Sherpa

How do you know when It’s Time to Put an Elderly Dog to Sleep

Making the decision to euthanize a beloved pet is one of the most heart-wrenching choices a pet owner can face. As dogs age, their health inevitably declines, and there comes a time when we must weigh their quality of life against the pain and suffering they may be experiencing. Unfortunately dogs are good at masking their pain and may be experiencing more discomfort they appear to be having. Following are some signs to look for. When its not an obvious choice your vet may assist you in making what is ultimately your decision.

elderly dogRecognizing the Signs of Decline

  1. Chronic Pain and Discomfort: One of the clearest indicators that an elderly dog may be suffering is persistent pain that cannot be alleviated by medication or other treatments. Signs of pain can include whining, limping, reluctance to move, or a significant change in behavior such as increased aggression or withdrawal.
  2. Severe Mobility Issues: Difficulty in walking, standing, or even lying down comfortably can greatly diminish a dog’s quality of life. If your dog struggles to perform basic movements, it may indicate that their body is no longer able to support them adequately.
  3. Incontinence: Loss of bladder or bowel control can be distressing for both the dog and the owner. While some incontinence can be managed, severe cases that do not respond to treatment may significantly impact the dog’s dignity and comfort.
  4. Appetite and Weight Loss: A noticeable decrease in appetite, refusal to eat, or significant weight loss can be signs of serious health issues. This can also lead to malnutrition, weakening the dog further and exacerbating other health problems.
  5. Breathing Difficulties: Respiratory problems, such as chronic coughing, labored breathing, or other signs of distress, are serious indicators that a dog may be suffering. These issues can often be linked to underlying conditions that are difficult to treat effectively in elderly dogs.
  6. Mental Decline: Cognitive dysfunction in dogs, akin to dementia in humans, can lead to confusion, anxiety, and a diminished quality of life. If your dog seems disoriented, forgets familiar routines, or no longer recognizes loved ones, their mental state may be significantly compromised.

Read more

Sherpa the dog

Maintaining a Healthy Weight for Your Pet

healthy weight for petKeeping your pet at a healthy weight is crucial for their overall well-being, longevity, and quality of life. Pets, like humans, can suffer from obesity and its related health issues if not properly managed. Here, we’ll explore the importance of maintaining a healthy weight for your pet, offer solutions to common weight-related problems, and provide resources for further guidance.

The Importance of a Healthy Weight

Obesity in pets can lead to a variety of health problems, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Decreased Lifespan

Maintaining a healthy weight helps ensure that your pet can live a longer, happier, and more active life.

Identifying Healthy Weight

The first step in managing your pet’s weight is knowing what a healthy weight looks like. Veterinary professionals often use the Body Condition Score (BCS), a visual and tactile assessment method, to determine if a pet is underweight, overweight, or at an ideal weight.

Signs of a Healthy Weight:

  • Ribs can be felt but not seen prominently
  • Waist is evident when viewed from above
  • Abdominal tuck when viewed from the side

If you’re unsure about your pet’s weight, a visit to the veterinarian is a good start. They can provide a BCS assessment and recommend a target weight. Read more

Sherpa the dog

Essential Puppy Shots: Vaccinations Every Puppy Needs and When

Welcoming a new puppy into your home is an exciting time, but it also comes with responsibilities, one of the most important being ensuring your fur baby stays healthy. Central to this is a schedule of vaccinations tailored to protect your puppy against various diseases. These vaccinations are crucial in preventing serious illnesses and promoting your pup’s well-being throughout their life. Let’s delve into the shots your puppy needs and when they should receive them.

rssential puppy vaccinationsCore Vaccinations:

