Raising Awareness of Pet Diabetes

11-29-13

While you may know that diabetes is on the rise in American humans, you may be surprised to find out that our pets are suffering more and more from diabetes and obesity too. In fact, in dogs alone, the rate of diabetes has tripled over the last thirty years, according to health company Merck, who makes dog insulin drugs.

Since this month is officially Pet Diabetes Month, there’s no better time to learn the ways that you can help detect and even prevent diabetes in your own beloved companion.

What is Pet Diabetes?

Diabetes occurs when an animal’s body makes too little insulin or improperly processes insulin. Insulin helps a body convert food into glucose, which is sent to nourish and energize cells.

When there is a shortage of insulin, cells can’t take up glucose and insulin levels build up in the blood stream, causing hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia, also known as high blood sugar, can cause health complications in cats and dogs if not properly treated.

What are the Signs of Diabetes in Pets?

The main signs of diabetes include:

  • Lethargy
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent Urination

A sign of advanced diabetes is an increased level of hunger all while loosing weight.

Dogs may have cloudy eyes due to cataracts, while cats may have weakness in their back legs.

Risk Factors of Diabetes

There are several known factors that increase the risk of diabetes in pets. These include:

  • Age: middle-age to older dogs and cats are at higher risk
  • Obesity
  • Breed
  • Sex

For dogs in particular, middle-aged females and obese dogs are more likely to develop diabetes. The ASPCA recommends spaying female dogs as a way to help prevent diabetes, since female hormones have an affect on blood sugar levels.

Prevention and Treatment

While you can’t control your pet’s advancing age or sex, you can help them limit their risk by controlling their weight. Help them stay fit by allowing plenty of opportunities for exercise, limiting table scraps, and controlling the intake of pet food.

Even if your dog or cat does develop diabetes, it is considered a generally treatable condition in both animals. Many times cats and dogs are put on diets to help them stabilize their blood sugar levels, as well as being given daily insulin injections, just like people with diabetes.

The pet owner can give these injections at home, but they need to be given at the same time every day, as do the pet’s meals as a way to control blood sugar.

Dogs and cats with diabetic conditions that are properly treated can still lead happy and healthy lives. At Pet Super Store, we offer a wide array of pet products that help increase the quality of life for any cat or dog, diabetic or not. Pet owners can check out our Smarty Pets Knowledge Center to learn more about their faithful friends.

All about Ticks

Tick removal

For many reasons, dogs are highly vulnerable to ticks. Because ticks carry diseases like Lyme disease, it is important to keep our dogs free of ticks.

Ticks are found around the world, but are more highly concentrated in tropical areas. They prefer warm and humid climates, which facilitates metamorphosis. Lower temperature climates hinder the tick’s growth from egg to larva.

How Ticks Find a Home

Since ticks can’t fly or jump, they must lie in wait for their host. In what is referred to as questing, ticks cling to leaves and grass using their back four legs while holding their front four legs outstretched, waiting to grasp onto a host.

While some ticks begin feasting on their hosts’ blood within minutes, others wander about searching for thin skin such as the ear area. Once the tick has found its spot, it cuts into the skin’s surface and feeds on blood.

Preventing Ticks on your Dog

Killing Ticks on your Dog

When your dog has a few acres to roam every day, it’s is almost impossible to prevent ticks completely. These dogs are lucky to have so much room to explore, but they also need to be checked regularly so that any tick found can be promptly removed.

Many pet owners use a pesticide product that kills ticks containing acaricides. This product either kills them on contact or works its way into the dog’s bloodstream, which poisons any tick attempting to feed.

One of the principal advantages of acaricides is the fact they prevent your dog from getting any tick-borne diseases.

Due to cats’ high sensitive to many different chemicals, always talk to your vet before using any insecticides or repellants on your furry feline.

Repelling Ticks from your Dog

Some pet owners also use a tick repellent product so that ticks are either unable to attach themselves or are killed by coming into contact with the repellant. Either way, repelling ticks results in preventing bites in the first place, which in turn, prevents tick-borne diseases.

Killing Ticks in their Habitat

Ticks will thrive when the following two conditions are met:

  1. High humidity (so that the ticks remain hydrated), and
  2. A dense population of hosts to feed upon.

Areas with a population of deer, sandy soil, water, hardwood trees and are ideal habitats for ticks that transmit Lyme disease.

There are insecticides you can use to treat specific areas in your yard that are likely dwelling spots for ticks. Be cautious and be sure to follow any warnings on the label concerning pets. Sometimes merely keeping weeds to a minimum helps a lot.

