Time to Update your Pet’s Vaccinations!

August is International Immunization Awareness Month for people of all ages, but don’t forget, it’s important for your pets to get their shots too! This month while you’re going in for a yearly check-up, go ahead and take your pet to the veterinarian to ensure all their vaccinations are up-to-date.

Vaccinations are essentially the same as immunizations, but our pets rely on us to remember when to have them administered. Vaccines contain antigens that are introduced to the immune system to better prepare your pet for preventing and fighting off future illness.

There a few basic vaccinations that all pets must receive the first time they go to the vet. It’s important to have a set vaccination schedule to ensure they receive the appropriate vaccines, especially if your pet is a young puppy or kitten.

There are specific core vaccinations that all dogs and cats, regardless of age, need for protection against particularly common or especially dangerous diseases. Puppies can begin vaccinations after they are weaned as early as six to eight weeks of age and kittens can also begin receiving vaccinations at six weeks.

Both dogs and cats should receive the rabies vaccine as part of their core vaccinations. Depending on your state’s laws, dogs and cats are required to have an up-to-date rabies vaccination and documented proof of said vaccination. It’s a good idea to keep your pet’s medical records on file if you ever need to prove their vaccinations are to date.

Puppies need to have core vaccinations administered to prevent rabies, canine parvovirus, distemper and canine hepatitis. Puppies receive most of their needed vaccines every two to four weeks until they age to 14 weeks or older.

For kittens, their core vaccinations should include ones that protect against rabies, feline rhinotracheitis, feline panleukopenia or distemper (FVRCP) and feline calicivirus which causes feline respiratory infections. The preventatives for these diseases can be administered through a combination vaccine and should be updated every three years. All of these diseases are common in nature and are frequently found in the general cat population. Outside cats or cats at higher risk for these diseases will benefit from more frequent vaccinations. Kittens should be vaccinated every three to four weeks until they age to 16 weeks or older.

Because some pets are at a higher risk for exposure to various diseases, discuss with your veterinarian the appropriate interval for vaccinations and booster shots to be administered. Frequency of vaccinations can be dependent on your pet’s age, lifestyle, medical history or environment.

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Top Four Poison Prevention Tips

Our homes contain many household items that make our day-to-day tasks easier and our meals tastier. Unfortunately, these items don’t always bode well with our pets. In an effort to help raise awareness for National Poison Prevention Week, the Precise team has complied some tips to help keep your pets safe from household toxins.

Identify Household Toxins

Your home is filled with items that are safe for human use, but could be fatal for your pets to get their paws in. From basic household cleaners such as window solutions, dishwashing soaps, and bleach; to prescription medications; plants; and even some of our favorite foods, like grapes, garlic and chocolate, are all incredibly dangerous for pets to consume. Both cats and dogs have different tolerances for these items. For example, if a cat were to ingest even one or two lily leaves, it could result in kidney failure, whereas a dog might not have the same reaction. Now that spring is around the corner and gardening season will begin, it’s also important to note seasonal toxins to be aware of.

Poison Proof Your Home

The list of animal toxins is long and intimidating, but there is a way to help prevent your pet from falling victim to poisoning by proofing your house. Your pet is constantly watching what you’re doing. As you pull a piece of chocolate form it’s wrapper, your pet wants a taste of the action. It’s important that you take simple steps to make sure that your pet’s curiosity doesn’t get them in trouble. For example, make an effort to keep all hazardous items in secure cabinets or in high places that your pet can’t reach. Make sure medications and cleaners are tightly sealed and stored away. Also, ensure that the plants you purchase for your home are nontoxic.

Know the Signs of Poisoning

If your pet’s curiosity gets the best of them when you’re not watching, you will notice various changes in their behavior. Vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, lethargy, and loss of appetite are obvious signs that something is not right. There are also symptoms that can occur which aren’t so obvious, such as irregular heartbeat, blood in the stool and bruising.

Have a First Aid Kit Ready

If you notice any of these signs, call for help immediately. While you wait for further instruction from poison control or your veterinarian, an added step of caution would be to have a first aid kit at-the-ready. Your kit can contain items such as gauze, adhesive tape, cotton balls, peroxide, ice packs, scissors, tweezers, antibiotic ointment and more. Talk with your vet before utilizing the kit on the best practices to help comfort your pet before help arrives. Check out this video from the ASPCA for more information on how to create a first aid kit.

Keep these tips in mind as you use the household items mentioned above. Be sure to store these items in a safe place where your curious pet cannot reach them. If you believe your pet may have gotten into something they shouldn’t have, be sure to call your veterinarian or the pet poison helpline immediately.

