How Is Anesthesia Used In Canine Surgery?

“Just like humans, dogs are often put under anesthesia when receiving surgery. However, since conditions such as gingivitis and periodontal disease require anesthesia to treat, it’s no surprise that dog owners are concerned and desire to learn more about the process.

So, what happens when your dog has a general anesthetic, and are you right to be worried?” Dr. James Anthony explains what you can do. Click here to read the full article.

 

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Music and Its Effect on Your Dog

Do you ever notice your dog react in a particular way when you play some music?

Well, that’s not entirely surprising as many scientific studies prove that music affects animals in almost the same way as humans. Even with the simplest tone, music affects a distinct group of neurological processes, and it can even influence a dog’s brain.

A puppy begins to hear at two weeks, almost instantly at the time that their eyes open. By four weeks, the dog’s inner ear has fully developed and can hear frequencies twice that of human beings. This enables dogs to react even to the smallest sound and detect intruders that may be entering your home.

The Significance of Sound

Whether it’s a yip, howl or bark, a dog uses sound to communicate.

As one dog starts howling, you’ll probably soon hear a chorus of howls from dogs in the neighborhood. Even if it just sounds like dog pandemonium to you, your pet can tell one dog apart from another by the tone of their howls.

This animal act alone indicates that dogs can differentiate pitches and hear at a much higher register than humans. After all, dogs don’t only use their powerful hearing to communicate with other canines but also to hear sounds from their prey when hunting.

Musical Sound Effects

Since sound is so relevant to a dog, it’s no surprise that music can also affect a canine’s mood. Moreover, dogs respond favorably to a particular type of music over others.

Common music types that elicit reactions from dogs include:

1. Classical Music

In a 2002 study by Dr. Deborah Wells and associates about the influence of auditory stimulation on the behavior of dogs in a shelter, classical music has a soothing effect. As the classical music was playing, dogs were found to be resting more and barking less.

2. Heavy Metal

Dr. Wells’ shelter study also found out that heavy metal music seems to wreak havoc on a dog’s mood. Dogs in the shelter appeared to be restless as they stood up, barked, and slept less. Fascinatingly, the dogs didn’t have the same reaction when exposed earlier to pop music or any other form of auditory stimulation.

3. High-Pitched Music

Sometimes, a dog will start to howl when listening to high-pitched music or sound. Musical compositions that include woodwind instruments such as a flute or clarinet are most likely to provoke a howl from your pooch. A human singing or a long note can also inspire a wail.

Is howling a sign that your dog is in pain?

It’s not always true that a dog howling is a sign of sadness, pain, and agitation. If your pet is listening to dog-approved music and begins to howl, you shouldn’t worry too much as long as it is played at an appropriate volume. Your dog howling may simply be because he or she is trying to sing along.

However, if your pooch begins to bark and appears a little amped up or agitated, your music choice may be too edgy for him or her. Your dog may be anxious about the music you’re playing and, in this case, it’s best to turn off the music or lower the volume.

4. Harp Music

If harp music touches your heart and triggers something deep down your soul, you’re not alone. As it turns out, harp music also has the same effect on the body and soul of many dogs.

According to a study published in the Harp Therapy Journal, several dogs at a veterinary hospital who suffered from anxiety, restlessness, and high respiration rates had a positive response to a harp therapy session.

Further Studies

To take the investigation further, a team of researchers at the University of Glasgow tested 38 dogs at an animal shelter. They measured the dogs’ stress hormone levels, heart rates and behavior while playing various types of music except for heavy metal.

The team played music for six hours a day from the following genres:

  • Soft rock
  • Classical music
  • Pop
  • Reggae
  • Motown

The results showed that any kind of music can give a relaxing effect on canines. Dogs were found spending more time lying down or quietly standing when the music was playing. However, the dogs barked immediately when the researchers turned off the music.

Additionally, the canines’ heart rates showed that reggae and soft rock were the most effective genres of music when reducing dog stress levels. The study was so promising that many shelters decided to install a music system to rotate music that will have a calming effect on shelter animals.

The Benefits

Have you ever noticed that when you’re anxious, good music can relieve your stress?

The same applies to your beloved dog. Stress in dogs can be caused by many things such as thunderstorms, firecrackers, long periods of time alone, and more.

During difficult times, you can integrate a little bit of music to help your pooch relax and make them feel safe. As music affects your dog’s behavior, it can be put to good use to acquire the following benefits in specific settings:

Veterinarians – A vet clinic is a stressful place for dogs. Vets can make use of music to calm canines and help them feel less agitated and frightened.

