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October Newsletter 2018

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!

How to Help a Senior Dog When You’re Away

Has your dog gone from confident and happy to insecure and anxious? Sometimes as our pups age, they change a bit and separation anxiety sets in. In most cases, this can be a normal part of aging, but it can be caused by physical issues as well, so talk to your vet if a change happens.

Just like older people, older dogs like to stay within their comfort zones and don’t like a change in their routine (we can relate)! So, if your dog seems more stressed about being alone here are a few steps you can take to make them more comfortable.

First, make sure when you are home that Fido gets regular exercise. It not only helps to disperse excess energy but it’s healthy to keep stiff joints moving.

Sound can make your home seem a bit less lonely. Consider leaving the TV, radio, or white noise on for your dog. Try a relaxation CD; they work well at relaxing people and dogs.

Older dogs’ eyesight may decrease as they age, be sure to leave some lights on for them if you are going to be gone after dark.

Of course, your dog has a nice comfy bed or cozy spot to rest already, but make sure his toys are near it. Also, you may want to leave your scent on or near his bed. Put an old sweatshirt on his bed so it smells like you – that comforts most pets.

Because senior dogs don’t have the same “holding” power as a younger dog, be sure they get a mid-day potty break. We are happy to get your older pup outside for a potty break, a nice slow walk, and some chit-chat (and a few treats).

To keep your older companion safe, close the door to the basement and block off the upper level if they aren’t as good at navigating stairs as they use to be.

Keep them busy with a frozen stuffed Kong toy while you’re gone; many dogs will work at it for hours and snooze the rest of the day.

Keep in mind that older dogs like a routine, so try to stick to one as best you can, follow these tips, and hopefully, your buddy will chill out!


Vital Visits News!

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Uh Oh, My Dog Has The Runs!

One of the most common problems seen in veterinary offices: tummy (GI) upsets that result in diarrhea. It’s a messy, sometimes painful, and always a bad all around experience for dogs and their people.

The runs can be caused by a very long list of problems, but below are some common causes:

Stress – just like with people, stress can cause GI upset in pups
Parasites – intestinal worms
Diet changes – new food can upset tummies
Infections – viral or bacterial
Metabolic disease – problems with liver, pancreas, or thyroid
Inflammatory disorders – like inflammatory bowel disease
Dietary indiscretion – eating something they should not have

What is the best way to treat the runs?

If you think your pup is just going through a bad patch, you can try and treat the runs on your own. Vets always used to suggest fasting for a dog with diarrhea; nowadays vets seem to be split on this 50/50. It won’t hurt a dog with no other medical problems to go 8 – 10 hours without food to try and calm their tummy down, but always make sure they have plenty of fresh water around. If your pup isn’t interested in drinking plain water, try offering some chicken broth and water (50/50 mix).

Keep your dog quiet and in a spot where you can keep an eye on them. If your dog’s bed is usually on a carpet in your house, this is a good time to move it to a location with a hard floor where an accident will be easy to clean up. Remember not to scold your dog for an accident!

When it is time to feed them, start small with a meal of boiled white chicken meat (no bones or skin) and cooked white rice. Give your dog a couple of hours, and then you can try a tiny bit more chicken and rice.

When should you take your dog to the vet?

If your dog is very young, very old, very small, or has another medical problem, you should see your vet right away. Diarrhea can quickly turn into a life-threatening problem for pups in those categories.

If you know that Fido ate something potentially deadly you need to go to a vet immediately. For example, a lot of non-digestible items that may have been mixed with food in the trash (tinfoil, plastic) or anything toxic (grapes, mushrooms outdoors, alcohol, medications, etc.).

If your dog isn’t drinking water, is in pain, has blood in their stool, is vomiting along with the runs, or has lethargy the vet should be your first stop!

See your vet if the runs have continued for 24 hours or more or your dog has other symptoms along with diarrhea; vomiting, weakness, pain, or fever.

Most of the time a case of simple diarrhea will respond to treatment, and your dog will make a full recovery in 24 hours.

Expert advice on doggie runs here.


How to Help a Scaredy Cat

You adopt a new kitten or cat and look forward to years of fun, happiness, and purring. But, what if your new friend is stressed out, runs under the bed, and doesn’t come out? The good news is: There is a lot you can do to help your buddy relax and feel safe.

First, you should know that some cats, just like some people, are shy. Accept your kitties personality. However, if you have a rescue, a cat that was a stray or feral, or one that was poorly socialized you’ll have to work patiently at helping them overcome their fear.

Here are some steps you can take.

  • Be patient. This won’t happen overnight.
  • Give your new cat some space, let them come to you.
  • Give them treats but don’t pet them yet.
  • Let them have a hiding place, they need a place to go when they feel afraid.
  • Play with them, it helps build trust.
  • Remain calm and try and keep your household calm and quiet. Cats are very sensitive to the energy in your home. Make sure your children follow these rules.
  • Give your cat some verticle space; cats seem to feel better when they are out of reach. Put a blanket on a bookshelf, on top of the frig, or get a cat tree that is very tall.
  • Put an article of your worn clothing, with your scent on it, in their hiding spot.
  • Don’t force them to be petted, allow them to come to you.
  • Try speaking your kitty’s secret language, give your kitty some slow blinks. Instead of petting them just sit or lay a few feet away from them and when they look at you, close your eyes slowly, keep them closed for a couple of seconds and open them slowly again. Repeat. If your kitty blinks back at you, it means they are starting to calm down.

Give your cat some time and space and you’ll soon see your scaredy-cat become a confident kitty.


Great Pet Links!

Here are some interesting pet articles, pictures, and videos we’ve found on the net this month.

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