Smart Shopping for your Senior Pooch

Your senior dog may not be as quick to chow down on that bowl of food as the old days or as lightning fast when playing a game of fetch as he used to be, but there are still plenty of tail-wagging memories to be made during your pup’s golden years. To help your dog live those years to the fullest, there are many products specifically designed for senior canines to ensure good nutrition and comfort as your dog matures in age.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for an aging dog:

•When selecting treats and food, look for labels on packaging that indicate use for senior dogs. Most senior dog foods are lower in fat and higher in fiber to support the nutritional needs of older dogs. Sometimes, you can even combine the tastiness of a treat with healthy benefits by using  products like Greenies Senior Treats, which support good dental and joint health for aging dogs.

•There are several nutritional supplements at vetdepot available to help combat health problems commonly seen in older dogs. There are supplements to support everything from good joint health to bladder control. Consult with your pet’s veterinarian with any questions about which supplements may be beneficial for your aging dog.

•Many canines end up taking some sort of medication during their lifetime, especially during their later years. Trying to get your stubborn pooch to swallow a pill isn’t always easy, but luckily there are a couple of easy solutions. A pill pocket can be used to hide medication and allow for easy pet med administration. A pill shaver can also be used to grind up medication to be mixed in with pet food.

•Just because Fido is getting up there in years doesn’t mean he’s done playing. Your dog probably still gets plenty of joy out of playtime and an appropriate level of exercise is essential to good health at any age. Kong makes a specially designed version of their classic toy for seniors, made with a softer rubber. Look for toys like this one that are gentler on the teeth and jaw. Plush toys might also be a smart choice for aging dogs that may need a little extra comfort.

Dogs offer us years of loyal companionship and in return, we want to keep them healthy and happy for as long as possible. Whatever products you choose to buy for your aging canine companion, just remember to keep your dog’s changing needs in mind.

National Take Your Cat to the Vet Week

August 16 – 22, 2010 is National Take Your Cat to the Vet Week.  This campaign is an effort to raise awareness about the importance of annual feline checkups to keep your cat healthy.  Dr. Michele Gaspar, DVM DABVP (Feline) and National Veterinary Consultant to Feline Pine company, says, “Cats are often subtle in their signs of discomfort or illness. As a result, many owners miss early warning signs of a problem. When caught early enough, many diseases can be treated so that a cat enjoys a good quality of life. When left too long, many illnesses progress and so does the intensity – and cost – of treatment.”

People often consider cats as low maintenance, but they still need to be checked up on to catch any underlying issues that may be causing them pain or discomfort.  In a national survey conducted by the company Feline Pine, they found that less than 50 percent of cat owners take their cats for annual checkups and they wanted to help improve this.  This week is sponsored by Feline Pine; America’s best selling all-natural cat litter available at    Veterinarian offices and cat specialists have joined in promoting the week in 15 cities across the nation from NYC to Miami to San Francisco.

Deadly Danger of Leaving Your Dog in a Parked Car

The Associated Press recently reported on an incredible story about a dog who took matters into his own paws.  Max, an 11-year-old chocolate Lab, was accidentally left in the car after running some errands with his owner on a 90 degree day in Pennsylvania.  Max honked the horn multiple times until his owner finally realized he had been left in the car. Max was immediately given water and rushed to the vet, where he fully recovered from the ordeal.

Unfortunately, many stories about dogs being left in cars don’t have happy endings.  Max was a lucky pooch because it only takes a few minutes for an animal to collapse of heatstroke in an enclosed vehicle.  According to PETA, a car can exceed 160 degrees in just minutes on a 78 degree day.  Much of the time, parking in the shade or cracking a window slightly is not enough. Heatstroke is very dangerous and can cause irreversible brain damage and death. To avoid this tragedy, it’s best to leave pets at home on warm days.

If you see an animal in distress in a parking lot, have the owner paged inside the store. If there is not a prompt response, call the police because they can unlock a car door. Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy panting, glazed eyes, dizziness, lack of coordination and vomiting.

Salmonella Fear Triggers Iams and Eukanuba Recall

Procter and Gamble expanded last week’s recall of Veterinary Formulas Feline Renal Dry Food to include several more types of specialized pet food. The recall was triggered by FDA testing that revealed Salmonella in certain lots of Feline Renal food. P&G extended the recall to include other types of pet food as a precautionary measure because the food is all manufactured in the same facility. If you have purchased any of the following products, discard open bags immediately. Signs of salmonella poisoning include lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, decreased appetite and abdominal pain. Contact your veterinarian if your pet experiences these symptoms. For more recall information, contact Proctor and Gamble at (877) 340-8823
Recalled products include:  Iams Veterinary Dry Formulas (all sizes and varieties, all UPC codes, best by date 01Jul10-01Dec11); Eukanuba Naturally Wild (all sizes and varieties, all UPC codes, best by date 01Jul10-01Dec11); Eukanuba Pure ( all sizes and varieties, all UPC codes, best by date 01Jul10-01Dec11); Eukanuba Custom Care Sensitive Skin (dry food all sizes, all UPC codes, best by date 01Jul10-01Dec11).