Just as with humans, good nutrition and exercise are key to keeping your dog healthy and happy. And just as with human nutrition, the internet is teeming with information, reviews, and advice that can be overwhelming.
You’ll find yourself weeding through advertisements masked as advice, supplement companies trying to sell the next cure-all, and plenty of make-at-home advice. Some of this information is helpful, but some can be so poorly balanced that it may even harm your dog.
So, how do you know what’s best for your furry friend? Today, we’ll discuss some tips for dog nutrition that will keep your barking buddy healthy:
It’s one of the biggest debates you see in the pet food world: Canned food vs. dry, commercial vs. home prepared. Both wet, canned food and dry, kibble-style food have their advantages.
Canned food can have a higher percentage of protein, but it also spoils if left out too long, and can contribute to dental problems due to its’ soft, no-chewing-necessary form. Dry food is more convenient, less expensive overall, and can help keep teeth cleaner with each crunch. However, it can also contain more fillers, may not have as much protein as wet food, and the low moisture content means your dog will need to drink more water.
Most dogs will thrive on dry food, but some pickier eaters and those with specific dietary needs will need canned. Another popular feeding option is home-prepared food. Keep in mind that a high quality commercial pet food has science and research on it’s side, and is a sure safe bet for Copper’s health.
Homemade food is a viable option if your dog has severe allergies or other medical needs that require specific ratios or easy digestibility. If you are unsure about which type of food would be best for your dog, ask the veterinarian.
When you are switching food brands or even “flavors,” you’ll want to transition slowly to the new food, not just abruptly start a fresh new bag or can. Starting a new food can cause stomach upset and diarrhea.
Mix the new food in with the old food, starting with about 25% of the new food mixed with the old for a few days, then 50/50 old and new, and transition over the course of several days to even up to two weeks to the new food.
If Barkley seems like he is inhaling his food faster than a vacuum cleaner, you may want to take some steps to slow him down. Eating too fast can cause your dog to swallow air, which can lead to a potentially deadly condition called gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV).
Scattering food across the floor or patio, folding the kibble into a towel for them to “hunt” through, or using a slow feeder bowl or puzzle feeder can help.
Sure, Jim’s big brown beggin’ eyes are sweet, but giving in to his snack desires too often can lead to too much Jim around the middle. Obesity is just as much an epidemic in dogs as it is in humans.
Be sure you are feeding the right amount of food. Most brands offer a feeding chart on the bag based on weight. Of course, if you have questions regarding how much to feed, consult Dr. Brian Barron. Keep treats as special “sometimes” rewards, and when training, account for the additional treat volume when feeding their regular meals. If you feel that you dog is packing on the pounds, discuss weight control food options with your veterinarian.
Many “human” foods are fine to share with your dog, in fact some trainers use cheese, hot dogs, and chicken liver pieces as “high value” rewards, but be aware that not everything we eat is safe for your dog.
Some foods can simply give them an upset stomach and may cause vomiting and diarrhea, such as tree nuts, dairy in large quantities, onions, and garlic. Other people foods can make them extremely sick and even cause life threatening conditions and should be avoided at all costs. These include chocolate, grapes. alcohol, and the natural sweetener Xylitol.
The main takeaway here is that you should feed your dog a high quality diet, with moderate amounts of good quality treats, and be aware of any changes in their eating habits, weight, or behavior.
If you have questions about your dog’s specific nutritional needs, be sure to ask the veterinarians at Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic! We can advise you on the best food and treat options for your dog. During March 2019 just stop by and mention this article for 10% off any in-house treat purchase!
How healthy are your pet’s teeth and gums? They should be inspected at least once a year by a veterinarian. Dental care is a vital part of caring for your beloved pup or kitty.
Here are some facts that show the importance of taking your pet to the vet for regular dental checkups.
Pets don’t have to be old to show signs of dental disease. Fully 70% of cats and 80% of dogs over age 3 show early signs of oral disease.
Dental plaque buildup is a major contributor to the problem. This is why regular checkups and cleanings are so helpful in preventing more serious issues down the road.
The impact of dental health extends far beyond the mouth. Dental disease can lead to system-wide problems in your pet’s body.
