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As a pet parent, providing regular veterinarian care for your dog is one of your most important responsibilities. Today, we will look at what constitutes regular veterinary care, when an injury or illness should require an emergency vet visit, and how to find the right veterinarian for your pet. 

Regular Veterinarian Care for Dogs

Dogs need regular veterinary care throughout their lives to ensure health and longevity. Puppies need to be seen by a veterinarian every three or four weeks until they reach about four months of age, while adult dogs need checkups at least once a year. 

During a puppy's vet visit, it will be checked for any type of abnormality and general alertness. Your vet will also pay special attention to signs of congenital defects that your puppy may be predisposed to due to its specific breed. 

Common veterinary care for puppies includes:

  • Vaccinations
  • Physical Examination
  • Dental Care
  • Flea and Worm Prevention
  • Microchipping

Healthy adult dogs should have a checkup with a veterinarian at least once a year. As a dog ages and becomes geriatric, this should increase to at least twice a year. If your dog has chronic issues that must be treated, follow your veterinarian's advice about the frequency of visits to ensure your dog stays healthy.

Regular veterinary care for adult dogs includes:

  • Vaccinations
  • Parasite Control
  • Spay/Neuter
  • Behavior Modification
  • Weight Control

Emergency Veterinary Care for Dogs

Having a sick or injured dog can be one of the scariest and most stressful experiences for a pet parent. Emergency veterinarians are here to help in these situations. 

If your dog shows signs of illness, pain, or distress, you should contact an emergency veterinarian immediately. 

Some common emergencies dogs have include:

  • Broken Bone or Inability to Move a Limb 
  • Severe Pain
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Severe or Uncontrolled Bleeding
  • Poisoning
  • Eye Injuries

A Note About Expenses: Like human medical expenses, emergency vet visits come with costs and are often a surprise. Many people purchase medical insurance for their dogs to prevent financial concerns associated with emergency medical issues.

How to Choose a Veterinarian for Your Dog

Choosing the right veterinarian for your dog and your family is important. We will always want our fur babies to have the best care, so start with ensuring that any veterinarian you take your dog to has the proper licenses and credentials. 

It is best if your first vet visit isn’t in an emergency situation. It is far better for your dog if it has experienced regular veterinary care and has a rapport with your family vet. 

Always remember that it is okay to ask questions. Make sure that you understand any information related to your dog's health and care very clearly. Be sure to ask your veterinarian about any concerns you have about your dog's care, including those related to their diet, other pets in the home, and long-term treatments.

Visiting your local veterinarian is a valuable tool in keeping your dog healthy. If your dog needs a checkup, don’t wait! Schedule a vet visit today. 

Cats are often misunderstood, with many people believing they are not as affectionate as dogs. However, this couldn't be further from the truth! Cats have unique ways of showing love and affection to their humans. In this article, we'll explore ten heartwarming ways your feline friend tells you, "I love you."

10 Cat “I Love Yous”

  • Licking: When your cat licks you, they're not just grooming themselves but creating a social bond with you. This behavior stems from their kittenhood when their mothers licked them to show love and affection.
  • Sitting on you: If your cat chooses to sit on your lap, consider yourself lucky! Cats are selective about who they sit on and only do so with people they trust and feel completely comfortable with.
  • Stretching out: A relaxed and happy cat will let their guard down and stretch their body out next to you. This is a sign that they feel safe and content in your presence.
  • Greeting you at the door: Your cat misses you when you're away and eagerly awaits your return. Greeting you at the doorstep is their way of expressing their joy and love for you.
  • Seeking comfort: When your cat isn't feeling well, they'll want to be close to you. They find comfort in your presence and trust that you'll give them the care and attention they need.
  • Sleeping next to you: Cats consider it a big deal to be allowed to sleep next to their human. It makes them feel warm, safe and loved.
  • Playing with you: Cats love having fun, and playing with their favorite human is the ultimate joy. When your cat initiates playtime, it shows their affection for you.
  • Staying close when guests are around: Cats can be protective and jealous, so they may stick close to you when visitors are present. They see themselves as your bodyguard and want to ensure your safety.
  • Rubbing their paws against your hands: When your cat rubs its paws against your hands, it marks you with its scent. This is a sign of affection and a way of claiming you as its own.
  • Jumping around: Cats are curious creatures who love to explore and show off their agility. When your cat jumps around in your presence, they demonstrate their top form and seek your attention and admiration.

