Debunking Pet Health Myths

Debunking Pet Health Myths

Here are some common myths surrounding pet health that you may have heard of and the actual truth behind them!

Myth 1: It is okay for your pet to lick their wounds

Licking wounds, although oftentimes a natural instinct for pets to do, can actually be harmful to their healing process. Their saliva can contain harmful bacteria that when introduced into a wound, can slow the healing process or even cause an infection. As a conscientious pet owner, make sure that your pet wears a cone and always keep a close eye on their activity!

Myth 2: Grain-free diets are healthy and natural

Although many believe that their pets should eat like their ancestors, a raw meat diet, dogs and cats have actually evolved over time to consume diets more similar to humans. This is because of evolution and our long history of domesticating these animals. While protein should make up a majority of their diet, it is also good to make sure they get a variety of nutrients from grains and vegetables.

Myth 3: You can tell if your dog is sick if their nose is warm and dry

A dog’s nose temperature or moisture level is not necessarily indicative of sickness. Even though some illnesses can cause these symptoms, a warm or dry nose is likely a reflection of the temperature and humidity of the environment your dog is in at the time. Take it as a sign instead to place them in a more comfortable space!

Myth 4: A “dog year” is equal to 7 human years

Contrary to the common misconception that one dog year is equal to 7 human years, this myth is not supported by scientific evidence. Dogs age at varying rates depending on their size; smaller breeds tend to age slower while larger breeds usually age quicker. 

Myth 5: Dogs mouths’ are clean

Although many pet owners enjoy receiving licks from their dogs, it isn’t a very sanitary way of showing affection. Aside from their bad breath, dogs’ mouths are filled with various bacterias that come from dirty origins. It’s also common for dogs to develop dental disease or gum disease since many owners neglect teeth brushing as a routine. By frequently brushing your pets’ teeth or going in for dental cleanings, you can greatly reduce the risk of dental diseases and alleviate some of the germs plastered on your face.

Myth 6: Allergies come from dog and cat hairs

One of the most common pet myths is that allergies in humans are caused by cat and dog hairs. Many people report that pet fur/hair results in sneeze attacks and causes their eyes to water, but the allergen to blame is generally found in the animals’ skin, urine, and saliva.

Pets on St. Patrick’s Day

Pets on St. Patrick’s Day

Here are 6 Dangers to Pets on St. Patrick’s Day:

1. Shamrocks come in two different colors, green and purple! Whether found in the wild or decorations around the house, be cautious when your pets are around them. If ingested, they can cause stomach upset, drooling, a decrease in blood calcium level, and even kidney damage in large amounts.

2. Green beer or alcohol of any type at a party is even more dangerous to pets than to humans due to their smaller size. When pets ingest an unattended or spilled drink, they could have difficulties walking, have stomach upset, or even lead a decreased gag reflex which makes vomiting extra dangerous. 

3. When eating dessert, make sure you and your guests know that Irish soda bread can be dangerous for pets because of the raisins in them! Ingestion of raisins can lead to kidney failure, so instead feed your pets their dessert options.

4. Traditional food in Irish cuisine contains ingredients that may lead to detrimental side effects, so be cautious when keeping festive Irish food within your pet’s reach. Common dishes during the Irish holiday are corned beef and cabbage which are high in sodium and may result in sodium poisoning. Lots of festive food also contains onions, garlic, chives, and leeks, which may be toxic (in both powdered and fresh forms). Pets are very sensitive to high-fat foods and sugar, so make sure to double-check food ingredients if you’re planning on feeding some scraps to your pet.

5. It is not recommended to dye your pet’s fur green as it can lead to skin irritation and toxicity if ingested. If having a green furry friend on Saint Patrick’s Day is necessary, ensuring that the dye is temporary, vegan, and free of toxins will reduce potential hazards. It’s also important to avoid giving any human treats to your pet; especially ones that contain green commercial food dye that may cause allergic reactions or an upset stomach.

6. If your pet enjoys it, feel free to dress your pet in a green shamrock bow, a festive holiday bandanna, or other St. Patrick’s attire. On the other hand, it’s important to choose the correct size of clothing for your pet and ensure that their vision or movement is not impaired. It’s also best to pick an outfit that doesn’t have embellishments that may serve as a choking hazard; supervise them to make sure they are not experiencing any discomfort or anxiety from playing dress up.

Canine Influenza

Canine Influenza

What is canine influenza?

While pets have not been proven to contract COVID-19, the dog flu is known to be a very contagious respiratory disease that has resulted in deaths in the canine population. While canine flu outbreaks have been occurring sporadically since 2015, cases have been rising in recent months, especially in shelter facilities and daycare settings. According to the CDC, this severe illness originated from the type A influenza which has split into two different strains: the H3N8 and H3N2 virus. The H3N8 equine influenza was transmitted from horses to dogs, and the H3N2 virus strain was transmitted from birds to dogs.

How is canine influenza transmitted?

Canine influenza spreads primarily through water droplets produced during coughing, sneezing, or heavy breathing. In close quarters like dogs housed in kennels or shelters, the more likely the sickness is to spread. Objects and places such as clothing, equipment, surfaces, and hands should be cleaned and disinfected if they come in contact with an infected pet. Luckily, there has been no historical record of canine influenza transmitting to humans although it is always best to play it safe!

