Health & Wellness

Bunnies- are they the right pet for you?

Posted by on Apr 18, 2012 in Excercise, Eyes, Ears & Teeth, Health & Wellness, Paws for Thought, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Proper Bunny Care Bunnies.  They are small, cuddly and warm and for many families a welcome addition right around Easter.  In fact, bunny sales spike during this season…as Spring and bunnies go hand in hand. Rabbit rescues are very busy during this time of the year as well.   Many families acquire bunnies with the best of intentions but often children lose interest soon after the Easter festivities end….not to mention, bunnies need far more than a cage and carrots to be happy. Rabbits can make great pets.  They are intelligent, have unique personalities and have a lower cost of entry than a dog (approximately $65 or less).  Many people say they have cat like and dog like traits, can be litter box trained and Vet bills are typically lower as they do not need annual vaccines, although yearly visits are recommended. General health:  Not every vet works with rabbits so do your homework to find a vet in your area.  Common health concerns would be misaligned teeth and hairballs.  Bunnies shed every three months.  Besides grooming your bunny regularly, ensure your bunny has access to high quality hay which will help the hair pass through their digestive track.  Regular exercise will help with hairballs as well.  Spaying or Neutering your pet is very important and will help with aggression, spraying and chewing.  Their lifespan is 7-10 years and some rabbits live into their teens.  Diet:  Their diet consists of pellets, high quality hay, water and green leafy veggies.  In fact, carrots should not be a large part of a rabbit’s diet.  Only carrot tops!  Carrots are high in sugar and should be fed as a treat only.  A good rule of thumb for non leafy green veggies is 1 tablespoon per 2lbs of body weight a day. Crate:  They do need a cage at least 3-4ft in length and need to exercise outside of their pens at least a couple of hours a day.  In fact, the House Rabbit Society recommends 30 hours of cage free time a week. You will learn very quickly that their play area needs to be bunny proofed as they will chew on anything!  Children:  Bunnies are sensitive to being held and it is advised that only older children that have learned the proper technique and adults pick up the bunny.  Bunnies are prey animals and if they are picked up incorrectly could feel like they are in danger. Are two better than one?:  The vast majority of bunnies do crave companionship of their own kind.  Rabbits truly bond with their mate when they are introduced correctly.  If you choose to have two, make sure they meet in neutral territory and are altered.  This will assist with positive introductions. If all of this sounds good to you, please consider adoption! Rabbit resources:,...

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Pet food- what is the right choice for my pet?

Posted by on Mar 22, 2012 in Health & Wellness, Nutrition, Paws for Thought, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Have you purchased that same green bag of pet food for the past 10 years?   If you are asked the brand of your pet’s food or if it is made with chicken, beef or other protein would you know the answer?  Or, do you feel like taking a double dose of headache medication when you cruise through the pet food aisle thinking “Too many choices…where do I begin?”   No matter your pet food knowledge, the bottom line is there are options a plenty.  After many years of studying pet food and working in the industry, I have seen the effects of good food and, unfortunately, the results of feeding the wrong diet.  I know one thing for sure; there is not one food solution for every pet.  How do you know which nutritional choice is right for your dog or cat?  The first questions to ask are:  1.      What is my pet’s age and energy level?  2.      How much exercise does my pet get a day?  3.      Are there any underlying health conditions?  (if so, ask your veterinarian for pet food advice) 4.      Does my pet suffer from seasonal or annual allergies?  Once you know these answers, you are on the right road.  The next two questions will help narrow your search:  5.      What am I comfortable feeding my pet (dry food, canned food, raw food, a combination thereof)? 6.      What can I afford to spend on pet food? A few food trends right now are:  natural, holistic, large breed, small breed, grain free, limited ingredient and more.  All can be found as either dry (kibble) or wet (canned) and some foods are offered as a raw diet as well.  To begin this conversation there needs to be clarification on probably the biggest trend…feeding a natural and holistic diet.  Natural– A natural pet food typically means a food that has no artificial ingredients, dyes, artificial preservatives or chemically synthetic products. Words to avoid on the pet food label are:  Propylene Glycol and BHA, or butylated hydroxyanisole.  These are two common examples of chemically synthesized ingredients found in some pet foods.   Holistic– Holistic diets treat the whole pet and not just the symptoms.  With that in mind, feeding a high quality diet is the first step to a healthy pet.  Usually, when a food is marketed as “holistic” the ingredients are of a higher quality and usually there is more true meat protein in the diet rather than grain.  Chicken or chicken meal as a first ingredient rather than corn is one good example.  Products are natural, easy to digest, nutritionally packed and today often include ingredients like berries and leafy greens which are antioxidant and vitamin rich. Food panel examples (top four ingredients): Natural/Holistic diet:  Chicken, Chicken meal, barley, brown rice Non Holistic diet:  Corn, poultry by-product meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat Recommendation:  By all means, pet owners should feed their puppy, adult dog, senior dog, and kitten or cat a “natural” diet.  We all know that chemicals can have harmful effects on the body and oftentimes lead to disease. There are many natural foods on the market and price levels vary.  You might be surprised at how affordable a natural diet can be. I have seen tremendous results when a pet parent switches from a non-holistic diet to one that is holistic.  Shinier coat, brighter eyes, “more life,” healthier weight and reduced itching are a few examples of the positive outcomes.  I highly recommend a holistic diet and again, there are many affordable options on the market. Typically, you will feed your pet less food on a holistic...

