Joint Pain in Older Dogs

In the US, there are several options currently available. I use the acronym WEDS to remember them.

W: Weight. Dogs on the thin side have healthier joints. It is important to maintain muscle tone but have very little fat.
E: Exercise. Dogs with joint trouble should get at least 30 minutes per day of low-impact exercise. Physical therapy can also be performed. We work with partners to provide PT.
D: Diet and drugs.

  1. Fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil have been shown in controlled studies to be effective. Welactin is a great option for this.

  2. NSAIDs. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be prescribed that are generally safe and can make a big difference in joint pain and the progression of joint disease. We carry several different NSAIDs including a high-tech prostaglandin receptor antagonist, which is safer than traditional cox-inhibitor NSAIDs.

  3. Injectable polysulfated glycosaminoglycans. This is sort of a "nutriceutical" that is injected and can help restore the joint fluid. We carry this treatment.

  4. Intra-articular hyaluronan. These injections lubricate the joint and can protect the remaining cartilage. We refer to surgeons for this service.

S: Surgery. In some cases, surgery is an option to alleviate pain.

There are other procedures that are being evaluated such as cold laser therapy, shockwave therapy, ultrasound therapy and acupuncture. The jury is still out on these therapies.

Some supplements have less evidence but we hear positive things from our clients: Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, green-lipped mussel extract, to name a few. We carry veterinary products that provide these.

Kitten and Puppy Plans

We are introducing one-size-fits-all pay-once kitten and puppy plans to give you a predictable way to save money and get your new pets started right. These plans include all the early care a kitten or puppy needs including vaccinations, deworming, blood screening and parasite testing. They also include the spay or neuter surgery, all for a simple fixed price of $365 for kittens and $395 for puppies. We have great prices on plans that include a full year of heartworm, parasite, and flea/tick prevention.

How can we make that happen? Simply put, we have been working with our suppliers to make it possible, and we are hoping to provide more care to more pets, offsetting the fixed costs.

The greatest benefit of these plans is that we can recommend exactly what your pet needs and money is no object to following those recommendations. Do you want blood screening before surgery? It’s included, no need to think about the cost. You can relax and know that you’re doing the best care for your kitten or puppy.

Take Me to the Puppy and Kitten Specials!

Can I Feed Eggs to my Dog?

Eggs are safe, but should be considered with respect to a balanced diet. For a German Shepherd, the occasional egg (77 kcal) will not make a large change to their ration. A 90lb (40kg) shep should be taking in around 1700 kcal/d, more or less depending on activity level and whether or not it is neutered. An egg is about 5% of the daily ration. However, for a 10-lb poodle, an egg is about 25% of the daily ration of 300 kcal.

Remember that raw eggs contain avidin, which binds the important vitamin biotin (Vitamin B7). Eating raw eggs frequently can lead to biotin deficiency. Unpasteurized raw eggs are also a source of salmonella poisoning. I would prefer to feed cooked eggs to my dogs.

Eggs seem like a decent food for dogs, as they are high in protein and fat, and not too high in sugars. Wild canids often eat eggs that they find, and so it seems to be part of the natural diet. Many dog foods have powdered eggs in them. I would not feed exclusively eggs, or anything like that. Moderation and balance are important considerations for dogs. So, if you have a "treat" portion of your dog's daily ration, using egg for that treat is probably not a bad idea.

Happy New Year! Happy New Puppy?

It's a new year! Did you gain a new furry family member along with a fresh calendar? In this month's article we will talk about the basics of a new puppy.

Just like a new human baby, a puppy has 5 basic needs: eating, sleeping, eliminating, entertainment, medical care. And, just like with a human baby, it's up to you to make sure all of these are provided safely and in a timely manner. A puppy up to about 12 weeks of age needs to eat 4 times a day. The amount and type of food will vary depending on the size and/or breed, but in general very young puppies can only eat a small amount of food at a time and need to eat frequently. After 12 weeks the frequency can drop to 3 times a day, then twice. Many dogs stay on a twice daily schedule for the rest of their lives; some prefer to only eat once. A lot of families free feed adult dogs, meaning they leave food down all the time. This is fine for a dog with no weight concerns and no housebreaking issues but is not recommended for puppies.

This brings us to the next topic: elimination. After each meal a puppy needs to go outside and be encouraged to urinate and defecate. Of course, trips outside may need to be more frequent than that, and at first the puppy may need to urinate at night. As they get older this need should rapidly disappear. Don't let the puppy make the rules! By 12-16 weeks most dogs do not need to go out at night and by 5 months most are fully housebroken. Some dogs take longer, of course. The most effective way to teach a dog to not eliminate in the house is to crate train. We can discuss this fully at your first puppy visit.

Depending on the age of the puppy at adoption, it may have had one or more sets of vaccines and/ or dewormings, and may even be spayed or neutered. Try to get records if at all possible. If no vaccine record exists we will assume none have been given and will start from scratch based on the puppy's age. Puppies need vaccines every 3-4 weeks starting at about 8 weeks of age and ending in the 4 month range. The best thing to do is come in with a new puppy as soon as you adopt him. A visit like that will give you an idea of what you should expect medically, and will also be a great resource for information about feeding, housebreaking, toys, classes, and anything else you need to know.

Don't forget safe playtime! Puppies need a lot of physical and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructiveness. Toys should be size and age appropriate and preferably difficult to destroy. Puppies chew-that's what they do. The more redirection available, the better the chance for survival of your shoes and furniture.

We look forward to seeing you and your puppy this month and for many years to come!

Healthy Holidays!

The end of the year is always full of activity and celebrations. Whether the family pets are included in the hustle and bustle or are just hanging around underfoot waiting for a treat, they are much more likely to come in contact with harmful foods and other dangers during this time of year. In this month's article I will touch on a few of the most common culprits.