More Ways Cats Show Love

In addition to these ten ways, countless other behaviors demonstrate your cat's love for you. For example, when your cat brings you "gifts" like toys or small prey, they're showing their trust and desire to share with you. Slow blinking, or "cat kisses," is another way cats express affection. When your cat gazes at you and slowly blinks, they're telling you that they feel relaxed and content in your presence.

Purring is also a strong indicator of your cat's happiness and love. While cats may purr for various reasons, such as when they're hungry or stressed, they often purr when they're feeling content and loved. The next time your cat curls up on your lap and starts purring, know they're expressing deep affection for you.

It's essential to remember that every cat is unique and may show their love differently. Some cats may be more vocal and meow to get your attention, while others may prefer quiet cuddles. By observing your cat's behavior and learning their individual quirks, you can develop a deeper understanding of their love language.

Cats have a plethora of ways to express their love for their humans. From licking and sitting on you to seeking comfort and playing together, these adorable furballs are more affectionate than many people realize. Understanding your cat's behavior can deepen your bond and communicate your love for them in return. So, the next time your cat shows you one of these signs of affection, take a moment to appreciate the special love you share.

Dogs love summer as much as we do. As the sun climbs higher and the days grow warmer, it's time to gear up for some fun in the sun with our furry companions! From ensuring they stay cool and hydrated to planning pet-friendly getaways, getting our dogs ready for the hot weather months is essential. Join us as we explore how to keep our canine pals safe, happy, and ready for all the summertime adventures ahead!

Stay Cool

During summer, dogs are at risk of overheating, which can be dangerous. It's important to take precautions to prevent this. Dogs vary in their ability to handle heat, so know your dog's needs. Some may need to avoid the midday sun and exercise during cooler times like morning or evening.

If your dog is outdoors with you, ensure there's a shaded area for them to rest. Remember, dogs feel heat more intensely than humans, so don't assume they're fine just because you're enjoying the sun.

Never leave dogs in hot cars or similar situations. This can be fatal and should never happen.

Get Vaccinated

The summer months are a time for vacations and socializing. Whether it is a trip to a kennel while you are away, doggy daycare, or play dates at a local dog park, you want to keep your pet healthy while they interact with others. Make sure you talk to your local veterinarian to make sure that all of your dog’s vaccinations are up to date.

Stay Hydrated

Dogs can become dehydrated rapidly, especially in hot summer weather. Always make sure your dog has plenty of water available, which many people overlook when on the go. There are various products on the market, such as water bottles with flip-out troughs or spill-proof bowls, designed for traveling with pets. You can find these at specialty pet stores and online.

Keep Fido Feeling Comfortable

Whether your dog is joining you on vacation or having their own getaway, it's wise to pack familiar items. New environments can stress dogs out, especially if their owners aren't present. Bringing their bed or some familiar toys can make them feel more comfortable. Our Border Collies won't budge without their cherished (albeit smelly) blanket!

Say Hello to Dog-Friendly Venues

There are numerous dog-friendly businesses nationwide, easily accessible through online searches. While self-catering is a common choice for those traveling with dogs, many hotels also accommodate pets, offering an alternative option.

Nothing spoils a summer outing faster than discovering your dog isn't allowed, so thorough planning beforehand is essential.

Look Out For Bees

Dogs are curious creatures and often poke their noses where they shouldn't. Bee and wasp stings pose a serious risk to dogs, especially around the mouth and face. Be vigilant around areas where wasps frequent, like compost heaps or fallen fruit, and keep your dog away. If you spot a nest within reach of your dog, take immediate action to prevent any disturbance.

Enjoy the Warm Weather!

As we venture into the spring and summer months, remember that keeping our dogs safe and comfortable during the hot months is a top priority. With a little preparation and attention to their needs, we can ensure that our canine friends enjoy every moment of the sunny season by our side. Here's to many more wag-filled adventures together!

