Winter is arriving! A few things to remember

We live in Montana and have already had a “dusting” of snow.

The pack and I are very lucky, we live inside our home and have a big yard to exercise in when we want to go outside.

A few things to remember for the cold winter months ahead.

Water in our bowls outside will freeze.  Always keep it fresh.

Anti freeze may help keep your car running, but it is lethal to us.  For some reason we are attracted to it’s “sweet” smell.  Make sure that your vehicle is not leaking.  When storing it, keep it out of our reach.

Do not leave us outside in the cold too long.  This can lead to exposure problems.

Remember to “tap” the hood of your vehicle before starting it.  Some kitty’s find a warm engine area a place to spend a cold winters night and could lose their life or a limb once your vehicle is started.

Grooming!  Have your mom or dad either trim around your feet and long feathers or have them take you to the groomer to do it.  After playing in the snow we tend to get “snowballs” between our toes and they hurt; not to mention the mess we make tracking in all of that extra snow.  Keep us brushed or combed, water and fur, the perfect combination for mats on us long haired kids.

Because our house is so nice and warm (we have a wood stove) our mom gives us omega fatty acid supplements to help our skin and coats from becoming dry and brittle.

Those of you who celebrate Christmas, remember while tinsel and lights look pretty on the tree, they are harmful to dogs and cats if we get a hold of them.  Please decorate with us in mind.

Holiday celebrations with lots of food are my favorite!  Though the heavy gravies, bones from meat and fatty foods may taste really good going down to us, they will almost surely cost mom and dad a trip to the vet.  Mom gives us a little bit of turkey, cranberry sauce veggies and sweet potatoes.  Like I said, just a little bit!  It is just enough to let us share in the holiday celebration.

Chocolate seems to be a big holiday treat, but it is a NO, NO for us.  However, this stuff they call Carob is really good and is safe for us to eat.

Rock salt and other chemicals used to melt the ice can really dry out the pads on our paws and in some cases be toxic to us.  Be careful when selecting a product.  Shoveling & sweeping with a broom is good exercise mom says.

These are just a few things to think about this winter.

Be safe & Happy Holidays,

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Skin Irritation Number One Reason for Veterinary Visits

Top reasons for dog veterinary visits according to DVM Magazine:

Skin Conditions Two of the Top Three Reasons Dogs Visit Veterinarian

Following is a list of the top reasons for veterinary visits in 2012 along with appropriate, effective Freckled Paws natural | herbal | holistic treatment if applicable:

