Pets and Coronavirus
Coronavirus and COVID-19 has changed the world for everyone … and that includes our cats and dogs!
While it still doesn’t appear that dogs (or cats) can actually become infected with this novel coronavirus and develop the COVID-19 disease*, your pets can still be at other heightened health and safety risks during this time of self-isolation while we’re all working together to try and flatten the curve. [*Update: Apr. 8, 2020 — New cases and studies appear to show that cats (and ferrets, but not dogs) may be able to become infected with the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus. There is still no evidence or suggestion though that any pets can pass the virus or infection on to people. For an updated analysis of these new findings, please see our "Pets and COVID-19" podcast and article.]
This article will help you keep your pets as healthy and safe as possible in your home during this time of changed routines and #coronaquarantine. Not only will this help your pets, but it’ll also help save you additional stress (and costs) during this difficult time.
Dogs, just like humans, can suffer from motion sickness during car rides or other types of travel. A dog can get carsick even during short trips in the car. A queasy dog makes car rides an unpleasant experience for everyone, but luckily there are things you can do to help your pup feel better when riding in the car.
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Ah, Halloween; the time of year when looking like a cast member from the Walking Dead is celebrated! And the one day when consuming mountains of chocolate is encouraged. While this night may be a wonderful time for you and your two-legged kids, it's important to keep in mind that ‘All Hallows Eve’ can present some new dangers for your cats and dogs and therefore may not be as fun an evening for your four-legged kids.
As with most things though, if you’re aware of the potential Halloween hazards for cats and dogs and take the easy steps provided here, your whole family will be far more likely to have a Halloween full of fun and great memories, rather than a night (and a sizable chunk of change) spent in the local Animal ER. To help you gear up for the ghoulish holiday, we’ve compiled the top Halloween dangers so that you can avoid a real nightmare for your dog or cat!
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CBD and Pets: A Taboo Topic for Vets
The other day I was walking in town and passed by a pet store that was advertising CBD for pets, making claims about its usefulness in treating a host of ailments: pain, anxiety, arthritis, allergies, inflammation, and more. I went in and had a nice chat with one of the people working in the shop. I spoke with her not as a veterinarian, but rather as an owner of an aging dog that’s suffering from arthritis and perhaps the beginnings of canine cognitive dysfunction. Sure enough, she recommended a specific CBD oil and also dog treats that contained CBD. I thanked her for her advice and recommendations, didn't buy anything, and went along my merry way. Well ... perhaps not so "merry." In reality, I was more than just a little bit frustrated — but, as you'll see below, not for the reasons you're likely thinking.
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Ticks are gross, right? But what’s even worse is that they can carry a host of diseases that they can pass along to your pets (and you) if they’re allowed to stay attached for too long! So what’s the best way to remove a tick from your dog or cat? I’m going to outline the process below, as well as provide some handy tools and tips to help you even further.
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Communal Water Bowls – Are They Safe?
You might be thankful when you and your pup are strolling down the street on a warm day and you see a water bowl sitting outside of a pet-friendly business just waiting to provide your dog with the hydration they so desperately need — but wait!
You may just want to take a pause before letting your dog take that water break. And the same goes for that water bowl at your local dog park! Why? Because of the very real possibility that while your dog is quenching their thirst from a public water bowl, they could also be lapping up bacteria, viruses, or even parasites that could make them quite sick. You know what they say … a moment on the lips ... could lead to sleepless nights of diarrhea.
OK, even if that’s not really how that saying goes, it’s still a good idea to keep it in mind when you come across a communal or public water bowl for your dog. Here’s what you need to know and how you can safely keep your pup hydrated when out and about.
Missed the early socialization window? – There's still hope!
Considering or just adopted a timid older puppy or adult dog that clearly didn't have the best early life socialization? Or recently got a new puppy but were told to keep them locked away and not introduce them to any other dogs or bring them out and about until all of their puppy shots were done and you've now missed their early (3–4month old) socialization window? Sadly, these are scenarios that are (still) far too common. But all hope is not lost!
Yes, there’s no doubt or debate about it … proper early life socialization (i.e., before 16 weeks old) is very important for a dog’s wellbeing and development and, if you’ve missed their critical early “socialization window,” you’re definitely starting behind the proverbial "8-ball." But people have made some pretty impressive shots from behind 8-balls actually, and you can too!
Here’s some information, tips, and resources to help you help your previously under- or unsocialized dog get more comfortable with the world. (And be sure to check out the encouraging and heartwarming video and story at the end to see just how far some of these dogs can come, even when getting some of the worst starts in life possible!)
Reading the 'Pee Leaves'
Did you know that the way your dog is peeing — or not — can give you some important information about their urinary, and even overall health. This article will highlight some of the signs you may notice when your dog pees that could indicate that a vet visit is needed.
Straining While Peeing
If your dog is struggling or straining while they’re peeing, it could actually be a very serious emergency condition. Both male and female dogs can have their urethra (the tube that connects the bladder to the outside world) blocked by a urinary stone, scaring, inflammation, or even a tumor. Male dogs can also suffer a urethral blockage from an overly enlarged prostate (more of a problem in male dogs that haven’t been neutered, as the prostate grows under the influence of testosterone). You should always err on the side of caution if you see your dog straining to pee and bring them for immediate veterinary evaluation. Even if they’re not “blocked,” your dog will be happy that you had them checked to be sure.
Blood in urine,
Though it may not be your favorite topic to think about or discuss, your dog’s poop can actually provide some good clues about their health. Now, I’m not going to go so far as to say that, like the eyes are the windows to the soul, poop is the window to overall health … but it definitely can provide a glimpse! So here’s the skinny on why you should go outside with your dog when they go to the bathroom and generally pay attention to your dog’s poops. They could be trying to tell you something.
Dog Poo 'Ground Rules'
The poop and pooping characteristics outlined below are a general guide. What’s also very important is a “change in normal” for your specific dog. For example, if your dog normally has slightly “soft” stools and is doing well, then all of a sudden develops firm, dryer stools … that could be an indication of a problem. Or visa versa. Or if they normally poop three times a day, and then suddenly start pooping just once a day (without any changes in diet or exercise), then that is a change that should be investigated with your vet. And so on.
Outfitting Your Dog’s Crate Safely
What is and isn’t safe or OK to put in your dog’s crate is a pretty common question we get asked here at Preventive Vet. People often want to know … Is it ok to leave food or water in my dog’s crate? Should I leave one of my t-shirts in my puppy’s crate? What about towels and other bedding? Chews and other toys?
Of course, every dog and every situation is different. Young puppies are different than adult dogs (in many ways!). Similarly, a dog just beginning their crate training is a different situation than a dog that’s already acclimated to and in love with their crate. All that said, there are some general insights and recommendations we can provide to help you as you ponder the safest and most comfortable “interior design” of your dog’s crate.
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