General Interest

Ask The Doc

posted September 22nd, 2014 by
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Ask the Doc

By Brad Roach, DVM / Best Friends Animal Clinic, Shawnee

Q: My dog Elmer goes to play school two or three times per week, and he comes home worn out. When he is tired like that and eats dinner, he sits down and eats rather than stand. He eats at an elevated feeder that is up on legs. Is this dangerous for him to sit and eat; could it bring on bloat by chance.

A: I don’t know how old Elmer is, but my first question would be, why is he eating from an elevated feeder in the first place? Some dogs need this if they have weak esophageal muscles that won’t allow proper swallowing.

It is also helpful to use these feeders when there is neck pain. This is not going to hurt him by eating in this position, but I am concerned that he is doing so to take the weight off his hips, and since you mentioned that he might bloat, I would assume that he is a large breed dog that is prone to hip dysplasia.

You might try a session or two of acupuncture for him on a day before the play day to see if that helps and start him on a good glucosamine/ chondroitin sulfate supplement as well.

This will take several weeks to start showing improvement, so keep up the good work and well done on letting your canine friend have the play school.

Q: My old lab has these horrible “growths” on her elbows that I think are called hygromas. They sometimes burst open and bleed and ooze. I’ve tried to wrap them, but since they are on her elbows, nothing stays on good. What can I do to clear these things up?

A: This can be a very difficult thing to treat because they can be infected and even progress on to a bone infection if not handled properly. Well done on trying to bandage the elbow. It is important to study your dog’s habits and what surfaces she is laying on. Sometimes all you need to do is strategically place fluffy bedding.

You might try getting some larger pipe insulation and tape it on the forearm only with Elasticon tape. Many times it helps to bandage with honey, and the laser treatments have been known to help as well.

If the wounds are open, it would be a good idea to have it cultured by your vet so the appropriate antibiotic can be used. This entire process could take up to three months, so hang in there.

Q: My dog has a horribly gross habit—she is a poop eater. She won’t eat her own poop, but eats the poop of my other two dogs, and it’s just disgusting. I have tried everything from getting the stuff to feed the other two to make their poop “undesirable,” to pouring Tabasco on the others’ poop, but nothing works.

Now the only thing I can do is run out and scoop every time there’s more poop, but I can’t always do that with the weather. What can I do?

A: This is definitely a gross topic and hard for us to understand. In fact, it’s not known what really causes this to happen. Some say it is a mineral deficiency, seeking undigested protein or just a bad habit.

I definitely recommend a good source of vitamins and minerals for  the offender as well as adding pro-biotics and enzymes to all dogs of the household. You already mentioned giving the other dogs the Forbid powder, and sometimes that will work.

There have been reports that feeding fresh pineapple and Adolph’s meat tenderizer to the poopers will discourage the eater too. Sometimes adding anise to the food in small quantities can also help.

It also goes without saying, but I will say it anyway: clean up duty is even more important than ever, and for goodness sake, think twice before letting them give you a big doggie kiss on the face!

Animal Resource Center of Oklahoma City

posted September 15th, 2014 by
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Animal Resource 1

Keeping animals where they belong…in loving homes

by Anna Holton-Dean

What better way could there be to help pets, their owners, shelters and rescue groups than to provide a facility meeting all of their greatest needs? That’s why the Lockhart Foundation established the Animal Resource Center (ARC) in Oklahoma City.  

In 2010, through a survey of local rescue groups and shelters, the Foundation discovered the city lacked an affordable, animal-friendly event center for training classes, adoptions, fundraisers, meetings, conferences, spaying/neutering and vaccinating. Additionally, while some local services and organizations are available to help pet owners, most people do not know about them, much less how to contact them.

Barbara Lewis, board president of the Animal Resource Center, says the survey also revealed a need for a central location to maintain a database of information.

 “Additionally, the Foundation was trying to figure out what could be done to keep dogs in their homes and really saw there was no central site for information con-cerning available services such as when someone loses a job and needs pet food, or even simply getting help overcoming problem behavior by talking with a trainer,” Lewis explains.

The Animal Resource Center is now in place to help meet all of these diverse needs, thanks to the Lockhart Foundation, which remains a major supporter, and donations from the community.