  • Atopic or Allergic Dermatitis: Extremely common skin disease is second only to flea allergy dermatitis in frequency. Remedy: Freckled Paws Hot Spot Cream
  • Otitis Externa: Otitis externa is an inflammation of the outer ear and ear canal. Remedy: Animal Essentials Herbal Ear Rinse.
  • Pyoderma / Hot Spot: A hot spot is a skin infection that results when bacteria over run the skin’s defenses as a result of damage to the skin surface. This is most often started by the dog chewing or scratching at the site. Staphylococcus intermedius, found in dog’s mouth and on their skin, is the most common infection found in hot spots. Remedy: Freckled Paws Hot Spot Oil or Freckled Paws Hot Spot Cream.
  • Benign Neoplasia: Neoplasia is the abnormal growth or division of cells. These are basically lumps found on your furkid. Remedy: Consult your veterinarian. You will most likely want the tumor aspirated to determine whether it is actually benign. You can also make the decision on whether to surgically remove the growth or simply leave it in place.
  • Gastropathy: Gastropathy is a term covering disease of the dog’s stomach. Remedy: Consult your veterinarian. Prevention is the best defense in our opinion. Feed your furkid a high quality commercial dog food or homemade dog food. We also recommend supplementing with Animal Essentials Digestive Enzymes & Probiotics.
  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a group of mechanical abnormalities involving degradation of joints. Symptoms include joint pain, tenderness and stiffness. Remedy: Nature’s Way Joint Support Blend (coming soon!).
  • Enteropathy: Protein losing Enteropathy is a condition that affects a dog’s ability to process and utilize proteins as food passes through the intestinal tract. There are a number of diseases that can damage the intestines enough to cause this protein loss. Remedy: Consult your veterinarian. Condition could be caused by serious disease such as cancer. Prevention includes feeding a quality diet with the addition of Animal Essentials Digestive Enzymes & Probiotics.
  • Cystitis or Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Both conditions involve the urinary tract. Left untreated the conditions worsen. UTI can spread throughout the urinary system and eventually could cause damage to the kidneys. Urine may be dark and/or contain blood. The dog may cry went urinating, due to burning pain sensation and they may start and then stop before their bladder is empty. They may also try and hold themselves until they can’t hold it anymore and they might start urinating in the house. Remedy: Prevention is the best medicine. A quality diet along with always having water available is advisable. Tinkle Tonic is an award winning herbal urinary tract support product for pets. 2010 BUZZILLIONS REVIEWERS’ CHOICE AWARD WINNER! Choose from 1 oz to 16 oz size.
  • Periodontitis / Dental Disease: Dental cleanings are one of the “bread & butter” procedures for veterinary clinics. The dog is placed under anesthesia while the teeth are cleaned. Remedy: Save yourself money along with the risk of placing your furkid under anesthesia. SeaDent is truly a remarkable product that cleans your furkid’s teeth with the action of special enzymes. SeaDent is one product EVERY dog should be using! Your furkid will never need another expensive Dental again.
  • Soft Tissue Trauma: The possible causes of soft tissue trauma are endless. You don’t want to ignore any soft tissue trauma, though, as a small wound can present big problems if not treated properly. Remedy: Freckled Paws Wound Butter.Freckled Paws Wound Butter is a blend of healing herbs and oils and contains powerful antiseptic properties as well.

Many of these conditions can be prevented with a high quality diet. Most can be successfully prevented and treated with natural holistic products.

Freckled Paws Products are especially effective healing skin conditions and wounds. Our Products are a proprietary blend of organic, natural oils that are all human food grade and do not contain alcohol. None of the ingredients are toxic, unlike several other brands.

Animal Essential products are made in Victor, Montana. Greg and Mary Tillford, founders of Animal Essentials, co-wrote the book Herbs for Pets. They are considered among the most knowledgeable pet herbalists. The company, Animal Essentials, produces all their products to maintain high quality standards not possible when manufacturing is farmed out.

We sell only the highest quality products. We will never compromise our high standards to increase profits. We take our tagline, “Where your Furkid is our Furkid” to heart. The well being of the furkids is our number one priority and always will be!

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So Long My Good Friend; John Petersen, DVM

I was deeply saddened to get the news that my dear friend Dr. John Petersen passed away a few weeks ago.

When I was the Executive Director at Mission Valley Animal Shelter Dr. John was such a mentor to me. He expanded my knowledge in the proper healthcare and nutrition of dogs and cats. I grew as a person while working with him.

Due to the limited funding within the shelter it wasn’t always prudent to treat the animals for certain illness as there were many more healthy ones waiting out there. This sounds cruel, but it is a fact of life in small town animal shelters and Dr. John knew and understood this.

There were many times I would discuss a case over the phone with him and he advised me as to the proper treatment. He was always available to me. Dr. John was a constant source of reassurance whenever I had to make a difficult decision. He understood my compassion for the animals and the shelter. He quenched my thirst for knowledge.

Dr. John had a heart as big as Mt. Everest. He was a very kind, respected, compassionate man. He truly made a difference in the lives of many animals and their guardians.I recall a Friday evening at 9:30 at night I called him because Nemo was vomiting blood and seemed to be distressed. He told me to meet him at the clinic and basically, he saved Nemo’s life.

Dr. John was Becky’s primary vet when we lived in Ronan. He removed several cancerous tumors at different times. Her last operation was after we moved and we drove six hours round trip because I wanted her to see “her” doctor. Thank you Dr. John for helping my dear sweet “granny face” as you liked to call her.

