Tag Archives: cats

Spring Has Sprung!

CATS everywhere are yowling for attention…the females are restless and the boys are a ’fightin’. Even your spayed and neutered felines are feeling the fun in the air. I have had a few early fighters in my practice already, with small abscess repairs and a not-so-fun week of confinement with that embarrassing e-collar….

Be aware that it is far better to build a “catio,” or other large wired-in area for your kitties, so they can safely play “wildcat” without the associated risk. Along with cat-fights, the risks on the rise as it gets sunnier include coyote predators, owls, bobcats and of course, cars driven by happy teens out for spring and summer fun.

If you must let your kitty wander the ‘hood during the day, please have them in for supper (theirs) by about 5 pm, before dusk descends. If you notice your pet lying around, a little quiet, or subdued, often they have a developing abscess somewhere that just hasn’t demanded your attention yet. It’s best to really feel around for a sore spot on kitty’s body so you can detect that swelling before it gets too big or-yuck-ruptures.

Lastly, let’s talk about restless DOGS and spring. Most of you responsible pet owners have spayed and neutered dogs. But for other reasons, dogs too, want to really get out there and run and play and sniff our (finally) abundant, post-rain grass!

With all of that drive and activity, you may start to notice more knee and elbow strains in the more active pups, and joint stiffness and pronounced limping in those older “weekend warrior” canines. We have been using several amazing ALL-NATURAL products that are REVERSING JOINT DISEASE, REMOVING INFLAMMATION FROM THE JOINTS AND BONES, and doing a little general reverse aging as well. (I’m in for the human version….). Call and ask today about BIOCELL, EXCEL CAMELINA OIL, AND VETSMART HIP AND JOINT…remember, pure, clean, and 95% absorbed the minute it passes their doggy lips!

Let’s keep the SPRING in your pet’s steps this Spring!

PEA: A Natural Animal Pain Supplement

Article on PEA

I am often asked, of late, about the beneficial effects of cannabis, or any derivatives from the marijuana plant, for my patients.

Since my community is one of natural healing and hemp-savvy people, this is not surprising. In addition, many of my (human) clients have experienced relief in some form from the use of various parts of the cannabis plant.

Natural health

While many people realize they are not going to give “pot” to their pet due to undesired side effects (the very worst being fatal), they still wonder about hemp-derived supplements.

Lucky for my community, I have been working with a pure, body-produced substance called palmitoylethanolamide (PEA for short).

PEA Pills

PEA has more times the anti-inflammatory potency of cannabinoids (part of the endocannabinoid system) –or cannabis–with NONE of the side effects or psychotropic effects.

First, let’s look at where musculoskeletal pain comes from and how it worsens into more irreversible conditions in the body:

Although there are many kinds of pain, by far the most common and disruptive to your pet and thus, to you, is musculoskeletal pain.

Over 80% involves some part of the back or neck, with the remaining involving round joints such as hips, knees, and elbows.

The development of pain progresses from initial small injury, reactions of the surrounding muscles and connective tissues, spasms, to constricted blood supply, then comes anoxia, acidic environment,  pain modulators with nervous system reaction, and finally stagnation (stopping of processes).

This is painful. If it lasts and no restoration of circulation occurs, then the body will lay down fibrous tissue. This is avascular and replaces healthy normal tissue causing more adhesions and constriction-then restricted movement, not to mention more pain.

If the inflammation and fibrous tissue issues are still not addressed, the body then tries to stabilize the affected, painful areas, especially when this occurs between the vertebral bodies (in the spine). This progresses from fibrous tissues to the migration and formation of laying down new bone. So now you have the first bone spurs, then eventually, bony bridges between the vertebrae.

This fusion of areas of the spine is the foundation of much pain and lameness that we see in small animals. The pain can sometimes spread to the joints in their wrists and ankles.

If we can address these issues far before the fiber and bone is laid down, you have a HUGE window of prevention and reversal of this whole process.

