Adopting a New Puppy: Tips and Tricks for the First Days

Adopting a new puppy is an exciting time for a pet owner

Is your house feeling a little empty lately? You may be considering adopting a new puppy to keep things exciting (and adorable). If you are, you might not realize that in addition to all the fun a new puppy brings, they are also a lot of work! If you’re wondering just what’s involved, you’ve come to the right place.

Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care is dedicated to helping you give your new puppy a lifetime of good health, so let’s get off to the right start right away!

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National Dog Training Month is Finally Here!

Dog training helps dog behavior

If your dog jumps on everyone who rings the doorbell, barks at every passing truck, or constantly begs for snacks, they’re terrific candidates for behavioral dog training. Of course, all canines – even older and well-behaved pets – can benefit from learning new skills. Not only does dog training provide them with “jobs,” but these meaningful moments prove they can and want to be included in family activities. After all, when your pet behaves, their access to outside opportunities is limitless.

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The Scoop on Diet-Associated Heart Disease in Dogs

Dr. Amanda Slusky

In July of 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that reports of a type of heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs had increased in breeds not typically prone to this disease. DCM is a heart condition where the chambers of the heart enlarge (dilate) and the heart muscle wall thins. As a result, the heart’s ability to pump blood forward decreases. Eventually, this will result in heart failure. As far as we can tell, there appears to be a link between the reports and the diet these dogs are being fed, though this link has not yet been proven.

Veterinary nutritionists, cardiologists, and the FDA are all working together to gather as much information as possible to come to an understanding of the underlying cause. Reports from veterinary cardiologists list certain ingredients such as peas, lentils, potatoes, tapioca, barley, chickpeas, etc. as primary components of these atypical DCM dogs’ diets for the majority of their lives.

The majority of diets containing these ingredients fall under what Dr. Lisa Freeman of Tufts University calls “BEG” diets, or boutique diets consisting of exotic ingredients, or grain-free diets. Initially, the thought was that these diets provided low blood taurine levels. However, many dogs eating a boutique, grain-free, or exotic ingredient diet had taurine levels within the normal range. The cause of these problems is unclear. It is not know if these problems are caused by deficiencies in other micronutrients or if they are caused by something in the way these diets are processed/digested.

The 3 main sub-categories DCM has been broken down into are:

  • Genetic – more commonly found in giant-breed dogs. For instance, Boxers, Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards and Doberman Pinschers. This category of DCM is not the main focus of the recent concerns.
  • Diet-related DCM with normal blood taurine levels
  • Diet-related (taurine-deficient) DCM

Symptoms of DCM

Symptoms of DCM include decreased energy, coughing episodes, difficulty breathing, and collapse. If your pet ever experiences difficulty breathing or collapse, this is absolutely an emergency. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

If you are concerned about your pet’s heart, please reach out to your veterinarian. They can perform a physical examination to listen to your pet’s heart for abnormalities. Together you can come up with a diagnostic plan if indicated.

So now that this information is out there, what do we do with it?

As a result of the new information, our current recommendation for healthy, asymptomatic pets, is to discontinue feeding diets that are grain-free, formulated by “boutique” companies that do not employ a veterinary nutritionist, or diets that contain exotic ingredients (i.e. duck, venison, kangaroo, etc) unless specifically recommended by your veterinarian. Please reach out to your veterinarian to discuss the best diet for your pet. Diet changes should always be made slowly over a minimum of 7-10 days.

These recommendations may not apply to every pet. If you have worked closely with your veterinarian to determine a diet plan, it is likely still going to be considered safe for them.

Dr. Lisa Freeman mentions in in her blog that there are feelings of guilt often associated with learning that what you have been feeding your pet may not be what is best for them. We understand how much love goes into choosing the “best” bag of pet food at the store. Navigating the complexities of the pet food industry, and what that label really means can be difficult. Please reach out to your veterinarian, they are a great resource to help pick the best diet for your pet.

BEG diet

Find the initial FDA report here: https://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/newsevents/cvmupdates/ucm613305.htm

Find the FDA frequently-asked questions here:
https://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/resourcesforyou/animalhealthliteracy/ucm616279.htm

Find the referenced blog, written by Dr. Lisa Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist out of Tufts University here: http://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2018/11/dcm-update/

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Sittin’ Pretty: Pet Grooming at Animal Medical Hospital

Pet grooming supports pet health.

All pets need to be groomed from time to time, and although your pet may not enjoy the process, they probably love the aftermath. At Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care, we believe in the power of pet grooming to support the health and longevity of our animal companions. That’s why we’re proud to offer top-quality pet grooming services right here at our facility.

Keep reading to learn more about why this element of pet care is so important.

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Winter Pet Safety Precautions Can Really Save the Day

Practicing winter pet safety can protect pets from antifreeze poisoning and more!

Each season delivers its own set of risks to animals. From parasites to allergies, heat stroke to poisoning, the calendar year is simply full of potential threats to your pet’s welfare. It’s easy to assume that winter pet safety involves basic regard for dangerous dips in temperature, but there is more to it than that.

Like anything else, the more pet owners know about the possible pitfalls awaiting their best friends, the better. Let’s get started!

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