The ever growing pet product market ranges from fashion to fun, exercise to IQ puzzles, gourmet pet foods and treats….and everything in between.
These products are available on-line pet specialty sites, at pet boutiques and superstores… even the neighborhood groomer is likely to have a pet product line tempting you.
In considering which new products to purchase, it’s important to evaluate what your pet will enjoy, if the product provides healthy fun activity and the value to your pocketbook. Here’s a look at some innovative products by major categories. And remember this is a very abbreviated list!
EXERCISE AND PLAY products are dually beneficial. Look for pet-engaging toys with healthful options such as the following products:
1) The Hydro Freeze® family of toys. This toy product group provides hours of dog-chewing, fetching fun while simultaneously hydrating the dog. The award winning HydroBone® is now being joined by their new HydroBall® and HydroSaucer®.
2) If your pet needs more exercise than you have time, check out the DogTread® treadmill. It provides great fitness at home, and there will be no more traipsing out in the rain, snow, or mud with Fido!
3) Let your pet go wild with the Bubble Buddy®! This bubble blower, specially designed for dogs, uses SCENTED bubbles…like chicken or bacon! Just sit back…blow the bubbler…and let the dog exercise while chasing those tasty bubbles!
4) For those tough pups, try Kong’s Wubba…specially designed for durability and keeping your pup entertained!
BOREDOM or BEHAVIOR ISSUES can be positively handled if you have the right product.
5) The ThunderShirt® has a calming effect on the pet’s nervous system and has proven successful for that anxious canine, especially during summer storms.
6) Felines are not forgotten either when it comes to good therapeutic products! Cats that suffer from cabin fever, can safely enjoy the outdoors in their Kritter Kondo®. This easy-to- set up enclosure gives the cat a fun way to enjoy the outdoors in a safe environment.
7) A great indoor cat product is the eco-friendly cathouse system®. These cardboard kitty play houses are foldable, stackable and changeable and they provide hours of play fun for indoor cats.
NUTRITION AND FEEDING PRODUCTS. You can even find innovation on the pet food aisle!
8) Award winning and very popular KONG® continues to introduce new toys for dogs and cats. Their new KONG Wobbler® dispenses food while providing entertainment too. And now KONG® has come out with KONG Stuffin’®- a pepperoni-paste filler for the KONG toys!
9) New pet food diets are released almost every week. We strongly advise everyone to consult with your veterinarian to find the right food for your pet!
10) Veterinarians know the importance of fresh water…so much so that a veterinarian invented the fresh-flowing Drinkwell Water Fountain® system for cats and dogs.
11) And grooming has never been easier with products like FURminator®, the ultimate pet shedder too.
TRAVEL & SAFETY PRODUCTS. Today more folks are traveling with their pets, and there are many great travel and safety products available. There’s everything from GPS collars for tracking that wayward pet to cute pet themed totes, safety belts, and of course—haute couture for the pet traveler. Fun travel products are sure to add charm to Fido’s adventures.
With so many new and great pet products in the marketplace, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. Key things to look for include: Award winning designations, American- made, Eco-friendly, and of course veterinarian endorsed products. Other important factors to consider when selecting the right products are your pet’s age, agility, and interests.
With a little research on-line or through your veterinarian, you’re sure to become an educated pet product consumer…and a real hero to your pet too! More
Early in my professional career, I was advised to avoid publicly discussing three controversial subject matters; politics, religion and money. Of late, the term “stem cells” could certainly be added to this short list of contentious topics. Weekly, we see news reports and read editorials on the uses of human embryonic stem cells and the moral-ethical questions surrounding the collection of these powerful cells. There are, however, new breakthroughs in the science of regenerative medicine that draw on the use of adult stem cells, harvested not from embryos but from an adult’s own body.
Research now teaches us that stem cells are an important part of a healthy body’s defense and regeneration process. Simply put, we could not thrive without these primitive repair cells. Just as embryonic stem cells have the ability to grow into a completely new human or animal, adult stem cells have the ability to change and differentiate into bone, cartilage, muscle or any tissue in the body. Recently, a detailed study on the use of fat-derived stem cells in dogs showed that animals receiving stem cells demonstrated a significant improvement in lameness when compared to dogs in the control group. In clinical trials, over 80% of pet owners report improvement after therapy. This news has excited veterinarians and pet owners alike and has many asking about the potential for a real world application.
More than 15 million (20%) dogs in North America suffer some form of degenerative joint disease, better known as osteoarthritis (OA). Unfortunately, many dog owners are completely unaware of the pain their pet is experiencing, chalking up the slow movement to the effects of “old age”. Some dogs may receive daily doses of pain relievers and oral joint care supplements. Still others might find their way to physical therapy or rehabilitation. But for some, any or all of these options are not enough to relieve the pain. Sadly, many owners decide to euthanize their faithful companion because of the severity of the pain or the continued high cost of on-going treatment.
