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Should I give a Vitamin B12 supplement to my dog?

Sick DogHi Pet Blog Readers! Please welcome Erica, a veterinary clinic technician, with this guest post about the possible uses for vitamin B12 supplementation for your dog. I’d like to preface this by saying that you should always consult with your veterinarian before starting any new supplements, and definitely get your pet to the vet right away if they are showing signs of lethargy (periods of time lacking energy, excitement or extreme weakness).

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The vitamin B12 is not only important for the human body- it is also important to the health of a dog or cat’s nervous system and the growth of red and white blood cells. Lethargy, weakness in the legs, or a lack of appetite in a pet may be a result of a vitamin B12 deficiency. This common deficiency may be a result of insufficient levels of the vitamin in the pet’s diet, or of an inherited condition that makes it difficult or impossible for the pet to absorb it through its regular diet. A vitamin B12 deficiency that goes untreated may lead to more serious problems, such as serious gastrointestinal diseases and weight loss. A B12 vitamin supplement is a very effective and simple solution to the problem, whether the problem stems from insufficient dietary levels or from an inherited condition. B12 supplements can also help pets that suffer from gastrointestinal ailments or kidney disease.

How is Vitamin B12 Administered to Pets?

B12B12 vitamin supplements may be administered to pets by a variety of methods, just as it can for humans. The most common method is by oral supplement, which can be administered by crushing a tablet and mixing it into the pet’s food, or by mixing the supplement with water and administering it directly to the mouth by syringe. Increasing meat in the pet’s diet will also provide more of the vitamin. Because many pets have difficulty absorbing the B12 vitamin, injection is a commonly used method of administering the supplement. Some will want these injections to be administered by veterinarians, but the process is simple, and with the veterinarian’s approval, the injections may often be done at home by the pet’s owner. Typically, B12 injections are reserved for serious deficiencies, and they are recommended if the pet has a gastrointestinal illness or an inherited condition that prevents it from absorbing the vitamin through food. Injections are typically administered to a dog’s hind leg. Cats receive the vitamin through subcutaneous injection. B12 injections are typically given once a week for the first five or six weeks, bi-weekly for another period of weeks, and, eventually, on a monthly basis.

How Long Until My Pet Shows Signs of Improvement?

Dog TiredAs the pet is taking the vitamin supplements or injections, the veterinarian will test the pet’s blood regularly, until the B12 level is acceptable. While the pet is taking the supplements, improvements in appetite and energy, weight gain, and improvement of any gastrointestinal problems should be noticeable. For the majority of pets, a few weeks taking the supplement will begin to show improvements in the problems associated with the deficiency, but the breed and medical condition of the pet will ultimately determine whether it will need the supplements in the short or long term.
The potential side effects of a B12 vitamin supplement are minimal. B12 is a safe, non-toxic vitamin. While it is possible for a pet to have too much of certain vitamin supplements, taking too much of a B12 supplement will very rarely harm the pet, because it is not stored in the body. The bloodstream will only absorb as much of the vitamin as it needs at a time, and discard the rest through urination. Vitamin B12 is truly a safe solution for pet lethargy, so talk to your veterinarian today about Vitamin B12 injections or supplements for your pet.

Erica Anderson has spent ten years as a Tucson veterinary clinic technician. She loves writing about pets, parenting, and gardening.

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So, have you tried B12 for your dog? How did it work out and what were you treating? I’ve used B12 myself in the past to supplement my diet and increase my energy and I think it worked pretty well for me! Share your stories in the comments!

Holiday Dangers: Poisonous plants popular during the holiday season

poinsettiaNothing quite ruins the holiday spirit like a trip to the emergency vet… especially for something that could have been avoided. There are tons of plants that are poisonous to your pets that are available year-round (view the full list on the ASPCA website), but around the holidays many of these popular but poisonous plants seem to be in every home!

Do yourself, your vet, and your pet a favor and keep these poisonous holiday plants out of your home or safely out of reach of your pets!

Poinsettia

Many people know that poinsettias as toxic, however they are really only mildly toxic and aren’t too big of a concern for most pet owners, but better safe than sorry. To be on the safe side I always leave mine in the office instead of in my home. I really love this festive plant… But I love my furry family more.

Signs to watch for: Irritated mouth and stomach or vomiting.

Mistletoe

Ah, to be kissed under the mistletoe… by my dog (hehe). If you have a spring of live mistletoe in your home, please keep it well out of reach of your pets. Along the same lines as the Poinsettia, this plant is now thought to be mildly toxic, but I like to play it safe.

Signs to watch for: Gastrointestinal distress, cardiovascular collapse, dyspnea, bradycardia, erratic behavior, vomiting, diarrhea, or low blood pressure.

