Is Adopting a Rescue Pet Right For Your Family?
by Adam Colwell
Whether the decision is impulsive or well planned in advance, it’s a choice that will change your life, and in a greater degree than you think. Its time…to get a family pet! So do you just head over to the pet store and select the cutest face you see? Think again. Adopting a dog or cat, or even a bird or other small animal, from a rescue shelter may be the best option. Why? A shelter, such as the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA), can not only make sure the animal you take home is right for you – they’ll also make certain you’re the right person for the animal. Sara Gromley, Public Relations Coordinator for the HSSA, says adopters should be: • Focused when they arrive. Visiting a rescue shelter can be emotionally overwhelming. Don’t let feelings alone decide which pet you adopt. • Ready to match their energy level with the pet. Live at a slower pace? Take home a pet that’s mellower and won’t require as much effort. • Realistic with what they can provide. Allow yourself to be directed by staff to answer the questions that’ll help you. Do you have the space for a cat versus a dog? Do you travel a lot and don’t have time to nurture and exercise your animal? Shelter staff will give you the feedback and resources
Pet Genius Magazine • Winter 2012
you need to make an informed – and the best – decision. “When you come to a shelter, you’re going to get that kind of education and counseling before you get the pet and when you leave with the animal,” said Lyndsay Bruno, Public Relations Lead for the HSSA. “Other people don’t want to go through the puppy or kitten stage. They want a more mature animal that knows obedience and can still provide that kind of love.”
To keep your dog entertained while you are gone for the day, try leaving the blinds open so your pet can watch the squirrels, birds and people as they go about their day outside.
Don’t Neglect the Vet
he girl was very young, no more than college-aged, and the attractive dog she’d brought inside with her into the rescue shelter lobby acted perfectly happy and healthy, enthusiastically licking anyone within range. But the girl was concerned. The animal had been physically ill that morning, so she returned to where she’d adopted it to get help. With the staff ’s expert advice, they quickly identified the problem – the dog had eaten some yellow pods off the ground that, while not dangerous, did make her dog sick. The animal was checked out, she was given instructions, and they went
home relieved…and better prepared. The girl wisely took the initiative about her pet’s health – but, sadly, she’s the exception to the rule among pet owners. Fact is, animals not only need immediate attention in cases of unusual sickness. They need regular check-ups with a veterinarian – a responsibility emphasized to pet adopters by rescue shelter organizations like the Human Society of the United States. “Your pet should have at least an annual wellness exam with the veterinarian,” said Sara Gromley, Public Relations Coordinator for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA). “Animals can’t tell you when they’re not feeling well, so we really
by Adam Colwell
encourage people to be proactive in their pet’s health.” “Preventative care is as important for your animal as it is for any of us,” adds Lyndsay Bruno, Public Relations Lead for the HSSA. “You don’t want to wait until there is a problem, you don’t have a vet you can trust, and you’re nervous about taking the animal in – and end up waiting too long. Vets see very common illnesses and know how to treat them, so that relationship is very important.” Rescue shelters like the HSSA partner with area veterinarians to help pet adopters establish that relationship from the start, and maintain it properly throughout their pet’s lifetime. Winter 2012 • Pet Genius Magazine
Besting Bad Behavior
by Adam Colwell
If you’re concerned about handling behavioral problems with your family pet, adopting from a rescue shelter will best prepare you for any challenge. Morgan Bojorquez is Animal Training and Adoptability Coordinator for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA). She says about 25 percent of the dogs brought into a rescue shelter will have behavioral issues that require extra attention and training prior to adoption. “We use only positive reinforcement; we want our dogs to respect us just as we respect them. Each dog is unique, and it just depends on it showing us what it needs.” A variety of techniques are employed, sometimes over a period of several months, to reduce or end behavioral problems in animals prior to making them available for adoption. At that point, Bojorquez says the HSSA will: 1. Provide adopters a full review of the behaviors seen, 2. Detail what the shelter has done to address the issues to minimize or eliminate them, 3. Give adopters directions of what to do with the animal to keep the behaviors from reoccurring, and what do to if the behaviors do crop up once in their new home, 4. Ask adopters to call within three weeks to let the shelter know how things are progressing. Bojorquez also emphasizes two keys: • Maintaining a positive, stable environment. If you don’t take care of the animal as instructed, or if the environment of your home radically changes or becomes suddenly negative or stressful, problems may reoccur. Shelter personnel will work with you to help the animal adjust. • Socializing the animal well. Unless they have a preexisting behavioral problem that would prevent normal socialization, you’re encouraged to get your pet out often to interact with other animals and people so that your pet is a “well-balanced creature and part of the family, not just stuck in the backyard.”