Dog owners – When firecrackers or other loud noises cause a dog to be anxious, dog owners can play soothing music to help their pet calm down.

Trainers – New experiences accompanied by calming music can help your dog adapt to change. It’s much easier for a pooch to learn new things from training when they are in a relaxed state.

Find Out What Music Your Dog Likes

When you turn on the radio or play a CD, you may notice your pooch respond to the sound. But then again, your pooch may be reacting more to every individual piece than a single style of music.

Like humans, every dog has a distinct character and preference.

Depending on the dog, he or she may respond differently to various types of music. Most people choose to simply leave on the radio for their dog and pick what they think will soothe their pet.

While jazz, lullabies, classical, and environmental sounds will likely fall on the right spot, you still need to do some research on what exact music your pooch loves. Find your dog’s musical preferences by doing the following:

  • Play music of different sounds, sung or performed by different artists, and from various types of instruments.
  • Keep the music tuned to a lower volume level.
  • Observe your pet and see which sound he or she responds to the most by way of falling asleep, settling down or concentrating.

Music with drawn-out notes and speed that is close to the dog’s breathing rate is more likely to be calming. Alternatively, music with repetitive notes and speed that is frantic is more stimulating.

To soothe your dog, try recording a compilation of calming musical pieces and not just from a random radio station; then, observe how your pooch reacts to each piece.

What volume is too loud when playing music for your dog?

Keep in mind that your dog has sensitive ears. He or she can hear the sound of music much louder than you do. If you’re playing music too loud for your ears, then expect that it can be more damaging to your dog’s ears, too.

Even soft classical music that your dog likes can be harmful if played too loud. Instead of calming your pet, music that harms their hearing will cause them unnecessary stress. Make sure to always play music at a certain level for the best comfort on their ears.

The Universality of Music

It’s clear to see that music is universal as it also triggers animal behavior.

If you still believe your dog doesn’t have feelings or opinions about music, why not try to play a song or two and see for yourself? Besides being responsive to music, as a pet owner, you already know that your dog is reactive to other people’s or animals’ feelings.

Next time you play your favorite music, try to consider how it will affect your dog.

About the Author
Andrew Kevan has been the Account Manager at Sandleford Holdings since 2016. He studied at Monash University and completed his Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Zoology. Andrew is the owner of a beautiful Rottweiler named Lady who is constantly spoiled and loves her Fido & Fletch Large Pet Home.

 

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The Dangers of a Dirty Litter Box

At your vet, they will check for worms and give you vaccines for some common kitty ailments, but a great deal of your pet’s health is up to you to maintain. This is important both for the healthy life of your cat and your own.

Most often it is your commitment to cleanliness when it comes to your cat’s litter box that is the most important factor when making sure that both you and your feline friend remain healthy. The litter box is a magnet for bacteria, harsh chemicals, parasites, and disease so make sure you are wary of how you maintain it.

Feline Urinary and Bladder Diseases

If you are not diligent about cleaning a cat’s litter box it can have dire consequences for your cat’s urinary tract. Cats are notoriously finicky and will turn up their nose and their tail at a dirty box (yes, this is the same animal you caught gnawing on a dead chipmunk). Instead, a cat will try to hold in their urine (yes, this is the same cat that marked every cushion in your living room). Holding it in is bad for the feline urinary tract and can cause Feline urinary tract infections, bladder infections, and kidney failure.

While these diseases are usually not fatal, there is some significant cost associated with their cure. Additionally, the pain associated with the condition can cause your cat to abandon the idea of using a litter box altogether. And that’s something we all want to avoid.

Humans are at risk as well. While a dirty litter box is a danger to your pet, it is also a considerable danger to humans.

Risk of Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is a parasite that infects nearly an estimated one-third of the human population according to a study by the University of Chicago. Most healthy immune systems can fend off any effects of this parasite, but it is dangerous for pregnant women who can pass it to their unborn children. In a fetus, toxoplasmosis can do considerable damage including leading to blindness and permanent brain damage.

Cats are the primary host for Toxoplasma Gondii and infected animals can excrete hundreds of millions of infected oocysts per week! Just one can contaminate a human host.

The full effects of the parasite are not known and there is no known cure. Scientists believe that, because of its effect on dopamine and testosterone, the infection even alters human behavior. It may make people impulsive and it has been linked to schizophrenia.

