September 22, 2014
by Sam Bourne
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Worried About Your Dog’s Eye Health?

Bolster Your Dog's Eye Health with Omega-3s

Tips to Bolster Your Dog’s Eye Health

Just like humans, dogs’ bodies can begin to show signs of wear and tear as they get older. From arthritis in the hips to hearing loss, man’s best friend might require some increased upkeep as he or she ages.

WFAA ABC reported that a veterinarian clinic based in Houston, Texas, is restoring dogs’ eyesight with cataract surgeries. Wilma, a Poodle who’s a patient at the Houston Humane Society, acts as a four-legged employee with the rest of the staff, despite having recently developed cataracts. As a result of the condition, she’s lost vision in both of her eyes.

However, Julie Hempstead, D.V.M., is utilizing new technology to give dogs like Wilma hope. She’s one of a few veterinary ophthalmologists in the area, and performs cataract surgeries on a variety of animals. Following a similar procedure used in humans, Hempstead removes the cataract and inserts a small lens to correct the dogs’ vision.

“[The dog] wakes up, he perks up, and wags his tail – excited to see the owner,” Hempstead said, quoted by the news source. “It’s really neat to be a part of that.”

The cataract procedure typically costs around $2,300 at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, the facility where Hempstead performs surgeries. However, with the right knowledge and preventive measures, owners can improve their dogs’ quality of life and hope to avoid the negative effects of aging.

What are canine cataracts?
According to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, cataracts are the clouding and darkening of the eye lens. Because it functions as the focusing agent in the eye, opacity of the lens can significantly impact the ability to see. Cataracts are typically classified in a number of ways, such as the age that they appear or their severity. These include congenital (present at birth), juvenile (present early in life) and senile (present later in life), while immature (covers most of lens), mature (covers the entire lens) and hypermature (dehydration of the cataract) define the severity of the condition.

Cataracts are one of the most common eye problems in dogs. However, it shouldn’t be confused with nuclear sclerosis, which is a hardening of the lens that normally occurs in aging dogs. When this happens, the eye turns a shade of blue similar to cataracts, but doesn’t affect the dog’s vision.

Healthy Pets explained that most dogs inherit cataracts through their gene pools, and they can develop at any age. The condition is more prevalent in purebred dogs than mixed breeds, with some breeds being increasingly susceptible to cataracts, such as Poodles, Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds and Labrador retrievers. If you suspect your pooch has cataracts, plan a visit to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

How to maintain eye health
The Whole Dog Journal suggested that while injuries and age can affect the prevalence of eye problems, inadequate nutrition may also be a factor. Cataracts may accompany immune disorders and chronic diseases such as diabetes, leading to the suggestion that the proper diet can stave off the development of cataracts.

The source explained that increasing your dog’s intake of omega-3 fatty acids can lower intraocular pressure and decrease symptoms of hypertension. Joining PetPlus grants pet parents access to Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet Soft Gels at a conveniently discounted price. The supplement is an excellent source of EPA and DHA, two of the most beneficial fatty acids that support optimal canine health.

The Pet Soft Gels are derived from wild anchovies and sardines from the South Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru. Its small capsules are perfect for canine consumption and are easy to take with you on the go. Sign up for PetPlus today and keep your dog’s eye health in top shape.

September 19, 2014
by Sam Bourne
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Hero Dogs and the Lives They Save

Hero Dogs and The Lives They Save

Hero Dogs and The Lives They Save

While canines can be perfectly content living a predominantly sedentary lifestyle, some pooches have gained fame for notable careers.

The “Today” show reported that eight finalists for the Hero Dog of the Year award stopped by its offices for a brief highlight. Organized by the American Humane Association, the annual prize is given to pooches who do more than just deliver unconditional love – they’re dog heroes saving and helping people. This year’s candidates include canines from all sorts of backgrounds, such as the military, search and rescue, law enforcement and therapy.

Some of the standouts included JJ Krawczyk, Chaney and Xena the Warrior Puppy.

