Archive for the ‘Pet’ Category

Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Pets

Sunday, October 31st, 2021

Thanksgiving Safety Tips for PetsKeep in mind these Thanksgiving safety tips for pets during the holidays. Let’s make sure it’s not a dangerous time for your furry friend! Enjoy time with your family and avoid a visit to your veterinarian by following this guide:

 Cut the fat:

Fatty or rich foods like beef fat, poultry skin, and gravy can cause severe gastrointestinal issues in pets, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive gas
  • Serious diseases like pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a severe inflammation of the pancreas, an organ that produces digestive enzymes. On the mild side, pancreatitis can cause vomiting and a decrease in appetite, but can potentially be fatal.

If you want to treat your pet, it’s best to stick to a pet treat or a couple of small bites of lean poultry or unsalted/unbuttered vegetables.

Bones are bad:

Although bones from our holiday birds look good to pets, they are dangerous and can cause intestinal upset and may even splinter once digested.

Watch the packaging:

Make sure you dispose of any turkey or other food packaging quickly and appropriately.

All strings, plastic holders and bags that have a meat smell to them can be very attractive to a pet. Once ingested, these items can cause damage or blockage of the intestines.

Chocolate is particularly toxic:

Consider all the cookie and desserts offered during the holidays, many of which contain chocolate.

Chocolate is dangerous for dogs in particular because it contains theobromine, a caffeine-like ingredient that can be toxic to your pet. Dogs are not able to metabolize theobromine as quickly as humans. Complications include:

  • Digestive issues
  • Dehydration
  • Excitability
  • Slow heart rate

Later stages of theobromine poisoning include epileptic-like seizures and death. Keep your pet away from dark, semi-sweet and baker’s chocolate because they contain higher levels of theobromine.

We hope these Thanksgiving safety tips for pets were helpful! Check out Kissimmee Valley Feed’s Dog and Cat selection to treat them!

Source: Banfield

Fall Pet Allergies

Thursday, October 7th, 2021

Fall Pet Allergies: A Fluffy dogs sits outside next to a bush.Fall Pet Allergies: As the heat and humidity of the summer begins to wane, many of us look forward to the cooler, fall weather and, at least in the northeast, the beauty of the changing foliage. For many of us including our pets, this change of season is the start of fall allergies.

Cats and dogs have seasonal allergies (atopy or allergic dermatitis) to mold and pollen just like we do.  The main difference is the way in which they show it.  Allergies are a hypersensitivity or immune system overreaction against common, otherwise harmless substances in our environment.  These allergens get in through the skin because of abnormalities in the skin’s protective barrier and/or abnormalities to the matrix between skin cells. Similar to the way water seeps into a brick wall with crumbling mortar.

Common Causes and Symptoms:

Tree, grass, and plant pollens or mold commonly cause seasonal allergies.  In pets that have year-round environmental allergies, indoor allergens are likely to be the cause because they are exposed to them continuously.  In fact, 75% of dogs with year-round allergies are allergic to house dust mites, an indoor allergen.  Food allergies can also be the cause of year-round allergies, but that is a topic for another time.

Most dogs and cats typically begin showing seasonal allergies in the first one to three years of life.  The symptoms may initially be mild but may get worse over time.  Any dog can become allergic. Certain breeds are overrepresented (because there is a hereditary component).  They include the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, West Highland White Terrier, Bulldog, Boxer, Pug, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, and the Chinese Shar-Pei.

The most common symptoms include licking, scratching, chewing, and rubbing at the feet, face, hind end, armpits and abdomen.  In cats, they may present as a raised, crusty skin lesion called milliary dermatitis. Allergies can also present as recurrent skin and ear infections which can cause hairlessness, redness, thickening and pigmentation of the skin.  Bacteria causes these infections. As well as yeast which live naturally on the skin. When present, they can make the itching associated with atopy more intense.