  1. Distemper: Canine distemper is a highly contagious and potentially fatal viral disease that affects a puppy’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. Puppies typically receive their first distemper vaccination between 6 to 8 weeks of age, followed by booster shots every 3-4 weeks until they are around 16 weeks old.
  2. Parvovirus: Parvovirus is another highly contagious viral disease that primarily affects a puppy’s gastrointestinal tract, leading to severe vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Puppies should receive their first parvovirus vaccination at around 6 to 8 weeks of age, with additional booster shots administered every 3-4 weeks until they are around 16 weeks old.
  3. Canine Adenovirus (Hepatitis): Canine adenovirus primarily affects a puppy’s liver, kidneys, and eyes. Vaccination against this virus is usually combined with the distemper and parvovirus vaccine, forming the core vaccinations commonly referred to as the DHPP or DAPP vaccine. Like distemper and parvovirus, puppies should receive their first adenovirus vaccination at around 6 to 8 weeks of age, with subsequent boosters every 3-4 weeks until they are around 16 weeks old.
  4. Rabies: Rabies is a fatal viral disease that affects the central nervous system and is transmissible to humans. Most states and countries require puppies to be vaccinated against rabies by law. The first rabies vaccination is typically administered when a puppy is around 12 to 16 weeks old, with a booster shot given one year later, and then every one to three years thereafter, depending on local regulations.

Non-Core Vaccinations:

In addition to core vaccinations, there are certain non-core vaccinations that may be recommended based on your puppy’s lifestyle, environment, and risk factors. Some of these include: Read more

Sherpa the dog

How to avoid Feline Leukemia: Keeping Your Cat Healthy

avoid feline cancerFeline leukemia is a serious viral infection that affects cats worldwide. It can lead to a range of health problems, including immune system suppression, anemia, and even cancer. However, with proper precautions and care, you can greatly reduce the risk of your cat contracting this disease. Here are some tips for keeping your feline friend healthy and safe from feline leukemia.

  1. Vaccination: One of the most effective ways to prevent feline leukemia is through vaccination. Talk to your veterinarian about scheduling regular vaccinations for your cat, especially if they spend time outdoors or come into contact with other cats.
  2. Keep Your Cat Indoors: Limiting your cat’s exposure to other felines can significantly reduce the risk of feline leukemia transmission. Keeping your cat indoors, particularly if you live in an area with a high population of outdoor cats, can help prevent contact with infected animals.
  3. Spaying and Neutering: Spaying or neutering your cat not only helps control the pet population but also reduces the likelihood of certain health issues, including feline leukemia. Cats that are spayed or neutered are less likely to engage in behaviors that put them at risk of contracting the virus, such as fighting with other cats.
  4. Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Routine veterinary exams are essential for monitoring your cat’s health and detecting any potential issues early on. Your veterinarian can perform tests to screen for feline leukemia and provide guidance on preventive care measures.
  5. Minimize Stress: Stress can weaken your cat’s immune system, making them more susceptible to infections, including feline leukemia. Provide a calm and stable environment for your cat, with plenty of opportunities for rest and relaxation.
  6. Practice Good Hygiene: Maintaining proper hygiene practices can help prevent the spread of feline leukemia and other diseases. Keep your cat’s living area clean, wash their food and water bowls regularly, and ensure they have access to fresh, clean water at all times.
  7. Adopt from Reputable Sources: When adding a new cat to your family, choose reputable sources such as animal shelters or rescue organizations that prioritize the health and well-being of their animals. Avoid purchasing cats from unknown or unreliable sources, as they may not have been properly screened for diseases like feline leukemia.

By following these tips and providing your cat with the care and attention they need, you can significantly reduce the risk of feline leukemia and help ensure a long and healthy life for your feline companion. Learn more about immunizing your cat here.

Sherpa the dog

Do you make this mistake with your dog?

Dr. Marty

According to Dr. Marty Goldstein — one of America’s top veterinarians — canine health is on the decline.

Some breeds have even seen their average lifespans cut in half over the past 30 years.

And it all boils down to one thing — nutrition.

“Unfortunately, most commercial dog foods are full of artificial preservatives, additives, heavy grains, and low-quality proteins,” he explains. “Even foods that claim to be ‘healthy’, ‘organic’, or ‘natural’.”

“To make matters worse, most commercial dog food is cooked at high temperatures, which can actually destroy most of the nutrients.”

