Holiday Toy Buying Guide

Kermit The Frog shopping

Have you ever stood in an aisle at the store just staring at the rows and rows of toys wondering “What would Lady like to chew on”, “Which toy would Bo chase”?  Or maybe “ What toy here is going to last longer than five minutes for Tank?”

Well here you go!  A toy guide from our staff to you.  These are toys our CVT’s, Doctors and Receptionists have used, tried, loved or hated.  Keep in mind that each toy rating a personal opinion and may work differently with your pet.  Each of our pets play differently and we know yours do too!

Information provided is based on facts and opinion.

Cost range =  $0-$5        $5-15        $15-25        $25 & Up

Durability Rating =  1-10        1 = Fell Apart       10 = Like New

Fun/Interactive Level =   1-10      1 = Never play with      10 = Favorite Toy

Ease of Set-Up = 1-10       1 = Just give to pet      10 = Assembly/Tools  required


Dog Toys

Toy Name:  Starmark Treat Ringer (Horseshoe, Lightbulb and Bone shapes were purchased)

Purchased:  Online  Horseshoe shaped treat dispensing toy

Cost:    $5-15

Durability:  9

Fun/Interactive: 1

Ease of Set-Up:  2

The challenge level was not appropriate.  All three of my dogs were able to get the Treat Rings off of the treat ringers within a few minutes.  I feel like the toy is made well and will be durable but the treat opening is too wide causing the treats to come off to easily.  I feel that I would spend more money replacing treats than I had expected.

Tested by:  Diana

Toy Name:  Foobler Treat Ball

Purchased:  Amazon  Dog toy that holds treats

Cost:    $15-25

Durability:  5

Fun/Interactive: 10

Ease of Set-Up:  1

Flint loves his Foobler.  The Foobler keeps him busy and entertained while he is in his kennel.  He smashes and rolls it to get all the snacks out.  This is a good toy for busy dogs.

Tested by:  Diana

Toy Name:  Orka Flyer

Purchased:  Pet Store  orkaflyer

Cost:    $15-25

Durability:  8

Fun/Interactive: 10

Ease of Set-Up:  1

I have an Australian Shepherd who loves to play Frisbee.  Due to her herding breed, I thought it would be a perfect activity for her.  When I bought the regular plastic Frisbee’s they would break within a very short time and due to it being so light, it would take a while to fly down for her to catch it.  I decided to try the Orka Flyer which is very durable and is made of a non-synthetic material.  She absolutely loves it!  It is long lasting even if used on a daily basis.  I definitely recommend this product for pets who love to Frisbee or catch.

Tested by:  Krissy

Toy Name:  Nylabone

Purchased:  Farm & Fleet and  Hard Nylabone round ring

Cost:    $5-25

Durability:  8

Fun/Interactive: 8

Ease of Set-Up:  1

Nylabones have been my go to chew toys.  They are durable and have been safe for all of my dogs.  They are able to chew small flecks off, but have never had issues.  I have many sizes and shapes that I rotate after washing them in the dishwasher.  They think they are getting new toys all the time!

Tested by:  Tristene, Stephanie, Dr. Lee

Toy Name:  West Paw Design Zogoflex Tux

Purchased:  Orange rubber dog toy

Cost:    $15-25

Durability:  9

Fun/Interactive: 10

Ease of Set-Up:  1

All three of my dogs showed great interest as soon as I brought it out, and they still love it!  They especially love it when I stuff it with Peanut Butter.  This product is guaranteed by the manufacturer, dishwasher safe and keeps them busy for long periods of time.

Tested by:  Stephanie

Toy Name:  West Paw Design Zogoflex Būmi

Purchased:  Chewy.comDog toy shaped like an S

Cost:    $5-15

Durability:  9

Fun/Interactive: 9

Ease of Set-Up:  1

The shape of this toy has been irresistible!  It’s great for tug-of-war between 2 dogs or dog and human.  It’s stretchy but durable and soft enough for their mouths.  My dogs love to shake it and toss it around in the air.  This toy is dishwasher safe too.

Tested by:  Stephanie

Toy Name:  Jolly Ball Tug-N-Toss

Purchased:  Online  Jolly Ball with handle

Cost:    $5-15

Durability:  7

Fun/Interactive:  5

Ease of Set-Up:  1


I bought this toy for my tough chewers who love to play with oversized toys.  They loved it!  The handle was slowly chewed off, so watch for small pieces.  Once they got the handle down to a nub, it is more challenging to play with as they cannot pick it up well.  They love to toss this around & then chase it with their feet.