The diagnosis of seasonal allergies is most frequently based on clinical signs and age of the patient.  A positive response to low-dose steroids can also aid in the diagnosis.  The specific allergens that your pet is allergic to can only be determined by a blood test or intradermal skin testing.

Treatment of environmental allergies is centered on controlling the itch or decreasing the immune system’s overresponse to normal allergens found in the environment.  Discuss treatments with your vet. They may include:

Avoiding allergens: 

This is usually not entirely possible.  Brushing the hair coat can help remove allergens from the fur and skin, reducing exposure. Wearing a t-shirt and/or foot protection may also limit exposure and absorption through the skin.  For dust mite allergies, washing beds frequently or using dust mite covers may help to limit exposure.  Avoiding stuffed toys can also help.  Using an air conditioner in the summer or a HEPA filter can reduce allergens.  Keeping pets indoors when mowing the lawn and stirring up allergens may help.  Frequent bathing with a hypoallergenic shampoo and using a conditioning rinse or spray to moisturize the skin is beneficial for many pets.

Medications:

Many medications are available to reduce the signs and symptoms but they do not get rid of the allergy.  They include antihistamines such as Benadryl® and Claritin®, omega 3 fatty acids high in EPA and DHA, steroids such as prednisone or dexamethasone, immune modulators such as cyclosporine, Janus kinase inhibitors such as Apoquel®, and a new soon to be available Interleukin-31 antibody.

Allergen Specific Immunotherapy: 

This treatment regimen is dependent upon allergy testing.  Once your pet’s allergens are identified, a specific “allergy vaccine” can be made to desensitize the immune system to specific allergens.  This is effective in about 70% of dogs and is most beneficial when started at a young age. Desensitization is injected. Oral therapy under the tongue is another option. It may require six months to two years to see a benefit.

If you think your pet may have fall allergies, speak with your veterinarian, so together, you can make the best treatment choice for you beloved companion.

To treat your pet to healthy food and/or toys, visit Kissimmee Valley Feed! Check out our dog/cat selection here.

Article Source: Nutrena

DIY Frozen Dog Treats

Friday, July 9th, 2021

DIY Frozen Dog TreatsBeat the heat with these DIY frozen dog treats!  Ice cream can be hard for dogs to digest because milk and cream are the base of most ice cream recipes. And for some dogs, the lactose in dairy can cause stomach upset and other digestive issues like gas or diarrhea. Not to mention that too many sweet treats can lead to weight gain.

But, that doesn’t mean your dog has to be left out of your icy, sweet treat. (Kissimmee Valley Feed also offers plenty of other sorts of dogs treats: check out our pet selection here.)

Instead of leaving your dog out of the frozen fun here are some recipes for ice cream alternatives. Feed these treats in moderation, adjust your dog’s everyday food calories accordingly, and feel free to modify the recipes with other dog-safe foods.

Hide and Seek Ice Cubes:

Any dog-safe tasty liquid can be turned into a frozen treat. Simply pour into an ice cube tray and freeze so your dog can have a cube or two whenever you like. Consider your dog’s taste buds and try something meat-flavored like no-salt-added beef or chicken broth. For an extra-special indulgence, create hide and seek treats.

First, only fill the trays halfway before freezing the liquid. Once frozen, place a small treat like a blueberry or piece of freeze-dried liver in the middle of the cube.

Second, fill the rest of the tray with the remaining liquid. Once the entire cube is frozen, there will be a tasty surprise waiting inside when your dog licks or chomps the ice.

For a longer-lasting treat, consider filling your dog’s hollow rubber toy. (Just be sure to block all the openings but one before pouring in the liquid. You can use a hard treat like a cookie as a cork or plug holes with peanut butter.) After filling, stand the toy upright in the freezer until the liquid is ice.  The chilly toy will cool down your dog on a hot day. Subsequently, the work it takes to get every last drop of broth will keep your dog occupied for longer than other types of treats. Plus provide welcome mental stimulation.

