Nutritional Food For Your New Puppy

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Puppies, being in their developmental period, need all the nutrients that they can get to help the bones and muscles develop. On the other hand, adult dogs need food to just maintain their body, due to which they do not need nutrients in the same way. What this also means is that while an adult dog can eat the same food as a puppy, a puppy cannot live off adult dog food and needs a more nutrient-rich diet.

What should my puppy’s diet include?

The AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) outlines the nutrient profile for growing puppies. According to the nutrient profile, puppy food contain a minimum of 37 nutrients which should include 11 vitamins, 12 minerals and 10 amino acids. You can check the packaging on the dog food to see if it meets the nutritional standards set by the AAFCO to see if it is the right food for your puppy. While we are on the subject of dog food, you should know that choosing an economic dog food brand is not a great idea, as it may feature cheap ingredients with low biological values, that do little to fuel your puppy’s growth. You want to look at trusted puppy food brands that use quality ingredients, are easily digestible, and have greater nutritional value.

When you are planning a diet for new puppy, you want to have optimal amounts of protein, fat, fiber and calcium, not going overboard with any of it. Too much calcium and your puppy can develop a skeletal disease, too little and it can find itself in the same place. Don’t forget water, one of the most crucial nutrients that your puppy needs. Dogs can survive even after losing half the protein mass and all the body fat, but they cannot live if they lose even just 15 percent of the water in the body. Be sure to refill the dog bowl with water regularly. As far as treats go, you want to keep it limited to about 5-10 percent of its calorie intake. Too much and your puppy will fill itself up on treats, leaving little space for nutrient-rich food and supplements.

Making the switch to the new diet

If you have just brought in your new puppy home, then you should start with the same diet that the puppy has been accustomed to, and then gradually make a switch to the new diet over ten days. A sudden switch can cause intestinal upsets. If your puppy shows signs of constipation, loose stools or vomiting, then cut back on the amount of new food in its diet, and make the switch to the new diet slower.

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5 Signs That Your Cat is Suffering From Arthritis

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Arthritis is a fairly uncommon condition in cats. It affects about three in every ten cats. Arthritis may affect cats as they age due to disintegration of the joints. However, there have been cases where it has occurred in younger cats due to infection or trauma. It is important that you are aware of signs associated with arthritis so you can spot the same in case your cat develops the condition. While arthritis is a long-standing condition which does not have any cure once it has set in, given the right treatment, medications and a few lifestyle changes, you can contain the pain and discomfort that it is causing to your pet. Here are some signs of arthritis that you want to watch out for:

Finds it difficult to climb up the stairs

If you cat faces difficulties in climbing up the stairs or stops jumping onto perches and countertops all of a sudden, then it could be a sign of arthritis. Your cat may be hesitant about moving as freely as before due to the pain and discomfort.

Is not keen on playing

Cats with arthritis tend to tire much faster than when they were healthy. Your cat may show signs of lethargy, where it is not as keen on playing as it was before. You may find them sleeping for much longer than usual, and they may also show difficulty in finding a comfortable position to sleep in.

Limps when it walks

Does your cat limp when it walks? You will have too observe closely for this sign, as the limp may be conspicuous right after your cat gets up to move around, rather than a while after, when it is already warmed up.

Shows reduced grooming

Does the coat of hair on your cat appear unkept? Cats with arthritis have a tendency to not groom themselves, resulting in a disheveled appearance, but this is not always the case. Some other cats have a tendency to lick, bite and chew in areas that are causing pain. They may lick, bite or chew on the area till it shows up as some swollen skin or a bald patch.

Is easily irritable

Does your cat have a case of “bad moods” off late? It could be due to arthritis pain. Cats are wired to not show any signs of weakness or pain, so they can guard themselves in case they are attacked. So, what you are assuming to be as just foul mood could actually be as a result of painful joints. Cats may show their irritability by snapping or biting when you approach them or try to hold them, or if it causes more pain when you handle them.

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Help Your Dog Catch Their Breath with Brethine

Many veterinarians prescribe Brethine, or its generic version terbutaline, to canines who are struggling to breathe. This pill relaxes your pooch’s airways to combat the constriction and inflammation that can make it difficult for your four-legged friend to fill their lungs.

Its active ingredient is terbutaline sulfate, which can interact with certain drugs, like antidepressants, and doesn’t work when dogs have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions. 

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Keep Your Dog Toxin Free with Denamarin Vitamins




Many pet parents turn to supplements like Denamarin tablets to improve their dog’s liver health. Like in humans, the liver is one of the most important organs for dogs. Learn about how a healthy liver can help your pooch and why you should work with your veterinarian to avoid liver damage.

What do dogs’ livers do? 