Tested by:  Stephanie, Tristene

Toy Name:  JW Holee Roller

Purchased:  Blue ball with large holes

Cost:    $5-15

Durability:  9

Fun/Interactive: 9

Ease of Set-Up:  1

This toy is great for dogs that like to play fetch or for those that like to be chased.  They are collapsible and flexible.  It is durable enough to withstand a game of tug-of-war!

Tested by:  Stephanie

Cat Toys

Toy Name:  Homemade Treat Puzzle

Purchased:  Grocery store or may already have at home  Tupperware with holes in it for treats

Cost:    $0-5

Durability:  8

Fun/Interactive: 10

Ease of Set-Up:  6

My cats will play with this puzzle all day and night (if it’s not picked up at night).  They stick their paws through the holes and push it down the stairs to get the treats out.  It took a little time for them to figure out how to get the treats out, but now it’s their favorite toy!

Tested by:  Tristene, Jessica, Julie

Toy Name:  Fun Kitty Egg-Cersizer Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser

Purchased:  Amazon Egg shaped treat dispenser

Cost:    $0-5

Durability:  10

Fun/Interactive: 10

Ease of Set-Up:  2

My cats know exactly what this toy means!  They both love it and play with it together when I leave for work.  It was very easy to get them to figure out how it works too.

Tested by:  Julie, Tristene, Jessica, Echo

Toy Name:  Crinkle Balls

Purchased:  Online  small balls that crinkle

Cost:    $0-5

Durability:  6

Fun/Interactive: 8

Ease of Set-Up:  1

This is an old favorite and also a toy we currently include in our Kitten Kits here at La Crosse Veterinary Clinic.   Each cat tends to have a different objective with the ball.  Some pick it up with their mouth, some bat it around & others stalk it.

Tested by:  Diana, Jenna, Tristene, Jessica, Mary, Desiree

Toy Name:  Rattle Mice

Purchased:  Pet Stores  Toy mice

Cost:    $0-5

Durability:  9

Fun/Interactive: 8

Ease of Set-Up:  1

Another old favorite!  My cats get new rattle mice every year in their stocking.  They love to play with them and carry them around in their mouths.  They seem very durable but do get lost under the couch easily.

Tested by:  Tristene, Jessica, Desiree, Diana

Toy Name:  Catit Senses Feeding Maze

Purchased:  Online  Tall maze that dispenses food or treats

Cost:    $5-15

Durability:  6

Fun/Interactive: 8

Ease of Set-Up:  7

La Crosse Veterinary Clinic purchased this for a weight loss demonstration.  Quite a few staff members took this home to try it out with our own cats so we received reviews across the board. Cats love to hunt & work for their food and this toy will help satisfy that primal instinct.  It may take a bit to figure it out, but once they realize that food is the result of their efforts, your cats will be all over it.

Tested by:  Tristene, Julie

Toy Name:  Cat’s Meow

Purchased:  Gift  Automated cat toy

Cost:    $5-15

Durability:  5

Fun/Interactive: 8

Ease of Set-Up:  6

I received this toy from my mother.  My cats had very little interest in it, but  my dogs loved it!   The end of the wand fell off shortly after we started using it, but we attached something else easily.  Also, if the cats get too excited with it, the cover can easily get moved uncovering the wand that moves around.   I passed this toy onto another family member with a kitten in hopes they would enjoy it.

Tested by:  Tristene, Desiree


Posted in 2016, BLOG, cats, dogs, pets, Toys | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Holiday Toy Buying Guide

Presidential Pets

Seal President of the United States

In the spirit of the Presidential Election this month, I thought it would be interesting to introduce a partial list of pets that our past Presidents have acquired.  It was interesting to me to see the large variety of species and breeds of pets that our leaders have taken an interest in.