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Common Sources of Pain and Distress in Dogs (PEA-responsive):

  • Neck and spine problems
  • Ear inflammation/pain
  • Stifle/knee pain
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures

Cat experiencing chronic pain

Common Sources of Pain and Distress in Cats:

  • Neck and spine pain (very common in cats)
  • Arthritis of the knees
  • Anxiety
  • Allergies
  • Seizures (of non-tumor origin)

Mammals have an “endocannabinoid” system that produces this substance-PEA-naturally. Chronic stress, inflammation, and other dysfunctions can lead to low production of endogenous PEA.

 

Positive Effects of PEA

Used for many years already in Europe, PEA has had profound and remarkable anti-inflammatory effects on the humans and pets using it. It is markedly anti-inflammatory, very safe, with minimal to no side-effects, and can be combined with all other medications and drugs. (Always check with your vet or doctor before taking any sort of pill).

 

Some features of PEA include:

  • Painkiller and anti-inflammatory compound
  • Anticonvulsant activity
  • Addresses nerve pain
  • Reduced scar tissue formation
  • Aids in treatment of glaucoma
  • Produced in our cells, natural compound
  • Protects cells
  • Proven to be effective and safe in many clinical trials in more than
  • 5000 patients tested- with no documented adverse drug interactions
  • Can be combined with any other compound
  • Available as a capsule and as a cream

 

Some additional natural and western (medications) that can be used individually and in combination with PEA for pain:

  • Boswellia
  • Turmeric (with black pepper)
  • Anti-inflammatory herbs
  • Glucosamine/chondroitin (injections work best, followed by oral supplements)
  • Muscle relaxant medication (can work in tandem with modalities such as acupuncture or chiropractic as well)
  • Noni poultices
  • NSAIDS-Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Opioids
  • Steroids

 

PEA Helps Treat Back Pain

One of the things I find most intriguing about the cannabinoids and PEA is that PEA can replace steroids, one of the more powerful and problematic treatments for back problems. However, if chronic pain is severe, a more integrative approach may be necessary for your pet.

I am asked if Cannabidiol (CBD) is the same. It is different as it derives from the plant (as opposed to the body) and it works through a different mechanism. Because it is from the cannabis plant, there may be varying psychotropic effects, albeit small.

Narcotics, opioids, non-steroidal drugs all act via different mechanisms than the PEA.

 

How Cats Benefit from Using PEA

A note about CATS: Cats metabolize many western medications very differently than dogs. They cannot tolerate most non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and can have strong negative reactions to antihistamines (for allergies). With such a narrow range of options, the natural substances, and specifically PEA, has been very promising. And since cats groom quite a bit, the use of essential oils or rubs can be dangerous.

Since my background includes Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, I make sure to take into account the “constitution” of a pet when I’m treating them.

This can be a complex subject, but simply, think about breeds and how they look. A Labrador is often an “excess” dog. They have big, red tongues and have heavy features. They can hold heat, specifically DAMP heat.

A thin, older Maltese is often a “deficient” animal and is prone to COLD. Thus I talk to people about avoiding environmental conditions that increase pain in that particular body.

Keeping labs cooler, using foods that cool their body, while keeping the Maltese warm and feeding them carbohydrates that produce heat– these can all enhance the results of natural pain control.

 

We Offer Holistic Animal Care

 

Vet assistant holding a dog
I also offer acupuncture, chiropractic, cold laser therapy and Myofascial release as natural physical adjustments that are used to speed up and help with health results.

If you’re interested in learning more about our holistic animal care, please contact us.

Flea Misconceptions and Safe Solutions

dog who could have a flea issue

 

SUMMER’S HERE AND SO ARE THE FLEAS!

“I think my dog has fleas again, but I don’t see any….I just put the flea stuff on last week…” Carol says.

“What’s Chance doing? ” I ask.

“He’s scratching again like mad.” She explains.

Therein lies the rub, or the scratch, as the case may be. If a dog or cat is scratching, it may not be fleas or any external parasite. Most animals that actually carry an infestation of fleas (or one or two) are NOT that itchy. This is because the itchy ones are often demonstrating a flea ALLERGY, a reaction to the flea bite/saliva.