Pet Poison Helpline #: 855-764-7661

*Note: This helpline costs $59 USD per incident

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Four Signs that Your Pet May Have the Flu

Flu season is among us, and in some areas, it’s even becoming an epidemic. Though you may feel a bit relieved after receiving your flu shot this year, it’s important to note that we two-legged folks aren’t the only ones susceptible to the respiratory illness—our furry friends are as well. Not to worry, catching these signs early can save your pooch or feline from feeling under the weather for an extended period of time.

Look out for these four signs in your pet’s behavior that could indicate influenza:

#1. Coughing

Like in humans, when pets get the flu, they develop a cough. This cough can cause your pet’s throat to become sore. Be sure to keep plenty of fresh, clean water available for your pet if their dry cough is giving them trouble.

#2. Sneezing

Unfortunately for our furry ones, tissues aren’t exactly a pet’s best friend. When your pet sneezes, their germs from their illness spread to surrounding areas. If you notice your pet sneezing, be sure to separate them from other animals in the home, as the flu is highly contagious.

#3. Lack of Appetite

Is your pet not taking advantage of meal time like they usually do? That’s not a good sign. While your pet’s palate may change over time, neglecting to eat could mean that they are not feeling their best.

#4. Restlessness

When you are sick, it’s safe to say that you don’t feel like doing much of anything. The same goes for our pets. If you notice your spunky pooch or kitty is a little more lethargic than usual, monitor their behavior. If it extends over a long period of time, contact your vet.

Knowing your furry friend isn’t feeling their best is a tough burden to carry. If you notice any of the above signs in your pet’s behavior, be sure to consult your veterinarian as soon as you can, as the flu can turn into pneumonia if ignored. Your pet will likely be treated with antibiotics to prevent the illness from becoming any worse. When there is illness like the flu in humans or pets – close contact should be avoided and practicing good sanitary habits, like washing your hands with soap and warm water, is always a good idea. A healthy, nutritional diet and hydration are also essential in fighting off the flu.

There are also many natural remedies you can use to stop the illness in it’s tracks. For more information, click here.

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Three Reasons to Spay and Neuter Your Pet

We’ve all had that thought: “My insert pet here would make the most adorable babies!” We get that feeling every time we look into those big sweet eyes of our lovable canine and feline friends; however, that feeling also greets us with a big reality check: the importance of spaying or neutering ours pets. Need us to explain? Read on:

Think of the Strays

This is the obvious one. Unfortunately, the surplus in the domestic pet population has resulted in overcrowding. Cats are 45 times more prolific than humans, and dogs are 15 times more prolific. Overcrowding, and an abundance of stray or feral animals leads to unnecessary euthanasia in pets.

Your Pet’s Life Expectancy Increases

Believe it or not, spaying/neutering your pet helps prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), breast tumors, and testicular cancer, promoting a long and healthy life for your pet.

If your pet is mainly outdoors, take comfort in knowing that this procedure will also reduce your pet’s interest in roaming; therefore, your pet will be less likely to run away, become injured in fights with other animals, or be involved in an auto accident.

Decreases Unruly Behavior

Whether your pet’s heat has them riled up, or they relieve themselves all over the house, neutering or spaying your pet can actually improve their behavior. Typically, your pet’s hormones will cause this territory-marking escapade; so once your pet’s hormones are balanced from the procedure, they will be less inclined to claim the space. This will also make your pet calmer if they tend to be a bit feisty.

Though the financial commitment of spaying/neutering your pet may make you shutter, many vets offer a wellness plan that allows you to make responsible decisions about your pet’s health, without breaking the bank (not to mention, having a litter of puppies or kittens is much more expensive). Once you bring your pet home after their appointment, be sure to take these tips into account to make your pet’s recovery time comfortable and relaxing.

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3 Tips to Prevent the Possibility of Lyme Disease in Dogs

April showers bring May flowers, and lots of time outside for you and your pet. Spring has sprung, and the warm weather has us all itching to get out and seek adventure on a hike in the woods, in a pasture, or at the park.

Lyme Disease - Outside

For these reasons, April has been deemed National Prevention of Lyme Disease Awareness month, as ticks are prevalent in these outdoor areas, and are ready “suck” the fun out of outdoor playtime.

What’s lyme disease exactly? Well, it’s a tick-borne illness, caused by the transmission of infected bacteria, commonly from a “deer tick,” also known as the black-legged tick; we have 3 tips from our global veterinarian, Dr. Stephan Leoni, on how to help stop these biters in their tracks.