Bo the Portuguese Water Dog in front of the White House

Bo the Portuguese Water Dog


President Animals
George Washington Polly the parrot; 36 hounds; horses
John Adams horses
Thomas Jefferson a mockingbird; two bear cubs, a gift from Lewis and Clark
James Madison Macaw the parrot; sheep
James Monroe a spaniel
John Quincy Adams an alligator; silkworms
Andrew Jackson horses named Truxton, Sam Patches, Emily, Lady Nashville, and Bolivia; Pol the parrot; ponies
Martin Van Buren two tiger cubs
William Henry Harrison a goat; a cow
John Tyler Le Beau, a greyhound; a horse named The General
James Knox Polk a horse
Zachary Taylor Old Whitey the horse
Millard Fillmore no pets
Franklin Pierce no pets
James Buchanan Lara, a Newfoundland; an eagle; an elephant
Abraham Lincoln Jack the turkey; goats named Nanny and Nanko; ponies; cats; dogs; pigs; a white rabbit
Andrew Johnson white mice
Ulysses S. Grant Faithful, a Newfoundland; horses named Jeff Davis, Julia, Jennie, Mary, Butcher Boy, Cincinnatus, Egypt, and St. Louis; ponies named Reb and Billy Button; pigs; dogs; a parrot; roosters
Rutherford B. Hayes Siam, a Siamese cat; Grim, a greyhound; Duke, an English mastiff; Hector, a Newfoundland; Dot, a terrier; canaries; cows; horses; goats; other dogs
James Garfield Kit the horse; Veto the dog; fish
Chester Alan Arthur no pets
Grover Cleveland a poodle; canaries and mockingbirds
Benjamin Harrison Dash the dog; Whiskers the goat; dogs; an opossum
William McKinley a parrot; an Angora cat and her kittens
Theodore Roosevelt Sailor Boy, a Chesapeake Bay retriever; Manchu, a Pekingese; Skip, a mutt; terriers named Jack and Pete; cats named Tom Quartz and Slippers; Josiah the badger; Algonquin the pony; Eli the macaw; Jonathan the piebald rat; Emily Spinach, a garter snake; twelve horses; five bears; five guinea pigs; other snakes; two kangaroo rats; lizards; roosters; an owl; a flying squirrel; a raccoon; a coyote; a lion; a hyena; a zebra
William Taft Pauline Wayne the cow
Woodrow Wilson Old Ike the ram; sheep; chickens; cats
Warren Harding Laddie Boy, an Airedale; Old Boy, a bulldog; canaries
Calvin Coolidge Peter Pan, a terrier; Paul Pry (née Laddie Buck), an Airedale; Calamity Jane, a sheepdog; Boston Beans, a bulldog; King Cole, a shepherd; Palo Alto, a birder; collies named Rob Roy (née Oshkosh), Prudence Prim, Ruby Rough, and Bessie; chows named Blackberry and Tiny Tim; canaries named Nip, Tuck, and Snowflake; cats named Bounder, Tiger, and Blacky; raccoons named Rebecca and Horace; Ebeneezer, a donkey; Smokey, a bobcat; Old Bill, a thrush; Enoch, a goose; a mockingbird; a bear; an antelope; a wallaby; a pygmy hippo; some lion cubs
Herbert Hoover Glen, a collie; Yukon, a malamute; Patrick, an Irish wolfhound; Eaglehurst Gillette, a setter; Weejie, an elkhound; fox terriers named Big Ben and Sonnie; shepherds named King Tut and Pat; an opossum
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Fala, a Scottish terrier; Meggie, a Scottish terrier; Major, a German shepherd; Winks, a Llewellyn setter; Tiny, an English sheepdog; President, a Great Dane; Blaze, a mastiff
Harry S Truman Feller “the unwanted dog” (adopted by Truman’s personal physician); Mike, an Irish setter (belonged to Margaret Truman)
Dwight D. Eisenhower Heidi, a Weimaraner
John F. Kennedy Tom Kitten the cat; Robin the canary; Zsa Zsa the rabbit; Sardar the horse; ponies named Macaroni, Tex, and Leprechaun; parakeets named Bluebell and Marybelle; hamsters named Debbie and Billie; Charlie, a Welsh terrier, plus dogs named Pushinka, Shannon, Wolf, and Clipper, plus Pushinka and Charlie’s pups: Blackie, Butterfly, Streaker, and White Tips
Lyndon Johnson Him and Her, beagles; Freckles, a beagle (Him’s pup); Blanco, a collie; Edgar, a mutt (née J. Edgar); Yuki, a mutt; hamsters and lovebirds
Richard Nixon Checkers, a cocker spaniel; Vicky, a poodle; Pasha, a terrier; King Timahoe, an Irish setter; fish
Gerald Ford Liberty, a Golden retriever; Chan, a Siamese Cat
Jimmy Carter Grits the dog; Misty Malarky Ying Yang, a Siamese cat
Ronald Reagan Rex, a King Charles spaniel; Lucky, a Bouvier des Flandres sheepdog
George H. W. Bush Millie, a Springer spaniel; Ranger, one of Millie’s pups
Bill Clinton Socks the cat; Buddy, a chocolate Labrador retriever
George W. Bush Spot, a Springer spaniel, born in the White House in 1989 to George H. W. Bush’s Millie (died Feb. 21, 2004); Barney, a Scottish terrier; India (“Willie”) the cat. The Bushes’ orange-striped polydactyl cat Ernie was judged too wild for White House life and now lives with a family in California. In 2004, the President gave his wife Laura a Scottish terrier puppy named Miss Beazley for the First Lady’s birthday.
Barack Obama Bo, a Portuguese water dog, joined the Obama family on April 14, 2009. The family took its time selecting a breed, which had to be hypoallergenic because Malia has allergies. The Obamas introduced another Portuguese water dog, Sunny, to the family on August 19, 2013.
John Kennedy Family with dogs

