Tips to Winterize your Pet

Lectro Kitty Window Sill Perch with Optional HeatCold weather is tough on pets. The following recommendations can provide your pet with a much better “quality of life” through the wintertime months:

1)    Update all vaccinations. Increased stress of cold weather lowers the resistance to disease. Your pet needs more than just a Rabies vaccination. Dogs should have DHLPP (Distemper, Adenovirus/infectious canine hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza), and Bordetella boosters each year. Cats should receive FVRCP and Feline Leukemia boosters every year.

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2)    Heartworm preventive should be given year-round. The medication kills certain immature stages of the heartworm throughout its journey through the body before it actually reaches the heart. The medication ought to be supplied all year long to make certain all immature heartworms are killed once they get to the stage of susceptibility to the medication.
3)    Internal Parasite Examinations insure your pet is “worm-free”. Internal parasites drain your pet’s blood, protein, and energy.
4)    Feed premium quality diet to fulfill the increased nutritional demands for the duration of cold weather. You get what you pay for in pet foods. “High Protein” labels don’t mean it is “digestible protein”. Pets kept outside should be fed more food to meet their requirements through the winter. Fresh water should always be obtainable. Be sure to provide UNFROZEN water at least twice daily during zero weather. Porcelain bowls will prevent tongues from sticking to it. Steer clear of metal bowls for this reason.There are also heated bowls available to keep the water thawed.
5)    Vitamin supplements, such as Nutrical®,may help increase your pet’s resistance to the effects of cold weather and provide required nutritional elements that often deteriorate once a bag of food has been opened.

6)    Brush your pet every day to maintain its hair coat. Heat in your house may dry the skin. Moisturizers , such as Dermal Soothe Anti-Itch Spray for Dogs & Cats, are available to maintain a healthy coat.
7)    Provide adequate shelter. Supplying adequate shelter from the elements is the key to a healthy outdoor pet. The pet that has a cozy refuge where he can seek shelter from the cold wind, driving rain, sleet, and snow will be much better able to tolerate the cold temperatures. Pet shelters should be tightly constructed and no larger than three times the size of the pet. The doorway should be just large sufficient for the pet to enter and positioned away from the prevailing wind direction. Building the shelter off the ground a couple of inches and adding insulation underneath will significantly add to the pet’s comfort. Be sure all insulation is sealed away from the pet. Position the shelter where it’ll get the most sunlight in the winter. Cedar shavings make the very best bedding. No pet should be out in zero or sub-zero weather for more than a few minutes without adequate shelter. Winter is no time to Begin keeping a pet outside. Acclimatization should begin in warm weather, permitting gradual improve in hair growth as temperatures turn out to be cooler.The best thing to do for your pet is to keep them indoors.
8)    Other Suggestions:
a.    Antifreeze can be deadly. It’s sweet tasting to your pet. Always clean up any spills in the garage or driveway. Contact your veterinarian right away if you suspect even a “few licks” by the pet.
b.    Cats like to sleep close to warm car engines. Know where your cat is and honk your horn before beginning the automobile to make sure no neighborhood cats are taking a snooze under the hood.
c.    Chocolate may be fatal. Keep those giant chocolate kisses and other sweets out of reach from your pet.
d.    Salt can hurt paws. Clean the foot pads instantly when coming back inside.There are dog booties available for your pooch.
e. Heated pet beds may help with your pet’s arthritis and keep the chill off.
f. Sweaters and coats can also help dogs maintain their body temperature better.
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What is Kennel Cough?

If you own a dog or a puppy, you may have to board them in a kennel, take them to the groomers or take them to a dog park or animal hospital. When your dog comes in close proximity to other dogs,they are  exposed to a viruses that may cause your pooch to develop kennel cough. Kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious, acute respiratory disease that affects dogs and can infect your dog even if your dog hasn’t been in a kennel.puppy1

Kennel cough is caused by an airborne group of viruses, the most common being  Bordetella Bronciseptica, Parainfluenza and Adenovirus – Type 2, and can be contracted any time your dog is near an infected dog, even if only for a short time because the tiny viral particles are suspended in the air and can be breathed in. It may take anywhere from  four to ten days after exposure to the virus before your dog develops the symptoms of kennel cough. The canine influenza virus is relatively new and if you board your dog a lot at the larger kennels, you may consider vaccinating him for the influenza virus as well. Your dog’s best defense against this disease is a strong immune system and preventative vaccinations.

How can you tell if your dog has kennel cough? Dogs with kennel cough develop a dry, hacking, or non-productive cough (they do not cough up mucous or fluids). The cough can be quite severe and the more they cough, the more the throat gete irritated and the more they coug. They can last a short time or up to several minutes and can occur quite often throughout the day and may keep you up at night.