Pet Genius Magazine • Winter 2012
Giving of Yourself and Your Resources
by Adam Colwell
Whether it’s a donation of your time or money – or both – there’s likely a place for you to be more personally involved in your area animal rescue shelter. Sara Gromley, Public Relations Coordinator for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA), says rescue shelters provide a variety of volunteer opportunities. You can walk the animals or sit with them when they first arrive at the shelter to aid in their acclimation. You can be a part of fundraising events, or even assist in administrative work if you’re uncomfortable with direct pet care. You can host a foster home for animals still too young or ill to be adopted. “We can fit any person to volunteer in a way that’ll fit their strengths,” Gromley said. Lyndsay Bruno, Public Relations Lead for the HSSA, also feels anyone who cares about animals is a candidate to become a regular financial donor to animal rescue shelters that are completely non-profit and receive no government funding. “By nature, many of us are animal lovers, and maybe they don’t have the time to volunteer but they want to donate a small or large amount to a shelter. Any amount is greatly needed and appreciated, and 73 percent goes directly to animal care, with the remaining towards administrative costs, education, fundraising, and special events.” Gromley also points out that many shelters offer opportunities to donate to separate projects – such as medical care for pets with serious needs, or a spay and neuter fund to help control pet population – so donors can target their giving to a specific need that resonates with them.
The top rule for financial donating: check out the shelter for yourself, and ask to see what your giving will fund. Also learn if they are a reputable charity. The HSSA, for example, is a highly-rated four-star charity through Charity Navigator (charitynavigator. org).
Winter 2012 • Pet Genius Magazine
Puppies and Kittens vs. Dogs and Cats Deciding Whatâ€™s Best for You? by Amy Wyatt
Adding an animal to your family can be a rewarding experience, but there are options to consider when choosing between a puppy or kitten and an older dog or cat. Hereâ€™s a compilation of advice from pet experts nationwide.
Puppies & kittens
One of the great things about puppies and kittens is they are so cute and adorable. They learn quickly and are eager to make their owner happy. Even though it takes time and energy, you can mold their behavior to fit your lifestyle. Younger dogs and cats are usually easier to integrate with currently owned pets or children.
Adult cats & dogs
The personality, habits and manners of older cats and dogs are already set, for better or worse, which can lead to a positive or negative experience, depending on the animal. One benefit is they are calmer and less likely to destroy things in your home. Cost can go either way. Older animals are commonly already spayed or neutered which saves you money, but may have health challenges due to age, which increases veterinary bills.
If you are 65 or older, a senior animal may be the best option, as puppies and kittens commonly now age up to 20 years and may outlive you. Older animals are often already housetrained and know basic commands. One negative is the amount of time required to train them. They need a lot of attention, and you can Some of the downsides are a shorter life span to count on them being rambunctious, tearing things share with them, and possible emotional baggage up and making messes in your home. from previous experiences. In spite of these challenges, older pets come with the reward of They also require items such as toys and pet giving a loving home to an animal that is harder equipment, and need initial vaccinations and to place, possibly saving it from a death sentence at spaying or neutering, which can be expensive. a shelter. 6
Pet Genius Magazine â€˘ Winter 2012
here I live in the desert southwest, true wintry weather only happens about eight weeks out of the year. Even the desertâ€™s most wintry days are sometimes interrupted by spurts of
Tips to keeping your dog safe balmy 70 degree afternoons. So there are very few days that get cold enough for me to consider the need for additional protection for my pets. Lucky, I know. But for those not so fortunate, I offer the wisdom of my wonderful mother-in-law Karen, who has raised Cocker Spaniels and Australian Shepherds in both cold and warm weather. Here are several tips she recommends for keeping your pooch warm during those cold months of the year: 1. Start simple: keep your pets inside. Let them outside only for necessary bathroom trips or exercise. 2. If they must be outside, provide an igloo or some other insulated enclosure in which they can stay. Its size must fit the dog so that their body heat can warm the doghouse.