John Kennedy Family with dogs

Posted in 2016, BLOG, pets, Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off on Presidential Pets

La Crosse Veterinary Clinic voted Best of La Crosse for the 2nd year in a row!

Best of La Crosse County Logo

La Crosse Veterinary Clinic has been serving the community since 1948. We pride ourselves on our compassion, high standards of care and modern diagnostic equipment to efficiently support your pet’s needs.

This year we were chosen again as the Top Veterinary Practice in La Crosse!  This award isn’t taken lightly with us.  It means that we have been achieving our goals and providing the high quality care that you seek.

We want to THANK YOU! Whether you have just met us or have been a client since 1948, you are all important to us.  We appreciate the confidence you place in us and the generous referrals you give to your friends and family.  We love seeing your happy, healthy pets grow year after year.  We celebrate with you, we laugh with you, we cry with you, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

What Is Best of La Crosse County?

This 3rd Annual Best of La Crosse County survey is organized by the La Crosse Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.  La Crosse County residents are encouraged to vote for their favorite individuals, businesses and organizations in over 200 different categories.  This year, over 9000 people voted.  Explore La Crosse, WKBT News 8, and SEVEN Magazine are all Best of La Crosse Partners and announced the winners on September 1st, 2016.  You can see all of the results at

What Does This Mean for La Crosse County Residents and Visitors?

Thanks to your votes, other pet owners can now make more informed decisions about where to bring their furry companions, and we can continue to do what we do best: provide pets with high quality, compassionate care.

We want to congratulate other winners who share in this great honor of being voted The Best of La Crosse County.  Together, we will continue to grow and serve La Crosse County Residents and help continue to make this a great community to live and work in.  


Posted in 2016, La Crosse, La Crosse Veterinary Clinic, pet care, pets, Social Media, veterinary pet care | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on La Crosse Veterinary Clinic voted Best of La Crosse for the 2nd year in a row!

The obnoxious pest


A flea by Meriam-Webster’s definition is:

“any of an order (Siphonaptera) of small wingless bloodsucking insects that have a hard laterally compressed body and legs adapted to leaping and that feed on warm-blooded animals”

A flea by Urban Dictionary is:

 “Founding Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist. A living example of one of the world’s best musicians….”


Ctenocephalides felis female

These two definitions are very different, and personally, I would rather have the latter in my house.  The likeness with these two definitions is that fleas can be found year-round in the environment.  The La Crosse Veterinary Clinic has created a Flea Questionnaire to help pet parents know how to start controlling these pests.

We speak with clients every day that know someone or are someone that has a current flea infestation.  A lot of these people aren’t aware of the flea realities and some have fallen to the flea myths.  It’s disheartening to know that most of these pets can be saved from ever getting fleas with the right monthly preventative.

I always tell a client who is struggling with fleas that it can be helpful to understand the life cycle of a flea.  Below, I have outlined some very important facts including information about the life cycle.  It is very important to know that there is no “magic treatment” and fleas will disappear.  Flea infestations can take several months to get rid of, but understanding how will make all the difference.

Life CyclefleaCycle


  • They are about the size of the tip of a fine point writing instrument. Oval in shape and white in color.
  • 40-50 eggs per flea are laid on the host and most fall into the pet’s environment within a few hours.


  • Larvae look like maggots but much smaller. They are approximately 0.5cm long, about the size of a grain of rice.
  • Larvae feed on blood in adult flea feces, organic debris like dead skin, flea eggshells and other flea larvae.
  • Flea larvae will develop in areas that are undisturbed like under furniture, along baseboards and in carpets. Outside, this could be in bushes or grasses where your pet lays. They do not develop where there is a lot of sun.
  • The time it takes for larvae to develop into pupae depends on temperature and humidity.