Essentially, Lewis’ goal at ARC is to remove the stumbling blocks for animal advocacy and effectively keep dogs and cats out of shelters and in their homes, helping each rescue organization or shelter to be as effective as possible and helping at-risk pet owners keep their pets.

Some ways ARC advances this goal is by providing workshops to the public on responsible pet ownership,  and providing a facility to hold adoption events and dog training classes, ranging from puppy kindergarten to agility.

Lewis says ARC stresses the importance of responsible decisions by pet owners. “It’s dogs, and it’s cats too,” she says. “Cats often impact the neighbors more than dogs, but there are solutions for those problems…We can help keep someone from surrendering their cat because their neighbor is mad.”

Today, ARC is located in a 32,000-square-foot building in Oklahoma City equipped with rooms for dog training classes, a free self-service bathtub area for pets, an “animal library” stocked with books, DVDs and videos, and rental space for animal- and non-animal-related events.

The library is open to the public and includes children’s animal literature, dog training books, animal novels and books on pet care and more. “People may just want to read a novel about a dog,” Lewis says. “They can probably find the right one in our library, but if they need help with a serious house training issue, we can probably help them with that as well.”

In addition to resources, a large warehouse area serves as an “inside dog park” during operational hours when not rented for an event (which is heated but not air-conditioned).

One of the newest offerings is free spaying/neutering for animal shelters and rescue groups.

Also, “three veterinarians offer low-cost spay/neuter to low-income pet owners, and one offers low-cost vet care for low-income pet owners as well as general vet care to the public,” Lewis says.

“If a person still needs help with vet expenses, ARC does try to work out something for them. Each vet has a different rate schedule and requirements. Low-cost vet care is currently available one day a week and will increase as needed.” 

All of the services provided at the ARC facility are in partnership with other groups, while ARC provides the building, advertising, help setting up, cleaning afterward, tables, chairs, projectors and other necessities for events. 

The varying organizations who utilize the ARC’s facilities are juxtaposed by their inclusive mission: to save pets’ lives. Along with other rescue groups, Mascotas Latinas, an organization dedicated to assisting pet owners in the Latin community, uses ARC as a place to meet with adopters.

SpayFirst, an organization which offers spaying/ neutering in low-income communities, also uses the ARC office as a mailing and delivery address since most of its clinics are held in rural areas. This is an area that ARC is trying to expand upon, Lewis says.

 Some of the regular renters who take advantage of all ARC has to offer include: Oklahoma City Obedience Training Club; German Shepherd Club; Golden Retriever Club; OKPaws Agility Club; two flyball clubs; Central OK Veterinarians Association; A New Leash On Life, Inc., offering training for service dogs, therapy dogs and a prison program; Best Friends Veterinarian (Brad Roach, DVM); and Spay Way (Terri Yonker, DVM), a low-cost spay/neuter service, to name a few.

Upcoming spring events include a yoga class with dogs sponsored by LuLuLemon, a Bella Foundation vaccination clinic, a bird mart and a garage sale fundraiser for rescue groups. Most events for cats are held in the fall.

Space is available to rent for large parties and gatherings, and ARC holds events in conjunction with other community service organizations. For more information, call (405) 604-2892 or visit arcokc.org.

ARC is conveniently located at the intersection of I-240 and I-35. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 2 to 5 p.m.

Pet-Friendly GetAways

posted July 19th, 2014 by
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Your ideal vacation may entail hiking mountain trails or sipping tea in a Victorian parlor, noshing on a downhome breakfast or doing sunrise yoga, singing around a campfire or shopping ‘til you drop! Whatever your style, we have an extensive list of pet-friendly resort getaways who welcome you to do it all with Fido and Fluffy at your side.

For the full listing, check out our Online Directory under the “Pet-Friendly” tab at www.OkcPetsMagazine.com/directory. We have all the details to help you choose the perfect getaway—written descriptions, information, photos aplenty, links, maps, and all of the contact information.

Each listing even has an online gallery for photos of their four-legged guests. So be sure to share your getaway snapshots this summer no matter where they are from. Please include first names of everyone (two-legged or four) and the name of the getaway!