Holly

Holly berries are very pretty, but they’re also attractive to dogs. This seasonal plant can cause symptoms that are similar to when a dog eats chocolate or caffeine. The bark, leaves, berries and seeds are all poisonous.

Signs to watch for: Vomiting, diarrhea and depression/lethargy.

Amaryllis

Amaryllis plants are toxic to both dogs and cats. These bulbs are typically given as gifts this time of year. If you’re buying for a friend with a pet, pick a pet-friendly plant over this pretty bulb.

Signs to watch for: Vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, excess salivation, anorexia, and tremors.

Pine Needles

While not exactly toxic to your pets, you will want to keep your pet from eating pine needles from the tree or the floor. Pine oils can irritate the mouth or stomach and if swallowed the needles themselves have the potential to puncture the lining of the stomach or intestines. Play it safe and sweep up those excess pine needles or put a barrier around the tree. Better yet, go for the old fake tree and save yourself the hassle of picking up needles for the next 6 months!

Signs to watch for: gastrointestinal distress, lethargy, irritated mouth and stomach.

Of course, if your pet has ingested any of these plants, please contact your local veterinarian, your emergency vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

Holiday Toxic Plants

Holiday Tips and Suggestions for Pet Owners

Cat in Christmas TreeI don’t know about you, but two of the things I’m most thankful for everyday are my two faithful pups! They provide me with joy, companionship and unconditional love that I don’t know how I could survive without. They go everywhere with me and, of course, I tend to share everything with them, so the Holidays are a fun and busy time for all of us. Here are a few things to keep in mind this holiday season to be sure you can keep your pets involved, but also safe and happy through the most hectic time of the year!

 

Travel

As I mentioned before, my pets pretty much go everywhere with me. I’m fortunate to come from a pet-loving family and my dogs are welcome at family gatherings where they can visit their “cousins” and have rowdy time just like the kids in the clan. They are seasoned travelers, but we still leave the house prepared with leashes, water and any other necessities that may find use on long road trips and for pit stops if your travel is extended. The rest of this section is common sense. If you aren’t able or choose Christmas Dognot to bring your pet along to holiday gatherings make sure they’re left with plenty of fresh water and maybe a special chewy or treat to keep them occupied for the day. If you’re going away for longer than a day be sure to either make arrangements to have your pet boarded at a kennel or cared for by a trusted friend or service, either from your home or in their space. Read More »

Pet Cancer Awareness: Caught early, cancer no longer a death sentence for family pets

IMG_31531 in every 4 dogs and 1 in every 5 cats will develop cancer in their lifetimes. That is a sobering number of pets diagnosed each year. November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month, and as a pet parent of a dog who has beat cancer, I’m here to tell you that cancer isn’t a death sentence.

Medical advancements and a better understanding of how cancer works has led to a dramatic increase in the lifespan of both people and pets diagnosed with cancer.

First, let me tell you that I know how devastating it can be to receive a cancer diagnosis for your beloved pet. I’ve been there. If you’re facing a recent diagnosis, start your research and healing process here.

Now that you’ve had a little time to process the diagnosis, educate yourself and learn about the options that you have options available to you. This may include a consultation with a veterinary oncologist. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion, too. After all, you are your pet’s best advocate. Read More »

What You Need to Know about Jerky Treats & Your Pets’ Health

Sick DogIf you’ve been following the news this week, you probably have heard about the FDA’s update on jerky treats. To many pet owners, the fact that dogs are getting sick and dying, from unknown causes, have been linked to common jerky treats that are manufactured in China.

The FDA has been researching the illnesses and deaths for months with no new leads about the cause of the mysterious illness. At the time of the update, over 580 pets have died as a result of tainted treats and over 3,600 pets have become ill since 2007.

The FDA needs more information to continue their research, so they’re asking pet owners and veterinarians to report illnesses and deaths that may be related to jerky pet treats. The FDA’s website goes over, in detail, the information that should be included in your report. If your pet has become ill after ingesting jerky treats that were manufactured in China, we urge you to report as much as you can so that the FDA can solve this mystery.

What Are Some Symptoms of This Mysterious Illness

If you pet experiences any of the following symptoms within a few hours of eating a jerky treat made from chicken, duck, sweet potatoes or dried fruits, consult your veterinarian immediately and save the remaining treats and packaging for testing.

  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased activity
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased water consumption
  • Increased urination

Severe cases have also displayed:

  • Kidney failure
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Collapse/convulsions

What Can You Do To Avoid Tainted Treats?

USA made jerky treatsMost of the jerky treats implicated in this illness have been manufactured in China.  For the safety of your pets, That Pet Place has removed any jerky treats that have been made in China from our shelves and website.