Heart problems are sometimes related to a pet’s poor oral hygiene. Periodontal disease is associated with microscopic changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys that contribute to organ disease.
This means if your pet has diabetes, it can be worsened by a lack of dental care. The same goes for breathing and lung problems, like asthma.
Does your pet’s breath stink? It’s normal for dogs and cats to have breath that smells a little stinky, but a strong odor isn’t normal.
Breath that smells fishy or rotten, or much stronger than usual, should be checked by a vet. Your pet may have a throat infection or something stuck below the gumline, breeding bacteria. It’s important to rule out causes of bad breath and get to the root of the problem.
Tooth and mouth issues are one of the most common sources of day-to-day pain in pets. Yet pets are good at hiding pain, and may not show outward signs that something hurts.
Losing teeth – even baby teeth – can be painful for your pet. When a baby tooth doesn’t fall out completely or becomes impacted, it can cause swelling, infection, and persistent pain.
Often, you can’t see what exactly is causing them pain. It could be deep within the gum, or at the back of their mouth. The only sign of their pain could be panting, sleeping more than usual, or being skittish about being touched.
Regular checkups and cleanings give your vet an opportunity to examine your pet’s mouth thoroughly. During these appointments, they might spot something unexpected.
For example, your pet could have a cyst or tumor that formed over a period of months since your last appointment. Quick treatment could save your pet from disease and pain.
At Shackleford Veterinary Clinic, we believe in the importance of routine dental care. That’s why we’re offering you 10% off dental treatments and products during the month of February that support pet health.
Stop by and see us at 11601 Kanis Rd in Little Rock, or give us a call at 501-224-6998. We’ll treat your pet to a gentle, thorough dental exam and help preserve their dental health for a long and happy lifetime.
We would like to give a great big, “THANK YOU!” to everyone who came out and helped us celebrate the grand opening of our new clinic and hospital at our open house November 17th.
Behind the Operating Room Doors let Dr. Barron show off our new state-of-the-art diagnostic and surgery facilities as he “operated” on stuffed animals! And, the Kids’ Corner was the perfect spot to keep the little ones busy with decorating Christmas ornaments that they could take home for their trees.
The Humane Society of Pulaski County’s mobile adoption unit and Friends of the Animal Village were also on hand with adoptable pets, and we’re delighted to report that several went home to new families!
We had a few great opportunities for Christmas photos with the fur babies, and we had so much fun giving away plush pet toys to a few lucky drawing winners!
If you were unable to attend, please pay us a visit soon! We have an in-house diagnostic lab, which means no more agonizing wait for test results, as well as one of the only true “isolation rooms” in Central Arkansas to keep your pets safe and secure as we treat infectious diseases. You can also tour our newly expanded boarding facility. We schedule facility tours Mondays through Thursdays from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
This article was contributed by Chicago-area cleaning company Helping Hands Cleaning Services.
Having a new puppy in the house is so exciting. It is almost as exciting as having a new baby, and, if you ask many people, it might be just as hard! Dog owners love their puppies as they love their families, taking them to the vet to ensure they stay in good health. There, they can also have all their questions answered about how best to care for their new best friend.
Puppies give lots of love and lots of kisses, but they also make lots of messes! If you haven’t had a young dog in the house in a while (or ever) you should make sure to have a plan for keeping your house up to your usual standards.
Puppies are playful. In fact, puppyhood is the most energetic time of your dog’s life. They will want to run and jump and be into everything. Just like babies, toddlers, and kids, puppies are discovering the world around them. Here are the messes you’ll need to think about when you have a new puppy in the house
Potty training is hard, whether you walk on two legs or four. Puppies are going to have accidents, but you can try to limit the damage. Crate training is a great way to make sure that when you go out, your puppy not only feels safe, but also won’t poop or pee in the house. There are many different ways you can potty train your pup — consulting your vet is a good start. You’ll have to find the method that works for you and your dog.
Just remember, the best way to avoid accidents is to take your puppy out frequently, avoid leaving the dog alone to wander the house freely, and, if necessary, keep your puppy off the carpeted areas of your home. That will make any messes much easier to clean up.