As one of America's most cherished pets, dogs often spark discussions filled with various beliefs. Yet, many commonly held notions about dogs are simply untrue. It's time to debunk these 10 dog myths once and for all.

  1. Eating Grass Means a Dog is Sick

Many people believe that a dog eating grass indicates sickness. However, dogs may munch on grass for reasons beyond illness, such as enjoying the taste or seeking fiber. So, while it's a common assumption, it's not always a sign of poor health.

  1. You Should Bribe Dogs During Training with Treats

While it's true that dogs love treats, relying solely on food bribes for obedience isn't ideal. Treats should be used as rewards, complementing other training techniques for optimal outcomes. Balancing treats with other methods ensures effective and well-rounded training for your furry companion.

  1. An Old Dog Can’t Learn New Tricks

The saying "an old dog can't learn new tricks" unfairly undermines older dogs' learning abilities. According to veterinarians, age doesn't hinder dogs from acquiring new skills and tricks. It's a misconception that discounts the intelligence and adaptability of our senior canine friends.

  1. Rubbing a Dog’s Nose in Accidents Stops Future Accidents

Many believe that rubbing a dog's nose in its indoor accidents deters future mishaps. Yet, this method is a harmful myth. It can instill fear in your dog and worsen behavioral problems over time. Positive reinforcement and consistent training are more effective and humane approaches to addressing indoor accidents.

  1. Having two Dogs Gives Them Companionship

While it's commonly believed that raising two puppies together ensures better socialization and health, it often presents training difficulties and dependency issues. Although it's possible to manage this situation healthily, it's not inherently superior to raising a single dog. Each approach has its challenges and benefits to consider.

  1. Lots of Love Stops Behavioral Problems

There's a common misconception among dog owners that showering their pets with love and affection will prevent behavioral issues. However, excessive indulgence can lead to more problems over time. Training and setting boundaries are crucial for cultivating a well-behaved and content canine companion.

  1. Feed Your Dog a Diet Like a Wolf

Forget the advertising calling for aligning a dog's diet closely with that of its wild ancestors. While both dogs and wolves are primarily carnivorous, dogs have evolved distinct dietary requirements. Simply mimicking a wolf's diet overlooks the specific nutritional needs that dogs have developed over time.

  1. Dog’s Mouths are Cleaner than People’s

Many have heard the claim that a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's, but this isn't entirely accurate. Although canine saliva is slightly more alkaline than human saliva, it lacks significant antibacterial properties. Thus, the notion of dogs having inherently cleaner mouths than humans is misleading.

  1. Purebred Dogs are Smarter than Mixed Breeds

Unwarranted stigma surrounds both "mutts" and purebred dogs, with some believing the latter to be inherently superior and more intelligent. However, genetic diversity often boosts a dog's overall health and cognitive abilities. Research suggests that, on average, mixed breeds are actually smarter than purebreds.

  1. Your Dog Should Know You are the Boss

Many dog trainers emphasize establishing yourself as the "alpha" in your family pack. However, this approach, rooted in dominance theory, is now widely regarded as outdated and unnecessary. While some behavioral issues may stem from dominance, modern training methods focus more on positive reinforcement and understanding individual dog behavior rather than enforcing hierarchical structures.

Truth VS Myths About Dogs

In the realm of dog ownership, myths and misconceptions abound, often leading well-intentioned owners astray. From beliefs about the superiority of purebreds to outdated notions of dominance training, many common misconceptions can hinder effective dog care. However, by dispelling these myths and embracing evidence-based practices, we can cultivate healthier, happier relationships with our canine companions.

Welcome, pet parents, to our cozy corner of the internet where we discuss all things furry, cuddly, and safe! Today, we're tackling a topic that's close to every pet owner's heart: keeping our beloved companions out of harm's way. Specifically, we're diving into the curious case of pets and kitchen safety. So grab a cup of tea, snuggle up with your furry friend, and let's embark on this paw-some journey together!

The Kitchen: A Culinary Adventure…or Danger Zone?