One interesting aspect of the infection is that it might make a host less wary of predators, something that is a pretty good perpetuating strategy for a parasite that wants to live in cats. Accordingly, cats get the infection from hunting and consuming raw animal meat.

Just like most people with the parasite, very few cats that are infected exhibit any symptoms, however for anyone with a compromised immune system, exposure can be deadly. Humans and cats alike can be infected by contact with cat feces. That is why it is so crucial to clean your litter box thoroughly and avoid contact with fecal matter (and why you don’t eat raw meat too).

Solutions

Avoiding contact with cat urine and feces and keeping a clean litter box may seem counterintuitive, but that’s a very good reason to invest in an automatic litter box. If you want to know more about some of the best products on the market, Your Best Digs did a recent study starring their own cats Kit Kat and Jelly Bean. The results speak for themselves. And at the bottom of the review, you can find homemade cat litter recipes with a free label to save money on cat litter costs.

Other Parasites

Giardia is another infection that can be caused by exposure to cat feces and urine. While this is treatable, giardia causes some severe stomach issues that will definitely have you calling in from work – like flatulence and diarrhea.

Exposure to Ammonia

Because of how cats break down their food and drink, their urine and feces gives off a distinctive smell of ammonia. The fumes can become overwhelming if given a chance to build. Cat urine is concentrated with ammonia which can pose risks to anyone with a compromised immune system or pulmonary or respiratory issues like asthma.

A person exposed to concentrated ammonia over time can develop bronchitis and pneumonia. Children and seniors are at the most risk and people have been known to asphyxiate from exposure.

Solutions

Keep your litter box away from carpeted areas so that ammonia does not soak into the fabric. Also, a tray liner can help avoid spills. There are a number of products that break down the ammonia smell in your cats urine, but using one with cedar or pine sawdust can be useful because they have absorbing properties and naturally neutralize ammonia odors.

Bacterial Infection

Cat Scratch fever is caused by a bacterium called Bartonella henselae, which creates a virus that can be contracted by exposure to cat urine and feces. Usually, the symptoms are relatively mild, infection can cause swelling and pain in lymph nodes (as well as a mild fever — thus the moniker). While the initial contact may be minor, the virus may present itself up to 7 weeks after initial exposure. The disease is long lasting and can cause fatigue and headaches for months!

Salmonella poisoning is another potential risk from infected cats which again is contracted from cat stools. This can cause terrible diarrhea, fever and stomach pain for several days.

Solutions

In addition to keeping the litter box clean, try to avoid scratches and bites by not rough-housing with cats or kittens. Also keeping them from hunting raw meat will help avoid salmonella. Make sure you wear gloves or get an automatic litter box.

Wrap Up

The lesson to be learned is a simple one – clean your kitty’s litter box thoroughly every day. Be careful when cleaning and use gloves or an automatic box to lower your risk. Allowing their business to build up causes health risks for your furry friends, for yourself and for your family.

So be as tidy as you can with your cat. No matter how tired you may be, it’s not worth the risk exposing yourself or anyone else you love to potential illness.

About the Author
Sarah is the Content and PR Manager at Your Best Digs. She’s passionate about evaluating everyday home and pet products to help consumers save time and money. When she’s not putting a product’s promise to the test, you’ll find her hiking a local trail or collecting new stamps in her passport.

 

 

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What Dental Conditions Should I Look For In My Dog?

As a responsible dog owner, it’s important to take care of your pup’s teeth. In order to do that properly, pet owners must practice good dental hygiene. If your pup’s teeth are not checked regularly, they can be prone to bad breath and gum disease, also known as periodontal disease.

“In addition to gingivitis and periodontal disease, there are some less commonly seen dental conditions that owners should be aware of, such as tooth fractures, tooth root abscess, and caries.
If you are able to recognize the telltale signs of dental or oral problems, you can get your pet the treatment he needs quickly, before complications arise.” In this article by Dr. James Anthony, you will learn what to look out for in your pet’s teeth and bite. Click here to read the full article.

 

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Dog and Cat Vomiting: When to Worry

It’s a common problem that strikes pet owners everywhere, at any time. Maybe it happens after they eat a meal. Perhaps it happens in the middle of the night. It might occur randomly, frequently, and without any warning at all. You know the signs though; the drooling, the sounds of retching, and the inevitable mess to clean up afterward. However it may occur, pet vomiting is always a nasty surprise. However, when does it change from a mild nuisance and become something a bit more worrying? Knowing the danger signs of pet vomiting can help you know when to pick up the phone and make a vet appointment, or when to just pick up the cleaning supplies. Read below for a definitive guide on the types of vomiting and potential causes.