Furry dog 

Signs Your Pet May Have a Flea Allergy

Tiny molecules of flea saliva can cause the itch. If a pet is actually itchy and allergic, whether to fleas or other things such as food/pollen, then they don’t tolerate fleas living on them. Thus the itchy animal may not have fleas at all.

However, and this is what may be confusing, they still need flea control. Because the pet that is itchy usually has an ALLERGY to fleas, if flea control is not used (one that works), than a big allergic reaction can result even without many fleas around.

In addition, allergies are ADDITIVE, so if your pet has, say a pollen allergy or dust mite allergy, then it may not be active until or unless the wrong food or a flea bite ADDS to the immune system’s aggravation.

So one component of an allergy can put the pet above his “threshold” for itching. Thus it’s quite possible to control flea allergies or food allergies simply by limiting one or the other, not always both.

Now that you know fleas DO need to be controlled, what is the best way? 
I often get the question:

“What type of flea spray or powder do I use in my HOUSE?”

My client is worried about the fleas living around the house or yard.
The good news is most of a flea’s lifecycle is ON the pet. Why is that “good” news? Because if you control the fleas ON your pet, it is less and less likely as time goes by, that they will live and hatch in your environment.

Of course, there are exceptions. In California, where I live, the fleas LOVE the weather. They hang out and reproduce most of the year. If you have carpet, there are more places for eggs to land and stay.

However, if your house is wood/tile or another hard surface, controlling and killing on-board fleas will leave you flea-free and happy.

cat and dog lying next to one another 

Cats Can Cause Flea Problems for Your Dog

The other culprit that can be a “stealth” source for fleas on dogs is…your CAT. Not only do cats tend to act as flea “buses” bringing the “outdoors in”, but the fleas we find on dogs are frequently CAT flea species. Unfortunately, they find dogs just as tasty.

Speaking of cats, what if you have indoor-only cats? Do you have to be concerned about fleas? Well, it depends, if you have hard surface floors and minimal material upholstery or area rugs, then it is highly unlikely your cat will have flea problems.

If on the other hand, you move into a carpeted home WITH your cat, there may be eggs or larvae in the carpets waiting for a better deal. Enter: your cat. In this case, it is wise to use a topical or oral product for at least six months  on the carpet.

Consider using a safe product such as diatomaceous earth or boric acid powder. Sprinkle it into the carpet and vacuum it up, to desiccate remaining pests.

 Dog getting a bath using flea shampoo

Misconceptions About Flea Shampoo

One popular misconception is the use of FLEA SHAMPOOS. Flea shampoos do not have any lasting impact on killing fleas, and are bad for this reason:

They use toxins to kill the fleas on the pet but they don’t typically last more than 24 hours, so you have to use more toxins –increases total toxic load. Please don’t use “flea shampoo” unless your pet has an overwhelming infestation of fleas /ticks and MUST have that “kill” effect due to health risks.

There are also now oral products on the market that work much more safely for a quick kill effect on a heavily infested pet. They are intended for only a 24-hour effect and must be followed with a longer acting flea /flea combination preventative.

 Dr. Tiffany Margolin posing with a dog

Veterinary-Approved Flea and Tick Protection

So what DO you use? There are veterinary-recommended flea and tick products evolving every month, it seems. Some kill only fleas, some ticks, and fleas, and some include extras like internal parasites, heartworm, mites, and mosquitoes.

This article is not intended to recommend specific products, but I advice you only use a product obtained through a veterinarian.

Over the counter products (non-veterinary) either do not work well, or, far worse, some have proven fatal to a number of pets-specifically CATS –and the companies are still not being held accountable.

You’re playing Russian roulette to use some of the highly toxic compounds sold in over the counter pesticide-laden flea products.

The veterinary compounds still have some negative qualities, but the overall goals are modulation of the insect metabolism, and avoiding ill effects on your pet.

I am a holistic vet and I’m frequently queried about natural alternatives for flea and tick control.

Please DO NOT USE ESSENTIAL OILS DIRECTLY ON YOUR PET. Too many are not correctly mixed or diluted and can cause severe irritation of the skin.

