Q: How old is my dog in human years?
A: Most people believe that one human year is equal to seven in dog years. This is not true. The best way to determine the relative age of your dog is to do research on the life expectancy of your dog’s breed. Small breeds, such as Chihuahuas or Yorkshire Terriers, tend to live longer lives, often 14 to 17 years old or longer. Giant breeds, like St. Bernards or German Shepards, have a life expectancy that is significantly shorter, typically 8 to 12 years old.
Q: At what age should I have my pet spayed/neutered?
A: We believe that this should be done between 4 and 6 months of age. There are several advantages to having this procedure performed sooner rather then later:
- Neutered/Spayed pets could be less aggressive, less likely to fight, and less likely to bite.
- Neutered/Spayed pets (especially males) are less territorial and less likely to roam. Research shows that 80% of dogs hit by cars are unaltered males.
- Neutered pets are less likely to mark furniture and rugs with urine.
- Spayed females will not have heat cycles that soil rugs and furniture and they typically shed less.
- Neutered pets are less likely develop testicular tumors, the 2nd most common malignancy in males, and have a lower incidence of prostate cancer, which is better for you and your pet and can also mean lower medical bills in the future.
- Spayed females typically stay healthier and live longer. They have a lower incidence of mammary tumors and no uterine or ovarian cancers, which is better for your pet, and again means lower medical bills for you in the future.
- Contrary to popular belief, sterilization will not change your pet’s personality or cause any weight gain.
- Removing the urge to mate focuses more of a pet’s attention on the caregiver, which can help with training.
- Sterilized pet’s are likely to behave better.
Q: My pet is old. When do I know if it is the right time to euthanize my pet?
A: We understand human attachment to pets. We can examine and evaluate your pet’s condition, estimate its chances for recovery, and discuss its potential disabilities and long-term problems. We can explain medical and/or surgical options and possible outcomes. Because we cannot make the euthanasia decision for you, it is important that you fully understand your pet’s condition. If there is any part of the diagnosis or the implications for your pet’s future that you don’t understand, please do not hesitate to ask to have it explained again. Rarely will the situation require an immediate decision and usually you will have some time to review the facts before making one.Once the decision for euthanasia has been made, you may wish to discuss the care of the remains of your pet’s body with your veterinarian and your family. Your veterinarian can provide information about burial, cremation, and other alternatives.
Q: Aren’t all flea/tick preventatives the same?
A. No they are not. None of them do exactly the same thing. Some offer lots of protection, some don’t. If the product you’re using doesn’t cover something like Heartworm or tick prevention, you will have to buy something separately and add that to your pet’s monthly regimen.
Q: Why do I need to brush my pet’s teeth? Isn’t dry food good enough?
A. Dogs and cats may not get cavities the way humans do, but they do get plaque, tartar, and gingivitis — all of which can cause bad breath, periodontal disease, and other tooth problems. If the teeth are neglected too long a trip to an animal dentist may become necessary and costly. It also means, your pet will have to be put under anesthesia, because no dog or cat ever “opens wide” for any dentist or vet.
As far as the dry dog food theory is concerned, many experts say dry food is good for your pet’s teeth, that it helps keep them clean because it’s crunchy and rubs off the tartar. This is not true. For example, there are 42 teeth in an adult dog’s mouth. They use their back teeth to chew their dry food, so that leaves 30 teeth that do not get cleaned at all if this theory is true. Think about this: When humans eat, food gets stuck in between their teeth. We know the only way to get it out is with floss, a brush, or by using a toothpick. Since our pet’s are incapable of attempting any of the aforementioned solutions, it is our job to take as good care of their teeth as we do our own.
Q: Is my pet overweight/underweight?
A. This is a major concern for a lot of our clients. There are a few ways you can tell if weight is a problem for your pet. First, our veterinarians can tell you if your pet is overweight during your pet’s regular wellness exams. Second, you can check yourself at home by standing beside your pet and just running your hand along his/her ribs. You should be able to count them by feeling for them, but they shouldn’t be sticking out so much that you can count them by just looking alone. If you can’t feel his/her ribs, take him/her in for a check up and see what your veterinarian thinks.Also, every dog should have a definable “waist”, indented at the belly, from behind his ribs to his legs. If you can not see where his ribs end from the side, then again, take him/her in for a check up and see what your veterinarian thinks.
Q: My pet just ate chocolate! What should I do?
A: We understand that this can be a very scary situation. The best things to do are:
- Keep the animal warm and quiet
- Try to determine the type of chocolate and the amount swallowed
- Immediately call your veterinarian or your nearest poison control center
**If you decide to take your pet to the veterinarian, you should bring the container (or the label) with you.
Most of the time poisoning is accidental. Keep chocolate and all poisonous materials out of reach, know what your pet is doing at all times, and keep emergency telephone numbers handy!
Click Here To View A Chocolate Toxicity Table
Q: When do my pet’s adult teeth come in?
A. Just like humans do, dogs and cats will get 2 sets of teeth in their lifetime.
Puppies get roughly 28 baby teeth between the age of 3 to 6 weeks. They do not have to grind much food, so they don’t get molars at first. Their teeth will begin to fall out and be replaced by permanent adult teeth at around 4 months of age. Although there is some variation in canine breeds, most adult dogs will get 42 teeth, with the molars coming in last at around 6 or 7 months old.
Kitten teeth usually appear between 15 and 28 days old. They will get roughly 26 teeth (the same as an adult cat, except with no molars). The baby teeth are replaced by permanent teeth between 5 and 7 months of age. During this time, the kitten’s gums will be very tender and it will have trouble eating, so make sure their food is finely chopped.
Q: Why do I need to give my pet heartworm prevention year round?
A. We can’t predict when transmission seasons for heartworm will begin and end. Also, resuming a prevention program is easy to forget. So, it is safest and easiest to use a year round, monthly heartworm preventative program, prescribed by us or your regular veterinarian. Using monthly chewables year round can also control hookworm and roundworm!
Q: Do I need to get my pet a Bordetella (Kennel Cough) vaccine?
A. Bordetella isn’t required by the state or county; however, it can still be very important and almost all kennels will require it prior to boarding. This is a vaccine that helps protect against the upper respiratory bacteria that causes what is commonly referred to as “kennel cough”. This vaccination is also sometimes required for dogs that frequent the groomer, dog park, or dog shows.
Q: Where can I get a license application?
A. We have both annual and lifetime license applications here in our office.
If you are unable to come in and pick one up, you can print one out online at one of these two websites listed:
- Click here to get an annual application
- Click here to get a lifetime license application (your pet must be tattooed or microchipped in order to obtain this type of license)
Q: If my dog or cat gets sprayed by a skunk, how can I get rid of the smell?
A. Either use a treatment specifically formulated for use on skunk odors like Skunk Kleen or Skunk Off, or use the following formula:
- 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
- 1/4 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
- 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap (Dawn works well)
This recipe can be doubled for bigger breeds.
Wet your pet down and work the mixture through the pet’s hair. Leave it on for 3 to 4 minutes and rinse. This will generally need to be repeated several times. Be sure to throw away any excess mixture. Do NOT get any of the mixture in the eyes; as a precaution, place protective ophthalmic ointment in the eyes before applying mixture.
Note that the above mixture may bleach the hair color temporarily until the animal sheds and new hair grows in. Common antidotes like tomato juice, vinegar, or regular shampoos will not be as effective.
**Contact your veterinarian, if the eyes are severely affected, or your pet continues to vomit or retch**
Q: I’m changing my pet’s diet. How can I do that without upsetting my pet’s stomach???