I will never forget the day when I took a shelter dog down to be examined (which he usually never charged us for), I told he and his wife that I would be moving as my husband accepted a job in a different county. I was focused on the dog. I didn’t want to look into their eyes and sure enough I looked up at them to see them both in tears. We all cried, hugged and told each other how happy we were our paths had crossed.

I will be forever in your debt Dr. John. I truly loved and respected you. You were someone to look up to and admire.

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Bitterroot Valley Experiencing Large Number of Coughing Dogs

here has been a substantial increase in the number of dogs presenting with a dry, hacking cough in the Bitterroot Valley. Most are current on their bordatella vaccinations. Consequently, dogs are at risk even though they are current on their vaccinations. The dogs are, obviously, contagious prior to being symptomatic as well.

Is it Kennel Cough?

If this current bug is a form of kennel cough, it is a strain not included in the latest bordatella vaccination. Bordatella vaccinations, similar to human flu vaccines, are dependent on inclusion of the strain currently in the environment to be effective. The Bordatella vaccine also contains Parainfluenza, which is what several of the local veterinarians believe is causing the current infections.

Infected dogs can have the virus for a week to 20 days before symptoms appear. The infection being a virus versus a bacterial infection is virtually impossible to kill. The best an owner can do is provide supportive care. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed, though their efficacy is questionable. Cough suppression medication is the most effective thing you can give to your dog. Your veterinarian can prescribe a cough medication or give you the proper dosage amount for an over the counter, human cough medication. The infected dogs we have seen are not running a fever. If your dog does run a fever, consult your veterinarian for proper treatment.

Symptoms

You’ll know if your dog becomes infected. They will start coughing as though there is a foreign object in their throat they are trying to expel. The cough is extremely violent from the start. The dogs we have seen do not have a fever or any additional symptoms. Their energy level as well as their appetite appears unaffected and they seem perfectly healthy other than the horrible cough they present. The cough is more prevalent when the dog is up and moving around.

Transmission

Dogs become infected by inhaling the virus from an infected dog. As stated previously, dogs appear contagious prior to the onset of a cough. Dog parks, veterinary clinics and boarding facilities, like Freckled Paws K9 Hostel are environments where dogs come into close contact with potentially infected dogs. And since the vaccine doesn’t appear to provide any protection the only way to ensure your dog doesn’t become infected is to keep them from having any contact with other dogs.

The Good News

The good news is the cough appears much worse than the actual infection. We have been in close contact with several local veterinarians and have not had any reports of infected dogs failing to heal within a week to two weeks after initial symptoms show up. The infected dog’s lungs remain clear and there doesn’t appear to be any fever associated with the disease.

Be aware if you have reservations with us or any other boarding facility, in the immediate future, your dog is at increased risk of contracting this virus. Even a trip to your veterinarian or a dog park increases the chances of your dog becoming infected. There is nothing we can do to prevent transmission of the virus other than making dog owners aware that it is prevalent in the Bitterroot Valley at this time. We also are not accepting dogs that are actively coughing into our facility.

If you have additional questions, you can contact us or your veterinarian.

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Juicing: Save your Pulp for your Pup

All of us “juicers” know that you always have lots of delicious and nutritious pulp left.

Share the pulp with your pup!

Here are some of the “Biscuit Gangs” favorites:

Vegetables:

 

  • carrots
  • celery
  • tomatoes
  • parsnips

 

Fruits:

 

  • blueberries
  • raspberries
  • currants
  • strawberries
  • bananas
  • cantaloupe
  • apples
  • watermelon
  • pomegranates
  • mangos

 

When giving your pup pulp, remember to not over do it.  I usually add three to four tablespoons to their kibble depending on their size, i.e. Star at the moment is around 25# so I give her two tablespoons.

When juicing, whenever possible use organic fruits & vegetables.

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Stop Your Dog’s Fear of Thunderstorms & Fireworks

Many pet owners have experienced the frustration of dealing with their dog’s fear of loud noises. Countless dogs are lost around the Fourth of July holiday due to fireworks. Thunderstorms can also cause dogs to run away from home among other erratic behaviors. Dogs have been known to jump through windows, run into traffic or simply disappear never to be seen again. It is distressing to watch your furkid in a pure panic attack when thunder booms or the neighbors light fireworks.