Each resort’s pet policy varies, so be sure to check with the proprietor when making plans for your pet-friendly getaway! If you have a pet-friendly getaway that we should know about, email [email protected]

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Have you heard of the Yellow Dog Project?

posted January 6th, 2014 by
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Yellow Dog Project

I had not heard of the Yellow Dog Project until a friend shared this link on Facebook the other day. As a parent of both pets and kids, I found the idea exciting.

Basically, a yellow ribbon tied on a leash signifies that the dog should be approached with caution. This could be for any number of reasons: the dog may be highly excitable, anxious or nervous, a working dog, etc.

Before I had kids, I was always concerned by the number of children who would seemingly appear out of nowhere to pet and play with my dogs while we were out walking. Thankfully, my dogs are very kid friendly. But what if they weren’t?

And now that I have kids of my own, I understand just how impulsive they can be and how helpful a simple visual cue could be.

Now that I know about this project, I plan to teach my kids about dogs with yellow ribbons and promise to use a yellow ribbon if my dog ever needs one. Let’s spread the word on this great idea and keep our dogs and kids safe and happy.

You can learn more about the Yellow Dog Project at its Facebook page here.

– Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Tripod Jude

posted November 16th, 2013 by
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by Anna Holton – Dean

“HEY JUDE, don’t make it bad. Take a sad song and make it better. Remember to let her into your heart. Then you can start to make it better.” …No words could be more fitting for Rottweiler mix Jude.

Two years ago, he was at Stillwater Animal Welfare awaiting surgery to amputate his twisted leg and shattered shoulder when his smiling face appeared on Kathleen Hughes’ Facebook news feed.

“His name was Caesar then. He just looked so happy despite being so underweight and in pain,” Kathleen says. “My friend is in vet school at OSU and works out of there quite a bit. She said he had an exceptional temperament and was a really positive dog.”

Although she was told he would need extra post-surgery care and attention until he got his strength up, Kathleen drove to pick up the newly-tripod Jude that weekend.

“He was so pitiful,” she says. “He would just sigh and lay his head on my lap. He was about 35 pounds, and the area where his leg used to be was all shaved and bloodied. But he was happy just being touched.”

The exact cause of Jude’s extensive injuries is still unknown, but it was strongly suggested to Kathleen that the previous owner abused him.

“He has since doubled his weight and he was taken away from his owner, so if he wasn’t being abused, at the very least he was being horribly neglected,” she says.

That may be why he also didn’t respond well to his name Caesar. “On the way back from Stillwater, ‘Hey Jude’ came on the radio, and I was singing along, and he stopped whining. So it stuck!” Kathleen says.

Jude had a long road of healing ahead. He wouldn’t go inside Kathleen’s house for the first two weeks but chose to lie in his outdoor doggie bed, basking in the sun.

“He just laid there healing and gaining weight even though he had a very nice bed inside and a doggie door too,” she says. “He would lay his head on my lap, whining, and I just kept feeding him doggie Tylenol and brushing him since huge clumps were coming out of his fur.

“Now he looks like he was born this way. Stillwater Animal Welfare did a beautiful job [on his amputation]. And when people say, ‘Oh, he only has three legs!’ we say, ‘Shh, he doesn’t know!’”

With the help of his forever mom Kathleen, Jude has adjusted to life with three legs—probably happier than he ever was with four legs in his former situation. “Jude can shake and hug. He also has some bad habits you wouldn’t expect from a three legged dog; he digs and jumps on us when he’s excited. We live in a three-story loft, and he beats me up the stairs every time. He can even outrun my parents’ Lab, and he wrestles with the best of them at the dog park,” she says.

“His favorite activity is playing in my parents’ pool. The shallow end goes up to his chest, and he jumps around and has a blast. Every time I think, ‘Oh, he probably can’t…’ He has already done it before I finish my thought.”

What Kathleen wants others to learn from Jude’s story is that pets with missing legs—tripods— can have wonderful, quality lives. “A woman at the dog park came up to me, visibly upset,” she says. “She had euthanized her dog because she was told he had cancer, and she thought he would live a ‘less than’ life with three legs. She got teary-eyed, saying she saw Jude and realized she had made a mistake.

“I just want people to know that if their dogs are injured, born a little different, or get a disease, they can still live completely normal lives with only three legs. Jude is literally the happiest dog I have ever met; he just stares at me with adoring eyes, begging to be petted.