A dog’s liver is made up of six lobes and works closely with the gallbladder and rest of the digestive system. The liver is located in the middle of your dog’s chest between the stomach and lungs. The liver’s primary function is to metabolize and process the fat, protein, and carbohydrates from your pooch’s diet. These are all crucial aspects of your dog’s food as well as their life.

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What to Do When You Find a Tick on Your Dog

Even though winter brings frigid temperatures around most of the United States, your dog isn’t necessarily safe from pesky, opportunistic ticks. If you take your pooch out for a walk in the forest or a stroll through a nearby field, when the conditions are right, ticks may still be around and looking for a victim. After you take a walk, no matter what time of year, it’s important to check your canine companion for parasites.

Checking for ticks is easy. Start off by petting your pup like normal, but use your fingers to feel for any bumps, no matter how small. If you find a bump, investigate it. It could be a tick, a small scratch, or something less consequential. Pay special attention to covered areas on your dog, like their armpits, toes, groin, chin, ears, head, and even tail.

A tick will feel like a pea-sized bump but can vary in size. If you suspect you found one, take a look. Ticks will be brown, black, tan, or grayish with eight legs. They may be attached to your dog or just on the surface of your pooch’s fur depending on when you find them. Also, some can be very small, so don’t be too quick to dismiss, the Humane Society of the United States explained.

Dealing With Dog Ticks
If you do stumble across one of these pesky pests, you’ll want to take careful steps to ensure your and your dog’s safety. First, put on a pair of rubber gloves, because ticks can cause trouble for humans as well as dogs. Next, gather tweezers, antiseptic, and isopropyl alcohol.

Use the tweezers to grab the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible without pinching your pooch. Then, pull the tick out with a swift, fluid motion. Check the spot afterward to ensure that no other bits of the tick are lingering, as these can also lead to infection, the Humane Society reminded.

Place the tick into a container full of isopropyl alcohol to kill it immediately, yet still preserve it in case your dog shows symptoms of an illness and your veterinarian needs to see what type of tick it was to determine treatment. Use the antiseptic or soap and water to wash the wound and protect your dog. Also, make sure to give them plenty of love following the annoying and possibly painful experience.

Prevent tick problems altogether with tick medication for your dog from PetPlus. Advantage II, Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix can help protect your pooch all year-round for a low price.

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How To Build a Dog Dental Care Kit

Dog dental care

There’s no time like the present to start a dog dental care routine. Ideally, you should be brushing your dog’s teeth every day to prevent bad breath and tartar buildup, which can lead to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is serious; it not only causes your dog pain, it can also affect organ and body functions. And because it’s irreversible, prevention is the best you can do.

So how can you start a dog dental care routine? Build a kit filled with everything you’ll need to care for your dog’s teeth, from toothbrushes and toothpaste to products that promote dental health.

1. Toothbrush and Toothpaste

These are the most important items in your dental care kit. You’ll want to select a toothbrush with an angled tip that makes it easy to reach the back of your dog’s mouth, or a rubber finger brush that fits over your finger (many dogs more easily accept a finger brush than an actual toothbrush). With Nylabone’s Advanced Oral Care Kit, you can try both for $8 if you’re a PetPlus member. The kit also includes a peanut butter flavored toothpaste, and dogs go crazy for the stuff. You should never use human toothpaste on a dog as it could be toxic; stick to toothpastes intended for furry friends, and choose a flavor that will make brushing time fun.

RELATED STORY: How to Brush a Dog’s Teeth

2. Mouthwash

Want to give your dog dental care routine a leg up? Incorporate a mouthwash, like C.E.T. Aquadent, which is formulated by veterinary dental specialists. A mouthwash helps to whiten your dog’s teeth, freshen their breath, and even removes plaque and tartar buildup. All you have to do is add a small amount to your dog’s water every day and bingo! Your dog won’t taste it, but you’ll notice the difference in their teeth. Brushing + mouthwash = dental disease one-two punch.

3. Dental Treats

It’s great to reward your dog with a treat every once in a while, but when you do, you should consider giving a treat that has health benefits. Greenies are easily digestible, toothbrush-shaped dental chews that freshen your dog’s breath and have a textured surface to remove plaque and tartar. And they really work (I’ve tried them on my dog). Unfortunately, Greenies are pretty expensive. But with a PetPlus membership, they can cost a lot less — 46% less in fact. They make a great addition to a dog dental care kit.

RELATED STORY: My Dog’s Breath Smells! What Should I Do?

4. Dental Dog Food

While any dog can develop periodontal disease, some breeds — such as brachycephalic breeds with flat faces and small and toy breeds with tiny mouths — are most at risk. Ask your veterinarian if you should be feeding your dog a food that promotes dental health, such as Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dental Dry Dog Food. The texture and shape of the food helps to “brush” the surface of the teeth while your dog eats, sodium tripolyphosphate helps to reduce plaque buildup, and minerals improve digestive function, which can affect dental health.