Adult stem cell regenerative therapy is now an accepted treatment for OA and is available for both dogs and cats. Deerfield Veterinary Hospital is pleased to be the first veterinary hospital in the Ozarks to offer stem cell therapy. All of this seems pretty miraculous and for some pets, the results are truly nothing short of a life-saving miracle.
If you are trying to decide if stem cell therapy is right for your pet, please consider the following. Not all pets are considered good candidates for this therapy. Since anesthesia is involved in both the cell collection step and the reintroduction of the cells, this may not be ideal for all patients. Additionally, any dog with serious systemic disease, such as cancer, might not benefit from these treatments. Even though there has been great feedback from owners, this is not a one shot therapy. Some pets need to return regularly for follow-up treatments. Scientist report that over-exertion after treatment seems to lessen the benefits of the treatment, often leading to another trip to the veterinarian. Finally, cost will certainly come into play as owners and veterinarians discuss this option. Prices will vary among veterinarians, but in general, plan on spending at least $3000 to $3500 for initial treatments.
Arthritis can be painful and even debilitating in any dog or cat. If you suspect your pet suffers from this disease, talk with us about testing to confirm arthritis and then discuss the many treatment options. We will recommend a multi-modal approach to pain relief, combining appropriate medications, controlled exercise, weight loss, and environmental changes to make your pet’s life easier. In some cases, new technology, like stem cell therapy, can be beneficial!
This video segment from ABC’s Nightline in 2008 reviews the process of harvesting and transplanting stem cells in pets.
[youtube mVCnhrwIKBA 420 350] More
Everyone loves the fun of family and festivities of the July 4th celebrations. However, your four legged family members may not have the same appreciation of these patriotic displays. The fear of noises and sounds like fireworks and thunderstorms are known as “noise phobias” and a great number of pets suffer from this condition during the holiday.
Dogs, cats, horses, and even livestock can react to fireworks in ways that could potentially cause injury or even death. Our clients regularly share stories of their pets shaking uncontrollably and hiding in closets at the first sound of thunder and fireworks. Some pets may become “fearfully aggressive” due to the loud noises. Protect your pets from children who may not realize the consequences of waving sparklers or setting off home fireworks. If you are planning on attending a fireworks celebration, leave your pet at home.
During the upcoming celebrations, keep small pets indoors. A good idea is to keep the pet in an interior room without windows. Consider turning on the TV or radio to provide a familiar and comforting distraction. Avoid leaving pets alone outdoors, even if tethered or in a fenced yard. It is not uncommon for dogs to escape or injure themselves in a frenzied attempt to escape.
Many animal shelters report increases of “stray” animal intakes after the 4th of July holiday due to the number of pets running away in an attempt to avoid the noise and excitement. Be sure that your pet has a current ID tag and/or microchip so that you and your pet can be easily reunited in the case he or she runs off.
Desensitization methods are also an option for many pet owners. By playing a CD that contains noises of thunderstorms, fireworks, and gunshots, many pets can be counter conditioned and may actually begin to remain calm during these events. Be sure to check out www.soundtherapy4pets.com for examples of desensitization CDs.
Always remember never to punish your pet for his fearful behavior, but don’t reinforce the behavior by trying to sooth your pet with “It’s ok” or similar words. Paying attention to your pet may positively reinforce the fearful behavior.
Your veterinarian may prescribe tranquilizers or mild sedatives for your pets during this time, but these drugs do have limitations and should not be used on a daily basis. In addition natural methods, such as pheromone therapy or melatonin are also available.
If you believe any of your pets have a noise phobia, talk with your veterinarian and staff about the best ways to keep your pet safe this holiday. More
With record numbers of families enjoying the benefits of pet ownership and online shopping, it should come as no surprise that the amount of money spent on our pets is huge. Experts are forecasting that pet owners will spend more than $50 billion dollars annually. A significant percentage of those expenses include veterinary care and prescription medications. So, is it any wonder that buying your prescription medications online may also look like a good deal?
At first glance, online pet pharmacies would seem to be a great option. The promise of lower prices and having the medication shipped to your door is a big selling point for busy, budget conscious people. But, there are some pitfalls when relying on Internet based sources for your pet’s medication needs.
First, they all say you can “save a trip to the vet”. Unfortunately, this is only partially true. In order to prescribe and dispense medication to your pet, most states require that there is a valid veterinarian-client-pet relationship or VCPR. This is usually defined as a veterinarian having examined your pet within the last 12 months. If the VCPR does not exist, medication cannot be dispensed.
Some websites will offer to sell the drugs without a prescription. This is not only illegal but not in the best interest of your pet! Websites that sell without needing prescriptions are most often based outside of North America, where pharmacy and drug laws may not be as strict.
The requirement for this professional relationship insures that you and your veterinarian have good, up to date facts about your pet’s health. Plus the medical records and history for your pet are all in one place. The veterinary staff also knows your whole pet family and can help prevent problems when there are multiple pets present in the household.