In cases of cats, they can have severe reactions to ingested essential oils. I find feeding a measured amount of garlic (a small amount daily) and nutritional yeast to DOGS can prevent fleas.

This recipe was recently posted for a natural flea and tick powder that can also be used:

-1 cup Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
-1/2 cup Neem Powder
-1/2 cup Yarrow Powder
-20 Drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil–Leave out the
essential oil if using for cats.

A word about ticks, they are MUCH tougher than fleas, and they do carry some diseases that can be life-threatening.

Although we’re at a lower risk of that in California, there are still dogs who have contract tickborne diseases.

The risk occurs when the tick has been attached to the dog’s skin for over 24 hours.

To kill or repel ticks requires specific compounds, and only some of the products do this.

I personally find that these are “big guns,” only to be used if your pet picks up ticks in their own yard.

If you’re worried about ticks when out on a hike or camping with your dog, I recommend getting a tick collar that is only used at the time of the outings and checking your pet over carefully once back. This way the more toxic products don’t stay on/in your dog when they’re not needed.

 

Ear Mites vs. Yeast Infections

Lastly, people often mention they are concerned about their pets’ “ear mites.” In many well-homed, indoor dogs and cats, mites are a very low probability. Usually, the dark waxy material that has an odor, is a yeast infection, with its roots in food allergies.

In fact, one of the cardinal signs or “flags” of a food allergy is excess ear wax/yeast, odor, and itching.

Your veterinarian can easily distinguish yeast infection from mites. In addition, cat ear mites (the more common case) do not transmit to dogs.

Unless you place your cat’s ear wax into your ears, they won’t be interested in your ears!

In the case your cat really does have mites, there are simple topical products that result in a quick resolution.

As summer progresses into the cooler months, remember that California fleas are like California people…they are here for the weather, all year long!

In late fall/winter, you can reduce flea control measures or increase application intervals to every other month, but stopping flea control completely is unlikely.

Consider trying one of the natural remedies mentioned above if you’d like to experiment. It may be the perfect answer.

For more flea and tick solutions, please contact us by clicking here.

The Human-Animal Bond is Unconditional Love

human-animal bond

I was out to dinner the other night, and my dinner companion, a strong, masculine gentleman, who was wise and well-traveled said to me, “I am a better man around my dog”.

He had been speaking of the unconditional love of dogs, and how close he was to his own dog. He was also explaining that the loving behavior modeled by his dog significantly improved his own behavior.

I immediately flashed upon scene after scene of men breaking down while saying goodbye to a beloved friend, as their wives or family helped them through it. It is true love that strong human-animal bond  we’re so fortunate to be a part of.

The Message in the Human-Animal Bond

So often I am asked, “Why do dogs have to have such short lives”? My response is simple. “I believe so they can show us an entire life well lived full of joy, play and pure unconditional love, so WE have the opportunity to get the message and learn how to live more joyfully.” And I truly believe that.

human-animal bond

My friend also remarked that no human could ever be so unconditionally loving as a dog. I am not so sure about that. I would like to believe that some few individuals can and do transform their love to universal love, but it is so very hard to remain there at all times while interacting with so many others. Even so, all of this is a clear reminder and example to me of how important and how strong our need is for healing through our pets.

When life gets rough, it can be our animals that we turn to the most to help us through times when we don’t feel secure. This is just another example of the power of the human-animal bond. 

human-animal bond

One heartwarming experience I recently had was with Sammy, a sweet 16-year-old Schnauzer. Sammy lived with her 80-something year old bedridden owner, and this sweet lady was in and out of awareness over the last few years.

Sammy developed a huge tumor hanging from her underside, and everyone felt this was probably the end for her. She was losing weight, not eating well and was clearly deaf. Not feeling very hopeful, I explained I could try to remove the tumor, however, there was an obvious risk, but everyone loved Sammy and wanted me to perform the surgery.

