The importance of maintaining a healthy mouth is, appropriately so, becoming more and more a priority. We understand one of the key parts of accomplishing this task is regular dental cleanings and dental radiographs. These require general anesthesia…and anesthesia can be scary! The inner dialogue has changed from thinking dentals aren’t necessary or worth the money, to knowing the benefit but wondering if it’s worth the risk.
It’s November already!? There is a busy season ahead, and I bet you are wondering, “What gift to get my pet for the holidays?” Did you know, last year Americans spent nearly as much on toys, apparel, and over-the-counter products for their pets as they did on veterinary care? Food is in a category all its own and twice again as much. If this market research describes you, let us help you spend those dollars wisely. (These are not products we sell but are readily available at local/national pet stores and online.)
Accessories For Activity
Let’s consider what dogs might like first, besides food, dog parks and such. A cute outfit may come to mind, but does it spark joy for them or for us? A spiffy new collar or harness and leash ensemble can be exciting - it can lead to more outings - more walks, and what dog doesn’t love sniffing out new terrain? And we get to show off our perfect pet and our fashion sense.
Dogs benefit from toys that keep their minds or bodies active. So if your dog loves a tennis ball, frisbee, Chuck it Ball Launcher or squeaky toy - why not get a new one? For those times you can’t get outdoors to walk or play with your dog there are a lot of toys out there designed to keep your dog occupied mentally and/or physically. Automatic ball launchers allow activity without your involvement. Dog TV may provide interest to your dog’s day.
In people and pets, keeping the brain active helps delay the onset of dementia. Toys can also help keep your dog mentally engaged, less bored, and therefore less anxious or destructive while you’re busy working to afford the lifestyle to which your dog has become accustomed!
Food dispensing toys can keep your dog more physically active as well as engage them mentally. Sniffing for food releases dopamine in dogs which makes them feel more relaxed and happier. Many of the toys also help promote dental health, and we know how important that is to overall health (if you don’t, we will cover that in the near future). There are several different Kong toys which vary in difficulty that dispense kibble or treats. The Kong Wobbler is a favorite with many trainers. There are several Nina Ottosson dog puzzles which your dog must figure out what to uncover or slide to obtain a treat. Her Dog Tornado interactive toy is more difficult. The Kong Stuff-a-Ball and the Trixie Dog Activity Chess have multiple levels of difficulty. The Kong one also helps clean teeth. It is important to start with easier puzzles so your dog gets rewarded and is not frustrated or loses interest if the game is too challenging. These feeding toys can benefit all dogs, including those who eat too fast, become bored or anxious easily, or spend a lot of time alone as they take time and energy to solve and provide mental stimulation.
There are toys that make noises or light up, etc. which can be fun for your dog as well. Choose carefully (annoyance factor) or put these toys away so you can sleep at night.
Your dog really loves spending quality time with you most of all, so why not sign up for a class together? Obedience, agility, frisbee, dock diving come to mind. There are even camps for owners and pets to do daily activities together like yoga, hiking, ballroom dancing! If this is too much, consider using that new leash set and getting a group dog walk going in your neighborhood. These gifts allow you to make memories together, get out to meet other pets and their owners, gets you off the couch and out the door… possibly lowering your blood pressure, stress levels and releasing some endorphins. Perhaps these ideas for gifts aren’t just for the dogs!
Whatever you choose, by all means, enjoy the season… with your dog!
What is Puppy Preschool?
Erin Waldrop, a Licensed Veterinary Technician at Daniel Island Animal Hospital, is PASSIONATE about puppies! (Who isn't?) Based on animal behavior research, she has developed a curriculum with the intent of giving puppies various socialization opportunities in effort to prevent behavioral issues, like fear and aggression, down the road.
This weekly class will allow time for guided puppy play, exploration, and mini educational topics. These topics will go beyond what time allows for in the exam room and cover:
- Early Development
- Community Health
- Dental Care
- Pet Insurance
Tell me more about this "animal behavior research."
Behavioral problems: the number one reason dogs are re-homed or relinquished to shelters, the number one cause of death for dogs under three, and the greatest threat to the owner-dog bond. We know you love your puppy and we want to do everything we can to keep it that way!