If your dog develops a hacking cough, a trip to the veterinarian may be warranted. Your veterinarian will then do an exam and rule out other problems that can cause the cough, such as an infected tooth, heartworms, distemper, canine influenza or perhaps a heart murmur. In most dogs with kennel cough, the cough can be triggered with gentle pressure on the trachea, the throat area just under the collar.

As with most viral infections, antibiotics are not be effective in treating this illness. Antibiotics are only used if there is a secondary infection because the coughing caused an irritation and resident bacteria may set up housekeeping. Your veterinarian will decide if the cough is indeed kennel cough and not something more serious. If it is kennel cough, it may take up to two weeks, just like the common cold, to make its way out of your dog’s system. Your veterinarian may prescribe a cough suppressant to help calm the cough.

You may have more than one dog in your family. If so, try to keep the one with kennel cough separated from the others. Of course, as contagious as this is, your other dogs will probably already have been infected before you realize it. Treat each of them, whether they’re displaying symptoms or not, and you’re sure to be rid of kennel cough soon.

The best way to prevent kennel cough is with vaccinations. We recommend the bordetella vaccine every year with the annual vaccinations and a quick booster vaccine prior to your dog boarding. Remember, that going to the groomers, a pet store or dog park can also expose your pet to viruses and diseases from other dogs.

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Puppy Care

Congratulations! Bringing home a new puppy is fun, but it is also a huge responsibility that lasts its lifetime, which can sometimes reach 12 to 18 years or longer. The first six months of your puppies life are the most critical and establishes his health and behavior for the rest of his life.puppy You, as the puppies advocate, must ensure he is protected from disease with a series of vaccinations and effective monthly parasite control. Thousands of inadequately vaccinated puppies never make it to see their first birthday because of diseases such as parvovirus and distemper. Thousands more will die from heartworm disease from the bite of one single mosquito, and even more may succumb to intestinal parasites, such as hookworms, even before they even reach 2 months old.

The majority of dogs relinquished to animal shelters is usually because of behavioral issues, such as dog aggressiveness that results in a dog bite, the inability to house train or unruly and destructive behavior. These are natural tendencies in dogs, and it is your responsibility to learn the how the dog thinks and use the natural, instinctive pack leadership skills to effectively modify both you and your dog’s behavior and solidify a great and rewarding relationship with your new puppy and family

Puppy proofing your home is another safety precaution you must establish. There are several hazards to young puppies you must look out for, such as electrical cords, toxic houseplants, foods that must not be fed, and toxic substances that need to be secured. Providing a safe haven for your puppy, such as a crate, when you are away, will keep him out of trouble and will also hasten house training.

There is so much more that I want to share with you that I have developed a series of newsletters and videos to help you take great care of your puppy and then well into his senior years. Register for my puppy care newsletter and you will also get some bonus e-books.

Recommendations for Puppies

Age 2, 4, 6 weeks of age

* deworm for hookworms and roundworms
* check for other intestinal parasites such as coccidia, tapeworms, whipworms and giardia

6-8 weeks of age

* Wellness Examination (WE) Check eyes, ears, heart, lungs, teeth, and other structures.
* DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, )
* Parasite Check
* Dewormer
* Start Heartworm preventative
* Start Flea medication
* Behavior counseling (crate training)

12 weeks

* Wellness Exam
* DHPP #2
* Bordetella #1
* Leptospirosis #1 (4 way)
* Dewormer
* Heartworm and Flea medication

16 weeks

* Wellness Exam
* DHPP#3
* Rabies
* Lepto #2
* Bordetella #2
* Heartworm and Flea medications

5months and older

* Spay or neuter
* Blood profile to screen for congenital problems prior to surgery
* give heartworm and flea medication every month all year round
* feed high quality pet foods, avoid generic brands
* Start getting your pet used to brushing teeth while they are young.

10months old

* parvo booster
* bordetella booster
* parasite check

Annually

* Wellnes Examination
* Rabies
* DHPP
* Leptospirosis
* Bordetella
* Heartworm (Erhlichia and Lyme) test
* Parasite Check
* Lyme booster
* Giardia booster
* If pet has received 2 Rabies Vaccinations exactly 365 days or less in a row, then pet may go to a Rabies injection every 3 years. If the two vaccines are more than 365 days apart, then they must get another vaccine within the year.
* Pets age 7 years for every 1 calender year. Physical exams on a bi-annual basis are a good way to screen for health problems before they become major.

Dr. Debra Garrison
Dr. Debra Garrison