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Happy Howl-oween!

Posted on: October 31st, 2008 by

Posted by Pets Best on 10/31/2008 in Articles from Newsletters

Enjoying Halloween with your pets can be a hairy problem. Or it can be a real treat. You’re the best judge of how your pet will react to this happy—but hectic—holiday, but chances are good that with a bit of planning, everyone, including your furry family members, can get into the spirit.

Holiday Stress
Animal experts warn that dogs or cats, even those who are usually tolerant of strangers, can become stressed on Halloween night, with a steady stream of strangers in strange costumes ringing your doorbell and shouting “trick or treat!”

Even if your pet is normally friendly, keep an eye out for any aggressive or fearful reactions. If you choose to crate your animal or keep them contained in any way, they should be kept in a quiet, safe place—otherwise, stress could result in diarrhea or potential injury.

Safety First
With loose pets, remember to keep candles and jack o’ lanterns out of the way—a sprinting cat or a wagging dog’s tail could result in a blaze. All pets, especially black cats, should be kept indoors, safe from Halloween pranksters.

Sticky Situations
Be sure to keep treats out of pets’ reach—chewing and swallowing lollipop sticks or candy wrappers can result in intestinal obstruction or rupture, which are serious emergencies. Children should be warned not to share candy with pets, particularly chocolate, which is toxic to them. If you think your pet has eaten chocolate, watch for tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, or an increased heart rate, and call your veterinarian immediately. Chocolate poisoning is an emergency situation.

Best Dressed Pets
There are lots of Halloween costumes for pets in the stores these days. While dressing your pet up can be fun and oh-so cute, you should be careful. Don’t leave your costumed pet unsupervised, as they might try to chew their costume and could choke on bits of material. If your pet is frightened and tries to run away, the costume could get caught on a bush or fence, entangling the animal.

Torrey’s diary October 2008

Posted on: October 27th, 2008 by

By: Dr. Jack Stephens

Hello, my adoring fans! As I’m sure you know, I’m something of a celebrity. I can’t help it. In my role as Customer Service Advocate for America’s Best pet insurance company, I’m a high-profile dog. And with my gorgeous looks and winning personality, well, let’s just say a certain amount of fame is inevitable. I’ve learned to live with it, darling.

Anyway, as a famous dog, I get a large amount of fan mail. I don’t read it, of course—my people take care of that kind of drudgery—but sometimes, if I’m in the mood, I will have my assistant read me a letter or two. Many of my fan letters ask for beauty tips, of course. How do I keep my coat so glossy? What’s my secret for long, elegant nails?

Well hold on to your hats, girls, because I’m about to spill it—my ultimate beauty secret. And that secret is, believe it or not, good health. I love pampering as much as the next girl, so far be it from me to downplay the value of a visit to the salon to get buffed, polished and pedicured, but let’s face it, without my overall glow of health, even the best groomer in Beverly Hills wouldn’t be able to make me shine the way I do.

As you might know, my Dad is a veterinarian, so I actually see the doctor every day. No wonder I’m such a specimen of health! But for most pets, an annual wellness screening is enough to keep them in the pink. And those that are middle-aged—relax, darling, you’re only as old as you feel—should have their people schedule an appointment every six months or so.

A good doctor will give you a thorough examination, including several lab tests, to keep an eye out for any potential problems that might keep you from being as attractive as I am—you know, bright eyes free of discharge, a sleek, beautiful coat with no nasty dandruff flakes, great-smelling breath, that sort of thing. I won’t promise that it will make you as beautiful and popular as me, but it’s a start, dear, it’s a start.

Until next time, keep those fan letters coming (who knows, I may just decide to answer one!) and remember, if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything, darling.

Let’s do lunch. Have your people call my people.


The National Greyhound Adoption Program

Posted on: October 27th, 2008 by

Posted by Pets Best on 10/27/2008 in Articles from Newsletters

Every year, racing-dog breeders produce tens of thousands of greyhounds, far more than they can place at racetracks. This overbreeding is motivated by the desire to produce winning dogs. Many times, the dogs that are not fast enough to compete are euthanized. Those who are fast enough may only race until they are retired at three-and-a-half to four years of age. Thousands of greyhounds at each track are disposed of yearly to bring in a fresh group of dogs.

In response to this widespread problem, the National Greyhound Adoption Program was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1989. Their main goals are:

-To help find loving, adoptive homes for former racing greyhounds
-To provide superior knowledge and support for greyhound adopters and other adoption groups
-To educate the public and spread awareness about the plight of the greyhound
-To provide specialized medical care specifically geared towards the greyhound

NGAP’s first few adoptions took place in the early 1990s, with greyhounds being flown a few at a time from Florida to Philadelphia. Later, the group began hauling greyhounds up from Florida in a large truck, often up to 30 dogs at a time. NGAP has come a long way since those early days and greyhound adoption is now just a fraction of the things that they do.