Types and Contents of Vomit

Not all vomit is considered true “vomit.” When a dog or a cat throws up, the type of contents and the way in which it is thrown up determines whether it’s vomit or just regurgitation. The difference has to do not only with what is being thrown up (digested or undigested food) but also with whether the abdomen is involved and there is heaving that occurs.

To tell the difference between vomit and regurgitation, look at what happens immediately prior to the appearance of the bile or food. If there is no warning (such as if the classic pre-vomit noises are absent, and there is no visible retching motion), and the food is undigested, the dog or cat has merely produced regurgitation. If the food is at least partially digested from the stomach or intestines, and the dog or cat heaves to produce it, it is defined as vomit.

It is important to know the difference because the causes of regurgitation and vomit are completely separate from one another, and knowing which one occurred will greatly affect a potential vet diagnosis.

If your dog or cats’ vomit is partially or almost wholly digested and also has visibile granules in it (sometimes with possible blood present in the vomit). These granules, when vomited, will have texture, consistency, and coloring similar to used coffee grounds. If there is blood present, the vomit might also have a dark brown or reddish tinge to it (be careful to distinguish this from red or brown colored food). Anytime there are signs of possible blood in your pet’s vomit, it’s best to schedule a trip to the vet sooner rather than later. Indicate to the clinic when making the appointment that your pet has possibly vomited blood.

If there is no food at all, and instead your dog is producing just liquid, there might be several different causes. Yellow-colored liquid could be bile and is indicative of a possible irritated stomach. More frequent feedings will help reduce irritation and soothe your pet’s stomach. If your dog or cat is producing white foam or heavy saliva, it might actually be a by-product of coughing, and not vomit at all. This is referred to as an “expectorate”, and has entirely separate potential causes from that which might cause vomit or regurgitation.

Possible Reasons for Vomiting

Ingestion of Bad Food: Dogs and cats may vomit after they’ve consumed something that they probably should not have. Vomit can result from something as simple as getting into the garbage can and eating last night’s leftovers, or vomit might mean that your pet has eaten something toxic (including but not limited to plants, toxic foods, or chemicals). Just like in humans, a pet’s body might react by trying to forcefully eject the contents of the stomach if whatever they’ve consumed is not recognized as a food item. If the cause of vomiting is simply gastric distress from something non-toxic, the vomiting should subside after the pet’s stomach is empty.

Timing and Amount of a Meal: Dogs and cats might vomit up a meal if they eat food too fast, or if they exercise immediately after a meal. In either case, you can slow your pet’s eating pace by
– Using special feeding bowls
– Staggering smaller quantities and feeding more frequently during the day
– Planning play-time for well after your pet has had time to digest
Any or all of these should stop any future episodes and are not a cause for concern.

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus: GDV (often known by the more common name of “bloat”), is an extremely dangerous condition that is caused when a dog’s stomach twists while it is full (of food, liquid or gas). Bloat is a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary intervention. If your dog is repeatedly vomiting but not producing any actual matter (often known as dry heaving), or just vomiting up amounts of foam, consider bloat as a possibility.

Organ disease: Vomiting isn’t always a result of a direct problem with food or eating. It may be a symptom of another disease, injury or anatomical problem. Diseases involving the kidneys, livers or pancreas of your pet may be tied into vomiting. If your pet is vomiting frequently without an obvious cause, consider that it could be a secondary symptom of an organ disease or injury and a trip to the vet is warranted.

Esophageal reflex: If your dog or cat is producing clear or slightly colored fluid (and not vomiting any digested or undigested food), the cause is less likely to be a problem in their stomach or intestines and more likely to be something wrong with another one of their body’s systems. If it happens repeatedly (especially if it seems to occur around mealtimes), it’s possible that it is a result of your pet suffering from possible esophageal reflex. This condition is similar to heartburn in humans, and requires a vet to diagnose and treat, but is not an emergency condition.