Grab a Good Repulsive Spray, or Drop-On

These two preventative methods are recommended for pets because of their ability to repel ticks, fleas, and mosquitos alike, while also remaining water and sweat proof. This composition can be placed between your pet’s shoulder blades, or all along their body, depositing into sweat glands where the active ingredients will be released over several weeks’ time.

Search, search, search

Ticks hide out in warm places: in-between your pet’s toes, under their armpits, behind their ears, and around their tail and head. If you feel a bump, separate the fur surrounding the tick and grab some tweezers. Proceed to pull the ticks body away from the skin, being cautious not to crush the tick, or leave any limbs of the insect behind. After removal, clean your pet’s skin with soap and water, and flush the tick down the toilet. The longer the tick is attached to your pet’s skin, the greater the risk becomes of being infected (more than 48 hours).

Get Some Immune Support

Incorporating a diet packed with vitamin E and C along with carotenoids and flavonoids will help boost your pet’s immune system, in case of infection. This will allow your pet to help fight the bacteria until they are able to receive medical attention, and will also serve as a great source of nutrients if your pet is recovering from the disease. Might we recommend our Precise Holistic Complete line of dry dog food formulas?

Though the risk of becoming infected is minor, nothing can rule out Lyme Disease indefinitely. If you notice the following symptoms from your pet after playing outdoors, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

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Avoid These Pet Poisons

Everyone knows that what you feed your pet is essential to their health; that’s why our pet food is packed with high quality, nutritious ingredients. Recognizing what you should avoid feeding your pet is just as important. In honor of Pet Poison Prevention Month, the Precise Team has compiled a list of dangerous household substances that should be kept away from your pets. Some may be obvious to you, but some may surprise you. So keep your furry friend safe and healthy by avoiding these pet poisons:

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  • Medications / Supplements

Never attempt to medicate your pet using human products without contacting your veterinarian first. Anti-depressants and common over the counter drugs containing acetaminophen (Tylenol), or NSAIDs (Ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, Motrin) can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers or kidney failure in cats and dogs. Vitamins and supplements like Vitamin D, iron and alpha-lipoic acid are also toxic to pets.

  • People Food

Animals have different metabolisms than people. That’s why foods that are perfectly safe for humans can be dangerous and potentially fatal for your companion. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the most dangerous people foods pets should avoid are chocolate, alcohol, avocados, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, grapes and raisins, caffeine and xylitol (a sweetener found in sugar-free gum, candy and toothpaste).

  • Plants

They might look pretty, but not all plants are pet-friendly. Lilies are the most poisonous of household plants (especially to cats)- even a couple of petals can be fatal. Other toxic plants include tulips, daffodils, azaleas and oleander. In the future, remove any of these poisonous plants from your bouquets to keep your furry friend safe.

  • Household Cleaners

Not only are cleaners like bleach poisonous to people, they’re also the leading cause of pet poisoning. To be safe, keep your pets out of the room while using cleaning products, and be sure to close toilet lids to prevent drinking toilet water, especially if you use automatic bowl cleaners.

  • Glue

When kids play around with glue, its cute. When pets play around with glue, its dangerous. Believe it or not, some glues expand after ingestion and require surgical removal. According to Pet Poison Hotline, just one ounce of glue can expand to the size of a basketball in your pet’s stomach.

Think your pet might have ingested something harmful? Stay calm. Contact your veterinarian, the Pet Poison Hotline (1-800-213-6680), or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) immediately. If you know what your pet ingested, it’s important to have the container, package, or label ready for quick identification of suspected substances.

Image credit: Pixabay

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From Table To Bowl: Human Foods Your Pet Can Enjoy Too

As creators of high-quality pet foods, we make it our priority to create formulas using ingredients that provide optimal nutrition to your pets. However, we all are guilty of giving our friends “people food” to add some pizzazz to our pet’s meals, or to clean up after a kitchen spill! To help with the process of selecting safe and healthy foods to mix into your pet’s diet, we have come up with a list of nine healthy people foods that are also safe for your four-legged friend!

Image Credit: Pixabay

Yogurt

Yogurt is commonly known as a healthy treat for humans, but it is also fantastic for animals! Plain yogurt is packed with protein and calcium and is great for the digestive system. When looking for a yogurt, make sure it doesn’t contain added sugar, artificial sweeteners or fat substitutes. If you would like to add a boost to your pet’s gastrointestinal or immune systems, pick a yogurt with active bacteria so that your pet can get the added benefits of a probiotic!