Ah, the kitchen – the heart of the home, the place where delicious aromas waft through the air and culinary masterpieces come to life. But for our four-legged friends, it can also be a perilous playground filled with potential hazards.

Just imagine while you're whipping up a gourmet meal, lost in the rhythm of chopping, sautéing, and simmering, you suddenly hear a strange noise. It’s a choking sound coming from behind you. You spin around to find your furry friend with their head stuck in the cookie jar, gasping for air. Panic sets in as you rush to their rescue, but fear not – with a few simple precautions, we can ensure that our pets stay safe in the kitchen.

The Temptation of Treats

Let's face it – our pets are curious creatures with insatiable appetites. Whether it's the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked cookies or the irresistible scent of sizzling bacon, our furry friends are drawn to the kitchen like moths to a flame. But while it's tempting to share our culinary delights with them, it's important to exercise great caution.

Avoid leaving food unattended on countertops or tables where your pet can easily reach it. Invest in pet-proof containers for storing snacks and treats, and be mindful of ingredients that could be harmful to your furry friend, such as chocolate, grapes, and onions.

The Perils of Pots and Pans

Cooking can be a chaotic affair, with pots bubbling, pans sizzling, and ingredients flying every which way. Amid all this commotion, it's easy for our pets to get underfoot – with potentially disastrous consequences.

To keep your furry friend safe, designate a pet-free zone in the kitchen where they can't wander into harm's way. Consider installing baby gates or barriers to prevent access to hazardous areas, and always keep pot handles turned away from the edge of the stove to avoid accidental spills.

The Dangers of Debris

From stray crumbs to slippery spills, the kitchen floor can be a minefield of hazards for our four-legged friends. One wrong step could result in a slip, trip, or fall – not to mention the risk of ingesting something harmful.

Make it a habit to clean up spills and crumbs promptly, and consider investing in a pet-friendly vacuum cleaner to keep your floors clean and debris-free. Keep trash cans securely lidded to prevent scavenging, and be mindful of potential choking hazards such as bones, pits, and plastic packaging.

Prevention is the Key to Pet Safety

In the grand tapestry of life, our pets are the beloved companions who weave joy, laughter, and unconditional love into our everyday existence. As pet parents, it's our responsibility to ensure their safety and well-being – especially in the heart of the home, where culinary adventures abound.

By taking a few simple precautions and keeping a watchful eye on our furry friends, we can create a safe and nurturing environment where they can thrive. So the next time you find yourself cooking up a storm in the kitchen, take a moment to pause, look around, and make sure your beloved companion isn't choking by the stove. After all, a little extra vigilance today could mean a lifetime of happiness and health for your furry friend tomorrow. Happy cooking – and pet parenting!

Embarking on the delightful journey of pet ownership is a decision filled with joy, companionship, and a touch of mischief. Choosing the right pet that aligns with your lifestyle and preferences is crucial. Today we'll explore the charm of the 7 most popular pets that have found their way into the hearts of people around the world. From the feathered to the furry, these delightful companions bring love and warmth to any home.

Dogs

Known as man's best friend, dogs top the list of the most popular pets. With their boundless energy, loyalty, and diverse breeds to choose from, dogs cater to a wide range of lifestyles. Whether you prefer the playful antics of a Labrador Retriever or the regal demeanor of a Shih Tzu, there's a canine companion for everyone.

Cats

Cats, the epitome of grace and independence, have secured their place as one of the most beloved pets globally. From the aloof charm of a Persian to the adventurous spirit of a Maine Coon, these feline friends bring a sense of calm and companionship to any household. Their playful antics and soothing purrs make them an irresistible choice.

Fish

For those who appreciate the serene beauty of an underwater world, fish make for captivating companions. With a vast array of species and vibrant colors, setting up an aquarium can be an enchanting experience. From the graceful Betta fish to the mesmerizing patterns of a Discus, fish offer a tranquil and visually stunning addition to your living space.

Birds

Feathered friends add a touch of melody and color to any home. From the chatty parakeets to the majestic cockatoos, birds bring a unique charm with their vibrant plumage and melodious tunes. Their social nature and ability to mimic sounds create an engaging and entertaining atmosphere.