  • This is the hardest stage to control. It is water tight and not affected by sprays or chemicals.
  • Vacuuming, cleaning and unfortunately, encouraging them to hatch, are the best ways to exterminate the pupae.
  • Pupae (or cocoons) are found in soil, bushes and grasses, in carpets, on bedding where the pet lays and are 0.5cm long.
  • Pupae may begin emerging into an adult flea around 8 days after starting the pupal development but may remain in the cocoon for up to 30 weeks. The average time to transform from larvae to pupae is 13 days.
  • The cocoon is stimulated to hatch by temperature and the activity of people or animals.


  • Adult fleas emerge from the Pupae stage around 21-35 days; emerging faster if it is warmer
  • Fleas begin feeding on the host immediately. Blood is then excreted on the host and resembles pepper flakes.  This is called “flea dirt”.
  • 20-24 hours later egg production begins and 40-50 eggs are produced per day.
  • Adult fleas can live 2-3 months long and can lay eggs every day.flea on finger


  • Fleas can withstand cold conditions for 10 days. Longer if they are in a pupal stage.
  • They can continue their life cycle through the winter while living on dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, squirrels, etc.


  • Anemia from an iron deficiency and death especially in young animals are from heavy flea infestations.
  • The common flea can transmit Bartonella hensalae (also known as Cat Scratch Fever), tapeworms, blood parasites, tularemia, and even the bubonic plague.
  • Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is an allergy to the flea saliva & causes a skin reaction.


  • Physically observing adult fleas on your pet
  • Using a flea comb on the pet over a wet paper towel. The “flea dirt” will turn red resulting in a positive flea test.  Remember, “flea dirt” is dried blood.


  • A veterinary recommended flea control product
    • Frontline Plus
    • Sentinel
    • Nexgard
    • Capstar
    • Program Injection
    • Siphotrol
  • Ask your veterinarian about what is currently recommended and what would be best for your pet
  • A large flea infestation can take several months to control.
  • Many people will see a drop in flea activity after 2 weeks of treatment. This does not mean that the fleas are gone, they just have not hatched yet. Keep treating your pet and environment.
  • Occasionally, the flea control product recommended to you will not meet your expectations. A number of variances may be the cause.  Please ask your veterinarian if additional measures should be taken, such as environmental control.

 Now that you have learned more than you may want to know about fleas, you are prepared for the war!  If you are looking for more answers to fleas, visit these sources:

What you need to know about fleas a quick read on the basics of fleas.

La Crosse Veterinary Clinic faq’s page frequently asked questions.

Companion Animal Parasite Council an independent council established to create guidelines for the optimal control of internal and external parasites. is a good source for animal health, medical conditions, therapies, surgery, behavior and much more.

Posted in BLOG, cats, dogs, Flea control, La Crosse Veterinary Clinic, pet care, Prevention Promotions December, Zoonotic diseases | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The obnoxious pest

What to Do If You See a Pet in a Parked Car

It takes only minutes to save a life

When the weather gets warmer, leaving a pet in a locked car can be devastating. High temperatures can cause irreparable organ damage and even death.

If you see a pet locked in a hot car

  • Look around to see if the owner is nearby
  • Take down the make, model and license plate number of the car
  • Ask the nearby businesses to make an announcement with the vehicles information
  • Call the non-emergency police number to report the vehicle
  • DO NOT ATTEMPT TO OPEN THE VEHICLE! Wait for the authorities to arrive.
dog in truck window

Photo Courtesy

 Other ways to help

  • Get informed:  Learn your town’s laws about leaving pets in hot cars.
  • Be ready to call for help:  Gather essential telephone numbers and have them on hand. You’ll want to have your local animal control agency’s number and the police department’s non-emergency number so you can quickly report the situation. Keep these numbers in your purse, your car’s glove compartment or programmed into your phone.
  • Get involved:  Ask local store managers, shopping malls, restaurants and other businesses to post signs asking customers not to leave their pets in their cars while shopping or dining.

Cool outside doesn’t mean cool in the car

It doesn’t have to be that warm outside for a car to become dangerously hot inside. Here are some facts:

  • Rolling down windows has little effect on the temperature inside a car.
  • When it’s 72 degrees outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees within 60 minutes.
  • When it’s 80 degrees outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 99 degrees within 10 minutes.

