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My Dog Eats Grass. Is that Okay?

When I take my dog out for a walk, he ends up eating grass and then vomits. Does this sound familiar? You are not alone in your concern.

“Dogs love to munch away on grass, and some even make it part of their daily routine. Fortunately, most experts believe it isn't something you should worry about. So why exactly do they gobble up that green stuff in your yard?

Dogs, unlike their catty counterparts, are not carnivores. But they're not like your garden-variety omnivores, either. For tens of thousands of years, these opportunistic scavengers have devoured anything and everything, as long as it fulfilled their basic dietary requirements.

The modern dog, partly because of evolution and domestication, is no longer like its ancestors, which frequently ate their prey entirely, including the stomach contents of plant-eating animals. Instead, dogs today seek out plants as an alternative food source. Most commonly the plant is grass -- since that is what is closest at hand -- but wild canines are known to eat fruits, berries, and other vegetable matter, too,” according to PetMD.

There are several reasons why your dog might be eating grass:

Boredom

They are bored. If this is the case, giving them more exercise with help with that.

Nutritional deficiency

“Pica is the technical term for the disorder characterized by eating things that aren’t food. Sometimes pica indicates that your dog has some type of nutritional deficiency, though it is often simply a sign of boredom, especially when practiced by puppies and younger dogs.

Dogs eating grass is actually quite common (it has been observed in wild dogs, too, and may be completely natural) and this form of pica does not usually cause too many problems. In fact, most veterinarians consider it a normal dog behavior. One small-scale study of 49 dog owners whose dogs had regular access to grass and other plants found that 79% of the dogs had eaten plants at some time. Another survey about plant-eating dogs found that grass was the most commonly eaten plant. On the chance that your dog’s pica behavior is caused by a nutritional deficiency, switching to a better dog food, especially a high-fiber variety, could help alleviate the problem”, states Pets.WebMD.com.

Don’t feel well

There is a school of thought that dogs turn to eating grass when they don’t feel well as a way to make themselves vomit, which in turn makes them feel better.

Improving digestion

Your dog might be eating grass to improve digestion, treating intestinal worms, or fulfilling some unmet nutritional need, including the need for fiber.

Typically grazing itself isn’t harmful for animals. Consider that certain herbicides and pesticides used on lawns can be quite toxic, especially if your dog ingests the grass with the toxins on it.

Time to get concernedThe American Kennel Club reports that “if your dog's vomiting can be described as any of the following, then it is time to start getting concerned:

  • Continuous vomiting
  • Chronic vomiting
  • Vomiting a lot at one time
  • Vomiting with other symptoms, like fever, weight loss, lethargy, anemia, etc.
  • Vomiting blood
  • Vomiting with nothing coming up
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Suspected foreign body ingestion
  • Seizures

It never hurts to play it safe when it comes to dog health. The best way to find out if your dog’s vomiting is normal or not is to call your vet”.

If in doubt whether there is an issue or not, make sure you talk with your local veterinarian? Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Wildlife Crossings are Saving Lives

If you are an animal lover, you will be interested in knowing about what has been happening in several states around the country with wildlife conservation? Not only is it saving wildlife but it is reducing car accidents and saving people too!

Wildlife Crossings

“Underpasses and overpasses and crossing structures are dotted all over the West, particularly where there’s a migration pattern of antelope or deer or elk,” Kehne said. “So it’s not a new technology, but it’s very effective. These types of wildlife undercrossings have proven to work well in places such as Banff, CanadaPinedale, Wyoming; and Bend, Oregon. Conservationists say it’s important to get these fixes in places now — before suburban sprawl reaches into wilder areas and makes it even harder for wildlife to get around,” explains MyModernMet.

Here is an update by some of the states that are moving forward with constructing underpasses, overpasses and crossing structures.

Oregon

“Oregon has also seen a substantial reduction in wildlife collisions near Bend, after two underpasses were built to help connect important mule deer habitat. The highway cuts off summer ranges in the Cascades from winter ranges in the desert.

“There isn’t really the option to try to keep the deer on one side of the highway or the other. They have this biological imperative that drives them from one side of the highway to the other, twice a year,” said ODFW’s Simon Wray in a video produced by the state.