In 1995, NGAP opened its own greyhound clinic to fulfill the need for specialized greyhound care. Their clinic and surgical facility performs over 2,000 greyhound procedures under anesthesia annually—more than any other facility in the United States.

The NGAP now receives greyhounds from a variety of different groups all over the United States. Their kennel houses anywhere from 40 to 50 adoptable greyhounds, and they maintain a staff of almost twenty people including full-time, live-in caretakers.

The non-profit group has no affiliation with any greyhound track or any other organization; they pride themselves on being a strong national advocate for greyhounds. They are primarily funded by adoption fees, fund raising events, car donations and various donations of other kinds.

It should be noted that the NGAP is not the only group in America dedicated to the rescue of these majestic, loving dogs. In fact, there are hundreds of local rescue organizations throughout the United States and around the globe seeking good homes for the nearly endless supply of greyhounds. Interested in helping to solve this problem in your local area? The Greyhound Project, Inc. is a great resource, offering a worldwide directory of recue organizations. Locate a rescue organization in your area and contact them to learn how you can adopt a greyhound or make a donation.

Having a Dog Can Save Your Life

Posted on: October 17th, 2008 by

Posted by Pets Best on 10/17/2008 in General Articles

Dogs provide us with companionship, love, loyalty, and friendship – but having a dog could also save your life. It is easy to underestimate your dog, but when danger strikes, it may be your dog that comes to the rescue and helps to keep you safe.

Dogs are incredibly instinctive, especially when working with those who are elderly or ill. Many dogs can, in fact, be trained to alert their owners when they are about to have a seizure, or even when their blood sugar is too low. They also play a vital role in the recovery of many of their owners. There have been many cases of miraculous recoveries when a patient is reunited and allowed to stay with their dog, with whom they have a close connection.

Nationwide, there are many dogs working in the field of pet therapy, where their love and compassion can help brighten the spirits and save the lives of those who are ill. The patients who receive pet therapy are often down and out, and have all but given up hope for survival. The pet therapy and love they receive from these dogs helps to enliven them, and give them a reason to live again.

Their instinctive nature also comes in handy when dogs are trying to warn their owners of impending danger. Many cases have been reported of dogs waking their owners up in the middle of the night to alert them of fires, robbers, or extreme weather.

Dogs have also been known to help find their owners when they are lost. Dogs have rescued adults and children who were drowning, helped locate survivors after a natural disaster, and have been known to run for help when their owners have become stranded, or hurt far from help.

Dogs are some of the most loyal friends that many people will ever have. And they may just save your life.

Long Term Health Effects of Invisible Fences

Posted on: October 17th, 2008 by

Posted by Pets Best on 10/17/2008 in General Articles

Owning a dog is a big responsibility, and having to train your dog to stay outside can be difficult at times. Many people decide to invest in invisible fencing, thinking that this is the best solution to keeping their dog contained. However, it is wise to research the long term health effects of invisible fencing on dogs before you decide to invest the money, time, and energy into buying one.

Invisible fencing works by burying a wire around your yard, typically where you would install a traditional fence. You then attach a special collar around your dog’s neck, and when he or she crosses the “invisible” line of the fence, they receive a shock. Many advocates of this type of training call it a “simple static electric shock.” Unfortunately, this is not always true. There have been people who have tried the collars on themselves, crossed the line, taken the shock and then realized that it is painful enough to cause limping, tingling and even nausea for hours afterwards. Different dogs can take different amounts of pain, so a shock that may be mild to one dog can be quite painful to another.

Long term health effects of invisible fencing can vary. For one, many dogs are so upset by the shock that they start to refuse to come outside. They are so scared of being shocked that they become languid, refusing to leave the house and cowering inside at times. Dogs may begin to live in fear that they will be electrocuted for normal behaviors. This can cause health problems gradually as the dog may become lazier and gain weight from lack of exercise, simply because they are too scared to venture outside. Psychological stress to a dog being trained with an invisible fence is very real indeed, and a problem that can lead to health problems later. These can include aggression and panicked behavior.

Some dogs simply do not respond to an invisible fence. Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are two breeds that have a high tolerance for pain. That being said, these breeds may not be stopped by the shock that an electric fence will give them and charge through it anyway. Repeated shocks to a dog can lead to changes in the dog’s system, such as the heart and respiration rate. It can also lead to gastrointestinal disorders and long term urinary problems.

Another long term health problem that can develop is the possibility of seizures. While there are still many disagreements over whether an invisible fence and the ensuing shock actually causes seizures, dogs that are epileptic may suffer a seizure if shocked. Dogs that have severe skin issues or sensitive skin can also suffer long term health effects from the use of an invisible fence since the collar must be worn outside at all times. There may also be prongs on the collar that have to be in close contact with skin, and these can cause long term irritations to the skin around the neck of many sensitive dogs.

Because the health effects of invisible fences can be unpredictable, be sure to monitor your dog’s health and behavior to determine whether or not an invisible fence is right for your dog.