If you would like more information:

Originally posted by
Posted in 2016, BLOG, cats, dogs, La Crosse Veterinary Clinic, pet care, veterinary pet care | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on What to Do If You See a Pet in a Parked Car

Tick Tips & Prevention

One of the phrases we hear from clients most during the winter months is “I won’t need tick preventative right now, it’s still winter we should be fine”. The truth of the matter is, that may not always be the case. With tick populations increasing and milder winters, being prepared all year round may be your best bet. Ticks have been found to migrate on white tailed deer as well as show up in formerly rural areas that have been developed. A tick could easily hitch a ride on your pet just from your backyard. Being prepared is the greatest defense you have against ticks.

Tick actual size photo on ruler

Source: Gundersen Medical Foundation

Most ticks require three hosts during a two-year life span. Each stage requires a blood meal before it can progress. The 4 life stages of a hard tick are: egg, larva, nymph and adult. The best way to find ticks on your pet is to run your hands over the whole body, especially after your pet has been to an area known to have ticks. Ticks attach most frequently around the head, ears, neck and feet. They however are not restricted to these areas and can attach elsewhere.

If found, use a tick removal tool, such as the Tick Twister or Tick Spoon, Remove the tick as close to the pet’s skin as you can and pull slowly and steadily. If the head of the tick has remained in or under the skin, do not try to “dig” it out.  The body’s natural defenses will surround it push it out of the body over time.  Digging at it may cause a secondary infection and pain for your pet.  If you feel you are unable to remove a tick safely, always make sure to contact the La Crosse Veterinary Clinic for help. Checking your pet daily as well as removing a tick promptly is important to prevent any tick borne diseases.

One of the most well-known and common diseases caused by ticks is Lyme disease. An
annual Lyme  vaccination is available for dogs. This vaccine is administered three weeks apart for a series of two and then annually to maintain immunity. This vaccine has been shown to be safe and very effective. Some people think that it is unnecessary to have something like this, but it is similar to a human getting a flu vaccine every year.


Photo Source:

There is also the yearly heartworm and tick diseases blood test. It detects 5 different types of tick-borne diseases; Lyme disease, two types of Anaplasmosis, and two types of Ehrlichia, as well as Canine Heartworm disease. This test was originally only done in the spring to summer months but now with the increase in tick borne diseases in dogs, doing this test once a year is highly recommended.


Photo Source:

We provide two types of tick preventatives for dogs and one for cats. For dogs we have Frontline Tritak and Nexgard. Frontline Tritak is applied to the skin every 30 days and helps prevent fleas, lice, and sarcoptic mange and ticks. Our second yearly preventative for dogs is Nexgard. Nexgard comes in a chewy chunk that dogs love. It is given every 30 days and
helps prevent fleas and ticks. For cats we have Frontline Tritak. It is applied to the skin every 30 days and helps prevent fleas, lice and ticks.

Keeping ticks off your pets is important not only for their health, but you and your family’s health as well. Being prepared all year round is the key to prevention.


Other Sources:  Lifelearn, Inc
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Cold Weather Pet Health Tips

Cold Weather Pet Health Tips

  1. Protect your dog’s paws Ice and icy crust on top of snow can cut their paws.  Even if they don’t cut, ice balls can be painful between pads.  In extreme cold weather, your dog can get frostbite on their paw-pads.  Prolonged contact with frozen ground surfaces such as concrete and asphalt can be dangerous for dogs.  Be aware of harmful substances such as road salt and other ice melting antifreeze products that can get lodged in between paws causing an irritation or chemical burn.  Your dog can learn to wear boots to protect sensDog with snow on faceitive paws from harsh chemicals.  Wipe your dog’s paws with a warm, wet washcloth (and then dry them) after an unprotected walk in places that use these products to prevent your dog or cat form licking these chemicals from irritated paws.
  2. Watch pet behavior Signs of cold stress include whining, shaking or shivering, anxiety, weakness, slowing down, lifting feet, and searching for shelter.  All clues it’s time to bring your animals inside.
  3. Never leave a pet in a cold car Don’t leave your dog or cat in the car unattended for any time during extreme weather periods – cold or hot.  Just because most pets have fur does not mean they can stand near arctic (or below) temperatures; they can freeze to death.
  4. Check the engine Outdoor cats and wildlife often seek shelter under the hood of your car in cold weather, so try to scare them out before you start the engine.
  5. Exercise and wardrobe Keep your dog active, but avoid overdoing it in extreme temperatures.  Pay more attention to the amount of time spent outside, and limit your pet’s time outside (to reduce exposure) when it is really cold.  More frequent, shorter play times or walks are good.