Prime socialization happens within the first 4 months of life when sociability outweighs fear. This is the period of time when puppies should be exposed to and have the opportunity to adapt to as many people, places, and things as possible. Read more from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.
Typical puppy classes focus on obedience and begin once the vaccine series is complete at 16 weeks: after the prime start-up socialization window has passed. While there is a small risk of virus exposure when introducing puppies earlier in life, our doctors feel the benefits to socialization far outweigh this risk. We require that puppies attending class are current on all recommended vaccines for their age. This class can be used as a great stepping stone towards future obedience classes and at-home training.
Sign me up! When, where, and how much?
Erin will be holding class every Thursday from 5:45-6:30pm in our hospital's lobby. All puppies age 6-20 weeks are welcome. Class size is limited to 3-8 puppies...don't miss out! To register, call/text/email and we will reserve your spot: 843-881-7228, email@example.com
- Full Program (8 weeks): $150 - for puppies 12 weeks or younger at first class
- Half Program (4 weeks): $75 - for older puppies/those who cannot commit to full schedule
- Pay-Per-Class: $25/class (subject to available space)
Have to miss a class? We'll work with you to make it up!
Members: earn and redeem rewards dollars on this service!
Thinking about hiring a dog trainer? Michelle Rodriguez from Bark Busters of Charleston will be on hand Monday, July 14, for a free dog behavior assessment! Call or email our office to reserve your time.
We all know the phrase "Cabin Fever," and how boredom can make us do things we may not normally do if we were otherwise pre-occupied or content. This is something our pets may feel all too well. Statistics show that boredom, or lack of enrichment, can lead to many behavior problems if not caught soon enough. Lack of mental stimulation or opportunities for our pets to satisfy their natural instincts and behaviors can cause them to act out in ways that we only understand as "bad behavior." In a perfect world, humans and domesticated animals would live together in perfect harmony while entertaining one another's instincts.
Because this world does not exist, we must find ways to satisfy our pets' needs that don't involve our dogs digging to China in our backyard or our cats knocking every single item off of every shelf in an attempt to see which one will play back with them. The idea of enrichment is to provide mental and physical stimulation for our pets to help them live more rewarding and full lives. In the long run, this will help avoid naughty behaviors that may eventually break down that bond you and your four legged child may have.
We all know that ideally dogs would love to walk miles and miles each day and sniff every single blade of grass along the way. Cats would love to chase butterflies in the sunshine for hours on end. Unfortunately, because of our busy lives, this is not always an option. This does not mean there is no hope for your dog or cat. There are many ways to help them achieve the mental stimulation they need. Many of these things can be accomplished with household items you may already have.
Tips to Combat Your Pet's Cabin Fever
Toys: A rule of thumb is that 3 toys should be provided per pet, per day. These items can be switched out and reintroduced every 5 days to help maintain novelty. Keep in mind that you should be cautious of your pet's normal chewing behavior to avoid ingesting any part of the toy. Examples for dogs are rope toys, tennis balls, squeaker toys, and Kongs. Some options for cats are toy mice, jingle balls, and feather toys.
Environmental: Animals naturally enjoy viewing their environment from different angles. This may be easier to accomplish for cats because they are more inclined to climb on counters, shelves, and basically anything in reach. If an option, it would be valuable to allow your cat to have an area, or several, that they are encouraged to climb up on. Empty shelves mounted on a wall that create a ladder effect work great but a standard cat tree is beneficial as well. An idea for dogs is to allow visual access through a window or door. Not all dogs are a good candidate for this especially if they are typically reactive to seeing other people or dogs outside. A good option for those dogs is to leave on the television or radio.
Exercise: This category is one of the most important ones. This is beneficial for overall health but can also have a major effect on naughty behavior such as separation anxiety and and other negative results of pent up energy. Routine walks for your dog are certainly beneficial but there are particular reward neurotransmitters (nerve messenger cells) that are not released unless your pet undergoes high intensity endurance running. Essentially, there are certain functions of your pet's brain that are not stimulated unless this type of exercise exists for them. If you are not typically a runner, dog parks, open fields that allow pets, and even your back yard are a great option to help them reach these needs. It wouldn't be recommended to harness your cat and take him on a 3 mile run, but they can get their daily workout with a little help from you. A cat will chase a feather string toy or laser light for hours. This is encouraged to help them burn energy but it also has a great effect on their self-confidence.
