Pet Separation Anxiety

pet seperation anxietyIt isn’t just children who suffer from the back to school blues—pets can suffer too. After a long, fun summer, an empty house can be a difficult adjustment for pets. Pet Sitters International advises pet owners to become familiar with the signs of pet separation anxiety and how it can be treated.Continue Reading

Parasites and Dog Parks





Sometimes when I see the results of a scientific study, I can’t help but think, “That’s interesting, but how relevant is it to my life?” That was not the case when I ran across “Prevalence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium species in dog park attending dogs compared to non-dog park attending dogs in one region of Colorado.”

The researchers are from Colorado State University (CSU), and there are two big dog parks within a couple of miles of campus, both of which my dog regularly attends.

The scientists collected feces from and surveyed the owners of 129 dogs that belonged to students or staff from CSU. Analysis of the fecal samples (66 from dog park attendees and 63 from non-dog park attendees) revealed that the dogs that frequented dog parks were more likely to be infected with Giardia and Cryptosporidium than dogs that did not. Overall, the prevalence of all gastrointestinal parasites in the 129 dogs was 7 percent. These results are not too surprising. After all, dogs poop at the dog park, and GI parasites are primarily transmitted through contact with contaminated feces.

Interestingly, no correlation was found between dog park attendance and clinical signs associated with gastrointestinal parasitism (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting, or inappetence). This can probably be explained by the fact that a healthy adult dog’s immune system is often able to control Giardia and Cryptosporidium infections to the point where no symptoms develop. Also, the study’s sample size was not very large. It is possible that a larger study that is more representative of the general population (i.e., not just veterinary students and staff) could have different results in this regard.

The take-home message from this research is this:

If you take your dog to the dog park, you need to put extra emphasis on your gastrointestinal parasite control program.

Many heartworm preventatives and broad spectrum dewormers do a good job of controlling hookworm, roundworm, and sometimes whipworm infestations, but they are ineffective against other types of parasites, including Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Fecal examinations are not foolproof either, which is why I typically recommend a combination of fecal testing and prophylactic deworming for dogs at significant risk of parasitism.

Even more importantly, if your dog develops symptoms consistent with gastrointestinal parasitism, make sure that your veterinarian knows whether or not your dog attends a dog park or comes in frequent contact with canine fecal material in any another way. Diagnosing a Giardia or Cryptosporidium infection is not always easy, and your veterinarian will need to get an idea of your dog’s individual risk factors to decide which diagnostic tests are most likely to bear fruit.

Pet Proof Your Barbecue in 4 Easy Steps

1. Guard The Grill

Install a drip tray under your grill to keep drippings off the ground below. Greasy grass and rocks smell like kibble to your pet.

2. Scrap It

Trash the leftovers once the party’s over. Feeding your pet scraps from the grill might result in severe stomach pains or a trip to the vet.

3. No Bones To Pick

“Bone shards can tear up a dog’s intestinal lining and perforate the gastrointestinal tract,”

Pet Proof Your Barbecue

Pet Facts

Your Pet and Human Drugs

Thinking about giving your pet an aspirin to ease its pain? Think again! Human painkillers including ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen can be dangerous and even deadly to animals. Though acetaminophen can ease a human tension headache, one tablet of 500 mg extra strength acetaminophen can kill a 7-pound cat. Human medications are not designed for the animal body, and can have deadly effects when given to pets. Veterinarians can help prescribe the right dose and type of medication for your pet when it is in pain. Visit to find an accredited veterinarian near you.

When Your Cat Vomits

It’s the moment a cat owner dreads: being jolted awake in the middle of the night by that awful sound of retching. And while you fumble for the light switch, your favorite feline deposits a hairball on your pillow.

As much as we love them, cats vomit, even hairless breeds. Hairballs are a common culprit. But vomiting can also be a sign of a potentially serious medical problem.

So when should you be concerned?

AAHA-Accredited Practices Keeping Up to Date

If you watch television, you know how many ads there are for new medications, treatment options and research being conducted to help people and pets stay healthy. How do veterinarians and their staffs keep up with all this information?

Veterinary professionals are usually required to accumulate continuing education credits every 1–2 years. Many veterinary hospitals employ Certified Veterinary Practice Managers (CVPMs), who are also required to get CE credits to maintain their credentialed status. The AAHA Standards of Accreditation recommend more CE hours than many state veterinary medical boards require.

Periodontal Disease in Dogs

More than 85% of dogs over 4 years of age have evidence of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a progressive inflammation of the supporting structures surrounding the teeth and is the main cause of early tooth loss.

Toy breeds are at higher risk for periodontal disease because of tooth crowding in the mouth.

How to Exercise Your Dog in Winter

My chow chow, Nani, is covered in long, orange fur. I’m not. Children often stop Nani and me on the street to remark on how fluffy she is. No one has ever commented on my fur.

Now, abundant body hair on a human is normally a bad thing, but on below-zero days, I find myself staring enviously at Nani. A quick glance at her thick coat is also a reminder that my canine companion is ready and willing to brave the elements, even if I’m not.

So, on cold winter days, how do I give Nani the exercise she needs without making myself miserable?