causing liver failure, depression and seizures.
Indoors or Out!
Azaleas or flowers of the Rhododendron family contain grayantoxins, which can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness and depression of the central nervous system, so stay away from those. Cyclamen has a similar effect. Schefflera, Pothos and Brassaia actinophylla are toxic as well, so stay away from those too.
What can you grow safely around pets? 
Stay tuned for the next update and we’ll share the ten best plants for pets and families.

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Planting Pet Friendly Gardens

Gardening with Pets
You might think it’s not possible to have dogs and cats, as well as a garden, whether that garden is indoors or out. But, you can have the best of both worlds if you are willing to follow some simple rules. 
Safety First: Be very cautious about soil and fertilizer. Many organic fertilizers are made out of bone meal, blood meal or fish emulsion, which can smell like dinner to a curious dog or cat. 
Minimize Mulch: If you have a dog, avoid cocoa bean mulch in the garden or keep your dog in areas of the yard where you don’t use this mulch. Safer alternatives include bark, grass clippings and fall leaves. 
Location, Location, Location: Plan your garden. Your goal is to keep pets out, keep plants in. This can be done by simply planning the layout of your garden. Plant hearty, thick perennials along the outer border so if Fido oversteps his boundaries, he’s not doing any damage. The more delicate plants should be in the center of the garden. 
Keep Kitty At Bay: Cats go wild for catnip (Nepeta catoria), which is a member of the Mint family. Catmint (Nepeta faassenii and related species) is another favorite. Fortunately, both are tough plants that seem able to withstand feline attention, so keep them in a separate area away from your garden, or on the outskirts of the garden. On that same note, avoid having any bare areas of soil around the garden. While it may look nice to humans, it is simply too tempting as a litter box to the stray passerby. 
When In Doubt, Fence It: Occasionally, it’s just easier to fence the area off. If you have a very determined feline or very nosy pup, it’s best to just fence the area off.
Following these simple rules will help alleviate your frustration, keep your pets safe, and if you’re lucky – discourage other pets from entering. If you continue to have problems, we’ll be addressing that in an upcoming issue of Responsible Pet Ownership.

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.