Hamsters

For those with a penchant for small, furry creatures, hamsters are a popular choice. These pint-sized rodents are known for their adorable antics and low maintenance. With their endearing habit of stuffing their cheeks with food and their tiny, quick movements on a hamster wheel, these pocket-sized pets are a joy to watch.

Rabbits

Rabbits hop into the hearts of pet lovers with their gentle nature and soft, fluffy fur. These social animals thrive on companionship and can form strong bonds with their owners. Whether they're munching on leafy greens or showcasing their impressive agility in a bunny hop, rabbits add a delightful charm to any home.

Guinea Pigs

Cute and sociable, guinea pigs are excellent companions for families and individuals alike. With their gentle demeanor and distinctive squeaks, these small rodents create a warm and fuzzy atmosphere. Their love for munching on hay and cozying up in their habitat makes them a popular choice for those seeking an affectionate and manageable pet.

Find the Right Pet for You!

Choosing a pet is a personal journey, and the options are as diverse as the personalities of the pets themselves. Whether you're drawn to the playful energy of dogs, the mysterious grace of cats, or the enchanting underwater world of fish, each pet brings its own unique magic to your life. 

Consider your lifestyle, preferences, and the kind of companionship you seek, and you'll find the perfect pet to share your home and heart with. The world of pet ownership awaits, filled with love, laughter, and adorable moments that make life infinitely richer.

Sometimes, our dogs do weird things. Like biting their dirty paws or rolling around in puddles. Dogs might even drink from toilets or lick their butts. In some cases, your pup might eat their own poop, or even worse, the poop of another dog or animal. For any pet owner, that's pretty gross and can be a cause for concern.

But why do dogs eat poop? Well, there are a bunch of reasons. Even though it might seem nasty to us humans, your dog's reasons for doing it might really surprise you.

poodle on top of an exam room table inside vet clinic

Should I Be Concerned If My Dog Eats Poop?

You should be concerned if your dog eats poop. While it's a relatively common behavior in dogs, known as coprophagy, it can be indicative of various issues that warrant attention. Here are some reasons to be concerned:

  • Nutritional Deficiencies: If your dog is lacking certain nutrients in their diet, they may resort to eating poop to try to obtain those nutrients.
  • Digestive Issues: Digestive problems, such as malabsorption disorders, can lead to undigested food in the stool, making it appealing to dogs.
  • Parasites: Worms or other parasites in your dog's digestive system can lead to an increased appetite for feces.
  • Medical Conditions: Some medical conditions, such as diabetes or thyroid problems, can affect a dog's appetite and behavior.
  • Behavioral Problems: Stress, anxiety, or boredom can contribute to coprophagy as a behavioral issue.
  • Motherly Instinct: In some cases, mother dogs eat their puppies' feces to keep the den clean. This behavior might persist into adulthood.

Can My Dog Get Sick From Eating Poop?

There is a risk that your dog can get sick from eating poop. Consuming feces exposes your dog to potential health hazards, including:

  • Parasites: Feces can harbor various parasites such as worms (e.g., roundworms, tapeworms), which can be transmitted to your dog upon ingestion.
  • Bacteria and Viruses: Pathogenic bacteria (e.g., Salmonella, E. coli) and viruses (e.g., parvovirus) can be present in feces and may cause gastrointestinal infections.
  • Toxins: Ingesting fecal matter from other animals can expose your dog to toxins or harmful substances that may be present in the stool.
  • Transmission of Diseases: Dogs can contract certain diseases by consuming the feces of infected animals, contributing to the spread of illnesses.

To minimize the risk of your dog getting sick from eating poop:

  • Monitor their environment: Keep your dog's living area and play area clean and remove feces promptly.
  • Supervise outdoor activities: Watch your dog closely when they are outside to prevent them from consuming feces, especially from unknown sources.
  • Maintain a healthy diet: Ensure your dog is fed a balanced and nutritious diet to reduce the likelihood of them seeking out additional nutrients from feces.

If you observe your dog consistently engaging in poop-eating behavior, you should consult your local veterinarian. They can help determine the underlying cause and provide guidance on how to address the issue, whether it be through dietary changes, behavioral training, or medical intervention. 