Removing a Tick

A quick and easy way to remove a tick is by using a pair of tweezers. Try to place the tweezers as close to the skin as possible, and then pull straight out without squeezing. The goal is to remove the entire tick without leaving the head in the skin, which can then cause an infection.

Be sure to clean the area well with a disinfectant after removing the tick. It is a good idea to store the tick in case your dog shows signs of infection later. If you were unable to remove the entire tick, consult your vet for assistance.

Pet parents must be diligent in their dogs’ health. Because there isn’t a vaccine for every tick-borne disease your dog is susceptible to, keeping a tick preventive product on-hand and on your dog is extremely important.

You can also consider an electric dog fence to keep your four-legged friend in a certain area less prone to ticks. Avoiding areas where ticks are more likely to be (…like deep woods) is another practical way to minimizing ticks on your dog.

Pet Super Store also carries a variety of tick and flea products to help you keep your dog pest free.

Keeping Your Dog’s Teeth Clean: 3 Steps to Take

breath

Any dog owner knows that from time to time our furry friend’s breath can, well, stink. And while stinky breath is a good reason to attend to his oral hygiene, there are other health reasons for practicing good dental hygiene. In fact, 85% of dogs over the age of two suffer from dental disease. As a result they may suffer from:

  • Tartar accumulation

  • Gingivitis

  • Loss of teeth

The best way to prevent these problems is to begin taking care of your dog’s teeth when a puppy. Reward your puppy well when he behaves during tooth care. This will get your dog use to having his teeth examined and brushed from an early age, and will help him associate it as a generally enjoyable activity.

Even if your dog’s not a puppy, it’s never too late to start caring for your dog’s teeth. Regardless of when you start, you should aim to:

  1. Brush your dog’s teeth: You should use a toothbrush and toothpaste made specifically for dogs. Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth twice a day, just like your own. While it may seem cumbersome, you can make it a special time just for you and your dog. If you can’t seem to get a twice a day brush in, try once a day instead, but no matter what, you should brush your dog’s teeth at least four times a week.

  1. Have your dog’s teeth examined by your vet biannually: You should take your dog to the vet twice a year for an examination, cleaning, and polish. Likely, your dog will require anethestia for this procedure, but his long-term dental health is worth the inconvenience.

  1. Consider other means of caring for your dog’s teeth. Some dogs, especially those who start later in life, will absolutely hate having their teeth brushed. If that’s the case with your dog, you can still find ways to help keep their teeth clean.

Oral rinses are available that you can add to your dog’s drinking water that will help kill bacteria and keep down plaque. Or your vet can prescribe you a kibble designed to help clean the teeth during chewing. All dogs can benefit from dental rawhides that are designed specifically for cleaning a dog’s teeth; just be sure not to give your dog bones, which can actually fracture your dog’s teeth.

We all know that it’s no fun to have dental pain and problems of our own. We can do our best to help make sure that our dogs don’t have to suffer the pain of poorly cared for teeth, and we can enjoy the benefit of a happy, fresh-breath friend.

 

World Rabies Day

PSS blog image 09-23-13September 28 is World Rabies Day. In honor of such, we would like to remind everyone how important it is to keep up with your pets’ shots.

Get Involved

Doing something for World Rabies Day is a way you can make a positive impact on your community. It doesn’t have to be a large event, maybe your goal is to just make others in your neighborhood or church family aware of the importance of pet vaccines.

The Global Alliance for Rabies Control has a wide range of free, downloadable resources such as posters, flyers, factsheets, videos and classroom materials.

There is also free advice to help you maximize publicity in the media.

And, after your event, we’d like to celebrate your achievements with you. Upload your photos, tell us how it went, and get those who participated to comment as well.

Share your pictures and stories with us and we’ll post them on our website. We would love to interview you and Blog about your event and how well it went.

What is Rabies?

Rabies, which is a virus that attacks the nervous system, kills virtually 100% of those infected who do not receive a vaccine, resulting in as many as 50,000 deaths worldwide.

Animals that have rabies are often dangerous and tend to bite, transferring the virus from the animal in its saliva.

Those who contract the virus experience rapidly progressing central nervous system symptoms such as anxiety, difficulty swallowing and seizures.

The United States has a relatively low occurrence of human rabies partially due to the excellent surveillance and prevention treatment of rabies vaccines in our pets and domesticated animals.

Short History of Rabies

The US experienced hundreds of reported cases of rabid animals, including dogs, in the early part of the 20th Century.