Soft Serve Treats:

For an ice cream alternative with the same texture and consistency as the real thing, try blending frozen fruit with plain, unsweetened yogurt. Watermelon is safe for dogs and most love it, so it makes a perfect choice for this recipe. Cantaloupe chunks are another excellent option. Be sure to remove the rind from either melon, and always feed sweet fruit treats in moderation, taking the calories they provide into account with your dog’s regular diet.

First, cut the fruit into bite-size chunks, removing any seeds as you go.

Second, place the fruit in the freezer for at least four hours until frozen. If you spread out the chunks on a cookie sheet or in a freezer bag it will prevent them from freezing into a single clump.

Once the fruit is frozen, place it in a food processor or blender with about ¼ cup of plain, unsweetened yogurt for every 2 cups of fruit.

Third, blend until smooth, tweaking the amount of fruit and yogurt until you have the thickness you would like. Place in a bowl, on top of your dog’s dinner, or stuff in a hollow rubber toy and serve right away. (For more of a challenge, stuff this mixture inside a hollow rubber toy, then pop it back in the freezer to solidify.)

Feeding frozen yogurt may seem no different than feeding your dog ice cream. However, unless they suffer from lactose intolerance, plain yogurt is safe to eat for most dogs. It’s usually better tolerated than ice cream, plus the bacterial cultures in yogurt are great for intestinal health. Just be sure to choose plain yogurt without any added flavors, fruit, sugars, natural sweeteners, or artificial sweeteners. Read the label carefully to be sure the product does not contain toxic Xylitol.

If your dog doesn’t handle yogurt well, consider other options. This includes lactose-free, dairy-based yogurt or dairy-free yogurt made from plant products. Coconut milk can also be used if liquid is needed to thin out a recipe. Always read the label to avoid any unsafe additives or ingredients.

Frozen Pupsicles on a Stick:

For a frozen fruit smoothie on a stick, make bananas the foundation of your dog’s treat.

First, slice a few bananas then freeze the pieces for several hours.

Next, mix the fruit with a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt in a food processor until you have a smooth base with the thickness of a milkshake. Now you can blend in whatever mix-ins your dog would love. Consider bacon bits for a meaty treat, frozen strawberries and blueberries for a red, white, and blue celebration.

Third, when all the ingredients are blended together, pour into ice pop molds or paper cups, insert a “stick” in the middle and freeze.

To release the pupsicles from the molds, let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes or run warm water over the mold for a few seconds. If you use paper cups, simply peel the paper off before serving. If you have a toy breed, try mini water cups instead of full-size drinking cups.

For the pupsicle sticks, you have many options. You can use bone-shaped dog biscuits, salmon skin rolls, bully sticks, or any other stick-shaped, edible chew. For a safe yet non-edible stick, consider nylon chew bones. The stick will give your dog something to hold on to while licking and chewing the pupsicle. Plus, chewing the stick will provide even more fun for your dog when the smoothie is gone.

Cold and Sticky:

Peanut butter is safe for dogs and unsalted, no-sugar-added varieties are a great addition to frozen dog treats. So long as you read the label to confirm there’s no Xylitol listed. The stickiness of the peanut butter gives recipes a thick, ice-cream-like texture.

First, mix a small amount with plain yogurt and fruit, or blend it with mashed bananas to add extra flavor and density to the final treat. If the peanut butter is too thick for the blender, warm it first or add some liquid such as meat broth to the mix.

You can also make peanut butter the star ingredient. Simply layer peanut butter in the bottom half of ice cube trays, ice pop molds, or paper cups.

Next, top off with a layer of yogurt or meat broth and freeze. Pop the layered frozen treat out of the tray or mold or peel off the paper cup before serving. For fun icy treats, consider using silicone baking molds in exciting shapes like dog bones or dinosaurs. The peanut butter should slide right out of the mold once it’s frozen, and your dog will love cooling down with a cold and sticky treat.