Brain Puzzles: With a little creativity, you would be surprised how many ways you can provide your pet with enrichment. Dogs and cats love new scents. Think of all the things there are to smell while they are on a walk or outside. By using a spray bottle and infusing scents like cinnamon, rosemary, lavender, or chamomile onto your pets favorite bedding or toys, you can provide them with a change to seek and explore. Toxicity potential should be evaluated before using any product. Alternating scents is the best way to keep this a fun adventure for your pet. Empty cardboard boxes with windows cut in them can provide a fun hideout for your cat to explore. Laundry baskets with or without fabric in them placed in various positions provide a new obstacle for your cat to conquer. Switching out different types of fabrics can create an opportunity for your pet to rub and roll for more tactile stimulation.
Fun with Food: Food puzzles are a wonderful opportunity for your pets to engage in their natural instinct to hunt for food. These puzzles can be purchased at most pet stores or made by using cardboard boxes and plastic containers. If you live in a single pet household, spreading his or her meal out in separate rooms gives your pet a great excuse to sniff and search to find the food. If your pet is food motivated, using food puzzles during stressful events like thunderstorms or separation can keep him or her occupied and help with counter conditioning. Using empty egg carton containers to feed your cat or small dog is an easy option. As a treat, you can fill a Kong with peanut butter or freeze a bowl of water mixed with treats or chicken broth to entertain them for a while.
The possibility for enrichment ideas are endless! As always, you must take your pet's individual needs and current health into consideration as not all of these options are suitable for every pet and household. For assistance or questions about anything in this article, don't hesitate to contact us!
We can hardly believe it ourselves, but Sentinel is back on the market and in stock at our hospital! Even better - the price point has dropped dramatically making it a more affordable options for our clients. We are now selling a 6 month supply of Sentinel for $40-60 (based on weight) plus a $10 mail-in rebate.
Why We Love Sentinel
Sentinel is our doctor's best recommendation for canine parasite control because in addition to heartworm, roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm protection, it has the added benefit of a flea "birth control". This component, lufenuron, has stood the test of time as the best foundation for a flea-free home. Sentinel can be used as a stand-alone monthly preventative, but because Charleston provides the perfect playground for fleas, we recommend adding an flea "adulticide" (like Frontline Plus or Comfortis) to the regimen for complete coverage.
Our Doctors Recommend:
Sentinel + Frontline Plusfor owners who want to protection against ticks or prefer topical flea control.
Sentinel + Comfortisfor owners who do not have a tick concern and prefer oral medication.
Cats and Other Dog Products
We continue to recommend monthly Revolution for all cats, including our indoor-only patients. This is a topical flea/intestinal parasite/heartworm prevention. We also now carry Seresto, an 8 month flea and tick collar for cats for added protection.
If you prefer other products on the market, we're happy to help you sift through the options. Products that our doctors approve of, but have chosen not to carry in our hospital, can be found on our online pharmacy: ePetHealth. This includes heartworm and flea preventions such as Trifexis, Heartgard Plus, Program, and Advantage.
Flea and Heartworm Prevention Backorder
Sentinel – and now Comfortis – have been on backorder for much of the year, causing flea and heartworm prevention to be a hot topic around our office. Our receptionists joke that they can now give an explanation of the industry situation and our doctors’ replacement recommendations in their sleep! While we were hopeful Sentinel would return in the next couple months, we recently learned that Novartis will not ship the product until some time in 2013. Respectively, Elanco is extending their backorder of big dog (40+ lbs) Comfortis for at least another month.
YOU’RE tired of this situation and WE’RE tired of this situation, so we’ve come up with an alternative solution. We will happily sell 6 or 12 months at a time of these new recommended products with equivalent ingredients so you do not have to continue to make a trip to our office every month – unless you want to! When Sentinel finally returns to the market, Dr. Flood will reassess our options and make a medical recommendation at that time to provide your pets the best protection against parasites. Thanks so much for hanging in there with us!