Temperature tolerance varies by breed, age, health status and acclimation.  Dogs with thick coats, especially undercoats or double coats, will be able to handle cold weather better than dogs with thin layers of fur.  For example, Pit Bulls, Greyhounds, and Boxers are just a few breeds that might be susceptible to getting too cold quickly.  Also senior dogs, dogs with health issues and small dogs may benefit from insulated vest, seater and doggie boots to protect their paws and core.  Whatever you choose, make sure the coat covers your dog’s chest, not just his back.

Puppies underHusky puppy outside in winter eight weeks should not be left in extreme cold.  Puppies cannot regulate their own temperature until they are two weeks of age.  How puppies handle the cold will also depend on age; smaller breeds may have trouble adjusting to cold weather compared to larger breeds with thicker coats, especially ones bred f
or colder environments (huskies, malamutes, etc.).  Older dogs may need supervision with the cold as well.

  1. Nutrition & adequate hydration Dogs that spend most of their time outdoors may need more calories to maintain their energy level in cold weather.  The calories in most commercial dog
    foods come from carbohydrates.  I never cold weather, the dogs do better with a higher amount of fat calories.  A study indicated a sled dog racing the Iditarod required 10,000 calories a day to meet their metabolic need.  The only way to meet that high caloric need is with a diet high in fat calories.  Most pet dogs do not need that many calories and may get very sick from a high fat diet.  Always check with your vet regarding all changes to your dog’s diet.

It is also importantto make sure your dog has adequate water outside.  Keep it fresh and in a plastic bowl (avoid metal) to prevent it from freezing.  You can also look into a pet warming bowl for outside dogs and cats.  Snow and ice in an urban setting can be filled with toxins that are harmful to your dog’s digestive system, so you don’t want to allow them to eat ice or snow to hydrate.

  1. In the dog house If you dog or cat lives outside and either cannot or will not come in, pet owners should provide good sheltering and bedding.  Pet housing should be raised Cat in Snowseveral inches off the ground.  Modify it to provide shelter from the wind.  It should be big enough for the animal to turn around and lie down comfortably, but small enough to effectively collect body heat.  Provide bedding for insulation inside the house.  Fresh straw (avoid hay) can provide a nice bedding.  Straw keeps mold and bacteria down and is a great insulator in the house.  Avoid space heaters and heat lamps, which pose a fire risk.
  2. Watch their step Watch pets around frozen lakes/rivers and slippery staircases, which pose risks for injuries.
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Top 5 Thanksgiving Treats for Your Pet

As you gather around the table this Thanksgiving and give thanks for good food, good friends and even your cranky family members, don’t forget the furry or feathery member of the family — your pet. Of course, a pet doesn’t need a toast in its honor to feel appreciated, but a special treat would probably elicit an extra lick or cuddle from your best four-legged friend. Just remember that the holidays aren’t an excuse to break from tradition and serve your pet chocolate or other foods that might upset its sensitive stomach. However, there are some terrific Thanksgiving treats that are perfectly pet-safe and guaranteed to make your critter feel extra-thankful for such a thoughtful pet parent. Here are just five.

Turkey and dog

1: Toys

If your pet is on a restricted diet or doesn’t usually handle new food well, pick out a toy that your animal will go gaga for. Consider a squeaky toy shaped like a turkey bone or a carrot. Some retailers carry “pampered pet” lines, in which you’ll find toys shaped like wine bottles or sushi (if turkey and all the fixings isn’t your thing). McCulley recommends interactive toys that dispense treats as a great way to keep your pet occupied while you’re entertaining human guests. By the time your furry friend has gotten all of the kibble out of the toy, you’ll be cleaning off the table and ready to spend the afternoon curled up in a turkey-induced coma with your pet.

Some one-on-one time like this is probably the best treat of all for your pet, but any of these five ideas can also help make sure your pet is a grateful gobbler this Thanksgiving.


2: Biscuits and Other Treats

If you aren’t up for making your own treats or don’t have any leftovers, you can find a large variety of treats available at pet superstores or even your local market that will leave your pet feeling gracious. McCulley says ingredients like pomegranate, acai berry and quinoa, which have been fads in people food for the past few years, are now crossing over into pet treats. Look for items that are made with human-grade ingredients to ensure your furry friend is getting the very best. Many organic treats are made with natural ingredients such as pumpkin, sweet potato, and apple with ginger or cinnamon for a fun Thanksgiving twist.