It was in 1898 that Los Angeles confirmed its first case of animal rabies, which was countered by a law requiring all dogs be muzzled in public. The following year, LA had its first human rabies death, a Pasadena man who had been bitten in the face by his dog.

While Emile Roux and Louis Pasteur introduced a new type of treatment called a vaccine in 1885, it isn’t clear whether the man received a vaccine.

However, in 1906 there was another rabies outbreak. This time, a rabid dog bit several other animals such as horses, hogs and other dogs before finally biting a man. All of the bitten dogs were immediately put down as were any of the other animals that developed signs of rabies while being quarantined.

The man was given the vaccine and survived.

Unfortunately, cases of rabies continued to increase. In 1937 there were 1,730 confirmed cases of canine rabies and three human deaths due to rabies in the county of LA.

And in 1956 a rabies vaccine was finally developed for dogs. As a requirement for licensing, LA law stipulated dogs had to have the rabies vaccination.

Cases of rabies seriously decreased in the years to come and are considered rare today. It is important to understand rabies is indigenous in wildlife, making it difficult to completely eradicate.

Rabies Today

So far this year, LA County has had 28 cases of rabid bats.  Wildlife, especially bats, continues to carry the virus and, unfortunately, can be a continual source of rabies for our pets and for us.

It is only because of the dedication of pet owners who diligently have their pets vaccinated that rabies is kept under control.

So keep up the good work maintaining current rabies vaccines in your pets. With everyone’s help, we can keep the rabies virus in check and continue our country’s excellent success in controlling this deadly disease.

Pet Super Store would be proud to feature your World Rabies Day event.

Pets Eating Non-Food Items Can Lead to Surgery

Canine Surgery

Dogs and cats are either finicky eaters or they eat everything in sight—even non-food items.

Lots of pets chew on a variety of objects, but if you have a pet that literally eats the chewed off pieces, you could find yourself with a large vet fee to remove the item(s).

Here’s a list of objects veterinarians report removing from family pets:

  • 5 pounds of rocks
  • 10-12 feet of yarn from a rug
  • Phones & other small electronics
  • Small ball
  • Small clothing (socks are number 1)
  • Coins (111 pennies eaten by a 13-year-old Jack Russell terrier)
  • Jewelry
  • Condoms
  • A new No. 2 pencil with an eraser
  • Forks and blades
  • A Mickey Mouse hat

Objects swallowed like a rock or a small ball may need surgery to remove it from the pet’s stomach, but fabric and items that easily tear are much riskier.

Vets perform hundreds of pet surgeries every year to remove small articles of clothing and other objects from pets’ stomachs and intestines.

While it is common practice to remove non-food items out of dog and cats, it also can be dangerous.

For example, clothing and fabric items ingested don’t appear on X-rays.

So, how can you tell if your pet has ingested something she shouldn’t have? Within 48 hours, a pet that has consumed a piece of clothing will develop symptoms including:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Depression

When detected early, a vet can remove the item from inside the animal and everything is usually fine. If not, the pet’s intestines will start to die because blood can’t get through. Sometimes removing the intestine is an option.

If left untreated, the problem can be fatal because of dehydration or bacteria leaking into the stomach, causing peritonitis.

And surgeries to remove or dislodge things that pets swallow are not cheap: $2,500 to $5,000.

It’s important for pet owners to know the personality of their pets. For example, puppies are more apt to swallow things than older dogs. So, don’t leave things around that they like to swallow.

Also, for pet owners who keep flower bouquets in the house or growing outside the house, eating just one lily can kill a cat. Preservative packets added to the water in the vase to help keep them fresh can also make animals sick if they drink it.

Not all non-food items eaten by dogs and cats need surgically removed:

  • Sticks
  • Pinecone pieces
  • Small plastic or rubber pieces
  • Weeds & grass

While ingesting these items does not usually require surgery, your pet will display the symptoms listed above, especially vomiting as that is a natural function in an attempt to rid the body of the foreign matter.

Try to purchase toys for your dog or cat that are less likely to be chewed into pieces and swallowed. The Nylabones are an excellent option. They can satisfy your dog’s need to chew.

Nylabone’s Durable Bone is built to withstand the most aggressive chewers. Made of flavor-infused solid nylon, it will last a long time. While your dog chews, he’ll create raised nylon bristles that help keep his teeth clean and his breath fresh.

Pet Super Store has several Nylabones and other chewy treats your pets are sure to love.

And with some of the top dog treat brands available like Kong, Nylabone, Dingo and StarMark, they are sure to be satisfied to the fullest.

To learn more about foods you should avoid feeding your pet, we invite you to check out our infographic “11 Foods Fatal to Fido” today.