Whether this is a concern for you depends on your dog’s breed. Some dogs have hair instead of fur, which means they don’t shed much at all.
If your dog has fur, remember that the best way to keep pet fur at a minimum is to sweep and vacuum multiple times each week. Brushing and baths can help with shedding, but talk to your vet about the frequency with which you should do so.
You’ll be training your puppy to do a lot of things in his or her first year of life. Sit, shake, come, and stay are just a few of the basic commands. Training your puppy to stay off the furniture is a good idea too. You’ll want to cuddle them all of the time, but ensure that your dog understands that they should only sit on the couch or bed when they’re asked.
Do not let your puppy have free range of your furniture. Make sure they have a comfortable bed of their own for sleeping and relaxing. If you do choose to invite them on your bed or the furniture, you might have a designated blanket for them to lay on. This will help them learn that if they see the blanket, that’s where they should be.
When your pup comes in and out of the house, there will be dirt, mud, and other grime on their paws. Teaching your puppy to wait by the door while you wipe their paws off is a good habit that help you avoid mopping the floors daily.
Even if you take all the precautions above, there will be accidents. A shoe or sock might not make it, a kid’s toy might be mistaken for a puppy’s toy, but your floors are likely to take the brunt of it.
Don’t worry. In most cases, you’ll probably get to the accident pretty quickly. As long as you take your time and clean it properly, you can make sure it’s not a permanent part of your floor. Here’s the best way to clean up puppy accidents on your carpet.
Blot out as much of the spot as you can. If you do not take the time to blot, you’ll just push the spot down further into the carpet as you clean it. If the spot infiltrates the carpet pad, you won’t be able to get it out.
Make sure you use an enzyme cleaner. The biological substances in the urine, feces, or vomit are a food source for the enzyme, so they are attracted to the source of the accident. Sometimes you’ll clean a spot and then see it come back. This can be because you didn’t get deep enough into the carpet to pull out all the soil, so make sure you take your time.
Once you’ve cleaned according to the cleaning product’s directions, make sure you get as much moisture out of the carpet as possible. Using a portable extractor can ensure all of the cleaning product and water is removed from the carpet. If you don’t have an extractor to soak up moisture, use several dry white cloths or towels. A fan directed toward the accident area can also be helpful in the drying process.
Your vet is a great source of information about caring for and cleaning up after your puppy. If you have a mess that is too big to handle, you might seek professional cleaning help. This article was contributed by Helping Hands Cleaning Services.
When unexpected illness or injury strikes a pet, unexpected expense does too. SRVC understands that. While we do not bill or allow payment plans, there are several ways to help manage your charges.
Thinking about it ahead of time and preparing can go a long way.
The following are a few options that can help lessen the financial strain.
SRVC gladly accepts Pet Assure, which grants owners a 25% discount on in-house medical services at the time of checkout. Pet Assure can be thought of as an alternative to Pet Insurance, but it is important to compare both before enrolling in either. We are always happy to discuss either option with you.
For many pet owners, pet insurance is the most practical and affordable way to have peace of mind when it comes to managing pet care costs. Paying a small monthly fee will keep you from worrying about the “what ifs” and unexpected illnesses and injuries that may happen to anyone’s pet.
Like most insurance, monthly premiums vary depending on certain factors, but most polices range from $30 – $50 monthly.
There are two general types of policies. The first is traditional coverage, which is similar to personal healthcare insurance. This typically is a lifetime coverage and has a maximum annual payout. You’ll pay a premium and deductible and will cover only a portion of vet bills.
There’s also emergency or accident coverage, which typically only covers unexpected costs but not care related to ongoing illnesses or general check-ups.
With pet insurance, the pet owner pays for services at the time of delivery, then files a claim for reimbursement per the terms of their policy. SRVC gladly provides any necessary information to the insurance company to help with your claim.
While SRVC does not offer payment plans, we do support a financing option.
SRVC can help you arrange an account with CareCredit via an iPad while in our office.
CareCredit is essentially a credit card that’s specifically set up to be used at health offices, including veterinary hospitals and clinics, throughout the U.S. Once you have approval, you can use it for a variety of health care needs. This arrangement makes it easier for you to manage your payments in a way that works for you. You can apply at our clinic on our iPad or you can apply directly on CareCredit’s site at your own convenience.