JJ was a shelter dog at Eyes Ears Nose and Paws when she was paired with a 5-year-old girl from North Carolina named Kaelyn Krawczyk, who has a rare disorder called mastocytosis. Her life-threatening reactions to the environment, which can cause hives and intense itching, can be triggered with little to no warning. However, JJ is able to sniff out the trouble and alert Kaelyn’s parents of the danger.

Chaney retired from the U.S. Marines in 2013, and also happens to be a Labrador retriever. Now 8 years old and living in Lansing, Michigan, the pooch completed multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a bomb-sniffing dog. Together with Cpl. Matt Hatala, his former handler, Chaney volunteers for Retrieving Freedom, which trains service dogs for children with autism and disabled veterans.

Lastly, Xena the Warrior Puppy battled back from an abusive start in September 2012 to be adopted by Linda Hickey and her family in March 2013. She immediately connected with Jonny, an 8-year-old boy who was diagnosed with autism and had been closed off from others. Xena’s presence transformed him into a chatterbox and changed the household as a whole.

What can Fido do besides fetch?
While you may be content training your family dog to complete basic sit and stay commands, you can strive for more with your pooch. Humans aren’t the only ones capable of working, as there are many jobs that canines are perfect for, which turn them into heroes every day.

Here are three of the top positions your dog can try out.

  1. Herding: Smart Recruiters explained that some dogs are instinctively adept at herding. If your canine constantly runs around the local park, trying to round up the other dogs by barking and moving in circles, he may be perfectly suited for the job. Herding pooches help control livestock on farms, such as sheep and cattle. They’ve been known to gather up to hundreds of animals at a time to lead back to the enclosure.
  2. Law enforcement: According to Main Street, the versatility of dogs’ noses makes them more than capable of detecting illicit substances. Working with the police as a K-9 unit or narcotics partner can be a viable option for your pooch. Many of these positions are populated with tough breeds like German shepherds who are trained to take down fleeing or attacking suspects.
  3. Hunting: Many breeds are suited to accompany hunters on long trips into the woods for ducks and quail. Smart Recruiters suggested that hounds, terriers and dachshunds are the most popular types of dogs for hunting and tracking animals. They’re trained extensively to hone their senses of sight, hearing and retrieval to serve as perfect counterparts to humans. With the right temperament, they can carry prey back to hunters without chewing them.

Dogs can be trained for a variety of careers that might land them on the AHA’s list of hero dogs. Joining PetPlus gives owners access to discounted supplements and accessories that facilitate exercises and training. Sign up today and start saving immediately!

September 19, 2014
by Sam Bourne
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Meet Ivermectin – Helping Keeping Your Pets Heartworm Free

How Ivermectin Works to Prevent Heartworm Disease

How Ivermectin Works to Prevent Heartworm Disease

Many popular heartworm medications – like Heartgard and Tri-Heart Plus – include the medicine ivermectin. It’s one of the most important worm-killing drugs that’s used on both humans and animals to prevent infection.

While it’s effective, you might be curious to know exactly how the medication attacks parasites and stops them from spreading throughout the body.

According to The New York Times, ivermectin was extracted from soil fungus in the 1970s and was used in a range of treatments. For example, pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck began to use the drug to fight the effects of river blindness in 1987. Also called onchocerciasis, it’s caused by microscopic worms migrating into victims’ eyes via black fly bites. Today, it’s also used to combat lymphatic filariasis, a disease where worms transferred by mosquitoes infect the lymph nodes and cause severe swelling in extremities like the legs.

How does it work?
DermNet explained that ivermectin stimulates excessive release of neurotransmitters in the infectious worms’ nervous systems. It’s believed that this reaction paralyzes the parasites or inactivates their gut to prohibit nourishment. However, it’s important that doses be administered before the worms reach full maturity, as ivermectin doesn’t kill adult worms.

For dogs, Heartgard Plus is the proven choice for stopping and killing heartworms, hookworms, roundworms and other harmful parasites. The oral medication comes in a chewable tablet made with real beef that canines love, making administration an easy process. Heartgard works to stop heartworm disease by blocking its tissue stage, catching the infection before it can spread throughout the body.