Worms: While unsettling, the appearance of worms in your puppy or kittens vomit after deworming is not actually an immediate cause for concern. If your pet begins to display other symptoms (such as lethargy, refusing to eat or drink, or a distended abdomen), an appointment should be made with your veterinarian.
Other conditions: There are a host of other problems that might cause chronic or frequent vomiting, such as food allergies, ulcers, various types of cancer, and canine parvovirus or feline panleukopenia. Any vomiting that cannot be easily explained (or that does not stop) should be further investigated

When to Call the Vet

If the vomiting is a one-time occurrence, there’s no need to schedule a trip to the vet just yet. It’s entirely likely that your pet’s stomach was simply upset that day due to their meal, exercise, or gastrointestinal stress or irritation. If you notice it linked to mealtime or a new food, consider adjusting your pet’s eating and playtime schedule to give them plenty of time to digest their breakfast, lunch or dinner.

If the vomiting happens frequently, there’s something more than just a simple upset stomach going on. Consider making an appointment to see your pet’s veterinarian. If bloating is suspected, immediately seek veterinary help from your veterinarian or a local emergency clinic. Pay attention to the color, consistency, and frequency of the vomit, so you can better describe it to your vet so that they may use the information in their diagnosis.

The best way to determine how your dog or cat is feeling is to let them tell you themselves; if they’re acting tired, dull, uninterested in playing or eating food or treats, these are all notable signs of concern and any one of them may indicate something more serious is going on with your pet’s health.

When you’re unsure of whether to make an appointment or not, remember that if your pet’s vomit is in any way unusual or cannot be easily explained due to stomach upset, it’s better to call your local vet for help.

What to do After an Incident

Other than the inevitable clean-up, after a vomiting event, you’ll want to temporarily limit food and treats to reduce irritation in the stomach and intestines (the likely cause of the vomiting). Consider restricting water for a short time as well, or you’ll risk a repeat incident. Be sure to reintroduce water early on when your pet begins to indicate that they’re feeling better to prevent further problems due to dehydration.

Whatever the reasons for your pet’s vomiting occurrences, knowing the types of vomiting that may occur, as well as some of the potential causes for vomiting will help you determine the severe incidents from the not-so-serious. This will aid you in deciding when to make an appointment or when to visit the emergency clinic. Keeping an eye on your pet’s overall health as a whole will also help you distinguish between the two, as well as provide valuable information to your vet when making a potential diagnosis. Having this knowledge will aid you in knowing if and when it is time to worry about your dog or cat’s vomiting.

About the Author
Michael is a passionate writer and avid dog-lover, being a proud dad to two beagles and a golden retriever. He treasures playtime with his furry best friends. Michael specializes in dog health, and has worked as a volunteer at an animal shelter for two years before becoming a regular content creator for PawLabs.

 

 

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Recognizing Signs of Anxiety in Cats

In this article, I am going to talk about recognizing signs of cat anxiety, and how you can help your cat if he is suffering from anxiety.

Sound good?
Let’s dive in

We often think that cats do not get stressed or suffer from anxiety
But this is not true at all.

Cats are emotional animals and just as how we humans can suffer from anxiety your little feline friend could be hurting too.
The worst part is, if we don’t recognize the signs then this can cause your cat to feel even more stressed and can lead to more complicated behavior problems or health issues.
It is essential as cat parents that we understand the symptoms of anxiety in your cat.

Recognizing Signs of Cat Anxiety

Let’s look out for the signs of anxiety so you can help your kitty stay calm if they are suffering from this.

1. Excessive Grooming
Cats are very clean animals and they spend around 30% of their lives grooming themselves to keep themselves clean!
It can be difficult to notice if your cat is over-grooming due to being stressed.
One thing to look out for is if you start to notice your cat losing some part of their hair on their body.
Are they leaving some patches?
This is over grooming which could be a sign that your cat is stressed.

2. Litter Box Avoidance
If your cat has all of a sudden stopped using the litter box then this could be a sign of anxiety.
Your cat will not just stop using the litter box for no reason.
It can be frustrating when they decide to all of a sudden relieve themselves out of the litter box.
So it’s important not to shout at your cat if he does because it’ll make things worse.

3. Aggression
Your cat won’t just all of a sudden become aggressive unless something is wrong with him.
This could be a sign of anxiety.

4. Excessive meowing
If your cat has started to meow more than normal then this is a way of your cat saying to you something is wrong by getting your attention through meowing. This might mean they are feeling anxious and want your attention
This meow would sound like a distress call to you.

5. Hiding
From seeing your cat every day to now seeing him rarely because he’s hiding can mean your cat is feeling anxious.

6. Changes in eating
Have you noticed a difference in your cats eating habit?
Is he eating too much or just stopped eating altogether? This could be a sign of anxiety.
Before you actually determine this, you should take your cat to the vet to rule out any medical condition.