by Marc Sandin
3. Keep them well-groomed so that their winter coat is healthy and free of matting, producing the necessary warmth to keep them comfortable. 4. If you live in an area with snow, raise the outdoor doghouse by several inches to keep any of the cold and wet from sucking away warmth. 5. Feed your pooch more food. Typically dogs stack up a little extra pudge around the cold season to insulate themselves, and a bigger than usual diet can help them do that. 6. CLOTHES! Yes, those people who dress their chihuahuas in leather coats and sunglasses are actually on to something. Believe it or not, accessorizing your dog can protect them against the chill. Your dogs are precious, so use these tips to keep them safe and warm during the frigid months of winter. Winter 2012 â€˘ Pet Genius Magazine
Coping with Kennel Cough A Malady of Confinement by Dave Ficere
Pet Genius Magazine • Winter 2012
Scully was thrilled with his new home and kind family. After spending weeks at the Humane Society, he was on his way to a fresh adventure and a clean start. Gone was the caged existence and constant noise of barking dogs. Life was great. “Now,” he thought, “if I could just get rid of this nagging cough…” Scully’s experience is all too common. A dog leaves the kennel or boarding facility with a respiratory ailment. The malady is called Kennel Cough and it’s frequently found among canines that have been housed with other animals. Dr. Nancy Bradley, director of medical services with the Arizona Humane Society, says canine tracheobronchitis, commonly called Kennel Cough, is “a highly contagious upper respiratory infection that leads to an obnoxious, dry cough.” Triggered by multiple organisms, she says the best way to fight it is with a vaccination. “At the Humane Society we immunize them right away and isolate those (dogs) that develop problems,” Bradley says.
The cause Kennel Cough is commonly found wherever a number of dogs are confined together in a closed environment, such as a kennel, animal shelter, or indoor dog show. The malady is spread much like the common cold among humans where those in especially closed environments are susceptible to catching the bug. Bradley says even a brief encounter with a single infected animal can lead to the spread of the disease which afflicts a high percentage of dogs at least once during their lifetime. Infected dogs can spread the illness for days or even weeks after they seem to have fully recovered. While Kennel Cough can affect canines of any age, young puppies sometimes manifest the most severe
complications because their immune system is still underdeveloped. Older dogs with decreased immune capabilities are also at risk of developing more severe complications. A dry, hacking cough will usually appear three to seven days after the dog is initially infected and will be aggravated by any extra activity or exercise. Kennel Cough usually lasts from one to three weeks and can be very annoying for the pet and its owners. However, life-threatening cases of Kennel Cough are extremely rare and many infected dogs will recover on their own with little or no medication. Seeing the similar symptoms Most dogs with the illness will continue to eat, sleep, play and act normally – except for the persistent, dry coughing that seems constant.
Bradley says there are a variety of similar symptoms associated with Kennel Cough, including: • A dry hacking cough, which is the most common symptom. • A cough that may sound like honking. • Retching or wheezing similar to asthma. • A watery nasal discharge. • In severe cases, symptoms can worsen and include pneumonia, fever, lethargy and even death. In diagnosing Kennel Cough, your veterinarian will examine your pet’s symptoms as well as the dog’s history and recent exposure to other animals. Your veterinarian will most likely run a blood test and bacterial cultures in an effort to verify the agents causing Kennel Cough.
Have Pet Will Travel Advanced planning helps eliminate bumps in the road by Connie Peters Whether you’re moving, can’t find a pet-sitter, or never go anywhere without your furry friend, you don’t want to contend with an unhappy or sick pet while traveling. Here are five tips to keep your pet healthy on a road trip. Visit your vet Your veterinarian will give your pet the appropriate vaccinations and paperwork you’ll need to take with you. “Different locations have different problems,” says Veterinarian Shane Cote of Montezuma Vet Clinic of Cortez, CO. “For instance, if you are traveling back east your pet will need a vaccination against Lyme’s
Pet Bytes One way to prepare your pet to travel is to buy their pet crate well in advance and get them used to it. If they’re accustomed to being in that space, they will have less anxiety while traveling.
disease. If you plan to board your pet at a kennel, your pet will need a bordetella shot against kennel cough. And if your pet bites someone, you’ll need proof of rabies vaccination.” Cote adds that a rabies tag or a microchip will aid in finding a lost pet. If your pet is overly anxious, some vets recommend a mild sedative. Do some research Peruse websites to find pet-friendly motels and make sure your pet fits in with their particular guidelines. A little work ahead of time can save you a lot of stress and heartache. Containment plan If your travels involve a road trip, make sure you have a safe way to contain your pet. A kennel or leash will ensure the driver isn’t distracted and keeps all passengers and fellow travelers safe. Also, safe containment protects your pet from the risk that he could make a quick escape.