“He’s never met a person he didn’t like. At the dog park, he just hops from person to person, leaning against them, pleading for love.”

Jude is an example—a reminder of the resiliency of our four- or even three-legged friends. “Even when he was starving and injured, coming out of major surgery, he just emitted this positive energy of ‘I’m just happy to be here!’” Kathleen remembers.

In the words of the Beatles, Jude and Kathleen certainly took a sad song and made it better.

Are You Ready to Adopt?

posted November 16th, 2013 by
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by Kiley Roberson

Adopting a pet is a major commitment.

Unfortunately, people often put more time and effort into researching what kind of car to get than the type of pet that would best fit their lifestyles. Caring for a companion animal goes far beyond providing food, water and shelter. It takes research and careful planning to bring the right pet into your home, and to make sure your lifestyle is the right one for your new pet.

Professionals—like Nancy Gallimore Werhane and Jean Letcher—say deciding to adopt a pet is a monumental decision. Nancy is a certified professional dog trainer and co-owner of Tulsa’s Pooches, a doggie daycare, training, grooming and boarding facility. Nancy says that adopting a pet as opposed to purchasing one from a breeder is an obvious choice, as “one walk through the Tulsa Animal Welfare Shelter answers that question.”

Jean, manager of Tulsa Animal Welfare, further explains why adoption is the best option. “It allows us to find homes for animals that are already alive rather than going to a breeder and saying, ‘I’d like one from your next litter.’ These animals have already been born. They are looking for homes. It benefits both the home and the animal,” she says.

While adoption is important, knowing the responsibility that comes with a pet is paramount.

“Most companion animals end up in shelters or in rescue programs because humans failed them, not because of something they did,” explains Nancy. “When you adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue group, you not only save that animal, but you save another who can then step into the spot vacated by your new pet. Adoption saves lives, pure and simple. But you have to be ready for the responsibility.”

Our resident experts recommend asking yourself a few big questions before bringing home Fluffy or Fido. Why do you really want a pet?

The most important question to ask yourself, Nancy says, is, “Why do you really want a pet?”

“Everyone should ask themselves why they really want to adopt a particular pet before taking the plunge. Answer that question honestly. You should first want a particular pet because you and all of your family members want a companion and are ready to provide the love and care that animal needs and deserves.”

If you’re interested in adopting a pet, and your answer to the above question is the same as Nancy’s, it might be time to open your home to a new furry friend. But before you do, we’ve comprised a few additional questions to help make sure you’re ready for the fun and commitment a pet requires. What’s your five- or even 10-year plan?

A dog or cat can live 15 or more years, so envisioning how pet-friendly your life will be in the future is important. Think about any major life changes you might go through—things like getting married, having children, moving or changing careers. And keep in mind that as pets age, their needs change as well. Will you be adopting the pet by yourself or with someone?

If there are other people in your family, everyone needs to be on board with the idea of adding a pet to your home. If you have a roommate or spouse, make sure that he or she is totally committed to a new pet. And even if everyone is on board with the idea of getting a pet, it’s important for people in the household to express concerns ahead of time. Do you have time for a pet?

“Dogs and cats not only require food and water, but they need attention, affection, and exercise—both mental and physical,” says Nancy. “If you work long hours or have a very busy schedule, you may need to decide if you have time to devote to the proper care of a pet. Proper care also includes trips to the veterinarian, daily exercise, and training classes for dogs.”

Though dogs generally require more time and attention than cats, you should be able to give any pet your undivided attention. Dogs and cats who don’t receive daily interaction have a greater risk of developing behavioral problems, anxiety and obesity.

As Jean explains, having a pet is like having a child. You can’t have a child then decide you don’t have time for it. “You don’t have the option of putting a child on a chain in a backyard if you’re too busy to spend time with him or her. Likewise an animal can feel pain and loneliness. You need to determine up front that you have time to care for the animal,” she says. Can you afford a pet?

The cost of a pet goes well beyond the adoption fee. According to the ASPCA, dog owners should expect to spend about $1,500 on a dog during the first year of ownership; cat owners should set aside at least $1,000 for that crucial first year.