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Cats are crazy for Global Pet Expo

Posted by on Mar 5, 2012 in Excercise, Health & Wellness, Paws for Thought, Products, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Whew…I absolutely love the whirlwind that is Global Pet Expo.  I was only able to spend two days at the event but was able to pack so much into that time including time to  identify a few new cat products for the store. Cats will be so very happy with me 🙂  I kept my cat customers in mind constantly as I walked up and down the aisles.  A few things really excited me and I decided to add them to Wag’s mix of natural and holistic products.  Cat customers!  Check out the following: For the catnip crazed…you will have an entire rack full of the famous Ducky World products…and yes… there will be plenty of purrrrrmuda triangles! I also loved the cat scratcher from Scratch Lounge and the live pet grass from Bell Rock Growers. What I might be most excited about are the cat houses by Catty Stacks!  Can’t wait for these to walk through my door.   They are recycled, recycleable and are colored with vegetable based ink! Finally, Kind Kollars are purrfect for the cat on the go.  Personalized, stylish, non stink…this  i.d. collar is just the answer for your indoor or outdoor kitty. Please let me know what you think of these new products soon to be hitting the shelves at...

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Abe’s Big Day

Posted by on Feb 22, 2012 in Excercise, Hips and Joints, Paws for Thought, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Tomorrow is Abe’s big day.  Just a little less than one month before his eighth birthday, he is going under the knife for ACL repair surgery.  My poor boy.  He has no idea that he is in for a 12 week recovery…no running, no chasing squirrels and certainly…no tennis ball action. Our consultation with Dr. Hay, Abe’s surgeon, was February 3.  That morning, I told Abe to get his big boy pants on and get in the car.  He wore his very tough neon green rubber spike collar for the consult, fell asleep in the car on the way there, got lots of love at the office and then enjoyed an icecream on the way home.  Dr. Hay is a nice man….I should have asked how many of these surgeries he does a week/month/year.  It seemed like a rotating door of ACL patients.  Dr. Hay explained the procedure and his recommended surgery at a fairly high level.  I was happy that I  had researched beforehand, or I would have been most likely been lost in medical jargon.  But, everyone who has had their dogs operated on by Dr. Hay holds him in high regard. Out of the available surgery options, Dr. Hay recommended the TTA or Tibial Tuberosity Advancement.  He said that he performs this surgery 90% of the time and  the end result.  Abe should have 90%+ use of his leg when it is fully healed.  That is good news for Abe. Tomorrow our journey begins and by Friday afternoon, Abe will be snug as a bug catching zzzz’s in his bed.  Can’t wait to spoil my...

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A Good Man Down

Posted by on Jan 30, 2012 in Excercise, Health & Wellness, Hips and Joints, Uncategorized | 0 comments