Enjoy these DIY Frozen Dog Treats!

Source: American Kennel Club

 

Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

Friday, June 11th, 2021

Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

For many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard on the Fourth of July with good friends and family—including furry friends.

While it may seem like a great idea to reward your pet with scraps from the grill and bring him along to watch fireworks, in reality, some festive foods and activities can be potentially hazardous to him.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offers the following tips:

Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma as a result. Consequently, death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.

Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.

Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates. Chlorates could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases.

Lighter fluid can be irritating to the skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.

Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements.

Keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt, and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.

Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions. Intestinal blockage could also occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.

Keep citronella candles, insect coils, and tiki torch oil products out of reach. Ingestion can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.

Never use fireworks around pets! Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets. Even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic, and other heavy metals.

Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, who can become frightened or disoriented by the sound. Please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities, and opt instead to keep them safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.

Be prepared in the event that your pet does escape by keeping your pets’ IDs up to date! It’s a good idea for all your animal companions—even indoor-only pets—to always wear a collar with an ID tag that includes your name, current phone number, and any relevant contact information.

In conclusion, July 1 is National ID Your Pet Day, which serves as an annual check-in to make sure your pets’ identification tags and microchip information is up to date.

Content by ASPCA

The Nutritional Needs of Large and Giant Dog Breeds

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

It’s no surprise that any dog extraordinary in size and stature has unique dietary needs. But those precise needs might look different than you’d imagine.

In order to ensure your dog can perform at its peak, it’s important to choose a recipe that matches their breed size.

Large breeds, classified as dogs who weigh between 51 and 90 pounds as full-grown adults, include German Shepherds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Great Danes, among many others. Dogs that weigh over 90 pounds at maturity are often considered giant breeds. Included in this designation are the St. Bernard, Newfoundland, and the Giant Mastiff.

Throughout all life stages, large and giant breed dogs have different nutritional requirements compared to small and medium breeds.

As puppies, bigger breeds grow quicker and over a longer period of time. As such, large breed puppy diets should contain lower levels of energy and protein. With the wrong type of food, large and giant breeds will grow faster than their bones can support them, causing orthopedic issues. Furthermore, bones that grow too fast are less dense and can lead to long-term issues.

For example, if large and giant breed puppies have a diet with a protein/fat ratio of 30/20, they could have excess levels of calcium and phosphorous. They are essential in certain quantities, but too much of these will negatively affect bone and joint development. This could potentially lead to bone disease and other orthopedic problems later on in life.

Instead, choose a recipe like Nutrena’s Puppy Large Breed Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe. It has a protein/fat ratio of 26/14 and optimal levels of calcium and phosphorous to support a slower growth rate so that their skeleton has time to develop enough strength to support their greater weight. Our Puppy Large Breed Recipe also contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate which support healthy joints.

While some small breed puppies are fully grown at nine months, it can take up to 18 to 24 months for large and giant breeds to mature. You’ll need to keep your larger breed dogs on puppy food longer than your small and medium breeds.

Weight management, joint health help large breed adults achieve longevity.

As dogs mature, nutritional concerns shift to weight management and joint health. As the dietary differences remain between small and large breeds into adulthood, the path to get there is also different.

Compared to smaller breeds, large breeds require fewer calories per pound, so they need a less nutrient and energy dense diet. Thus, these larger breeds need recipes with lower amounts of energy.

It’s especially important for joint health and longevity that they consume a recipe that meets their needs. The wrong balance can create weight management issues which could affect your dog’s health and longevity. Overweight adult dogs can develop a number of health issues including joint problems, osteoarthritis, diabetes, among many others. In addition, look for a recipe that has L-carnitine to help burn fat and support a healthy weight, and includes Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate which helps support joint health.

Whether your large breed is young or old, protecting livestock, herding, or doing a little bit of everything, they need a diet that helps them perform at their best.

This post was originally published at nutrinaworld.com.

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