When is it safe?
Although it’s beneficial to canines, pet parents have to be mindful of the recommended doses included with the medication. If exceeded, prescriptions that include ivermectin might cause tremors, disorientation, dilated pupils or loss of appetite. Dog owners should have their four-legged companions tested for heartworm infections before using Heartgard, as it might cause adverse reactions if administered too late.

Treatments that include ivermectin should be given once a month year-round or at least one month following the end of mosquito season. The tablets shouldn’t be swallowed whole, and can be broken up and dumped into meals to prevent this from happening. Dosages are determined based on weight, so dogs up to 25 pounds should be given 68 micrograms, while 26-50 pounds get 136 micrograms and 51-100 pounds receive 272 micrograms. Any canines over 100 pounds are typically administered a combination of tablets.

Owners who sign up for PetPlus are granted access to heartworm medications like Heartgard Plus at discounted prices. Join today and keep your furry friend safe from the threat of infectious diseases.

September 18, 2014
by Sam Bourne
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Why Natural Dog Food is Better for Your Canine

Why Natural Dog Food is Better Than Commercial Brands

Why Natural Dog Food is Better Than Commercial Brands

As humans begin to adopt new-age diets that advertise weight-loss miracles and improvements to heart health, man’s best friend has begun to experience the same benefits. Natural dog foods and supplements have made their way into homes that aim to enhance common canine ailments like arthritis.

AL.com reported that the city of Homewood, Alabama, is going to be providing its furry friends with a different kind of pet store. Called the Whole Dog Market, the store is set to open its doors at the end of September. It’ll display organic and all-natural pet foods, leashes, collars and other accessories that were made in either Canada or the U.S.

The shop will also boast two dog-washing stations that use natural shampoos and grooming products. A wash, including the tub, cleaning materials, tools, hair dryer and towels, will cost $15. It’s one of the first offerings of its kind in Jefferson County.

“It’s great. You can close the door, bathe your dog, talk to your dog, groom and dry your dog and then pick out some treats and head home together,” said William Finney, co-owner of Whole Dog Market, quoted by AL.com.

The store stands at 1,500 square feet, which is considerably smaller than leading national pet chains. Whole Dog Market also plans to give back to the community by hosting fundraising events with their dog-wash stations. All of the proceeds will be donated to local charities throughout the year.

Whole Dog Market’s location isn’t the home shop, as its Atlanta-based stores have been in operation since 2005. It was originally started by Finney’s aunt, Jean Finney, and has two locations in Atlanta and one in South Portland, Maine. When coordinating fundraisers, the launch markets have donated more than $300,000 per year.

Organic dog food has made waves among pet owners, but not everyone has jumped onboard with the craze. However, knowing the added benefits could get more dog parents to start feeding their canines the right, all-natural meals to improve their health.

What are the benefits of natural dog food?
According to Abe’s Market, owners who feed their pets commercial dog food are essentially supplying them with the canine equivalent of fast food. The ingredients aren’t as wholesome as natural foods, being chock-full of preservatives that can do damage to your dog’s body. Replacing your pooch’s meals with something more natural can have numerous benefits to his health.

Here are three ways natural foods can improve your dog’s well-being.

  1. Stronger immune system: Organic Authority explained that organic pet food is commonly recommended by veterinarians because it’s more nutritionally complete than grocery store brands. With better value and nutrients than leading foods, natural dog meals are more digestible for canines. This means their bodies can absorb the nutrients, leading to a stronger immune system that they can maintain with every meal. In turn, owners can save money by having to make fewer vet appointments for costly infections and illnesses that require professional care.
  2. No by-products: If you look at the ingredient list on your canine’s food, chances are it’s full of animal by-products and unhealthy fillers like ground corn and corn gluten, according to Angie’s List. It’s important that pet parents take the time to research what’s in the meals they’re feeding their furry friends to become more aware of the damage they can do. The next time you get ready to purchase a new bag, look for all-natural foods without artificial flavorings and preservatives. Instead, you want high-quality ingredients like chicken, fish and eggs. If you need further guidance, talk to your veterinarian about what’s best for your dog.
  3. Save money: Angie’s List pointed out that, at first glance, organic foods may have higher price tags than traditional bags but might cost less in the long run. Because they’re packed with healthier ingredients, your dog will be able to eat less food per serving and still obtain the necessary nutrients for a stronger immune system and body. Owners won’t need to constantly replenish their supplies and will begin to see significant savings over time.