Everyone loves a great trip. Vacations, getaways, and family holidays are a fun way to break up the monotony of everyday schedules, but they aren’t always as much fun for your pet. Not all pets travel well and they may not even be welcome where you are going.

Not only is travel itself sometimes difficult, but many pets aren’t happy in an unusual location, with strangers, or being left alone for long periods in a place away from home. When you take a dog on a trip with you they may have negative reactions, such as:

  • Motion sickness during travel.
  • Digestive issues.
  • Refusal to eat. 
  • Temperament problems.

Some dogs make great traveling partners. However, if your pet can’t or doesn’t want to go on a trip, you should consider placing them in your local boarding kennel while you are away.

Boarding kennels are a great option because they:

  • Help to socialize your dog.
  • Give your dog plenty of fun and exercise.
  • Provide safety for your dog. 
  • Ensure your dog is correctly fed and cared for. 
  • Prevent loneliness and anxiety.
  • Save money over Doggy Daycare.
doggy daycare and boarding facilities at my pets wellness

How to Find the Best Boarding Kennel for Your Dog

You might feel a little of your own anxiety about leaving your fur baby at a boarding kennel for the first time. That is a perfectly normal feeling and easy to mitigate by making sure that you choose a great boarding kennel where your dog will be happy.

Here are a few tips for finding the best boarding kennel for your dog.

1.Ask for Recommendations 

Word of mouth and recommendations from family and friends is often the best and easiest way to find a new service provider of any kind. This is especially true in this case. You will feel better leaving your pet somewhere you know has done a good job with the pets of others in the past. 

2. Don’t Make Price the Main Factor

You will spend much more time worried about your pet if you choose a boarding kennel based solely on its having a cheap price. While it is okay to use price as a factor to measure one place against another, do your due diligence in checking a place out first. There may be a reason why it is so cheap (such as playtime being considered an extra amenity, billed separately). 

3. Visit the Boarding Kennel Before You Decide.

Things might look great on paper (or online), but the reality might be different. Check out any facility before you decide to leave your dog there. If you will be away for an extended trip, it can be a good idea for the dog to spend a night at the kennel as a trial before you leave them there for the duration of your trip.

4. Look For a Boarding Kennel with Live Feed.

Not all boarding kennels have live feeds, but it is a fantastic feature. Being able to look in on your dog at any time will give you a better sense of security. It also ensures that your pet is being cared for to the exact standards that you agreed to when you left them in the kennel’s care. 

Boarding kennels can be a great option for busy pet parents or during a trip. If you decide a kennel is a good option for your dog, make sure to visit your local veterinarian to ensure your dog is healthy and properly vaccinated for their stay. Your vet may also have good recommendations for finding a boarding kennel near you. 

Have you noticed that your dog eats grass and wondered just how normal it is? The answer to this question is a little more nuanced than just saying yes it is normal or no it is not. However, for most pet parents, there is nothing to worry about. 

Why Is My Dog Eating Grass All of a Sudden?

If you have always known your dog to eat grass every day when they go out or they normally graze like a cow, they are probably bored or just like grass. However, if your dog is eating grass and not food, or they have started eating grass all of a sudden, there is likely a reason for it.

A lot of dogs eat grass because they enjoy eating grass. They simply like the fresh greenery outside and enjoy how it tastes. However, for some dogs, it could be an indicator of an upset stomach a lack of fiber, or another type of dietary deficiency.

Here are some common questions that dog owners ask about their pets eating grass.

Should I let my dog eat grass when they’re sick?

Eating grass can cause vomiting for some dogs. In many cases, a dog will eat grass instinctively to soothe an upset stomach. This is not generally considered harmful.

How long after eating grass will a dog vomit?

Only about a quarter of all dogs vomit after eating grass. Most of the time it is caused by them gagging on the long strands of grass, so the incidence occurs immediately. 

Why is my dog eating grass and throwing up?

If your dog is eating grass and throwing up it is a likely indication of a stomach problem and you should consult your local veterinarian. 

Why is my dog eating grass and having diarrhea?

