Adopting a Pet Can Be Good For Your Health

Jack L. Stephens, DVM – Sep 30, 2009

Scientific proof is now available that documents what pet owners have known for years; pets make us feel better. Not only do pets help us to feel better they improve our health in the following ways:

Decrease your blood pressure
Reduce your blood levels of cortisol, our stress hormone
Increase your blood levels of oxytocin our feel good hormone
Increase your levels of prolactin our bonding hormone
Increase your blood levels of endorphins our exhilaration hormone
Prevent loneliness
Increase blood levels of serotonin a natural antidepressant
Increase our levels of pain tolerance and wound healing; decreasing hospital stays
Increase levels of neurotransmitters at our nerve endings
Allow us to express our feelings without judgment
Raise self esteem
Social lubricant to meet and greet others
Heart attack victims with pets live longer
Walking a dog improves weight loss over traditional methods
Much more

Adopt a pet from your local shelter or rescue group and you may feel better as a result.

Jack L. Stephens DVM

Help! My dog was bitten by a snake!

So you and your beloved pooch are out for some fresh air and sunshine, trotting along a trail in the great outdoors. The dog is a few paces ahead (of course), and is busy smelling everything in sight.

Suddenly you hear a yelp of pain and surprise. You run to catch up with your pet and see the tail of a snake slithering into the brush. What should you do?

If you’re anything like me, the first thing you’ll do is start freaking out and shouting, thinking that your dog is about to die a painful death. Well hold on there, tiger. Settle down.

The fact is, most snakes in the U.S. are not poisonous. There are only four varieties, including rattlesnakes, cottonmouth moccasins, copperheads and coral snakes, that are venomous and pose an immediate threat to the dog. There are three ways to tell if the dog is in danger:

  • Identify the snake—if you’re not a herpetologist (that’s a snake expert) you might need some help here. Catch and kill it if possible so you can bring it to the vet’s office for identification. If not, you should at least be prepared with a good description of it. Does it have identifying colors or patterns? A large, arrow-like shape to the head? Elliptical pupils (like a cat’s) or round ones?
  • Check out the bite—poisonous snakes, which have fangs, will leave two prominent puncture marks, just like a vampire in a horror movie. The skin will react quickly with swelling, redness, and intense pain. Non-poisonous snakes have even rows of teeth and may leave a pattern that resembles a horseshoe.
  • Watch the dog—they may exhibit symptoms such as panting, drooling and weakness. They might become extremely restless. Later, the dog could have other symptoms such as diarrhea, or they might collapse. Sometimes they will have seizures.

If you believe your pet has been bitten by a poisonous snake, try to keep them calm. Frantic movement or exercise will rush the poison through the dog’s system. Call your veterinarian immediately, they may be able to talk you through procedures for drawing out some of the venom and applying a tourniquet. Get your pet to a facility where they can get medical treatment ASAP.

Even if your dog was bitten by a common garden snake, you’ll want to have them treated; without the right antibiotics and treatment, the bite wound can become infected, so even non-venomous bites can be dangerous.

Is Your Pet Protected?

Keith Erickson, Oxyfresh Worldwide, Inc. – Sep 25, 2009

Bad breath could be a sign of pet dental disease

October is National Pet Wellness Month and the perfect time to focus on educating pet owners about the importance of preventive pet health care.

Did you know that 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats over age 3 have some kind of dental disease? Left untreated, this can cause bad breath, swollen and bleeding gums, loose teeth and difficulty eating. Even more troublesome, it can lead to heart, liver and kidney disease — shortening your pet’s life by up to 5 years!

That’s why pet dental disease is known as the “Silent Killer of Pets.” Don’t let this happen to your furry friend.

What can you do?

Protecting your pet’s health starts with a healthy smile!

3 Ways to Promote Optimum Pet Dental Health

1. Pets have teeth, too … brush them!

Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly is the best way to fight dental disease. The great thing is that you only need to brush for 30 seconds a day to make a big difference in the dental health of your pet. Brushing scrubs away plaque and tartar that can’t be removed naturally with saliva or by eating. On top of the health benefits, developing an in-home brushing regimen could save you a bundle on professional cleanings — which can cost between $70 and $350, depending on whether anesthesia is needed!