Find a manufacturer of jerky treats that uses ingredients from the USA. At thatpetplace.com we’ve made it easy to find jerky treats made in the USA with our navigation panel. You might consider feeding a different type of treat to your pet. If you’d like to be more proactive about the types of treat you are feeding to your pets, you can invest in a food dehydrator and make your own jerky treats from any kind of meat or fruit/vegetable.

The best thing you can do is to be vigilant and to read the labels of the products that your pet is eating. Pet food manufacturers are not required to list the origins of all the ingredients on their packaging by law, at least not yet. We sincerely hope that this mysterious outbreak of illness can be stopped soon.

 

How to treat and prevent flea allergy dermatitis in dogs

Got It!Many people in the northeast have had a rough time with fleas this summer. A combination of a mild winter in 2012 and a humid summer have created the perfect storm for these tough bugs to thrive. The battle against flea infestations doesn’t end with the cooler weather of fall. In many areas, even here in the northeast, fleas are active until the dead of winter and can even continue living in your home during the cold winter months. Don’t let your guard down, the battle against fleas is never over.

Fiproguard MaxI use a topical “spot on” flea preventative on my dogs every month. If you want to get specific about it, I use Sentry Fiproguard Max (it’s a less-expensive generic brand of Frontline Plus). However, these preventative measures weren’t enough for me this year.
Read More »

Carbon Monoxide and Pets

white dog sleepingDo you ever consider the dangers of carbon monoxide to pets? One of our Facebook fans recently shared with us a tragic story of 12 pet birds lost to carbon monoxide poisoning. The heartbreaking tale also involved the family dog who, after some time has made a full recovery. This blog post is intended to raise awareness of the dangers of Carbon Monoxide poisoning not just for people, but for the pets we keep as well. Most cases of carbon monoxide toxicity in pets occur, sadly, due to human error, and the results can be devastating.  A dog left in an enclosed garage with a running automobile, for example, can be exposed to toxic levels of carbon monoxide in about ten minutes. But animals may also exposed to toxic levels of carbon monoxide when they are trapped in a building that is on fire, or when a slow leak from a heating system amongst other causes. It’s important to make yourself familiar with easy ways to prevent exposure, as well as a course of action should evacuation or medical attention be necessary.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, non-irritating gas produced by the incomplete combustion of carbon fuels. It is potentially toxic and may even cause death. Carbon monoxide may be produced by unventilated kerosene or propane heaters, gasoline engines, automobile exhaust, or fumes from carbon-based fuel heating systems. When inhaled, Carbon Monoxide gas is readily absorbed into the bloodstream, combining with hemoglobin and rapidly reducing oxygen delivery to the body,leading to decreased oxygen to the brain and heart. Prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide leads to hypoxemia (critically low blood oxygen levels) and eventually death.

What are the signs and symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning?

Depending upon the concentration and duration of exposure of carbon monoxide, the symptoms may manifest quickly, or gradually over a period of prolonged exposure. Some pets, such as birds, are more sensitive to Carbon Monoxide levels and relatively small exposure may prove detrimental. Acute behavioral and physical symptoms include:

•Sleepiness
•Weakness
•Lethargy
•Labored breathing
•Seizures
•Depression
•Deafness
•Erratic movements
•Coma

Pregnant animals, especially those in late gestation, may abort their babies pre term. Examination of your pet’s skin and mucous membranes such as nostrils, ears, genitals may show bright red coloration, though this symptom may not be apparent on most pets.

Consistant exposure to lower levels of carbon monoxide include flu like symptoms like nausea, vomiting, aches, weakness and loss of stamina. Blood acidosis is also a side effect.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Carbon monoxide detectorCarbon monoxide is life-threatening and treatment will require immediate veterinary attention. If you know or suspect that your pet is suffering from carbon monoxide toxicity, the first step is to move your pets away from the source of the carbon monoxide to a place where they can breathe fresh air. As soon as possible, transport them to the vet for oxygen therapy and fluids. The oxygen will remove the carbon monoxide from the blood, bringing your pet’s oxygen levels back to normal. Your vet will also collect blood samples for a complete blood count and biochemistry, as establishing the levels of carbon monoxide, carboxyhemoglobin and acids in the blood will dictate the initial treatment plan and continued treatment. Urinalysis and other applicable body fluid tests may also be performed. In some cases, your veterinarian may perform an electrocardiogram (ECG) to determine if your pet’s heart function has also been affected.

Your vet will instruct you on extended care. Generally, while your pet is recovering from the carbon monoxide poisoning, activity should be limited for several weeks following the exposure. Shorter walks, limited play and exercise, and a little extra TLC will be required until your pet is fully recovered. Observe your pet closely during recovery for residual signs of nervous system issues, and if you see any anomalies, contact your vet as soon as possible.