After the underpasses were completed, collisions were reduced by up to 90 percent on that section U.S. Highway 97. Trail cameras have shown lots of deer using the fenced-in route — they’ve also captured a bear, coyotes, elk and small animals like badgers.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has plans in the works for two more wildlife underpasses along the highway. Construction on one is scheduled to start next year,” reports OPB News.

Utah

KSL.com announced that “the state’s newest overpass created solely for wildlife to cross officially opened in December 2018. A moose was even spotted for the official ribbon cutting. The overpass was designed to help animals cross safely and reduce the number of traffic accidents in Parleys Canyon. Complete with boulders and logs, the snow-covered path stretches across six lanes of Interstate 80. While saving the lives of animals is a bonus, the overpass was built to increase the safety of drivers along the freeway.

Big game often cross the roads between Mountain Dell and Jeremy Ranch. In the past two years, drivers have reported more than 100 wildlife-vehicle crashes in the area, and it’s estimated the number of unreported collisions is four times as many. Construction for the $5 million state-funded project has been going on since spring.

“From the Division of Wildlife Resources standpoint, the No. 1 benefit is public safety,” said Scott Root, DWR’s conservation outreach manager.

Root said considering how many collisions with wildlife the overpass can prevent, it would pay for itself down the road in 10, 20 years, we’re hoping.”

Washington

“We’re standing in the middle of the Cascades, where there’s a bottleneck of habitat. We’re standing on top of six lanes of freeway that carry 28,000 vehicles a day. Wildlife have got to cross this freeway,” Watkins said, looking out over the cars zooming by below.

The crossing is taller than your average bridge. Once it’s completed, it will have 8-foot fences that will funnel wildlife to where they should cross. The bridge will be covered in rocks and native plants. That way wildlife won’t even realize they’ve left the safety of the forest.

Even without all that camouflage, workers saw deer using the bridge almost immediately — while construction crews were still pushing equipment around. As wildlife undercrossings were completed as a first part of the project in 2014, more than 13,000 deer and hundreds of coyotes have safely reached the other side of the road, said Meagan Lott, with the Washington Department of Transportation. She said culverts in the undercrossings have helped salmon and bull trout reach stretches of river cut off to them for decades.

Watkins expects the new bridge will eventually be used by more than 60,000 species. “From frogs and salamanders, who are going to take quite a while to cross, to mountain lions and bears and wolverines. We’re rebuilding a forest over the interstate,” Watkins said.

Conservationists say it’s important to get these fixes in places now — before suburban sprawl reaches into wilder areas and makes it even harder for wildlife to get around. It could also help with wolf recovery. To meet recovery goals, wolves need a way to get across the Cascades. Chase Gunnell, with Conservation Northwest, said this bridge could help.

“Wildlife can’t persist in large numbers and in perpetuity in islands of habitat. It’s really knitting together smaller habits, reconnecting landscapes, to allow animals to move in and utilize smaller areas of habitat,” reports OPB News. Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment

Why Does My Dog have such Bad Gas?

It could be many things. Did it just start? Has it been happening for a while? What breed do you have? Did you switch your furry loved one’s food? It can be the sign of something more serious or an underlining condition than just a smelly problem for the people in the room.

Flatulence occurs when gas accumulates in your dog’s intestinal tract and colon. This is a normal process that occurs when bacteria break down certain types of food.

Causes of Flatulence in Dogs

“Dietary causes are the main source of flatulence in dogs. Low-quality foods with ingredients that can’t be fully digested can cause gas. So do random table scraps and foods containing lactose. Some animals may also have food sensitivities and allergies, too, so it’s important to find out what your dog’s stomach can and cannot handle. Flatulence can also occur when a dog eats too rapidly and may swallow air,” reports Pets.WebMD.com. Certain food groups, such as indigestible carbohydrates, lead to gas, and foods and treats that have a high meat content can create truly foul-smelling farts. Which Dogs Are Most at Risk?

All dogs can develop flatulence, especially if they’re fed a low-quality food with fillers and artificial preservatives, random table scraps, too many snacks or foods they’re allergic to.

Could Flatulence Be A Symptom of Another Health Issue?

Persistent canine flatulence can be a side effect of certain medications and can also be a symptom of other medical problems. The American Kennel Club reports on Aerophagia and GI Illness in dogs:

Aerophagia in Dogs

It is widely believed that aerophagia, or increased swallowing of air, can lead to gas in dogs. Greedy eaters that wolf down their food, and brachycephalic breeds are at an increased risk of swallowing more air than normal, which can lead to gas down the line, so to speak.