Since pets are unique individuals, some may have unexpected reactions to certain drugs and some medications can even be deadly if given incorrectly. Others may need a special formulation for ease of administration. The online pharmacies will not know this information and this could be a problem if your pet is on several medications or has secondary conditions.
If a life-threatening emergency happens with a medication, your veterinarian is only a phone call away. Some online pharmacies only allow contact through email and this will not help you if your pet needs assistance immediately!
Finally, despite many good businesses online, there will always be a few who are looking for a quick buck at your expense. Avoid sites that offer dramatically lower prices than competing sites or your veterinarian. Likewise, if you have ordered medication online, check the drug to make sure it looks similar to what you have given before. If it looks different in any way, do not give it to your pet.
Illegal "Bootleg" product manufactured for Australia was purchased by a client from major online retailer.
The FDA is so concerned about this, it is now warning pet owners to be aware of shady online companies. The National Board of Pharmacies has instituted the e-Advertiser Approval Program to help you find properly licensed and compliant online pet pharmacies. Only Eighteen companies nationwide have earned the right to display the e-Advertiser seal of approval, including Deerfield Veterinary Hospital.
Check with your veterinarian about online pharmacies. Many veterinary hospitals now offer their very own store on their websites. Often prices are competitive, and they are the same medications you purchase at the hospital. Orders can ship directly from the hospital to your door, or you can choose to pick them up at the hospital without the hassle of waiting in line.
In addition, you will know who you are talking to in case of any problems or concerns. Honest and open communication with your veterinarian about cost concerns will prevent misunderstandings about money and help you do what’s best for your pet. More
The most common type of flea in the U.S. is the Ctenocephalides felis…or the Cat Flea. Despite its name, this species will feed from cats, dogs and even humans. These wingless insects attack both people and pets and feed by drawing blood from their host.
While most people relate to the irritation of flea bites, fleas can transmit more serious diseases. Flea allergy dermatitis is certainly the most common problem associated with fleas, but they can also transmit Bubonic Plague, tapeworms and Feline Infectious Anemia.
The challenge of winning the flea battle lies in understanding the flea’s life stages, then attacking all levels of the life cycle.
A single female flea can lay 20-50 eggs at a time, creating over 2000 fleas in her life span of three months. With just 25 adult female fleas that equates to more than a quarter of a million fleas in only 30 days!
The non-sticky eggs fall off the pet, ending up in your carpeting, pet bedding or furniture upholstery. Outdoor environments such as leaf litter, lawn or mulch in moist and shady areas are also ideal environments for egg incubation.
Flea eggs hatch after 1-10 days (depending on the temperature and level of humidity) into larvae. These larvae feed off flea feces and debris, then molts three times in a 5-25 day period before spinning a cocoon (pupae). The flea pupae then hatch in as few as 5-9 days to the fully formed adult….OR they can remain dormant for up to five months.
Adult fleas comprise only about 5% of the entire flea population. The remaining 95% consists of eggs, larvae and cocoons in the pet’s environment. It’s easy to see how the flea can quickly invade and even overrun your home.
Expert “Flea Guru”, Dr. Michael Dryden recommends a combination of products and procedures. The very important first step is a visit to your veterinarian. “You can beat the fleas, but you have to purchase the right products.” Flea products obtained from a veterinarian have been proven effective through rigorous testing. Topically applied products like Frontline, Advantage & Revolution have worked well in the battle against the flea as has the orally administered pills, Capstar, Comfortis and Trifexis. With the rapid life cycle of the flea, the product must have a kill ratio of 90-95% to be considered effective. Anything less will not do the job completely.
Dr. Dryden continues “That’s not the case for (generally less expensive) over-the- counter products. Natural and organic doesn’t necessarily mean safe. I’m all for green and saving the planet. But I am also all for using a product which is proven safe for my pets.”
Shampoos and collars are less effective and in some cases can even cause harm to your pet. For example, the wrong dose of your dog’s flea product can have devastating and even life-threatening results if given to your cat. It may sound silly, but the EPA estimates that this mistake happens thousands of times every year!
Once the flea does appear, Dr. Dryden promotes a 3-part plan. The first step: eradicate the existing fleas on your pet. Proper product usage is very important and, remember, one dose won’t eliminate all the different stages.
Secondly, it’s necessary to ensure that you have rid the premises of the fleas. Use products that contain Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) to kill flea eggs and larvae. Your outdoor environment may need to be professionally treated. You need to regularly clean the indoor areas frequented by your pets.
Treat ALL dogs and cats….not just the affected pet. And all pets should be treated for at least three to six months to ensure total elimination. .
Thirdly, prevent new infestations with lifelong flea control. Using a veterinarian recommended flea product will kill all levels of the flea infestation. If the flea can’t reproduce, it will become extinct. However, if even one cycle of flea prevention is missed, the battle will continue.
Knowing how to combat fleas is really more than half the battle. And although they are hardy little critters, we do have safe effective products to fight these bugs. Ask your veterinarian for product recommendations and advice. More