While the Whole Dog Market might be convenient for Alabama residents, it can’t beat the advantages of signing up for PetPlus. Members get direct access to hundreds of natural dog foods and supplements at affordable prices without needing to leave the comfort of their homes. PetPlus provides a 25 percent discount from over 4,000 veterinary clinics around the U.S., producing immediate savings for pet parents. Sign up and see why it’s the only place you need to shop for all of your dog’s needs!

September 18, 2014
by Sam Bourne
0 comments

The Top 5 Dog Medicines for a Healthy, Outdoor Dog

The top 5 dog medicines for a healthy, outdoor dog

The top 5 dog medicines for a healthy, outdoor dog

When it comes to taking care of your four-legged friend, you only want the best for him. While you can meticulously choose the right bed, toys and food, you’ll have to pay special attention to the dog medicine needed to keep your pet healthy. Playing outside can open the door to some canine diseases that require early care to minimize their effects.

For the right treatment plans, try out these five medicines to protect your furry friend.

1. Heartgard
The threat of heartworms in dogs is very real. They can occur anytime, anywhere. However, with the right preventative medicine you can ensure that your pet is safe from this dangerous disease. According to the American Heartworm Society, these foot-long worms can live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels and cause severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs. Outdoor dogs are highly susceptible to heartworms because many mammals are carriers for the disease, including foxes and coyotes. To prevent any health damage, pet parents should give their dogs Heartgard Regular Chewables to get ahead of the potential disease. Ivermectin, the antiparasitic drug active in the medicine, prevents infestations by attacking them at the source.

2. Frontline Plus
Countless parasites can latch onto your dog’s skin when he plays outside, including ticks and lice. The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals explained that lyme disease, which is carried by black-legged ticks, is a very common infectious disease that affects dogs of all ages. While few dogs might develop an illness from the bite, it’s important that owners take the right steps to protect their pets. Frontline Plus provides fast and effective control of insect infestations. From a single point of application, the medicine spreads over the entire canine and localizes in the hair and sebaceous glands. With monthly use, pet parents can guarantee that their four-legged friends stay protected even after swimming or being groomed.

3. K9 Advantix II
You might have times when you barely miss the prevention window and must act fast to eliminate existing infestations. If fleas get into your house, they can wreak havoc on clothing, sheets and furniture. However, administering K9 Advantix II can kill and protect against 98 percent of fleas, mosquitoes and chewing lice within 12 hours. It eliminates all stages of fleas – egg, pupae, larvae and adult – and attacks a range of ticks including Lone Star and Brown Dog Ticks. A monthly dose that’s waterproof and intended for dogs age 7 weeks and older, Advantix II should be your go-to medicine for flea prevention.

4. Advantage II
Flea and lice infestations cause dogs to scratch at themselves constantly, which can lead to the insects spreading to other parts of your home. However, owners can squash these bugs’ growths if caught early enough. With Advantage II for Dogs, your pet can be protected from infestations within 2 hours of being applied. The dog medicine contains pyriproxyfen, an insect growth regulator that breaks down the life cycle and prevents the development of parasites. Just one application of Advantage II protects canines for an entire month and is effective even after swimming or bathing.

5. Tri-Heart Plus
To fight both heart and intestinal worms, pet owners need a chewable tablet that acts fast and can be used year-round on their outdoor dog. Tri-Heart Plus is a monthly prescription that prevents these dangerous diseases, including hookworm. The flavored dog medicine kills the immature growths before they can attack the vital organs. Safe for dogs 6 weeks and older, it’s intended for outdoor canines who need constant protection from infestations.

PetPlus has all of the dog medicine that owners need to ensure their furry friends are able to safely run and play outside with no worries. Pet parents should take advantage of the cheaper prices and start protecting their canines today.

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