What’s in your dog dental care kit? Leave a comment and let us know, and if you need to stock up, consider signing up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at PetPlus.com.

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Top 5 Reasons to Take Your Pet to Their Annual Vet Visit

Some pet parents may wonder if the annual vet visit is really worth the time and the cost. The short answer? Yes! Your pet’s annual vet visit plays a big role in maintaining their overall health, and can go a long way in preventing and treating diseases before they become serious or expensive.

So what are the top 5 reasons to take your pet to an annual vet visit? Let’s take a look.

1. A Thorough Once-Over

Your pet’s annual vet visit gives your veterinarian an opportunity to thoroughly examine your pet, from head to paw. Many pets hide symptoms of illness and injury (cats especially are famous for staying quiet when they’re unwell), but your veterinarian knows what to look for, and how. Your vet will feel your pet’s body, coat, and skin, check their ears, nose, mouth, and eyes, and listen to their heart and lungs. They will also take your pet’s temperature, weigh them, and may carry out blood tests. A thorough once-over not only allows your vet to make sure that all parts are in working order, it also gives your vet a chance to detect problems before they become serious or costly to treat.

2. Vaccination Boosters

Vaccines keep pets protected from certain diseases, and after your pet’s initial doses, they may require boosters to keep the vaccines effective. Most pets require 2-4 boosters per year and receive them at their annual vet visit; if you slack on making an appointment, you are putting your pal at risk. Don’t wait!

RELATED STORY: All About Vaccinating Your Dog

3. Heartworm Test and Fecal Exam

These are two important tests that your pet will undergo at the annual vet visit. The heartworm test is a blood test that checks for heartworm disease, which is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by parasitic worms. A fecal exam checks for gastrointestinal parasites that could harm your pet (and in some cases, you) if left untreated.

4. Additional Services

Some pets may require additional services at their annual vet visit, such as dental cleaning if your vet notices signs of dental disease, or allergy testing if you mention that your pet has been itching, scratching, or rubbing their face. The annual vet visit is the perfect time to cover all the bases and take care of outstanding issues.

RELATED STORY: Symptoms of Allergies in Cats and Dogs

5. Opportunity to Ask Questions

Maybe you’ve been wondering if your cat sleeps too much or if your dog’s food is right for them. While you should always contact your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s health or habits, many pet parents wait when the question doesn’t seem pressing. The annual vet visit is a great time to bring in a list of questions and talk to your veterinarian candidly about your pet’s routines, behaviors, and nutrition. You might end up with answers that can help your pet live a happier, healthier life.

What are you waiting for? Contact your veterinarian now to schedule your furry friend’s next appointment. And if you want to save 25% on vet visits, sign up for PetPlus! Find out more at PetPlus.com.

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3 Reasons Your Dog’s Heartworm Medication Could Save Its Life

Some pet parents are under the impression that the less medications they give their pet, the better. After all, haven’t wolves survived in the wild for thousands of years without being fussed over with pills and other treatments? The truth is that on average, wolves have shorter lifespans than domesticated dogs as a result of injuries, diseases, and parasites, many of which we are lucky enough to be able to prevent in our four-legged friends.

One of conditions that we can prevent in our pets is heartworm disease. Heartworm disease is a life-threatening condition caused by parasitic worms that are transmitted via mosquito bites. If you live in a colder climate or one with fewer mosquitos, you might wonder if it’s really worth it to protect your dog. The American Heartworm Society says that yes, all pets should be protected regardless of where they live.

But why, exactly? Here are 3 good reasons to give your dog heartworm medication.

1. Heartworm Disease is Life-Threatening

Heartworms reside in the pulmonary arteries of pets and in later stages of the disease they can migrate to the lungs and other organs, causing serious damage. Without prompt treatment, your dog may exhibit breathing issues (such as coughing and shortness of breath), inactivity, loss of oxygen (which can cause collapse), and permanent and irreversible organ damage.

In some cases a dog will die suddenly without exhibiting any symptoms, but in others the disease can progress over several years and the dog may eventually succumb to heart failure, blood clots, bleeding in the lungs, or other some other complication. This is no way for Fido to go, especially if it can be prevented by giving your dog heartworm medication.

2. Treating Heartworm Disease Is More Expensive Than Giving Your Dog Heartworm Medication

Preventing heartworm disease is much safer and much less costly than treating it, especially if you are using a prescription savings plan like PetPlus. For example, protecting your dog with Heartgard could cost as little as $4 a month, whereas treatment for the disease can cost anywhere from $400-$1,000 according to the American Animal Hospital Association.