3: Turkey Treats

If you like a traditional feast with a big turkey as the main dish, your pet is in luck. There are quite a few ways you can prepare some of your leftover turkey that will be paw-licking good. Be sure to remove any skin and bones and don’t serve your pet any turkey that’s been sitting out longer than two hours to avoid risk of salmonella poisoning. Skinless, boneless turkey is a great treat for most cats and dogs. Cut up a few pieces and add it to your dog’s regular food to give it its own Thanksgiving meal. For cats, try pureeing turkey with sweet potatoes or pumpkin and adding it to their regular food or letting them lick it straight from the spoon. And if you’ve ever wondered what to do with turkey giblets, try boiling them up for a yummy pet treat.


4: Bones and Chews

It might be tempting to toss a turkey bone your dog’s way during the holiday, but according to L.A. Animal Services, turkey bones can easily break, and the sharp splinters could cause damage to your dog’s intestines. If your pooch goes nuts for bones, look for store-bought bones or chews in special Thanksgiving flavors that will be a real treat without the risk. Pet trend expert Janet McCulley recommends turkey-flavored bones, or even organic dog chews made out of sweet potatoes or apples. Make no bones about it, you will be thankful your canine has a yummy Thanksgiving treat without the threat of a visit to the emergency animal hospital.


5: Fruits and Veggies

Not all pets can eat meat, including most pocket pets like gerbils, hamsters, rats and birds. Many people love these small pets, but often overlook them when it comes to holiday treats. Pocket pets can have small treats occasionally, but according to the educational staff at Drs. Foster and Smith, they tend to like treats better than real food, so it’s best to dish them out sparingly. In general, raw vegetables like carrots and broccoli are OK to give a small rodent, so when you’re preparing your Thanksgiving meal, save a few pieces for your pet. Pet birds also love fresh veggies and fruits, including cooked sweet potatoes and cranberries, which are both common staples on many Thanksgiving tables. Cooked vegetables like pumpkins, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, and peas are terrific options for cats and dogs, too.


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Rango’s Journey

So it has been about 9 months since our last blog.  A lot has changed, and a lot has not.  Rango had gotten loose again, my daughter was able to show Rango at the County Fair and we have another dog living at our house.  I must say that despite a very eventful summer, things actually went pretty well with the dogs.

The first major change in our house included Izzy.  Izzy is a sweet, kind, and energetic young dog that needed a little re-direction.  I thought that this would be a great time to work with Rango’s dog aggression more.  We started out slowly, having Rango leashed and muzzled at every interaction.  As the week progressed, we took off the muzzle and kept him on a leash throughout the house.


It was very clear that Izzy wanted to play and interact with Rango, so we let them become more interactive.  Very soon after that, they developed a great friendship.  They now play all of the time, wear each other out, and then start all over again.  They both play very rough with each other and are very vocal when they play, but they have an understanding with each other that works well.




The second big event was Rango getting loose, again.  We are still not sure how this happened or why, but what we came home to was not very pretty.  We raise chickens at our house.  Our hens were allowed to roam free over most of our property while our dogs were confined to a large area on the other side of the house.  After being gone for most of the day, we came home and found Rango on our front deck, happy to see us.  The other two dogs were still in the house waiting for us to come in.

After realizing Rango was not where we left him, I quickly went to the back yard to discover what a fun day he had… Rango had chased our chickens around our property, catching more than half of them.  Some we found across the road in the woods, some we found behind the coop, and sadly, some we never found.  It was a learning experience for our family, and we decided quickly what we needed to do.  We needed to put a fence around the chicken coop and Rango needed more training.

My daughter has a big interest in animals, as well as training them. She wanted to train Rango and show him at the fair.  After clearing this with the trainer, we drove her and Rango to classes every week where they learned how to heal, stay, sit, and down, all of which Rango had already learned in a previous class.  That was ok, though.  This class proved to be challenging for him in a different way.

Rango 2

There were lots of dogs!  Little dogs, big dogs, fast barky puppies, and slow cranky dogs.  Rango was in stimulation overload!  Tarilyn and Rango pushed through it.  She made him focus, listen, and, most importantly, not eat anyone!

In the end, Rango was not only able to be shown at the fair in obedience and showmanship, but he also did this without a muzzle!  Rango and Tarilyn succeeded so well that they received first place in obedience, second in showmanship, and also a trophy for the “Best of Show,” having received the most points awarded in all levels.

Now, we will see about finding a home for Izzy and trying to have a ‘less eventful’ winter!

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Halloween Safety Tips

Attention, animal lovers, it’s almost the spookiest night of the year! The ASPCA recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying “trick or treat!” all the way to November 1.


1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.

3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.

10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increaing the chances that he or she will be returned to you.




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