Special Offer: CareCredit is currently offering a free Fitbit for new customers who use their card for a $200.00 purchase before December 31, 2018, so go check them out!
As you go about choosing your options, you’ll want to bear in mind what your budget can best handle, but also what your needs might be. Cheaper insurance packages probably will have smaller limits, so read the fine print when deciding to buy particular packages.
Keep in mind that breeding pets are generally “worth” more and therefore are more expensive to insure. And, just like humans, the younger your animal is, the more likely you are to get good coverage.
When it comes to caring for your favorite furry friends, you don’t want to take any risks or be stuck with a massive bill that you can’t handle. That’s why our Little Rock office suggests that you take a look at the different payment options available when it comes to pet care.
Want to learn more about how to best care for your pet and pay for vet services? Schedule an appointment with us today.
We all want our pets to live long happy and healthy lives, but unfortunately, there are several things in our homes that can lead to accidental poisoning in our pets. Awareness is the key to preventing accidental poisoning emergencies.
What may be good for humans may not always be good for your animals when it comes to food and medicine. A general rule of thumb is that if it is bad for your child, it’s bad for your pet. In honor of the National Poison Prevention Week (March 18th-24th), we’ll show you 7 different groups of toxins that you should avoid exposing to or giving your pet:
Unsurprisingly, most common household products that are harmful to people to ingest are also bad for your pets. Antifreeze, paint thinner, pool chemicals, and common cleaners like bleach and drain cleaner are considered toxic and can result in stomach, respiratory problems, and renal failure.
A good way to prevent an accidental poisoning is to keep these household products out of the reach of your pets. Keep the toxic products out-of-sight in closed storage or place them high on shelves to avoid accidental spillage. Just as you would child-proof any potential household danger, you should pet-proof your house as well.
While most human prescription medications are life-savers for people with medical conditions, even a small dose can be potentially fatal for our pets. Some of the more harmful medications include:
Over-the-counter medications can also present an accidental poisoning hazard for pets. Pain medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen. In fact, a single 200-milligram ibuprofen tablet can be toxic for most small or mid-sized pets.
Remember to always consult your veterinarian about giving your pet any kind of medication even if it is over-the-counter and designed for the pet. Just like humans, pets can overdose or have unintended side effects from using even prescribed veterinary drugs. Some of the more easily overdosed medications include painkillers and de-wormers, so be sure to always administer the veterinarian-recommended dosage.
SRVC has both in-house and online pharmacy services to make sure your furry friends have the medicines they need.
We all love to treat our furry friends to a treat now and then, but not all treats are created equal. Many foods that are safe for humans are actually poisonous for our pets. Dogs are often in the spotlight since nearly 91% of calls to the Pet Poison Hotline involve dogs. Some of the foods to avoid accidental poisoning in dogs include:
Many of the same foods can be toxic to cats as well. Since cats tend to be smaller than most dog breeds they are more susceptible to fatal accidental poisoning from even a small amount of human food.
If you ever have any questions about what human food you can and cannot feed your pet, consult your veterinarian. In order to be safe, only feed your pet food and diets made specifically for your pet.
Rat poison and other rodent poisons can cause accidental poisoning when ingested by your pets. Symptoms of this type of poisoning often do not present themselves until several days after ingestion. If you suspect your pet to have consumed rodenticides or eaten a poisoned rodent, you should take your pet ASAP to your emergency veterinarian.
In order to avoid accidental poisoning from rodenticides, be sure to keep the poison out of the reach of your pet, avoid setting traps near any pet common areas, and alert your neighbors when you set any traps.
These products may be helpful for preventing flea and tick infestations, but they can accidentally poison your pet if not used carefully. Often the problem involves your pet eating one of these products or a small pet receiving more of the product than prescribed. Always talk with your veterinarian about how much you should give your pet even if it is an over-the-counter flea and tick product designed for your pet. Oftentimes veterinarians can prescribe your pet flea and tick medication that is not only more effective but would be administered at a safe dosage for your pet.