First aid kit Take along a pet First Aid kit containing such things as tweezers for tick or sticker removal. Also, packing a travel bag with a grooming brush, favorite toys and a blanket can provide them a sense of familiarity and comfort. And it is a good practice to groom your pet daily to spot ticks or skin rashes. A gentle journey Stop often for potty breaks and exercise. Make sure he has plenty of water and eats his regular meals. Dr Cote advises, “Most travelers bring in pets because they’re sick from eating something that doesn’t agree with them.” Traveling with your pet can be a lot of fun and create a lifetime of memories. A little advanced planning will help ensure the road you travel together is an easy one.
Your Home Interior decorating for Fido
Having a pet-safe house that’ll also remain tidy after your new friend starts making itself at home takes some preparation. But it’ll be well worth your time. Here are specific interior “decorating” tips that’ll doggy proof your home, as provided by the experts at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Floors • Machine-washable area rugs are far easier to keep clean than wall-to-wall carpeting. If urine soaks into carpet backing, it’s nearly impossible to remove. • If rugs have decorative fringe, remove them until your puppy is past the teething stage and is well
by Adam Colwell
trained with chewing. • Seal hardwood floors with polyurethane to prevent urine odor. • The best surfaces for dogs are tile or sheet linoleum. Walls • Use washable, semi-gloss paint where you think your dog may chew or slobber. • Vinyl-backed wallpaper is easier to clean than paper-backed wallpaper. • Paint or consider washable wall coverings for the bottom half of all walls. Windows • Fabric shades, café curtains and draperies are excellent choices for homes with dogs. Stay away from
vertical blinds, pooling draperies, tassels and long cords that can become choking risks. • Mini-blinds can be damaged beyond repair when a curious dog insistently tries to see outdoors. Furniture • Provide comfy beds in each room for your dog, or designate one piece of furniture in each room as your dog’s “spot.” • Cover this spot with a washable throw or fleece. • Leather and vinyl furniture is easy to clean, but can be damaged by long toenails. Finally, make it easy to give your dog a good dust-off after being outdoors. Place a machine-washable rug by the door and keep a towel handy.
Winter 2012 • Pet Genius Magazine
Raising a TOP DOG Anyone can be a dog owner. It’s as simple as getting a dog, right? Wrong. It takes a special person to be a responsible dog owner. So much so that the American Kennel Club has designated the entire month of September as “Responsible Dog Owner Month”. To become the very best dog owner possible – and show you care – there are seven key areas you need to cover. The first part is to tend to your dog’s physical health needs. After all, your family pets are entirely dependent on you for their care – from the tips of their whiskers to the pads on their paws. Veterinary care When picking a veterinarian, the American Kennel Club says it’s extremely important to find someone you trust. “If you are unfamiliar with the veterinarians in your area,” it recommends, “use word-of-mouth
Pet Genius Magazine • Winter 2012
Keys to responsible dog ownership
to start your search.” A responsible dog owner not only consults a veterinarian when their pet has symptoms, but also for routine wellness exams, shots and more. Keep in mind,
by Kathy Carlton Willis
dogs age at a faster rate than humans, so regular visits to the vet will help catch any health problems early.