If your dog is eating grass and having diarrhea it is a likely indication of a stomach problem and you should consult your local veterinarian.

Should I stop my dog from eating grass?

There is no need to stop your otherwise healthy dog from eating grass. However, you should stop your dog from eating any grass that has been treated with a fertilizer, pesticide or other chemical as these types of chemicals are generally poisonous to dogs. 

Is there a good substitute for a dog eating grass?

If you are concerned about toxins or just prefer that your dog not eat grass there are substitutes on the market ranging from specialty grasses to expensive herbal substitutes. Many pet owners opt to feed their dogs other vegetables instead, such as lettuce, celery, and even carrots. 

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Grass?

It can be okay for dogs to eat grass, but only if you are sure that it is not due to underlying gastrointestinal issues. If you find that your dog is eating grass, it is best to consult your local veterinarian and discuss your dog's bowel habits, dietary indiscretions, and food and treats.

As your companion pet ages, they face increased health concerns just like their human companions do. You may watch your senior pet and worry that they might be aging and losing some of their cognitive abilities. Sight, hearing, and blood sugar have all become common concerns.  

Across the country, local veterinarians are hearing more and more people ask if their pet can get dementia.  

Just like humans, dogs and cats can develop dementia as they age. Veterinarians call this Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. 

very old cocker spaniel nearing the end of its days
very old cocker spaniel nearing the end of its days

What is Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome? 

It is a disease that is comparable to Alzheimer's in humans. The disease begins to onset as a dog ages. “CDS” is a neurological degenerative disorder of senior dogs and cats characterized by gradual cognitive decline. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome is the official name for what we might commonly call “doggy/kitty dementia”. 

What Age Does CDS Start? 

The exact age at which any dog might start to experience symptoms of dementia varies. Studies have shown that cognitive decline can start as early as 10 years of age in cats and dogs.   

To rule out other causes of your pet's symptoms, the veterinarian may use additional tools such as blood and urine tests.

What Are some signs of Dementia? 

Some of the first signs of dementia that many people notice are their pets staring at walls or looking off into space. Other common signs people tend to notice are not knowing their owners are in the same room or pacing around a lot with no sense of direction or reason.  

In addition to disorientation, confusion, and increased anxiety, pets dealing with this form of dementia may no longer respond to their name, stop playing, and become more irritable. 

(Other symptoms includeà Waking up in the night; increased daytime sleeping, Inactivity 

Increased vocalization, often at night) inappropriate urination or defecation in the house, lethargy, decreased interest in play or other activities, decreased responsiveness to the owner and other pets, and abnormal sleep patterns).

How long can your pet Live with Dementia? 

Most of the time they live for about two years after diagnosis when they have dementia, sometimes longer. Much like with humans, when a dog or cat is diagnosed with dementia, quality of life should take the focus over quantity of years. Work with your family’s veterinarian to ensure your pet is as content and comfortable as possible.  

How Do You Treat Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome? 

Work with your veterinarian to find the right supplements and medications to support your dog’s health. Provide your dog with a safe but stimulating environment and keep them on a regular routine. These things will best help them cope with developing dementia.  

  1. Dietary changes and supplements: Your dog may be put on a specific therapeutic diet designed to help. These diets contain ingredients such as antioxidants, fats and fatty acids that may protect and promote healthy brain cells. 
  2. Cognitive enrichment: Cognitive enrichment may improve your dog’s brain function. Cognitive enrichment consists of exercise, social interactions, providing new toys and teaching new commands to your dog. 

Can We Prevent Dementia? 

As with many diseases found in both humans and animals, there is no guarantee for avoiding some diseases. When it comes to dementia in dogs and cats there are genetics and some environmental factors that can’t be controlled.  

However, there are many things that you can do to help your pet have a better chance of living a longer, healthier, and happier life. Quality food and clean drinking water are an absolute must for a healthy dog. So is lots of exercise and mental stimulation.  

One of the best things you can do for yourself, and your pet is to exercise and play with them. It will help you both have a better, longer life. 

If you notice your pet behaving differently or in a way you do not understand, do not hesitate to contact your local veterinarian. Catching problems early gives your pet a better chance to overcome them.  

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