One of the most overlooked ways a pet can be accidentally poisoned is by plants. House and garden plants were originally taken from natural environments where they employ chemicals and toxins for self-defense. Some plants that can present dangers to both cats and dogs include:
What if you have one of these plants in or around your house? For dogs, simply putting the plants out of reach will likely eliminate the problem. For cats, it can a little trickier since they like to climb things. We recommend avoiding having any type of toxic plant in a cat household, especially lilies since they can cause severe liver damage with only a couple bites.
If you want more information on what types of plants are toxic to your pets, visit the ASPCA Toxic Plant List website to learn more.
Are you landscaping or fertilizing your yard? Be sure to keep your pets away from the lawn or garden since many of these products can cause accidental poisoning if ingested. Once the products have dissipated within a week or two, then you should be able to let your pet run around in the affected area. Also, avoid allowing your dog to roll in fertilizer mainly because it smells and no one likes a stinky dog!
Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic offers many emergency services to help with accidental poisoning or any additional veterinary services for your pet. Be sure to get your pets regular check-ups at Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic in Little Rock. Book an appointment today!
Getting a pet is a huge commitment not only for adults but for children as well. Let us help you with proper pet care management. SVCAre you considering choosing a pet to add to your family and teach your child about pet care? Getting a pet is a huge commitment not only for adults but for children as well. Along with bringing joy into the household, pet ownership can teach your child about compassion, kindness, and responsibility.
One of the best ways to teach a child about pet care is to include them in the adoption process. Your child will see that adopting a pet is not something to take lightly and it allows the child to meet the pet before taking them home. Empower your child with information about the adoption process and also try to give your pet some breathing room when they first arrive at home.
If you are adopting a cat or dog, it is important to consider the breed. While every cat or dog has a different personality, some breeds are more conducive to family life. Dog breeds like Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, Boxers, and Terriers are good examples of family-friendly dogs. Birmans, Burmese, Maine Coons, and Siberians are excellent examples of relaxed cat breeds that will do fine around children as well.
Regardless of what pet you get, it is important to teach your child how to properly take care of the pet. Let’s break down age-appropriate ways to keep your pet happy and healthy in a child-filled environment.
During this age range, it is important to model positive behavior in order to show children how to be kind and respectful towards the pet. Children at this age tend to be grabby, excitable, and all of the things most pets would prefer to avoid.
Teach children that it’s not OK to pull on tails, pick them up without an adult, play with them roughly, or play with them while the pet is eating. Animals have feelings too! Animals cannot speak like we can, but they have feelings that we should try to understand so they can be happy and healthy. It’s critical that you teach the pet that it’s not OK to defend their food by biting or being aggressive. Food guarding can be a major problem that can lead to bites, especially with young dogs.
Children at this age also are not mature enough to take care of a pet on their own. Therefore, you should include the children in pet care rituals such as housetraining, grooming, and leash-walking. These rituals teach your child the necessary steps to owning a pet responsibly. We recommend not giving small pets, such as hamsters or guinea pigs, to children in this age range. While a cat or dog can survive a small mishap, our experience shows that small pets usually are not so lucky.
While the children may not be able to fully take care of the pet at this age, they can still help teach tricks and commands. Children can even start taking dogs on walks with parental supervision. Even better, they can start picking up poop or cleaning pet cages so you don’t have to anymore! This is a vital time where you can help children understand the basic needs of the pet by learning the names and functions of pet care supplies.
Another tip for this age range is to establish clear boundaries for the children and pets. Pets need quiet time too. A child’s enthusiasm may overwhelm the pet and also act as a huge distraction from things like schoolwork or sleeping. For your sanity as a parent, it is recommended you try to limit the number of nights your child sleeps with pets like cats or dogs.
Children can be expected to take care of small pets and not have any accidents in this age range. In fact, small pets are a great way to introduce your child to the responsibility of pet ownership. Small pets tend to require less maintenance than cats or dogs, and they can usually be placed in a child’s room without too many problems.
This age range is when those early lessons about kindness and responsibility will start paying off. Children this age are often more responsible and understand the pet care needed to keep your pet happy and healthy. For example, taking your child with you during routine vet visits demonstrates that pets need regular healthcare just like humans. This can help your child feel more responsible for the pet’s care and health.