Nutrition Proper nutrition is a vital part of a pet’s physical health. Diet can influence a dog’s skin and coat, energy level and organ function. Being overweight or underweight leads to health problems. Plus, any food sensitivities cause reactions which require monitoring. Exercise Various dog breeds call for different activity levels. All dogs need exercise, not just for “bathroom breaks” but to release energy and induce better rest. Often, destructive behavior is an indication that your dog needs more exercise. You can offer this by frolicking outdoors in a fenced area, walking on-leash or playing games indoors. Since your dog can’t tell you when something is wrong with its health, it’s up to you to be alert to signs. And best of all is to provide the proper health maintenance to prevent urgent care situations. Keys to social health Another key to responsible dog ownership is to socialize your pet from day one. The American Kennel Club has issued the AKC Responsible Dog Owner Pet Promise. One of the pledges is, “I will socialize my dog via exposure to new people, places and other dogs.” If your pet has positive exposure, he will respond favorably rather than learn a negative reaction. Avoid sequestering your dog. Your puppy needs to encounter various stimuli and will follow your lead on how to behave. A good goal is for your puppy to accept being petted by strangers, meeting other dogs, and being handled by the veterinarian or groomer by the time it is four months old. After this, patterns are already developed and it’s much more difficult
to retrain. Socialization helps your pet enjoy a wide variety of environments. Plus, he will stay safer, healthier and better behaved with fewer surprises. It’s a great way to prevent unacceptable reactions such as fear or aggression. Some of the stimuli that can startle your dog, according to various pet experts, include: • Bearded men. • Wheelchairs. • Crying or high-pitched children. • Uniforms. • Sunglasses. Expose your dog to as many different situations as possible to prevent long-term behavioral problems. Remember, Fido longs to learn what’s going to earn your praise. Handling exercises Consider all the ways your dog
might be startled or mishandled, and train him to learn the proper response by positive reinforcement. Some of these situations might include tail pulling, nail clipping, ear tugging and food sharing. Be aware that sometimes your veterinarian will instruct you to keep your pet isolated until he receives all its immunizations. During this period, bring a variety of safe stimuli indoors. And when your vet gives you the okay, then you can begin to socialize your pet outside your home. Many pet supply stores allow you to shop with your leashed dog. This would be an excellent place for socialization. There are many factors that contribute to raising a pet to be a “top dog”. Visit Pet Genius to find additional articles outlining the keys to responsible pet ownership. Winter 2012 • Pet Genius Magazine
Emergency Pet Care 101 by Marc Sandin
Being prepared in case of a pooch apocalypse
Pet Bytes If you catch your dog chewing an inappropriate object, give them a firm “no” and replace the object with a tasty chew toy. Praise your dog when it starts chewing the toy. 14
Pet Genius Magazine • Winter 2012
Pop quiz: What do you if you catch on fire? Stop, drop and roll, of course. The next question is harder: Where is the fire extinguisher located in your house? The kitchen? Laundry room? A little tougher, right? Now, what would you do if your beloved pet was suddenly injured? Do you have a plan of action? Would you know which veterinarian to call, or the closest emergency clinic? I confess I wouldn’t have known where my fire extinguisher was, and I certainly wouldn’t have known what to do if I had to act immediately in case my pet had an emergency. As an Arizona resident, there have already been summertime occurrences of our dogs licking poisonous toads. The emergency veterinary phone line instructed us to wash out their mouths with plenty of water and drink a lot as well. However, outside of a repeat occurrence, if another emergency occurred I wouldn’t know what to do. So I made it a point to find out how to be more prepared for a sudden injury or illness with my beloved dogs. Preparing for a pooch apocalypse Veterinarian Alan Nuradi, owner of the Oracle Road Pet Clinic in Tucson, AZ, gave me ideas to implement in and around my home to make sure I was ready in the unlikely event of a pooch apocalypse. First, Nuradi said standard procedure for any pet owner is to have an accessible list containing a few very important pieces of information: 1. Your veterinarian’s office number. 2. The address of, and directions to, your veterinarian’s office. 3. The phone number, address and directions for the closest emergency veterinary clinic. “In your house, you should also
have some bandages, in case of any serious lacerations, and Benadryl to administer to your dog in the case of any poisoning or allergies; ask your veterinarian about the appropriate dosage for Benadryl,” Nuradi said. “Also, keep some antibiotic ointment handy for bruises and small cuts as long as they’re not too deep.” Environmental factors Nuradi emphasized that knowing your environment and common hazards can save your pet’s life in a crucial situation. “Since Tucson is a desert, we watch for rattlesnakes, coyotes and spiny cacti,” Nuradi said. Depending on your climate and wildlife native to your region, you should be prepared with appropriate first aid supplies to handle anything that might hurt your animal. If you suspect a bite or sting by a venomous creature, get to the closest emergency clinic as soon as possible so anti-venom can be administered. “That is something you can’t do on your own,” Nuradi said. “Anti-venom needs to be used only under professional supervision and with specialized medical instruments for precise doses.” Otherwise, he said, there could be a very adverse allergic reaction, complicating the already dangerous effects of poison. “After any incident, minor or major, be sure to visit a clinic to be checked out by a vet,” Nuradi adds. If you live in a typically hot climate, make sure your pet has plenty of water to drink, and never leave them alone in a hot car. Also, try to avoid
taking your dog on runs in the heat of the day. “It can not only dehydrate them extra quickly, but the hot asphalt and concrete can also cause the pads of their paws to get burned, especially if your dog is used to be inside on a regular basis,” Nuradi said. Instead, he advises to get up early before it gets hot, or wait until dusk when the sun is not overhead. “Always understand your environment and be prepared. Make sure your first aid supplies are in an area that is easy to get to,” he said, “and when you travel with your pet, make it a point to have a travel-sized pet first aid kit containing all the essentials.” Your pets are precious to you and sometimes they get hurt. But you can be ready and able to help them in their moment of need. As a result, they will be around to thank you for a long time.