As I left her house that day, Sammy’s owner was being rushed to the hospital, and was not expected to live much longer. Her neighbors were actually planning the takeover of Sammy’s care. On the day of surgery, we discovered large amounts of wax and dirt lodged deep in Sammy’s ear canals. I performed a deep cleaning and flush and medicated both ears. Happily, she recovered uneventfully and was reported to be doing very well the next few days.

Two weeks later, I visited Sammy to remove her staples. I almost fell over with amazement—She had HEARD me pull up, trotted to the door, and BARKED! When I entered, I noticed she had gained weight (I had completely changed her to a healthy diet) and she was PERKY!

Even more shocking, I heard a voice greet me as I entered. Turning to the left, I saw her owner sitting up, fully dressed, and bright! She looked like another person. The most wonderful part of all this was the call I received a few days later. Her owner called and was thrilled with Sammy’s progress, thanked me over and over, and said we had “performed a miracle”.

Every day I am so grateful to be able to help, and it brought tears to my eyes to see how Sammy’s recovery had given her mom a new lease on life. Truly her own personal miracle.

This story alone is a wonderful illustration of the power of human-animal bond. The way we live our lives is directly correlated with the way your pets live and feel. 

If you are noticing major health issues with your pet and you’re looking for solutions for your pet or you’re wanting advice on how to better the life of your pet, never hesitate to reach out to us, we care!

New Toxins to Watch Out For

Protect your pets

Returning from the largest veterinary conference in the country a few weeks back, I realized how important it is to share this information as soon as possible with you, so your pets stay safe and happy!

 

Learn the New Toxin Concerns for Your Pet

There are some new toxin concerns on the horizon, things you may not have known about until now. Below are some of the top toxins to watch out for if you have a dog, ferret, other curious pets or small children.

 

Mouse and rat poisons

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It is the season where we sometimes see more of these little visitors around. Always seek natural pest control and talk to those companies when planning it will save your pet’s life.

 

Caffeine

Caffeine as a Prep item

Coffee and tea both contain amounts of caffeine that are toxic to pets and small children. Dropping bags and grounds or a foray into the trash can prove disastrous- remember to watch the waste!

 

Onions and chives

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A known toxin to cats, onions causes the destruction of red blood cells in these felines. In anything more than the tiniest amount, onions-especially raw ones, are a danger for your pet.

 

Macadamia nuts

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Although not in small amounts, these nuts can definitely be toxic and result in signs affecting the nervous system. In your dog, you would be on the look out for vomiting, tremors or their inability to walk. In fact, let’s just not feed the dog macadamia nuts!

 

Unbaked yeast bread dough

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This likely doesn’t require explaining. It can expand in the stomach and cause severe distress and obstruction, even leading to death. Just remember the smell of that dough is as attractive to your dog as the fresh-baked smell is to YOU!

 

Alchohol

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Pets are very sensitive to the effects of alcohol and do not have good “detox” mechanisms for safe ingestion. The ethanol in alcohol can damage the gastrointestinal tract, liver, brain, and kidneys. Please do not ever offer it to your pet and realize that mouthwash contains alcohol if spilled make sure to remove it from your pet’s access. This is not an issue with the tiny amounts present in herbal tinctures. Consult your veterinarian in all cases.

 

Grapes/raisins

raisins

Unfortunately, we have heard a lot about grape and raisin toxicity lately. I believe the increased types and concentration of pesticides present on the skin make this even worse. Avoid feeding either of these to your dog. Your bird is best fed with organic versions of all fruits.

 

Xylitol

Xylitol Gum

Present in gum and candy, this sweetener is toxic to your dog.

 

Medications meant for humans

SI Exif
SI Exif

Sometimes you don’t realize a medication has spilled onto the floor. It is difficult for your vet to know what is going on if your pet ingests your medications-antidepressants, ibuprofen and ibuprofen-like compounds and decongestants are all potentially very damaging for your pet. Keep out of reach and watch for pills on the floor.

 

Chocolate

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You didn’t think we’d forget chocolate, did you? Remember that the degree of toxicity in chocolate depends on its percentage of cacao the higher the percentage, the more pure or dark the chocolate, the smaller an amount is life-threatening to your pet.