7. Following you around everywhere
If your cat does not want to leave your sight and starts to follow you everywhere, then this could be a sign of anxiety.
You see, cats can suffer from separation anxiety too.
Although this can make you feel loved because your kitty is following you everywhere, it can also mean your cat is stressed too.
These are signs you should look out for in your cat to ensure your cat is not suffering from anxiety.

What Causes Anxiety in your Cat?

Here are some things that may cause your cat to become anxious:

  • New pet: Cats appreciate company although they can get through the day lounging around. If a new pet has entered his territory (your house) then this will cause your cat to become stressed especially if the introduction is not done correctly. This is a significant change for your cat so it’s important to know how to introduce a new pet to your cat.
  • Changes in the environment or moving homes: Moving can be very stressful for us humans, and it can be stressful for your cat too. Also, changes in the climate can stress your cat out too and this can lead to your cat spraying, especially on new furniture.
  • Visitors: New visitors can cause your cat to become anxious so if you are planning on having friends coming over or a family then make sure your cat has enough space for himself should they become scared and worried. It gives your cat some breathing space too.
  • An absence of the owner: If you are away for some time more than usual due to work or just doing overtime, this can cause stress to your cat. Especially if your cat had unfortunately been abandoned earlier in their lives or been kept in shelter
  • Bad experience: Unfortunately cats that have had a bad experience in their past due to being a stray cat or faced some hard times can be a reason for anxiety. If this is the reason, then it is imperative to show your cat extra love and affection.
  • Cat parent being stressed: In this fast-paced world, we live in where we have so many responsibilities, such as work, family commitments, financial situations, it can get very stressful! And if you are stressed, your cat can get stressed too!

These are some of the reasons for your cat to be anxious

Now that we know what the signs to look out for and what can cause anxiety let’s look at how cat parents can help their cats if they are ever anxious and stressed

How to Treat Cat Anxiety

The wrong way is to shout at your cat and get frustrated
I would really advise cat parents to never take this approach and to have patience
Shouting at your cat will only increase the problem and make things worse

Here are some of the things you can do to help your cat when they are stressed and anxious:

  • Spend quality time together: If your cat is anxious then they need you the most. They want attention, love and affection. Give them all this and go extra! Spend quality time with your kitty. Pet him, stroke him and let him take a cat nap on your lap. By doing this, you are giving your cat reassurances that he is loved and this will make him feel safe and secure and more importantly reduce anxiety!
  • Create a safe space for him: Create a cat environment for your cat. If your cat feels stressed due to visitors coming over or you have nephew and nieces who love running after your cat then provide your cat a safe space in the house. For example you can buy your cat a Cat tree or cat shelves where your cat can overlook everything from a height and a distance. Cats are very territorial and they love to see what is happening from the top.
  • Pheromone sprays: This spray is designed to make your cat feel calm especially if they are stressed
  • Play with your cat: You should spend at least 15 – 20 minutes a day playing with your cat. This creates a bond between you and your kitty. This will help reduce any stress your cat may have. it also shows your cat that you love him as you are giving him attention. Your cat will also get the exercise they need and this exercise releases endorphins in your cat’s brains that will help reduce the stress in your cat
  • Stick with routine: Try and stick to your cats routine. Feed them at the same time every day. This regularity helps with their digestive system too

Wrap Up

It may be difficult to keep your cat completely stress free but it’s very important that you know and understand what the symptoms are of anxiety in your cat.

By having this knowledge, you can help your cat as soon as you recognize any of the symptoms. If you suspect something is wrong with your cat then you should take them to the vets to rule out any health issues.

The main thing is shower your cat with love and affection. Spend time with them and play with them with a variety of toys.

They want attention and love. The misconception that cats are self-reliant and don’t need the love is far from true. Showering them with your love and affection will only help reduce your cat from being stressed and suffering from anxiety.

To find out more on how you can show love to your cat, you can check out my article.
How do you tell your cat you love them

About the Author
Ibrahim Raidhan is a cat parent himself and due to his love for cats has created  Catloverhere.com, which is a website dedicated to cat parents.

 

 

 

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Canine Influenza -Infographic

Also known as dog flu, the canine influenza is spreading its way across the United States and affecting more dogs each day. This is a very contagious respiratory disease caused by Type A influenza virus. To make things even worse, there are two different types of A influenza dog flu virus. The first one is the H3N8 virus and the other the H3N2 virus.