So Many Choices!
Setting the standard for your dog’s diet Choosing the right food for your dog can feel like a daunting task, especially as you walk pet food aisles that are absolutely brimming with choices. Dry? Moist? Special formulations? Shiny coat? It is enough to make your head spin. But finding the right food for you dog is just as important as finding the right food for your family. A proper diet will help your dog live a long and healthy life. Steve Burns from Pete & Mac’s dog training centers in Phoenix, AZ says you need to set the standard for what your dog eats. “Insist on standards, much as you would with your children,” Burns says. “Don’t allow the dog to make demands of you when it comes to meal time.” Burn advises another important diet tip: create a courteous eater. Train your dog to wait until you put the food down and invite them to eat. With courtesy comes a measure of safety as well. It’s also vital, Burns says, to pick up the food after your dog has had
a reasonable amount of time to eat, such as a half hour. This helps establish a schedule and reinforces good behavior. This discipline will also transfer to other areas such as keeping the dog on a regular bathroom and exercise schedule. As always, there are also some foods to avoid giving your dog. For example, grapes, onions, asparagus, chocolate and avocados can cause a variety of ailments such as gas and diarrhea. Burns also encourages you to change your dog’s diet as they age and to accommodate for any health conditions. Remember, there are a variety of foods that can help address specific health issues. Your veterinarian can help you determine what special diet needs your dog may have and how to address those needs. In addition, keep an eye on your pet for clues as to when it’s
by David Ficere time to change foods. Jo Perez, a pet education trainer with Pete & Mac’s, says dandruff, dryness of skin, weight gain or loss, energy level and loss of appetite can all signal the need to change your dog’s diet. Choosing the right cuisine for your canine is an important step towards ensuring your dog lives the best life possible. Take time to meet with your veterinarian and find the right fit for your dog’s health and lifestyle.
Lovin’ From the Oven Homemade Dog Treats
She didn’t have them until she was three years old, and it took several visits to the veterinarian to finally figure out what was wrong. My dog Rosey had a severe food allergy – in her case, she was terribly allergic to corn. Since that experience, I’ve learned food allergies are the third most common cause of itching and scratching in dogs. Like humans, dogs can develop allergies to meats, milk, eggs, fish, meat, grains, potatoes, soy products, or dietary additives…almost anything. Havah Haskell, a veterinarian in Tucson, AZ, says ear infections, stomach upset and a difference in weight – either losing or gaining – are also signs of a possible food allergy. “Some dogs have strong reactions to certain foods typical of what humans experience when they have a peanut allergy,” Haskell said. The best way to find out if there is a food allergy, Haskell says, is to stop feeding the current
by Stephanie Fries brand and try a new source of protein and carbohydrate for at least 12 weeks. Examples would include salmon and rice, or venison and potato. Homemade diets are often used, as the ingredients can be carefully restricted and there are a number of options and your local feed or pet store. Once you know what food your pet should avoid, you may consider making your own homemade treats. They’re healthier and you control the ingredients. This is one of my favorites –and Rosey loves ‘em, too. Ingredients: 2 1/2 c. whole wheat or unbleached white flour 1 large egg, beaten 1/2 c. of broth 1 tsp. garlic powder I c. of shredded carrots. Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray or grease a cookie sheet. 1. In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients. 2. Lightly flour a surface to roll the dough out on. 3. Roll out the dough to about a 1/4 inch thickness. Use a pizza cutter or a few different, bone-shaped cookie cutters to cut the dough into the desired size. 4. Bake for 30 minutes, turn off oven and leave in for an extra half-hour. 5. Cool completely. If you are concerned your pet may have a food allergy, consult your veterinarian. Your trusted vet can perform allergy tests and help you put a plan of action in place. Winter 2012 • Pet Genius Magazine
Keys to Choosing a
Getting started on your big decision Congratulations! You have your first pet! You’ve made it home and your puppy or kitten is looking cute and cuddly, investigating their new surroundings…and probably finding that favorite “something” of yours to pee on. Bringing a furry family member home is a lot of fun – but it’s also sobering to realize your pet comes with great responsibility. One of the most important
by Marc Sandin