My seven year old dog Abe is an athlete.  I say this with the utmost confidence because he is among the lucky and talented dogs that can catch a ball anytime, anywhere.  It is amazing to see just how fast he can pluck a ball out of mid-air after spinning around and doing a few acrobatic moves.  My husband and I are always saying “did you see what Abe just DID?”  All of this talent has finally caught up with him though.  After limping around for a few days too many I took him to his veterinarian.  A couple of x-rays later, what I hoped wouldn’t be true came to fruition…he has torn his ACL in his right hind leg.  What is an ACL tear?  ACL stands for Anterior Cruciate Ligament which crosses in the joint from the femur to the tibia.  A ligament is a fibrous band of tissue and can be torn or partially torn.  In Abe’s case, we believe it is fully torn. Now, you see, I knew this would most likely happen.  But how do you keep an All Star on the bench?   Many of my customers’ similarly skilled dogs have had this surgery.   I have talked many people through the 12 week recovery period and loved on many cone headed muzzles. Abe and I go to his consultation with orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Hay, on February 3.  It will all begin that day, more x-rays, choosing which surgery option, coming to terms with paying anywhere from $1,800-$2,600 and learning about the recovery period. In the meantime, I thought I would share with you some of the warning signs, breeds who are at risk, how an ACL is torn and what you can expect from recovery.  I do hope that your dog will not have to go through this…but if he/she does, you will have an idea of what you and your dog can expect. Warning signs:  Sudden limping, swollen knee, holding the foot of the affected leg off the ground, dog may start using the let again but lameness often returns. How is it diagnosed?  A veterinarian can diagnose an ACL tear by manipulating the knee joint.  X-rays are also used to assess the problem and to determine if arthritis is present. How does it happen?  A tear can occur if a dog is overweight therefore putting too much pressure on the joint.  Commonly, the ACL is torn when a dog twists on his hind leg.  This is what Abe does as he catches his ball or slips on our floor when running through the house.  Usually, a tear happens gradually over time and sudden lameness is the result. Breeds:  Some breeds are more prone to ACL tears than others: the  Labrador, Rottweiler, Bichon Frise, St. Bernard are among them.  Post Surgery:  After the surgery, dogs must be controlled and can only take low impact walks and/or swim as directed by a veterinarian.  Overweight dogs must lose a few pounds to take off the excess stress on the leg.  Recovery time is 8-12 weeks. So it begins, Abe’s three month procedure.  Watch out for him this summer though…he will be better than before and leading our pack around Davis Islands. We will keep you updated on our visit with Dr. Hay and our surgery...

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Happy Anniversary Chico!

Posted by on Dec 13, 2011 in Animal Rescue, Excercise, Uncategorized | 0 comments

    The holiday crazies are in full swing.  For me personally, I have a party to plan, Christmas cards to mail,  inventory to count and about 10 more pages of to do’s.  Feeling anxious?  Yes.   More than anything else however, I am feeling grateful…for so many things. Certainly for my family, work and friends but leading the pack are six little legs. Two of these legs belong to the little man currently belly laughing as he jumps away on his FisherPrice bouncer. My son Sebastian arrived on the scene on April 29 of this year. My husband and I couldn’t be happier to be his parents and we are enjoying every ounce of this child. Prior to Sebastian’s celebrated birth, four additional legs ran into my life. Well, more like hobbled in. Chico, my 18lb Chihuahua mix walked through my doors on December 13, 2010. You may remember his story from past Paws for Thought articles. Chico was found at the Davis Islands baseball fi eld tied to a fence on what happened to be the coldest day of the year. For some reason I went against my cardinal rule (not to keep lost/found dogs myself but to lead the person in the right direction) and decided to foster him. From December through April, I did try to fi nd a home for Chico. I took him to adoption events, wrote articles about him, posted his adorable scowl on facebook, took him to the store to meet my customers and more. Each attempt was met with an overwhelming silence.  In the meantime, he was doing his best to win me over. He was my walking partner. I was very pregnant at this point and Chico was my constant companion as I logged many many miles all over Davis Islands. I do credit Chico for helping me to only gain 20 pregnancy pounds! He also put me through boot camp. In those first months, Chico was waking up at least once a night to go outside and “do his business.” As I begrudgingly suited up at 2am to take him out, I kept telling myself this is how it will be when the baby arrives.  The baby did arrive in April, and both Abe and Chico’s jaunts with Mom were put on hold. Chico, however, took on another role. Instead of being my walking partner, he was now my middle of the night baby feeding side kick. No matter what time or how often I was up with Sebastian, there was faithful Chico, staggering in to the room and plopping down beside the rocking chair.  By June, I knew that Chico was my dog….and by July, my husband knew as well. Chico finally won my husband over when he did his crazy small dog run through the backyard. If you have small dogs, you know what this is –one of the funniest things to witness. I fi nalized the adoption paperwork and Chico became officially a Fadal.  It is amazing what one year can bring. I thought I was busy with a husband, business and one dog. Now, twelve months later, I have a husband, son, two dogs and a business. I am loving every hectic minute! And, Chico has gone from being tied to a fence on a cold winter day to having his own family and getting ready for the annual Christmas photo.  As Cesar Milan (and my good friend Jen) says you don’t always get the dog you want but get the dog you need. I am thankful. Happy...

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