 

GI Illness in Dogs

Stinky dog farts can also have a more serious cause. Any GI disorder that leads to malabsorption of nutrients in your dog’s intestines can lead to increased gas production and odor. Histiocytic ulcerative colitis, a disease that Boxers are predisposed to and French Bulldogs are reported to be prone to, can cause increased dog farts, as can inflammatory bowel disease, which Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers and Yorkshire Terriers are predisposed to. Parasites, the parvovirus, tumors, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, enteritis, and an overgrowth of small intestinal bacteria can also cause excessive flatulence in dogs. If your dog is very gassy, check to see if he is also showing other symptoms of GI illness, such as a painful abdomen, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, or any other change in behavior or activity levels.

What Can I Do to Reduce My Dog’s Flatulence?

According to Pets.WebMD.com, feeding a consistent and healthy diet is the best way to reduce your dog’s flatulence. Here are a couple of rules to follow:

  • Feed your dog a nutritious, highly digestible food. Do a little research to find the brands that are appropriate for his age, breed and lifestyle. Watch out for ingredients like ash, low-quality proteins and corn products that make your dog feel full, but aren’t rich in nutrition. And do ask your vet for advice about pet food.
  • Don’t feed your dog random table scraps. Allergies or sensitivities to certain foods are common.
  • If your adult canine is a fast eater, you might divide his portion in half and let him eat two small meals a day.
  • Know your dog’s allergies and food sensitivities, and steer clear of foods that will irritate her stomach.
  • Some dogs are also lactose intolerant. Avoid dairy products.
  • You’ll know you’re feeding your dog a healthy, highly digestible food when he no longer has gas and begins to excrete firm, well-formed feces.

Finding the Cause of Dog Farts

“Dog farts are gross, but there are things that can be done about them. First, though, you need to isolate the cause. This will probably require help from your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will first perform a physical exam to look for other signs of illness. Then, depending on her findings, she may pursue additional testing, for example diagnostic imaging, blood work, and a fecal exam to check for parasites, to rule out any serious causes.

Keep in mind that food allergies are often tricky to diagnose, so you may have to be patient while your veterinarian rules out other possible causes and puts your dog on an elimination diet. Sometimes, fixing dog farts is as simple as cutting out table scraps; eliminating access to repulsive snacks like the cat box, road kill, or spoiled food; and keeping your dog out of the trash. Exercise can also help with flatulence. Active dogs tend to be less gassy than sedentary dogs, so grab your dog's leash and collar and walk off some of that gas,” states the American Kennel Club. Make sure to check with your veterinarian to see what he or she recommends for your dog. If you have any questions about your dog, call your local Veterinarian to assist you? Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Dog Breeds that are Hypoallergenic

Have someone in your home that has allergies to a dog or dog dander? Want to know of the breeds that are hypoallergenic so you can still love and enjoy a pet without the negative side effects of being allergic to them?

Here is some help on the way. Check out these dog breeds that would be easier on your immune system and not flair up your inflammation!

Hypoallergenic breeds

“Dander is the most commonly troublesome pet allergen. This is shed by the skin of warm-blooded pets, and can be found on the animal’s fur. Pet saliva is another common allergen. These allergens then latch on to the pet’s hair. As a result, people often mistakenly assume the fur is the major culprit in this scenario, when in actual fact the fur is simply the carrier. While no cats, dogs, rodents or even birds are completely non-allergenic, hypoallergenic pets produce less allergens than the others.  A number of adorably fluffy cat and dog breeds are considered ‘hypoallergenic breeds’. These breeds produce fewer allergens than other breeds, earning them this title,” reports Bisselldirect.com

PetMD.com reports that these dog breeds are hypoallergenic. These breeds produce fewer allergens, which make them a preferable choice for allergy sufferers. Also, there is no such thing as a 100 percent hypoallergenic pet. The following guideline recommends these canine breeds for people who want to adopt a dog, but are limited by allergies:

Here is information on each breed:

Airedale Terrier The Airedale Terrier is the largest and toughest of the terrier family. Its coat is dense and wiry, with a softer undercoat, and comes in both tan and black and tan and grizzle. This breed was one of the first used for police duty and has also been popular among U.S. Presidents (e.g., Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren Harding).