Canine Flu Symptoms

It is possible that your pet may have contracted this respiratory illness if they show common signs of appetite loss, nasal discharge, eye discharge, and/or dry cough. Sometimes, these symptoms can lead to secondary health issues such as bacterial infections, pneumonia, or other issues in the respiratory tract. Although the mortality rate of this illness in dogs is relatively low, it’s important to contact your vet if you notice any of these signs.

Prevention and Treatment

Vaccines to protect dogs against both H3N8 and H3N2 canine flu are available in the United States. Speak with your veterinarian to schedule an appointment for your pet to receive this shot. If your dog does end up testing positive for canine influenza, keep your dog well hydrated, relaxed, and rested as its body’s immune system begins to fight the virus. Speak with a veterinarian for possible antibiotics to help them fight the virus or relieve symptoms.

Pet Telemedicine Legalization

Pet Telemedicine Legalization

Should pet telemedicine services be legalized in all states? Here is why we think yes:

1. By allowing virtual veterinary visits, pet owners living in communities without access to quality in-person veterinary services, like rural areas or traditionally low-income neighborhoods, are placed at a disadvantage when it comes to managing their pet’s health. Furthermore, people physically incapable of a person visit would benefit from the convenience provided by online appointments. Governments should strive to promote equality by increasing accessibility to resources for its citizens. Changing legislation surrounding telemedicine services and online appointments are some of the easiest ways to do so.

2. Gaps created by workforce shortages of veterinarians, recently exasperated by the COVID-19 pandemic, could be bridged through telemedicine services. Not only do virtual visits decrease the overhead costs of running a veterinary practice, but also often allows veterinary professionals to meet with a larger number of people as they are no longer constricted to geographic location or the challenges that come with scheduling in-person appointments.

3. Many conditions can be treated without in person visits. Pet owners are inclined to pay for costly vet visits regarding physical exams or non urgent situations which, oftentimes, do not require in person consultations. As long as the online veterinary teams have sufficient medical education, they should be able to provide helpful advice and treatment for the pets. There are many instances where owners become worried when their pets start vomiting or acting differently, but it isn’t always necessary to set up an in person appointment that may interfere with their busy schedules. Instead, pet owners can look to online veterinary care as a more convenient alternative where the medical professionals can virtually tell them whether or not it is an emergency and give them advice on possible treatments. As they have the same credentials as clinical veterinarians, they can prescribe medication that may easily solve the issue without having to go to the clinic.

4. Pet owners own their pets and should be able to make their own choice about using telemedicine. Pets offer lots of assistance and emotional support to their families, and they are seen as great companions to their human counterparts. Since pets do not have the ability to speak their needs, the owners take on that responsibility to keep their pets healthy and safe. Owners keep their pets’ health in their best interest, and it is up to them to decide whether or not they can receive telemedicine. It is important to note that many clients willingly receive accessible treatment for their pets and understand the potential risks and benefits of receiving telemedicine. In fact, Telepaws has their own set of terms and conditions that clients and veterinarians agree to: in certain states where telemedicine is allowed, owners sign informed consent forms where they are thoroughly made aware of the possible advantages and disadvantages of undergoing virtual treatment.

Winter Pet Grooming

Winter Pet Grooming

Winter is coming. As such, it is important to make sure that your pet is well groomed! Their fur is essential in keeping them warm because it allows them to regulate their body temperature by trapping heat. Here are a few tips to think about regarding a pet’s grooming needs during the winter months:

Brush your pet regularly – Doing so helps remove dead fur, tangle and knots in their hair, and dirt or other contaminants. The motion also stimulates blood flow and helps distribute the natural oil layer a pet’s body produces. Remember that pets with longer coats are more easily dirtied and tangled so take extra care with them!

Bathe your pet less often – Like human hair, pet fur can easily dry given the right conditions. In the winter especially, windy and dry air combined with artificial indoor heating can deplete the natural oils that coat a pet’s fur. Be cautious of bathing them too often to prevent dry dog skin. When doing so, use a mild shampoo and make sure to rinse it off thoroughly with warm water.

Trim your pet’s nails – With less walking in the winter, nails on your pet last longer because they do not deteriorate as quickly from the ground. Make sure to continue to trim them to avoid toxins and other illnesses from collecting in their nails and putting themselves and you at risk! If you don’t feel comfortable cutting them yourself, grooming services offered by a grooming salon can do a professional job. 

Ear cleaning for your pet – Arguably one of the most crucial parts of the grooming process, cleaning your pets’ ears will not only help with their odor, but will also rid your pet of any infections as their ears are prone to collecting dirt, debris, wax, and other germs. The easiest way to clean their ears is by wetting a cotton ball with ear cleaning solution and gently rubbing their ear canal while making sure not to stick it too far into the ear.

Regular teeth brushing – Making sure you brush your pet’s teeth is important; not doing so may result in plaque buildup, periodontal disease, and tooth loss. You can keep your pet’s teeth clean by using tooth appliances especially made for pets, finger brushes, or even your own finger wrapped in gauze.

Paw protection – As the chilly winter months are nearing and colder temperatures become more common, your pets may experience irritated skin or dry skin issues. Common preventatives that may shield their skin from these infections consist of skin moisturizer, natural skin oils, paw protectors, and boots.