And research shows the low nutritional value of these foods is a major contributor to low energy, digestive issues, joint discomfort, bad breath, smelly or mushy poop, itchy skin, and a host of other common problems in dogs.

However, after years of studying the issue and even writing a best-selling book, Dr. Marty says he has finally found a way to fight back.

Read the full article here.

Sherpa the dog

Keep your dog safe when traveling by car with a special dog seatbelt restraint.

Here’s a video which shows some good options. Ask your Vet what they recommend as well.

Sherpa the dog

Zane the Alpaca is loving life with is new wheelchair at the Lillymore Farm.

Find out more about Zane, alpacas and other animals in residence at the Lilymoore Farm Sanctuary. Voted one of the top destinations in the Hudson Valley of New York, you can get tickets to visit and lead an alpaca on a walk thru the woods. Quite the experience. #lilymoorefarm #alpacas #alpacasanctuary https://www.lilymoorefarm.com

Sherpa the dog

Keeping Your Dog Safe During The Summer

The Heat is On” is not only a hit by Glenn Frey but an accurate description of summer 2022! On the first day of summer, almost 35 million people were under heat advisories in the US. In Paris, where I spent  the month of June with my beloved KoKo, all-time heat records were broken. During the summer months, when temperatures are typically higher, I follow this rule: If I am hot, so is KoKo! Especially since she can’t dress for the weather like we humans can (that fur coat is year-round!). Despite it being so hot, we still had a fabulous time in Paris and were able to enjoy all the wonderful things I love to do in the city, including eating at outdoor cafes!

I want to share my favorite tips on how to keep your dog safe during the Dog Days of Summer!

Imahge of Gayle Martz hugging her doggie

Stay Hydrated

Before walking out the door with your dog, make sure you have cold water on hand. It’s even better if you can add ice cubes to it. Some dogs (usually big ones) can have it poured into their mouths, but if you have a small dog, don’t forget to bring a container for them to drink out of. In case you forget, don’t be afraid to ask someone for water for your dog. On one of the hottest days in Paris, everyone was so kind to KoKo and brought her water everywhere we went, one place bringing a container so large she could have bathed in!

Keep Cool

During the summer, move over man… air conditioning is a dog’s best friend! If you don’t have an air conditioner and you have a pet, it might be time to look into getting one! At the very least, keep fans going when you are home. When you are on the go, I recommend purchasing small, travel fans that are battery operated. A quick search online for “fans for baby strollers” and you will see you have lots of options to choose from. If it’s good enough for a baby, it will be good enough for a fur baby!  Frozen water bottles can be used and pressed gently on the skin of your dog to bring down body temperatures when you are out, and then when the water melts, you can use it to keep your dog hydrated! At home, use wet washcloths and/or a cold shower (or hose!) to cool your dog down. There are also great products on the market to help cool dogs such as cooling collars and mats. Read more

Sherpa the dog

How to trim a difficult cat’s nails.

Best to have a human trimming partner and gently scruff the cat.

Sherpa the dog

Why Bone Broth is The Ultimate Superfood For Senior Dogs

bone broth for senior dogs - image shows an old dog and a bowl of broth

As our dogs age their appetites may begin to wane due to dental soreness, arthritis pain or decreased activity. Seniors that don’t take in adequate levels of essential nutrients like amino acids, potassium, zinc, and calcium are at a higher risk for illness. Bone broth is an easy and delicious way to give your older dog a power punch of nutrition and the calories she needs to keep her active and feeling great!

Physicians and veterinarians have long hailed bone broth as a superfood, using it to help ease symptoms from many common ailments. Dr. Kaayla Daniel, vice president of the Weston A. Price Foundation and coauthor of the book, Nourishing Broth, calls it “an old-fashioned remedy for the modern world.”

Dr. Daniel notes that bone broth is especially beneficial for joint and gut health. However, since many modern ailments can be traced back to poor nutrition and digestion, she considers it a healing addition to any diet.

Read the full article on iheartdogs.com