2. Add some TLC to their water bowl

Pets need water anyway, why not nourish it? There are several safe and effective products that freshen pet breath and help reduce the formation of plaque and tartar. Brushing is always best, but for an added benefit use a water additive. Just pour the recommended dose into your pet’s water bowl daily and your work is done — it’s that easy!

3. Use a pet toothpaste for extra cleaning power

Imagine brushing your own teeth with just water. It would do nothing toward freshening your breath and you certainly would not receive the same teeth-cleansing benefits as with toothpaste. The same is true for pets. Using a specially formulated pet toothpaste (human toothpastes can cause stomach upset and should not be used) takes dental care to the next level, promoting a healthy mouth, freshening breath and helping fight dental disease.

Celebrate National Pet Wellness Month in October by making a commitment to adopt a year-round dental home care plan for your pet. It will make him happier and more huggable … and it could even add years to his life!

Why risk it?

Keith Erickson, Oxyfresh Worldwide, Inc. – Sep 25, 2009

Protect your pet’s oral health with Oxyfresh

A healthy smile and fresh breath are the unmistakable sign of an Oxyfresh pet.

Formulated with our exclusive ingredient Oxygene®, Oxyfresh pet dental products are 100 percent safe and positively proven to freshen breath while fighting plaque and tartar buildup that can threaten your pet’s health.

Eighty percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats over age 3 have some kind of dental disease, which can lead to heart, liver and kidney disease — shortening your pet’s life by up to 5 years!

Protect your pet with Oxyfresh by following these simple dental care steps at home:

Step 1 — Just add water!

Add one teaspoon of Oxyfresh Pet Oral Hygiene Solution to one quart of drinking water and pour into your pet’s drinking bowl; freshen daily. You can also use a sprayer bottle to mist the same solution into your pet’s mouth twice daily. Pet Oral Hygiene Solution is completely safe, tasteless and odorless so your pet will readily drink it. In about three to five days, you will notice an obvious improvement in your pet’s breath. Oxygene® goes to work, destroying bacteria in the mouth and breaking down sulfur compounds that cause bad breath. Oxygene® is also proven to reduce the plaque and tartar buildup that can lead to dental disease.

Step 2 — Brush those choppers!

Apply Oxyfresh Pet Gel daily to the gums and teeth with the Oxyfresh Triple•Pet Toothbrush. Pet Gel further helps freshen breath and has a phenomenal healing affect with continued use. Formulated with aloe to soothe, plus Oxygene® to cleanse and deodorize gums, Pet Gel is an important part of your home pet dental care program. And the uniquely designed Triple•Pet Toothbrush has a triple-sided head to make brushing quicker, easier and more effective.

Oxyfresh’s life-enhancing two-step program is easy and very beneficial for all pets. You love your pet. Why not give him the best products possible to support his overall health and well-being?

Adopting a Disabled Pet

Jack L. Stephens, DVM – Sep 25, 2009

Adopting a disabled pet is not for everyone, but can lead to great satisfaction and joy. If, however, you are not ready and willing to spend the additional time a disabled pet requires, it can lead to anxiety and frustration.

The most common disability causing pets to be placed for adoption is dogs with a paralysis of the rear legs. This paralysis is usually due to a “slipped disc” in the back causing pressure on the spinal cord, such that the cord can become permanently damaged, leading to paralysis of the rear legs and even loss of bowel and bladder control. If treatment (which often include very expensive invasive surgery) is implemented soon after symptoms develop, it can often be reversed.

As pictured, there are carts or doggy wheelchairs that allow a paralyzed dog to be ambulatory and get around surprisingly well. Schatzie was a dog my wife fostered for about a year after being abandoned. The owners could not afford the necessary surgery. We purchased a cart and cared for him for nearly a year, until we found a permanent home with a veterinary technician who also had her own grooming business. Today he runs around her business daily as she grooms dogs, bringing joy and hope to everyone who meets him.

In Schatzie’s case there were special requirements, such as manually expressing his bladder, otherwise he would build up urine until his bladder was so full he dribbled or leaked urine. Occasionally he acquired bladder infections. And of course, he had to be placed into his cart from a crate, otherwise he would drag himself around with his front legs and create sores.

While all of this extra work is not for everyone, I can say we saw him as a blessing during the time he was in our lives. He taught us many valuable lessons, not the least of which is to be thankful for our health and the inner joy for helping pets live out their lives. We are the richer for it, and you could be, too.


Jack L. Stephens DVM

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