tasks before you is choosing your pet’s doctor…a veterinarian. If you’re like me, you open up the phone book and stare blankly at a long list of names, addresses and phone numbers. It’s overwhelming, not knowing heads or tails about how to make a good decision from the litany of pet doctors at your fingertips. Asking advice from friends and family is always a good first instinct. You can trust them to sell you on the good pet clinics and warn you against the bad. Then, when you compile a list of several contestants, you can use some basic yet critical criteria to help you select a primary care veterinarian. Things to consider: Location: Can you get to the veterinarian office quickly in case of an emergency? If not, where is the closest emergency clinic you can use after regular hours? Hygiene: Check the location for cleanliness and generally sanitary conditions. Experience: How many veterinarians work at the clinic? Do their specialties vary to cover a
wider range of potential pet ailments? Do they perform surgery on-site, or do they refer it to another clinic? You might want to meet the offsite surgeons. A few more considerations Now that you’ve gathered referrals from friends, done some initial research, and narrowed the field of clinics down to a few favorites – five more factors will help you make your final decision. Carrie David, a five-year veterinary technician at the Maricopa Country, AZ Animal Shelter, recommends several important keys to look for when making that important call on who will be your pet’s primary care physician. 1. Check out the office’s equipment (if they do not outsource their more complex procedures). Remember, the better the equipment, the more accurate their diagnoses.
2. What are their hours of operation? Is it convenient for your schedule? Are you able to call late at night, or other odd hours, for advice? Are they willing to give you those extra bits of contact information to assure that you have somebody to talk to, just in case?
3. How is the chemistry between the staff and your pet? It’s important not to force a strained relationship on the clinic or your pet; sometimes the recipe for success just isn’t there. 4. Put a high priority on the level of honesty you receive. Make sure they won’t force on you the most expensive treatment option just because the possibility exists that your pet may have a certain issue. 5. By far the most important qualification is do they provide the best care possible for your pet, and offer a start-to-finish positive experience, making sure you know they love your loved one as much as you do? That kind of security is invaluable. These tips should help you end your search for a great veterinarian, and ensure a lifetime of quality medical care for your pet.
Winter 2012 • Pet Genius Magazine
Can your pet benefit from a massage? by Kathe Wunnenberg
If you’ve ever experienced a massage, you know how much better it can make you feel. A massage can also soothe your four legged friend, lessen chronic pain, speed up recovery from injuries, and help condition a working or competitive animal. “Both Chinese medicine and western medicine recognize the beneficial physical changes that occur with massage therapy,” says “Dr. Purrdoc,” an online veterinarian for justanswer.com. “The benefits of massage therapy include increased circulation, release of natural pain killers (endorphins), stimulation of anti-inflammatory substances, improved firing of nerves, release of tension and thus pain improvement, release of built up toxins, ability to think more clearly, and an overall sense of well being. One owner made massage therapy a regular part of her pet’s wellness routine. During a session, the practitioner discovered the pet flinched when she massaged her leg. Further investigation revealed a fast growing cancer that wouldn’t have been detected until several months later at the pet’s annual vet exam. Early detection allowed the owner to take immediate action and save her pet’s life.
Would your pet profit from massage therapy? Ponder the following pros and cons:
Pros • • • • • • • • • •
Aids in early detection of abnormalities, injuries or problems. Increases blood and lymph circulation. Enhances muscle tone and flexibility. Loosens tight muscles. Reduces rehabilitation time after surgical, physical or emotional injury. Reduces stress. Relieves pain from arthritis, hip dysplasia. Releases endorphins. Many pets enjoy it. Improves overall health and well being.
• Some animals don’t enjoy it. • If performed incorrectly, massage can cause pain or damage. • Finding the right practitioner. Although massage therapy can play a role in enhancing the health of your pet, it is not a substitute for veterinary medical care. Consult with your veterinarian and massage practitioner to determine if massage therapy is right for your pet prior to scheduling a session.
Published on Dec 2, 2012
Published on Dec 2, 2012
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