3. Many Heartworm Medications Also Prevent Other Parasites

Aside from heartworms, there are other parasites that can enter your dog’s body and cause serious complications. In some cases, our dogs may even be able to pass these nasty parasites on to us — eek! Fortunately, many heartworm medications also protect dogs from other parasites, such as hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and fleas.

Did you know that you can save 25% on vet visits? Join PetPlus today for that and savings on all of your pet’s medication. Click here to find out more.

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Protect Your Pet From Fleas to Protect Yourself

Fleas are terrible pests. In addition to causing your furry friend serious discomfort, they can also carry life-threatening diseases. But did you know that our pets aren’t the only ones affected when fleas enter the picture? Our bodies and homes are at risk, too. Here are four reasons to protect your pet from fleas so you can protect yourself, too.

1. Fleas Can Bite Us

While it’s true that fleas prefer animal blood, they will bite a human if the opportunity presents itself. And if your pet has fleas, the opportunity often does. Flea bites usually occur around the feet and ankles, but can also show up around the waist, armpits, groin, breasts, or in the folds of the knees or elbows. The bites appear as small, red bumps, and for most people, are extremely itchy. Some people are less sensitive to flea bites and may have only mild irritation or no irritation at all, but for those who experience itching, the sensation can be unbearable.

2. Flea Bites Can Cause Secondary Problems

Fleas can easily pass on diseases to pets, but for humans, the risk of contracting a disease from a flea is relatively low. Still, flea bites can cause other problems, such as scarring and infection if you scratch to the point of breaking the skin.

3. Fleas Can Take Over The House

Imagine sitting down on the couch to enjoy your favorite TV show when suddenly — eek! A flea jumps onto your arm. Or perhaps worse, you have guests over, and you notice a flea creeping along your friend’s shoulder. These are not extreme scenarios; when fleas infest your home, they really take over. Fleas lay eggs on your pet (as many as 50 in one day!), and as your pet moves around the house, those eggs disperse. Once this process is in action, it can be incredibly difficult to get rid of fleas.

4. Fleas Can Take Over The Yard

Your yard should be a place where you can catch a breath of fresh air, let the dog out to play, or have friends over for a BBQ. It shouldn’t be a place crawling with blood-thirsty pests. But if your pet brings fleas home from the dog park, kennel, or neighborhood, it can easily become that. Fleas love to post up around trees and in garden beds, prepared to pounce on the first warm-blooded creature that crosses their path. While it is possible to eradicate fleas from your yard, it’s just as difficult as removing them from your home.

Want to avoid the irritation and hassle of fleas? Protect your pet today! And with PetPlus, you’ll get wholesale prices on flea preventatives like Frontline Plus, Comfortis, K9 Advantix II, and more. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at PetPlus.com

 

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How to Identify Heat Stroke in Dogs

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Heat stroke is a serious emergency that occurs when a dog’s body temperature rises to a dangerous level. When the weather heats up in the summer months, your four-legged friend is especially at risk. So just what is heat stroke, and how can you protect your pal?

What is Heat Stroke?

A dog’s fur serves them well in the winter months by providing a cozy layer of insulation. However when warm weather rolls around, this fuzzy feature soaks up the heat. Additionally, dogs don’t sweat (except minimally through their paws), so the primary way that they cool down is through panting. When the temperature outside gets close to the temperature of your dog’s body, panting usually isn’t enough, and heat stroke can set in.

What Causes Heat Stroke?

Any situation that raises your dog’s body temperature can set them up for heat stroke. Common situations include:

RELATED STORY:The 7 Breeds Most Likely to Become Fat Dogs

What are the Symptoms of Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke generally starts with panting and difficulty breathing. The tongue will appear bright red and the saliva will be thick. Oftentimes, a dog will vomit. As the condition progresses, the dog will become unbalanced and have bloody diarrhea. Without treatment, the lips and mucous membranes will turn gray and then the dog will collapse, suffer seizures, go into a coma, and die. RELATED STORY: The Dog Symptom Checker

What to Do About Heat Stroke

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from heat stroke, take steps to begin cooling them down right away:

  • Move your dog into the shade, away from the heat, and into an air-conditioned area if possible.
  • Take your dog’s temperature with a rectal thermometer. If it is above 103°F, you will need to start cooling them down with water.
  • Spray your dog with cool (not cold) water from a hose or place them in a cool bathtub.
  • Offer your dog cool water to drink.
  • Apply an ice pack to their groin area or the top of their head.
  • Do not attempt to give your dog aspirin to lower their temperature; this could result in other problems.
  • Check their temperature every few minutes and continue cooling until it drops to 103°F or below. Do not continue cooling for too long or the dog could suffer from hypothermia.

Once your dog is stable, take them to the veterinarian for an examination and further treatment if necessary.

Want to learn how to keep your dog cool as a cucumber even on the hottest days? Check out our article 5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather

Has your dog ever suffered from heat stroke? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.  

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