Bichon Frisé The Bichon Frisé is a small-framed dog with a heavenly white coat that puffs up. After many centuries developing in Europe, it has become a lovable and cuddling addition to many families today.

Chinese Crested (both hairless and Powderpuff) This elegant toy dog craves human companionship. It comes in two varieties: Hairless (with hair on its head, tail and feet) and Powderpuff (with hair all over). Curiously, the two types of the Chinese Crested Dog often come from the same litter. Kerry Blue Terrier Originally bred as a farm dog in the mountainous regions of Ireland, the Kerry Blue Terrier is a stunning show dog and a giddy house pet. If you want an active dog that will be begging you to run, explore, and play with it, then this athletic fur ball with a blue-gray coat should be your pet of choice.

Poodle (standard and miniature) Available in miniature and standard varieties, the Poodle breed belongs to the non-sporting classification. Though its direct origin is questionable, it was the French that first bred its different types. Originally used as an aid for duck hunters, the Poodle has become a circus performer, a frequent dog show winner, a guide dog, and a loving pet. Portuguese Water Dog The Portuguese Water Dog is a well-mannered, adventurous dog breed that is widely accepted as an excellent family companion. Although its ancestry is thought to have begun along the steppes of Central Asia around 700 B.C., its popularity was established in Portugal, where it is referred to as Cao de Agua -- Cao meaning dog, and de Agua meaning water.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier This medium-sized Irish terrier is not only powerful but gentle and affectionate. The Wheaten Terrier, most often noted for its warm, wheaten-colored coat, is also athletic and able to compete in dog trials or shows that require agility. A wonderful companion for those looking for a curious indoor dog.

West Highland White Terrier The West Highland Terrier, or "Westie", is known for its friendly, strong-willed personality and a remarkably bright white coat. It’s a real terrier with tons of courage, confidence, determination and loyalty packed into a tiny body. If you have any questions about a dog breed, call your local Veterinarian to assist you? Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Which Animals Sleep the Most Per Day?

We can all agree that sleep is very important for a healthy lifestyle and to function. This rings true for humans and animals. The animal in the world that needs the most sleep in one day is the Koala for about 22 hours (out of 24 hours) and the animal that sleeps the least, the giraffe, only requires 30 minutes to 1.9 hours. That’s a huge difference.

Factors

“A variety of factors affect how long an animal sleeps. Perhaps the most important factor is its size. In general, smaller animals need more sleep than larger animals. Small bats, chipmunks and opossums all sleep for 15 hours or more per day. In contrast, big elephants, giraffes and horses all sleep for about five hours or less.

Another factor is whether the animal is a hunter or is hunted. Predators such as lions and tigers get plenty of sleep; they have little to fear. But animals that are prey, such as deer, tend to get less sleep. They need to remain alert and aware of nearby predators.

Age is another factor that affects the sleep of animals. Like humans, animals may sleep for different lengths of time at different life stages. For example, young animals may need to sleep more than adults.

Captivity also can affect an animal’s sleep. Wild animals often get more sleep when they are in a zoo. Food is provided for them, and they are safe from predators. So they can relax and sleep for longer periods of time.

In contrast, animals have to spend time hunting or gathering their food in the wild. Some animals have to migrate for weeks across long distances. Many also have to remain alert when predators are nearby. So they may spend less time sleeping in their natural environment,” according to SleepEducation.com.

Dogs and Cats

An adult dog typically sleeps 12–14 hours a day, while puppies often sleep more than that, usually up to 18 hours a day! Unlike humans, dogs don't have a regular sleep regimen. They take several short naps during the day. The average adult feline sleeps 12 to 16 hours a day. Newborn dogs and cats can sleep closer to 20 hours a day.

Animal sleeping hours

Below are animals (including human) with the amount of average sleeping hours required per day (24 hours):