“Financial commitment also varies from pet to pet,” Nancy explains. “Obviously, it’s going to cost more to care for a Mastiff than it is to feed a Chihuahua.” One thing you can count on is that all pets need a healthy, premium diet and routine veterinary care. Monthly care such as heartworm pills and flea and tick prevention also add up. And, of course, you always have to be prepared for emergencies.

“Animals can get sick or injured, just like humans can,” says Nancy. “You have to be prepared for the expense of providing care outside of normal shots and routine check-ups.”

Nancy points out that you may also have to pay for boarding or a dog walker or pet sitter when you’re out of town. And then there are ongoing expenses for supplies like pet beds, collars, leashes, treats, kitty litter for cats, etc. Pets are a commitment of time and money. Can you provide a proper home for the type of pet you hope to adopt?

It’s important to pick the right pet for your home and lifestyle. Every potential adopter should take an honest look at these two things to make sure that adding a pet to the mix really makes sense. “Some dogs require a home with a securely fenced yard while others can adapt well to apartment life with leashwalking for exercise,” explains Nancy. “If you live in a tiny apartment, a Great Dane doesn’t make much sense, but a house cat would likely do just fine.” With that in mind, Jean says the energy level of the breed should be just as much a consideration as the size.

Choosing the right pet for your home, family and resources is vital. If you rent your home, be 100 percent sure that your landlord will allow you to have a pet and check to see what pet deposits might apply before you decide to adopt. “The welfare of the animal, not the whim of the person, needs to take priority,” Nancy says. Are you willing to train your animal companion?

Lack of training is one of the most common reasons that adopters return pets to shelters—are you willing to solve behavior problems? Basic training helps dogs and their owners communicate better, strengthening the relationship overall. And taking the time to understand why your cat does what she does, especially when it involves her litter box and scratching habits, will help you avoid potential problems. If you already have a pet, is that animal likely to accept a new housemate?

The good news is that most pets, even the most spoiled cats, crave companionship. Of course, it may take some time for an existing pet to accept a new addition. The ASPCA suggests introducing animals to each other before adoption. It gives you a chance to watch them interact and see if they’ll be good, compatible housemates. Do you have small children?

Contrary to popular belief, there is no species or breed that comes ready to live with kids. If your kids are still toddlers, you might consider waiting a few years before adopting. If you have children, it’s important to teach them the rules of safe pet conduct: no teasing, pulling, pushing or climbing on animals. You’ll also want to spend extra time meeting different animals, so you can observe tolerance levels and the ability to bounce back from jarring incidents. Are you prepared to pet-proof your home?

Whether it’s tightly sealing your garbage cans or paying attention to dangerous decorations during the holidays, you’ll need to make your home safe before adopting. That includes keeping toxic foods, petunfriendly plants and dangerous household items out of paw’s reach. Are you sure?

The final question to ask yourself before adopting a new pet is if you’re sure you can handle it. Have you thought everything through carefully, and are you ready for this giant commitment? If your answer is tied to emotions, that might be a problem. One of the biggest issues, especially during the holidays, is people giving pets as gifts.

“The proverbial puppy wearing a bow under the Christmas tree can sure backfire,” says Nancy. “Giving a pet for Christmas is often a last minute emotional decision that is not well thought out. Holidays are generally busy, crazy and a bit on the hectic side. I can’t think of a worse time to introduce a new puppy or kitten into a family.”

Nancy says that if you have planned responsibly to add a pet to your family and want it to be a Christmas surprise, it’s a better idea to wrap pet supplies to place under the tree, and then go pick up your new family member after the holiday hustle and bustle calms down. Bring your new pet home when your household is sane and ready to focus on helping the pet properly acclimate.

Now that you’re ready to adopt a new companion, here are some tips to find your perfect pet:

Visit with the employees at your local animal shelter. They can often tell you a lot about a specific animal that catches your eye.

Talk with your veterinarian. He or she can offer great advice and tips for caring for a particular pet.

If you are attracted to a specific breed of animal, seek out people who own that type of pet and ask questions about care requirements, personality traits, etc.

Take your time. Don’t let anyone rush you. Do not be locked into a specific breed. Make eye contact with all the available animals in the shelter, and oftentimes, the pet will pick you, Jean says.

Adopting a new pet is a big responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly, but the joy and unconditional love you receive from your new furry friend definitely makes it worthwhile.