Our Current Best Recommendations
DOGS ON COMFORTIS
If your pet regularly gets Comfortis and Sentinel for flea and heartworm prevention; we are now recommending TRIFEXIS + PROGRAM.*
DOGS ON FRONTLINE
If your pet regularly gets Sentinel and Frontline for flea, heartworm, and tick prevention; we are now recommending HEARTGARD Plus + FRONTLINE Plus + PROGRAM.*
*Pets with conditions such as heartworm disease, food allergies, flea allergies, or medication intolerance should seek advice from our veterinarians before changing prescriptions.
We continue to recommend REVOLUTION for all cats. This product has not been affected by the recent backorders.
What's the difference?
There are lots of flea and heartworm medications out there and new products are popping up on the market all of the time. We work hard to scour through all the options, researching efficacy, side effects, and safety. Just to give you an idea, some of the current popular drugs on the market include: ivemectin, milbemycin, moxidectin, imidacloprid, spinosad, fipronil, lufenuron, s-methoprene, cyphenothrin, pyrethrin…! We’re not expecting you to know the difference between all these medications (never mind pronouncing them); that’s our job! Our doctors research and recommend the best medications that keep your pet healthy and parasite free.
I could write an entire book on why purchasing medication directly from our hospital (as opposed to a national pharmacy) benefits all involved, but I’ll keep it simple. Purchasing medication directly from your veterinarian ensures your pet gets the right products, helps keep our fees for medical services affordable, and supports your local economy. We TRULY appreciate your business!
We also have abundant raccoon, opossum and feral cats who would fight a cat for territory. In 2009, a case of rabies in a raccoon from Daniel Island was confirmed; proof that the virus is present here. View the SC DHEC annual rabies report here.
Other diseases carried by wildlife which can affect our pets are heartworms, intestinal parasites and Leptospirosis. The best way to avoid exposure to these diseases is to keep cats indoors and keep dogs on a leash and out of wildlife habitat areas. For more on the "Indoor Pet Initiative", check out The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine website.
This question is also timely with the recent Post and Courier news story about a pet cat on Daniel Island being trapped and moved off the island because a neighbor found the cat to be a nuisance. Our neighbors may not be pet loving people, and it is in our pets’ best interest for us to prevent them coming into contact with people who do not appreciate their unselfish, loving companionship.
On Daniel Island, we are in the city limits of Charleston proper. Chapter 5 of the city’s municipal code states:
“Every person owning or having possession, charge, care, custody, or control of any animal shall keep such animal exclusively upon his own premises; provided, however, that, any such animal may be off such premises if the animal is restrained by a chain or leash or other means of adequate physical control, provided, however, that, when any animal destroys or damages any property, attacks, threatens to attack, or interferes with any person in any manner, becomes a nuisance, or strays onto the private property of another, there shall be a presumption of law that the animal was not restrained by a chain or leash or other means of adequate physical control.”
If a neighbor’s cat is a nuisance, and you wish to keep them off your property, I recommend a motion-activated sprinkler by Contech called the ScareCrow. The sudden noise, movement and spray of water are humane ways of teaching animals of all types to avoid your landscaped areas.
One of our wonderful Golden Retriever patients, Bailey, stars in this montage to show you exactly what goes on behind the scenes at our hospital during your pet's routine dental cleaning under anesthesia.
From start to finish you get to see it all! This includes intubation, a tooth extraction, and a little blood. Fair warning for those who get squeamish!
Bailey the Dog; Dr. Allison Chappell; Mara Acevedo, LVT; Erin Waldrop, Technician's Assistant; and Bailey's Mom!
Dr. Rainwater and her dog, Zulie, demonstrate how to brush your pet's teeth. Just 1 minute, every day for healthy teeth and gums. You CAN do it!
- Use a pet-specific, enzymatic toothpaste instead of a human toothpaste.
- Start with a fingerbrush and work your way up to a toothbrush.
- Create a routine to brush teeth before a meal or treat to reward the behavior.
- Start slow! Let your pet lick the toothpaste as a treat and brush a few front teeth.
- Brush each tooth and the gum line in a circular motion.
- Focus on the outsides of the teeth. (The tongue will clean the insides.)
- Make sure to brush all of the molars in the back of the mouth - they're easy to miss.