Koala 22 hours LONGEST SLEEPING ANIMAL

Large Hairy Armadillo - 20.4 hours

Little Pocket Mouse - 20.1 hours

Brown Bat - 19.9 hours

North American Opossum - 18 hours

Python - 18 hours

Owl Monkey - 7 hours

Human Infant - 16 hours

Tigger - 15.8 hours

Tree Shrew - 15.8 hours

Cats - 15 hours

Squirrel - 15 hours

Sloth - 14 hours

Chinchillas - 13 hours

Dogs - 12 to 14 hours

Hedgehogs - 10 hours

Chimpanzees - 9 hours

Rabbits - 8 hours

Humans (Adults) - 7 – 9 hours

Seals - 6 hours

Deer - 3 – 4 hours

Sheep - 3 – 4 hours

Elephants - 2 – 4 hours

Horses - 2 – 3 hours

Giraffe - 30 mins - 1.9 hours SHORTEST SLEEPING ANIMAL

Sources: Reader’s Digest, Tuck, Top10Hell It may seem like your dog is sleeping too much, but their lifestyle, amount of exercise, and what breed they are may affect the amount of sleep they need. Even the age of the dog impacts the amount of sleep they require. Puppies sleep excessively while larger dogs tend to sleep more than smaller dogs. If you have any questions about your animal and their sleep patterns or amount of sleep, call your local Veterinarian to assist you? Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

What to do if you see Animal Cruelty?

You might be saving an animal’s life but also a person’s life if you take some safe action after observing animal cruelty. The Animal Legal Defense Fund reports that “a 2017 study showed that 89% of women who had companion animals during an abusive relationship reported that their animals were threatened, harmed, or killed by their abusive partner”.

According to PETA, “witnessing cruelty to animals is an upsetting experience, but knowing how to handle the situation properly can save a life and prevent the abuser from harming other victims. Here are several things to do recommended by PETA if you see someone abuse an animal:

  1. Remain calm and get veterinary care.
  2. Speak up, because if you don’t, who will?
  3. Know the law.
  4. Document the crime with photos or video. 
  5. File a first information report (FIR) with the police immediately. Report the crime to the police.
  6. Contact animal-protection groups.PETA’s helpful links to online directories.
  7. Be persistent.
  8. Thank the people who helped”.

Signs of animal abuse / cruelty

How do you know if an animal is being abused? Here are some physical and environmental signs of cruelty described by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:

Physical signs of cruelty

  • Tight collar that has caused a neck wound or has become embedded in the pet's neck
  • Open wounds, signs of multiple healed wounds or an ongoing injury or illness that isn't being treated
  • Untreated skin conditions that have caused loss of hair, scaly skin, bumps or rashes
  • Extreme thinness or emaciation—bones may be visible
  • Fur infested with fleas, ticks or other parasites
  • Patches of bumpy, scaly skin rashes
  • Signs of inadequate grooming, such as extreme matting of fur, overgrown nails and dirty coat
  • Weakness, limping or the inability to stand or walk normally
  • Heavy discharge from eyes or nose
  • An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal
  • Visible signs of confusion or extreme drowsiness

Environmental signs of cruelty

  • Pets are tied up alone outside for long periods of time without adequate food or water, or with food or water that is unsanitary
  • Pets are kept outside in inclement weather without access to adequate shelter
  • Pets are kept in an area littered with feces, garbage, broken glass or other objects that could harm them
  • Animals are housed in kennels or cages (very often crowded in with other animals) that are too small to allow them to stand, turn around and make normal movements

Where to report animal abuse / cruelty

If you have any questions about an animal being abused, call your local Veterinarian to assist you? Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Is Your Pet Safe Eating? Animal Food Recalls and Alerts.

Unfortunately foods can be toxic to humans and animals. There are several resources available to check to see if there are any current food recalls and alerts for your furry loved ones.

Here are the resources and what is being discussed and possibly recalled now:

U.S. Food & Drug Administration

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration put out an alert to pet owners about potentially toxic levels of Vitamin D in several dry pet foods. After receiving complaints from pet owners about dogs with vitamin D toxicity, one of the firms reported to the FDA that it was recalling dry pet food due to potentially toxic levels of vitamin D. Many other brands with a common contract manufacturer have also been recalled. Here is a list about the brands that have been recalled.

Fast Facts

  • The FDA is alerting pet owners and veterinary professionals about recalls of several dry dog foods after receiving complaints that dogs eating the food experienced vitamin D toxicity.
  • Testing found that samples of the dog food contained excessive, potentially toxic amounts of vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for dogs, but very high amounts can cause serious health problems like kidney failure or death.
  • At this time, the only pet products that have been impacted are food made for dogs.
  • Pet owners should discontinue feeding these recalled products.
  • The FDA is asking veterinarians who suspect vitamin D toxicity in their patients to report them through the Safety Reporting Portalor by calling their local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. Pet owners can also report suspect cases to the FDA.
  • This is a developing situation and additional recalls may be announced.