H3N8 Virus

The H3N8 virus made its appearance in 2000, and four years later started affecting the dogs in the United States. The virus originated from horses and got transmitted to racing Grayhounds that raced on the same horse tracks.

H3N2 Virus

The H3N2 virus was initially found in birds, and then it was transmitted to dogs. Now, this virus can be transmitted between dogs and cats. The virus was first detected in 2007 in China and South Korea. In 2015 the H3N2 virus occurred in the United States, and so far it was reported in more than 30 states.

Even though the dog flu is widely spread, the silver lining is: it has a low mortality rate of only 10%. This is probably the silver lining and good news for all dog owners.

Check out this infographic for more facts on the dog flu in order to better help you protect your pooch:

How to Keep them Healthy

The reason why so many dogs get infected with canine influenza is that the virus is easily spread from one dog to another. Your pooch can be infected by being in the direct contact with a carrier, through the air, and through a contaminated object, like a food bowl, toy, leash, or a blanket.

Once a dog gets infected, it takes 2 days for him to develop the first symptoms. The dog will start to cough, sneeze, and develop a fever that is accompanied by the general feeling of lethargy. For both the H3N8 and the H3N2 viruses the first 5 days are the same, and during that time the dog should receive treatment and show signs of recovery.

However, even though the dog seems healthy, he still carries the virus within him and can transmit it to other dogs. It takes 15 days for dogs with H3N8 virus to stop being infectious. On the other hand, the H3N2 stays in a dog’s system for 25 days during which time he can make other dogs sick.

Since dog flu is taking the forms of an epidemic, it is best to take on the preventive measures and keep your pooch protected. The best way you can do that is to vaccinate him for canine influenza. Other methods are less reliable and include isolating infected animals, decontamination, and avoiding contact with potentially ill dogs.

The treatment for the dog flu usually include antimicrobials, anti-inflammatory meds, and IV fluids. Since all dogs are different you should be in touch with your vet and take your dog to regular checkups. This disease also causes loss of appetite; thus it is recommended to feed him with a “dog food to gain weight” diet. These foods have more calories and will help your pooch get back on all four legs a lot faster.

Like with all viruses, the only effective way of protecting your dog from canine influenza is to get him vaccinated. You probably get your flu shots on time every year, why shouldn’t it be the same for your dog?

About the Author

Charles B. Hardy is the founder of pawpawlover.com. Originally a vet, Charle has a tremendous love for dogs and is the owner of a Golden Retriever. He aspires to share his experience with anyone who cares about dogs well-being.

Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Cushing’s Disease or Cushing’s Syndrome is a condition where the dog’s adrenal glands are producing an overabundance of hormones, specifically cortisone. Veterinarians refer to this as hyperadrenocorticism.

There are three types of Cushing’s disease, and they usually affect middle age to older dogs. Every kind of Cushing’s Disease affects the endocrine system. Any breed of dog can get Cushing’s Disease, but according to the American Kennel Club the Poodle, Boxer, Dachshund, Boston Terrier and Beagle are some breeds to watch. Most patients are elderly dogs over eight years old.

What Does the Endocrine System Do?

The endocrine system is a group of glands in the body which produce and release different hormones. These hormones regulate various body functions. The pea-sized pituitary gland, which is at the base of the brain, communicates with the adrenal glands and tell them when to release certain hormones, such as cortisone or cortisol. The Pituitary gland produces a hormone called adrenocorticotropic (ACTH).

ACTH communicates with the adrenal gland. The adrenal glands are peanut sized and located next to the kidneys. They produce a number of substances that regulate functions in your dog. Adrenal glands produce cortisone, helping to regulate the immune system, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels as well as improving the body’s response to stress. It is also referred to as the “fight or flight” hormone. Cortisone is meant to be produced in small amounts when your pet produces too much cortisone, then other problems develop.

Symptoms of Cushing’s

One reason Cushing can be difficult to diagnose is that its symptoms are similar to other diseases. Many of the symptoms are common attributes in an aging animal, often going unnoticed by pet owners. The overproduction of cortisone causes the dog to have an increased appetite, excessive drinking, and frequent urination. Your dog may not be able to hold his or her bladder and have accidents.

Additionally, your dog may develop a poor coat and act lethargic or sleepy. Hair loss is common and fat forms around the abdominal organs. As the abdominal wall weakens, it causes stretching of the abdominal muscles, giving the dog a potbellied pig appearance. Dogs with Cushing’s often develop skin problems such as skin infections, dark coloring or pigmentation and the inability to heal from skin irritations.