For more information, call (805)350-1399 or email Fromtheheartvet.com. Please note there is also a new hotline out there, besides Poison Control, you may want to try Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661. Here’s to a safe and healthy pet!

Obesity In you and your Pet: The Solution to a Healthier Lifestyle

Obesity Article- FTHMV

Do you ever notice pets can kind of look like their owners? The tall, lengthy dogs with the skinny, tall owners or sometimes the bulky dog with the overweight owner.

Being overweight whether you’re a dog or a person is dangerous for your long-term health. In this article, I break down how obesity begins, the hormones that keep you from becoming obese, the emotional triggers of obesity and how From The Heart Mobile Vet can assist you and your pet in living a healthier life together.

How is Obesity Brought On in a Human or Animal?

fat_1528616c

All of our bodies are made up of a hormone called Leptin. This hormone is produced by fat cells and it interacts with areas of the brain that control hunger. It also signals to your body when you’ve had enough to eat. When people and or pets become overweight, they lose the sensitivity of their leptin receptors, so their brain is not properly signaling to their body that it has had more than enough, to eat.

Since the obesity gene secretes leptin and leptin are produced by fat, then you can actually reduce the gene by reducing your body fat…bringing back the chicken or the egg…but no matter which came first, the one YOU have control over (in you or your pet) is the body fat. 

As your body fat is slowly reduced and your muscle mass increases, leptin sensitivity returns, and leptin production decreases, thereby decreasing the presence/ activity of obesity genes in you and or your pet’s body. 

Indulgence in White Food: Major Cause of Obesity

Woman-Staring-Down-a-Potato-Chip

Obesity can be brought on by you and or your pet over-indulging in white fat like simple sugars.  White bread, pasta, white rice, potatoes, and sweets are all examples of white fat that can coat you and or your pet’s internal organs and create very dangerous health complications.

Foods that Keep you and your Pet Healthy

Omega-3-sources

 

Eating fat does not necessarily make you fat. When you or your pet eat healthy, omega 3 rich fats  and omega-6 food such as salmon, flax seed, fresh basil, broccoli, rainbow trout, walnuts and sunflower seeds, it will not result in body fat.

It is the intake of simple carbohydrates and simple sugars that stimulate the insulin cascade that increases both leptin and insulin resistance.

How  Can you Control you and Your Pet’s Weight Destinydog-and-owner

While being overweight can be traced back to genetics, the truth is YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR GENETICS. You have the ability to turn OFF and turn ON genes. This is called epigenetics and can be modified and manipulated by your nutrition and lifestyle choices. It is HOW you can regain control of your body, your cells, your life and your happiness. Same goes for your pet.

Is it EASY? Not if you are a normal human being. Is it WORTH it? When you want to live out your life feeling good, happy and ready to take on anything, and you want your pet to feel the same, then yes, it’s worth it.

Unfortunately, it often takes something extreme to make a real change. But the good news is we have many warning opportunities in which our body TELL us we are on the slippery slope to health problems, so we have the chance to stop and change direction.

If you choose, you can and will learn to become AWARE of when your body is messaging you. If you understand that pain is never “normal”, and “aging,” in and of itself, is NOT a disease, then you will listen to your aches and pains, and slow age-associated illnesses in the healthiest of ways.

Changes you and Your Pet Can Make For a Healthier Lifestyle

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A couple simple changes you can make to create a healthier lifestyle for you and your pet is by taking a walk every day, portioning out your food and making sure your dog doesn’t consume food that is grain free, as grain is not a natural part of a dog’s diet, which is why grain can be hard on their digestive system. Same thing goes for cats and fish. Many cat foods contain fish as part of the ingredients, however, many cats have a sensitivity to fish. Find out some great food choices through my video.

Being overweight can also be a coping mechanism for an unresolved emotional trauma. Buried underneath most health issues, is an emotional trauma that is “held” somewhere in the body, causing a level of physical pain or even eventual illness if not addressed.