American Veterinary Medical Association

The American Veterinary Medical Association has a page on their website about animal food recalls and alerts. You can check it from time to time to stay current.

Animal Health Foundation

This website has an entire year of what is happening in the pet food industry.

Petfood Industry

Stay up to date with Petfood Industry’s list of US and international cat and dog food, pet treat and companion animal feed recalls. According to FDA, pet food can be recalled by a manufacturer to remove product from the market, by FDA request or by FDA order under statutory authority.

Dog Food Advisor

The Dog Food Advisor is a public service website put out by Mike Sagman designed to help pet owners make more informed decisions when buying dog food. Here is a list of the current dog food recalls.

Petful

Petful has been researching U.S. dog food recalls for several years now, and they have compiled the following list. Recalls are listed in order from newest to oldest. Looking for cat food recalls? Go here.

If you have any questions about your pet’s food, call your local Veterinarian to assist you? Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

National Pet Dental Health Month in February

“Dental disease is more than just a cosmetic issue — when your canine companion or feline friend has red gums, yellow teeth and stinky breath, it could be a sign of serious oral disease that could, if left untreated, lead to devastating affects on your pet’s quality of life. Neglecting your pet’s teeth and gums can cause chronic pain issues that may even be at the center of certain behavioral problems,” according to Dogtime.com.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some kind of oral disease by the age of 3. National Pet Dental Health Month is in February. It is the perfect time to contact your veterinarian and schedule a dental check-up for your loved furry family members.

National Pet Dental Health Month in February is intentional to promote check-ups to catch any serious health issue for pets. Oral disease is a sign to future serious consequences for pets, including severe pain, infection, and even organ damage which can all be avoided. Veterinarians all across the US want to remind pet owners that their pet’s dental health should be a concern all year long.

“Between regular veterinary examinations, pet owners should look for the warning signs of gum disease such as bad breath, red and swollen gums, yellow-brown crusts of tartar along the gum lines, and bleeding or pain when the gums or mouth are touched,” Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. chief veterinary medical officer Dr. Carol McConnell recommends.

Prevention is the best medicine. Using a toothbrush is one way you can take a proactive role in preventing oral disease in your pet. We love our animals just like a family member. Unfortunately, they can’t speak and tell us they have dental problems like a child can. Your pet's teeth are so important. “Vets say 85 percent of canines over age 4 have some form of gum disease,” reported by Animal Planet.com

Regular inspection of your pet’s mouth is important to catch dental disease in the early stages. Here are some signs that you need to get your pet into the vet.

  1. Tartar Build-Up
  2. Bad Breath
  3. Drooling
  4. Pawing at the Mouth
  5. Difficulty Chewing
  6. Loose or Missing Teeth 

If you notice any of these signs in your pet, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Keep Your Pets Safe this Winter

With the temperatures dropping below freezing this winter, it is extremely important to keep your pets safe. The Humane Society, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ASPCA and Great Plains SPCA all have some great ideas for pet safety as shown below.

Know your dog’s limits!  Some dogs are more susceptible to the cold than others. Short-coated, thin, elderly, or very young dogs get cold more quickly – so adjust the amount of time they stay outside! If your dog enjoys being outdoors and you will be outside longer than a few minutes, consider outfitting it with a sweater or coat to keep it warm. Hypothermia and frostbite pose major risks to dogs in winter, so remember, if it is too cold for you, it is probably too cold for your dog!

Check the hood! 

Cats often sleep in the wheel wells of cars during the winter months to keep warm. If you start your car and a cat is sleeping on your tire, it can be severely hurt or even killed by moving engine parts. Prevent injuries by banging loudly on your hood or honking the horn before starting your car. This will wake up the cat and give it a chance to escape before starting the car.

Wipe their paws! 

During winter walks, your dog’s paws can pick up all kinds of toxic chemicals – salt, antifreeze, or de-icers. Be sure to wipe off your dog’s paws when you return from walks to prevent him from licking it off and becoming sick. Purchase pet-safe de-icers for your home for an extra level of safety. And when wiping off your dog’s paws, remember to check for signs of injury, such as cracked or bleeding paws.

Rock salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet's feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.

Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.

Wear a sweater

No matter what the temperature is, windchill can threaten a pet's life.Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. For this reason, short-haired dogs often feel more comfortable wearing a sweater—even during short walks.