There are several remedies to calm dogs that exhibit a fear of loud noises. Rescue Remedy, Calming Essence, Five Flower Formula and Rock Rose are popular treatments while some dogs are prescribed anti-anxiety medication such as buspirone. Sedation isn’t an effective treatment. A sedated dog is a terrified dog simply too drugged to react. We have had less than satisfactory results with extract blends like Rescue Remedy, Calming Essence etc.

Our Favorite Treatment for Furkids with Noise Phobia

We have had excellent results with Tranquility Blend from Animals’ Apawthecary. Tranquility Blend is similar to Rescue Remedy, Calming Essence and Five Flower Formula in that it is a blend of plant extracts. This particular blend has worked wonders for us, though. Simply give the dog 20-40 drops of the formula. Our dogs and clients dogs have calmed down within 5 minutes. They don’t act even slightly drugged. We don’t know what it is about this formula but it works. So, if you have had less than satisfactory results with other homeopathic blends and don’t want to drug your furkid into a coma, give Tranquility Blend a try. We believe you will be happy with the results and like ourselves, you won’t be caught without a bottle on hand.

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Recognize and Beat Canine Compulsive Disorder

Canine compulsive disorder (CCD) affects many breeds. The most susceptible seem to be the hunting breeds. Other breeds that may suffer from these afflictions would be the working class dogs. Genetic predisposition is a major factor in whether a dog might develop canine obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Why did this happen?

Good breeders have done their best to breed this problem out of their pedigree. Unfortunately, we still live in a society where many dogs come from “puppy mills” that care little if anything about breeding out undesirable traits. I was a “puppy mill” dog. I have a severe under bite along with a pee pee problem and I am a shadow & light chaser.

Most canine compulsive disorders are brought on by boredom. Others may manifest themselves through stress. To treat the compulsion, you must treat the cause. If you are simply looking for a house pet then hunting and working breeds are probably a poor choice.

What is happening?

Dogs are self-groomers and predators, which are behaviors that can become obsessive with them. These compulsions are performed over and over again and out of context. Prevention of dogs from engaging in their particular compulsions can create anxiety in its own right. As previously stated, these otherwise normal behaviors become obsessive. The one thing you should remember is your dog is not trying to annoy you, he/she is trying to tell you that something is not right.

Some manifestations

Lick granuloma in the canine is equivalent to hand washing in the human. Affected dogs lick their wrists or hocks excessively, over-cleaning or over grooming themselves until the skin in these regions becomes ulcerated.

Spinning, self biting and shadow & light chasing are predatory traits taken to extremes. If allowed to continue, these compulsive behaviors can become so repetitive that a dog will forgo food and water. Fortunately, my parents recognized, while sometimes funny and entertaining, my shadow chasing was not normal behavior.

Have your veterinarian rule out other medical conditions

Medical conditions such as skin infections and tumors can manifest themselves in repetitive behaviors. It is wise to rule out these types of conditions before labeling a behavior as CCD. A few simple tests can rule out other underlying conditions. Your veterinarian may run blood work and x-rays in addition to a physical examination.

Treatment for Canine Compulsive Disorder

If the problem is determined to be CCD, a combination of drug therapy and behavior modification are usually effective treatment. The two drugs are commonly prescribed are Reconcile and Clomicalm. While behavior modification alone can be successful, drug therapy without behavior modification is useless.

The key to behavior modification is consistency. Punishment is likely to lead to more stress and increased compulsion. Traditional training methods and items such as shock collars may stop one behavior but frequently another unwelcomed behavior will manifest because there has been no treatment of the underlying cause.

Whether the cause is boredom or stress, spending more time interacting with your dog is important. Increasing the dogs exercise is also effective. And instead of punishing the compulsive behavior, redirect your dogs attention to some other activity. You would be amazed how simply calling your dog over for a good petting will take their mind off the compulsive behavior.

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