Oatmeal

A super source of fiber, oatmeal serves as a great alternative source of grains for pets with wheat allergies. Always cook the oatmeal before serving and never serve it with any added flavoring.

Salmon

Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which will give your pet a shinier coat and healthier skin in addition to aiding the immune system. Always cook salmon before feeding it as raw salmon can contain a potentially dangerous parasite. We include salmon in our Precise Holistic Complete formulas for both dogs and cats!

Flax Seed

Another source of omega-3 fatty acids, flax seed also provides an extra boost of fiber. We love flax seed so much that we included it in all of our canine formulas! Flax seed oil is another alternative; flax seed oil provides more concentrated fatty acids, but without the fiber. The best way to serve flax seed is to grind whole seeds up right before serving because these particular fatty acids can go bad very quickly.

Chicken

Some form of chicken is included in most pet foods (including ours) and is a solid source of protein. Serve your pets some cooked, plain chicken for an extra protein boost or as an alternative meal in a pinch!

Green Beans

Just because dogs and cats are primarily meat-eaters doesn’t mean that they can’t eat their veggies from time-to-time! Green beans are packed with vitamins like vitamin K and vitamin C and are very low in caloric value. In fact, replacing part of an overweight pet’s diet with green beans will help them eat less and maintain a healthy weight!

Carrots

Similar to green beans, carrots are low-calorie, high-fiber foods that also provide plenty of vitamins. Carrots are loaded with vitamin A, which is great for a pet’s vision. Crunching on carrots can also be great for your pet’s teeth!

Eggs

Eggs are another source of protein and will be a little easier on the budget than chicken and salmon. Their combination of fats and proteins can also contribute to a shiny coat! Eggs should be cooked, either served whole or scrambled.

Pumpkin

We talked about all of the benefits of pumpkin at length in a recent blog post, but it’s healthy enough to be included again in this list, especially with Thanksgiving right around the corner. Pumpkin is first and foremost a huge source of fiber, and is therefore a great supplement for your furry friend’s digestive system!

The biggest thing to remember with feeding your animals people food is to do so in moderation. Human foods should not make up any more than 25 percent of your pet’s diet at the most. Pet foods are designed to supply them with all of their essential vitamins and nutrients, so human foods should only be used as supplements and snacks. As with all things diet-related, be sure to consult your veterinarian before feeding your pets new foods!

 Image Credit: Pixabay

 

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Dr. Jean Dodds Develops Revolutionary Food Intolerance Test for Pets

Hemopet, North America’s largest non-profit pet blood bank, has developed a new product that will help you diagnose your pet’s food intolerances! NutriScan predicts which ingredients your dog or cat will be sensitive to, by testing for the 24 foods that are most commonly ingested by our companion animals. These foods include ingredients like wheat, corn, soy and chicken, all of which are featured in many pet foods on the market. NutriScan requires only that the pet not be fed anything for at least three hours and collection of a saliva sample to complete the test. This means that you can diagnose the cause of problems such as itchy skin or irritable bowel syndrome from the comfort of your own home! The test yields results in almost no time in all, giving you an accurate analysis of potential problems in your pet’s diet in less than two weeks! Once your results are in, you will be able to work with your veterinarian to create the perfect diet plan for your pet!

“Over 10,000 tests have proven the patented NutriScan saliva test is the accurate way to identify food sensitivity in pets,” says Dr. Jean Dodds, veterinarian and President of Hemopet. “This gold standard test is changing the way we care for our pets’ diets, and it really works.”

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Dr. Dodds is a world-renowned veterinarian and a leader in the field of animal product research and development. In 1986, she created Hemopet, a non-profit licensed canine blood bank that also serves as a greyhound rescue and adoption program. The program helps to save tens of thousands of pet lives every year using blood from the rescued greyhounds. They are pre-selected to have the universal blood type safe for all dogs, and to be free of infectious diseases transmitted by blood. Precise’s dog foods have been one of Dr. Dodds’ preferred dog foods for the past eight years. Since joining the Precise Pet family, she has served variations of our formulas to her rescued greyhounds.

Precise has been proud to fuel and sustain the brave dogs of Hemopet for the past eight years and we are extremely excited to see how NutriScan will revolutionize the way that pet owners treat food intolerances! For more information on NutriScan or Hemopet, visit their respective websites at http://www.nutriscan.org/ and http://www.hemopet.org/. If you are a veterinarian that is interested in ordering NutriScan clinic kits, check out NutriScan’s veterinary resources at http://www.nutriscan.org/veterinarian-resources.html.

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