A great way to resolve those emotional traumas is to seek out extra assistance such as a life coach, spiritual coach or emotional/chakra “cleansing”. Without clearing up the traumas and dramas that we have all had, you are at risk of falling back into unhealthy physical patterns and pains.

For more information about shaping your life and allowing your pets to help you heal (and vice versa), visit our sister website Drtiffany.com or call (818)632-4498.

Get Her to Love You as Much as YOUR Dog Does

petowners

The number one rule about resetting your relationship is consciousness. Know being kind and generous with your feelings towards your partner are valuable building blocks for your relationship. It isn’t much different to how you treat your pets.

M12 1How does your pet greet you? Do they wag, bark, meow, squeak or squawk? How often do you give a big squeeze and a kiss to your cat, dog, horse or even turtle before you turn to your sweetie or your child and give them one?

How to Show Love to Your Partner First and Your Pet Second

It’s probably happening right when you walk in the door. You go straight for your pet before acknowledging your partner’s presence. While dogs can be almost difficult to ignore as they happily jump or try to lick you as you come through the door, I promise they won’t be offended if you went straight for your loved one first.

tumblr_lpbgas3wk11qkf588o1_500_large_largeI know it seems silly but try it. You will be amazed at how people’s defenses come down and the positive feelings start to grow. See what happens when you make that switch. It can make a real difference to the person you care about!

Vacation Dilemmas: What to do with your dog when you want to get away

dog-ready-for-vacation

Want to go on vacation? What will your pet do?

Many of you who have pets have run into this issue multiple times. You want to go on vacation, but you can’t bring your pet. You may have even experienced the sad fact of not being able to go on vacation because you couldn’t find someone to take care of your furry friend or the pet care was too expensive.

I have a friend who is 59, very close to retirement and is very excited about traveling the world. One catch: he also loves to bird hunt, and recently became so involved in the activity, that he got a new puppy. A YOUNG puppy. An untrained, non- housebroken, very ACTIVE puppy. It was only a matter of weeks before he was wringing his hands and asking, “what have I done”?!

At this point, my friend had the decision to make. While his dog is now older (a year) and well-trained, he still needs his owner’s companionship. And as John is planning his bigger trips this year, he is becoming concerned about what to do with his dog while he is away.

pet-sitter

Pet Care Options When You’re Planning a Vacation 

  1. A trainer, someone who will continue to shape the dog for hunting while John is gone ($$$$$)
  2. A boarding facility, a group of folks who give a variable level of care while his dog stays in a run or limited space while he is gone. ($$-$$$)
  3. A pet sitter who will stay at his own house overnights and spend some time and care for the pup. ($$-$$$)
  4. A neighbor, friend or family member willing to do the above ($-$$$)
  5. A four-star daycare and boarding facility with exercise areas, walks and personal attention to the dog ($$$$$).

Now how would YOU decide? I have seen friends or family take WORSE care of a pet than a professional. The best choices are usually a private, professional pet sitter willing to stay at the house, or a four-star (translation EXPENSIVE) boarding facility.

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What to Consider When Choosing a Place to House your Pet 

  1. If using a pet sitter:

    1. Make sure they are licensed and bonded against theft.
    2. Make sure you obtain references.
    3. A good choice is often a veterinary technician working with your own vet. Check with your vet for recommendations.
    4. Another option is petsitter.com.
  2. If using a boarding facility:

    1. Get several word of mouth recommendations.
    2. Take a surprise tour and see if the dogs appear thin.
    3. Ask if they have cameras for you to monitor your own pet while you are away.
    4. Ask what they do to control FLEAS, KENNEL COUGH, and PARASITES.

Ultimately, you must decide if owning a dog is for you. If you plan to be away a lot of the time, it may be better to choose not to have a dog, or choose a dog who can travel with you, and plan trips to dog-friendly places.

There are several websites that offer suggestions for dog-friendly hotels, campgrounds and the like. If world travel is the next item on your “bucket list”, though, please be fair and really consider if a dog is the best choice for you at this time. Once you have made your choice, enjoy the journey!!

Have you experienced the tough decision on what to do with your pet when you go on vacation? What methods have worked best for you? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.