Prevention

Obviously, the best course of action is to prevent your pets and the rest of your family from exposure of any detrimental levels of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide detectors are the first line of defense against this elusive killer, and should be installed in various areas of your home. Minimize or prevent exposure to carbon monoxide by ensuring that your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances are serviced annually by a qualified technician. Don’t use generators, charcoal grills or other gasoline or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window where gasses could accumulate in an enclosed area.
And don’t run a vehicle inside a garage attached, even if you leave the door open, and especially if the garage is attached to your house. Provide adequate ventilation for any fuel powered device and be sure to know what to do should an unfortunate exposure to carbon monoxide should occur.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning can occur any time of year and is often due to human error. Protect you and your family, including four-footed members through prevention and close attention to potential sources.

White dog sleeping image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Eli Duke

Best Dog Treats – Tasty Favorites for Your Canine Companions

Dog with RawhideOffering your pet a sweet or savory treat seems like it would be a simple gesture of affection, but with so many treats and chews to choose from sometimes it can be rough to find the right one to buy.  If you’re fortunate enough to be able to take your pet inside your local pet store to pick out his or her own favorites you’re a step ahead, but if you’re on your own while shopping it may be a little tougher to navigate to the the right products. Here is a brief description of some of the best dog treats and chews and why they may or may not suit your pet. Please remember that no matter what tasty tidbit you offer your pet, observe them closely to make sure they’re enjoying their snack safely.

Chances are you know your pet better than anyone, so you probably have a good idea what they might like and what will be appropriate to offer. Your dog may already show an affinity for certain flavors or textures, or he may have some habits or behaviors that need to be considered while you shop. For example, if your dog is a strong chewer, you’ll want something that doesn’t break or splinter. If your dog is a little “chunky” low calorie snacks may be just the ticket. Small breed and senior pets may only want bite-sized, soft or chewy products that are easy to break apart. It may even be possible your pet has some medical issue, sensitive stomach, allergies, dry skin, ect. that steer you towards supplemented or specially formulated creations. Read More »

Iams & Eukanuba dog and cat food recalls : August 2013

iamscatThe health and safety of your pets is very important to That Pet Place. We regret to inform you that P&G has announced a limited, voluntary recall of select Iams dry cat & dry dog and Eukanuba dry dog foods because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. No health effects related to salmonella have been reported on these products. P&G is taking this precautionary step in order to ensure our customers and consumers get the highest level of quality and service. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.

Lot Code ExampleThe lot codes of the recalled products include: 3186 4177, 3187 4177, 3188 4177, 3189 Eukanuba4177, 3190 4177, 3191 4177, 3192 4177, 3193 4177, 3193 4177, 3194 4177, & 3195 4177. The lot code is located on the front or back of the bag at the top of the bag and is the bottom left number.

For more information on how to find your bag’s lot codes, please see Iam’s recall listing for dog foods, Iam’s recall listing for cat foods or Eukanuba’s recall listing for affected dog foods.

What to do if you have an affected product:
If you determine that you have one of the affected products you may return the product to That Fish Place – That Pet Place retail store or the store where you purchased your pet food for replacement or reimbursement for your purchase.

If you need additional information regarding this recall please visit Iams or Eukanuba’s websites.  We will keep you updated if there are any updates related to this recall. 

Catnip – Interesting Facts and FAQs about Your Cat’s Herb of Choice

CatnipDoes your cat go cuckoo for Catnip? If you have you know how much fun it is to watch them rolling and twisting, rubbing, batting, clawing and biting those fuzzy and aromatic leaves. But have you ever wondered why cats react the way they do to the plant? Read on to find out more about your cat’s favorite flora!

About the Plant

Catnip, Nepeta cataria, also known as Catmint, is a member of the mint family, one of about 250 species. It is native to Europe but has naturalized here in the US and in many other places. You can often find it along roadsides and in fields if you know how to recognize it, most of us would see it as nothing more than a roadside weed. The plants grow up to about 40 inches tall, with angular stems, soft, fuzzy, triangular-shaped leaves with scalloped-edges, and clusters of tiny pinkish-purple flower heads through summer. Of course, the easiest way to identify it is that characteristic smell! Your cat reacts to the potent essential oil, nepetalactone that gives catnip its distinctive aroma and has a powerful effect on the behavior of many cats.

It Only Takes a Little Whiff

Researchers aren’t sure why a cat’s brain responds as it does to this herb, but it’s thought that the oils in catnip mimic the feline “happy” pheromones.  When they smell that oil it stimulates the receptors in the brain that respond to those pheromones, triggering the behaviors and physical responses you love to watch. Read More »

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