Keep them leashed! 

More pets become lost in the winter than any other season because snowfall can disguise recognizable scents that would normally help them find their way home. Prevent your pets from becoming lost by keeping dogs leashed on walks and, just in case you are separated from your pets, make sure their collars have up-to-date contact information and they are microchipped.

Avoid the ice! 

When walking your dog, be sure to avoid frozen lakes and ponds. Your dog could be seriously hurt or even killed if the ice breaks.

Leave them home! 

Just as hot cars are dangerous for pets in the summer, cold cars pose a threat as well! Only take your pets in the car if it is necessary, and never leave them unattended.

Be seen! 

Due to Daylight Savings, many of us are relegated to walking our dogs in the dark. Keep yourself and your dog are safe by wearing reflective gear (clothing, leash, collar, etc.) and keeping your dog close when walking on the street.

Give them shelter! 

Ideally, all pets should live inside. If your pets live outdoors primarily, bring them indoors during sub-zero temperatures. For the rest of the winter, provide them with a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow them to sit and lay down comfortably, but small enough to conserve body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. Turn the shelter so it faces away from the wind and cover the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. Also, pets who spend a lot of time outside need more food to replace energy lost from trying to stay warm. Use plastic food and water dishes instead of metal – when the temperature is low enough, your pets’ tongue can become stuck to metal.

Avoid spills! 

Antifreeze attracts cats and dogs because it is very sweet to taste, but it is extremely poisonous and can cause serious illness or death when ingested. Be sure to clean up any antifreeze that spills in your garage, and keep the bottle somewhere your pets cannot access.Be prepared! Winter brings extreme weather that can cause power outages. Have an emergency plan and make sure they include your pets! Have an emergency kit with enough food, water, and medication to last your pets at least five days. Most likely you will never need it, but if you do, you will be thankful you planned ahead!

Bathe less

Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.

Feed less

Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.

Cozy bed

Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

Keep pets sheltered

Keep your pets inside with you and your family. Under no circumstances should pet cats be left outdoors, even if they roam outside during other seasons. Dogs are happiest when taken out frequently for walks and exercise, but kept inside the rest of the time. Don't leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops.

Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet's water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls; when the temperature is low, your pet's tongue can stick and freeze to metal.

Remove common poisons

Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up any antifreeze spills immediately and keep it, like all household chemicals, out of reach. Coolants and antifreeze made with propylene glycol are less toxic to pets, wildlife and family.

Protect outdoor animals

If there are outdoor cats, either owned pets or community cats in your area, remember that they need protection from the elements as well as food and water. It's easy to give them a hand. You can make your own cat shelter quickly and easily with a plastic tub.

Source: Great Plains SPCA, Humane Society, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ASPCA Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

How Old is Your Dog in Human Years?

Pets age differently than humans. One year for a dog is not equal to one year for its human owner. The American Veterinary Medical Association AVMA has guidelines on how to calculate dog years to human years. 

Dog Years to Human Years

As a general guideline, though, the American Veterinary Medical Association breaks it down like this:

  • 15 human years equals the first year of a medium-sized dog’s life.
  • Year two for a dog equals about nine years for a human.
  • And after that, each human year would be approximately five years for a dog.

The American Kennel Club explains that “there are many several factors to consider, so it’s not possible to pin it down precisely, but the AVMA says: “Cats and small dogs are generally considered ‘senior’ at seven years old, but we all know they’ve got plenty of life left in them at that age. Larger-breed dogs tend to have shorter lifespans compared to smaller breeds and are often considered senior when they are 5 to 6 years of age. The ‘senior’ classification is based on the fact that pets age faster than people, and veterinarians start seeing more age-related problems in these pets. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not age at a rate of 7 human years for each year in dog years”.

“Size and breed also play a role. Smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger ones, but they may mature more quickly in the first few years of life. A huge pup might age more slowly at first, but be nearing middle age at 5. Tiny and toy breeds don't become "seniors" until around age 10. Medium-sized pooches are somewhere in the middle on both counts,” reports Pets.WebMd.com.

Here is a chart to help you gauge your dog’s age in human years

Source: www.Pets.webmd.com

If you are in doubt about the age of your dog, consult your Veterinarian? They have telltale signs that can help you identify your pet’s true age.

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

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