This also the age where children may understand the need for animal shelters and rescues. Younger children often cannot comprehend the reasons for these facilities. This is a prime opportunity to teach your child about how responsible pet ownership can reduce the need for such facilities.
No matter the age, most children are just excited to own a pet. Teaching them vital pet care skills can help them grow as people and treat others with respect and kindness. If you invite an animal friend into your household, be sure to get them regular check-ups at Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic in Little Rock. Book an appointment today!
Some of you may have recently seen a new face around the clinic! We’re delighted to announce that Dr. Mike Dugan has joined our team here at Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic.
Dr. Dugan earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2006 from Ross University, St. Kitts, West Indies, after completing his clinical rotations at Oklahoma State University. Prior to entering the veterinary profession, he received a Bachelor of Science, Marketing from Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, LA.
Dr. Dugan has practiced veterinary medicine in Ohio, Louisiana, and, most recently, Texas. He comes to us from Premier Vet Care Animal Clinic in Rowlett, TX. He’s a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and Texas Veterinary Medical Association.
Dr. Dugan and his wife Sherri recently moved to Little Rock from Dallas with their furry child named Indi. During his off time, Dr. Mike enjoys cycling and golf. He and Sherri look forward to experiencing all that Little Rock has to offer.
As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your pets are included in any type of emergency plan for your family in the event of a natural disaster. In Little Rock, the most likely natural disasters include tornadoes, floods, and ice storms. But in other parts of the country, as we’ve all seen in the news, hurricanes have had a devastating impact on people and animals alike.
These disasters can happen without warning, so it’s important to be prepared ahead of time.
When sheltering at home with your pet, make sure the room chosen is pet-friendly. An interior room with few or no windows is recommended. Be sure to close off small areas where small animals could get stuck.
After the recent hurricanes, we saw many heartbreaking photos of pets who had to be rescued. Unfortunately, most official emergency management shelters do not permit pets unless they are qualified service animals. The ASPCA is helping to rescue pets, and they’re accepting donations to help defray their costs.
If you find that you need accommodations:
Many of us have emergency kits for ourselves, but sometimes fail to make sure we have a disaster kit for our pets, so evacuation will go smoothly for everyone. Ask us for help in putting it together. The Centers for Disease Control has put together a list to get you started. Some examples of what to include are:
None of us wants to think about another natural disaster occurring, but by having a plan in place, as well as a comprehensive pet evacuation kit, we’ll be prepared if and when the time comes.
We’re pleased to let you know that we’ve recently purchased the new, innovative ImageVue DR50 Digital Imaging System.
This digital X-ray machine system enables low-dose radiation image capture without sacrificing clear, high-quality diagnostic images. Reduction in radiation exposure is critically important to the health and well-being of your pets and our veterinary professionals.
The system provides clear digital images, which improves our ability to see both dense anatomy and fine anatomical structures. The ImageVue DR50 system increases the sensitivity and sharpness of the image with a much lower dose of radiation than a conventional X-ray machine, and your pet’s X-rays take only a few seconds.
Digital radiography uses an electronic sensor instead of X-ray film to produce an image. Unlike old X-ray machines, which required a darkroom, chemicals and manually filed plastic film, digital radiography enables us to see the images immediately, saving time and getting your pets treated more quickly and back home where they belong! This image can also be viewed and stored on a computer and is easily shared online with consulting specialists.
Digital radiography is excellent for monitoring the healing progress in a broken bone or after an orthopedic repair. Additionally, many pet diseases alter the size, shape, or position of internal organs, and digital x-rays are a vital diagnostic tool in the identification of conditions such as:
We can also use the ImageVue in our dental program, for a thorough evaluation or when we suspect a problem.
X-rays of your pet’s teeth are ordered for a complete evaluation of their dental health as well as visualization of the supporting bones. These X-rays help detect abnormalities that cannot be seen by the naked eye.
There are several reasons why we would order a dental X-ray for your pet:
Dental X-rays enable us to identify these problems early before any symptoms occur.
At Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic, your pets will receive top quality veterinary care. Our practice is centered on you and your pet, and we’re pleased to offer the latest in veterinary diagnostic imaging. Please contact us to schedule an appointment.