Different Types of Cushing’s Disease

Benign or malignant (less common) tumors can form on the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. Pituitary gland tumors cause 85 – 90% of all Cushing’s Disease in dogs. The tumor can trigger the pituitary gland to produce excess ACTH. This, in turn, stimulates the adrenal glands to produce excess cortisone.

When there is a tumor on the adrenal gland, the prognosis is more severe. These tumors have a 50/50 % of being benign or malignant and are more common in larger breeds.

Cushing’s disease can also be caused by excessive use of steroids, such as prednisone and dexamethasone. This is referred to as iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome. Steroids are often given for legitimate medical concerns such as immune disorders, certain cancers and to reduce inflammation. However, their prolonged use can in turn trigger Cushing’s disease.

Diagnosing Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s Disease is not always easy to diagnose. Veterinarians use a couple of necessary tests to check for Cushing’s. A blood test and fecal test. A urine test examines the cortisol: creatinine ratio to see if they are elevated. The ACTH stimulation test looks at how well the adrenal gland is functioning. The vet takes a blood sample before your dog receives a shot of ACTH. A few hours later your dog gets another injection of ACTH to see how or if it the hormone effects them. A normal response will cause the cortisone level to rise a small amount. If the cortisone level starts high and climbs higher after the injections then that is a good indicator for Cushing’s.

Another test that your veterinarian may utilize is a low-dose dexamethasone suppression (LDDS) test. In this test, the dog receives a shot of the hormone dexamethasone. This hormone inhibits adrenal production. If the cortisone level doesn’t lower then your pet have a tumor that is interfering with normal hormone production.

Additionally, the vet may take an abdominal ultrasound which allows them to see the size and condition of the adrenal gland to ascertain how it is functioning. A CT or MRI may be taken to look for any metastatic spread of the disease.


Treatment Options

Treatment is determined by what type of Cushing’s syndrome your dog has and how severe the symptoms. If your pet is experiencing mild symptoms, then you and your vet may wish to monitor and begin treatment when the symptoms become more severe.

The most common form of Cushing’s Disease, pituitary-induced, is also the most complicated to treat. There are several drugs that your vet may prescribe. The most widely used drugs are trilostane (Vetoryl) and mitotane (Lysodren). These drugs suppress the production of cortisone but have potential side effects so your pet should be monitored closely while taking medication. Vetoryl (trilostane) has been found to be effective in pituitary- and adrenal-related Cushing’s in dogs. According to the FDA, the most common side effects are:

  • Poor or reduced appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of energy
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness

More serious side effects can occur, such as bloody diarrhea, collapse, and severe sodium/potassium imbalance. Lysodren is a drug most often used on humans for chemotherapy that is not used often.

Your vet will prescribe enough of the drug to reduce symptoms but hopefully not bring about side effects. These medications will need to be administered for the rest of the dog’s life and your pet will need regular veterinary checkups as well to monitor the cortisone levels.

If your dog has an adrenal tumor, then surgery is the most common option. This surgery is complicated and expensive. If the tumor is benign, then a dog often makes a full recovery. If the tumor is malignant, it may only buy your dog some time as while it grows back. Medication can be prescribed in lieu of surgery.

Treating Cushing’s disease that is caused by overuse of steroids is complicated. You and your vet will want to discuss the reason steroids were given in the first place and what would be the effects of withdrawing the steroid. Cortisone should be withdrawn slowly, and your dog should be monitored throughout the process.

Dealing With Cushing’s Disease At Home

Now that you have a diagnosis and a medical treatment plan you are probably wondering what you can do to help your pet be comfortable and have a quality life. Once medication begins, it takes a week to several months for symptoms to be reduced.

If your dog has had surgery to remove a glandular tumor, they need to be monitored for internal bleeding. The incision should be closely watched for signs of infection.

Cushing’s disease causes excessive thirst so make sure your dog has plenty of clean water available. Since they may have mobility issues, keeping several bowls of water in different rooms is a good idea. Your dog will also have an increased appetite.

With drinking more water, your dog is going to have more frequent urination. You may notice the urine is paler in color which is a result of consuming more water. Your dog may also have more accidents and leak urine while they are sleeping. Use puppy pee pads in your dogs sleeping area and inside areas to protect your floors. Remember this is an accident and a result of your dog’s illness. Do not discipline your dog but try to give more frequent outside breaks and acceptable pee areas inside.

You may notice that your dog’s body composition changes. One of the symptoms in Cushing’s Disease is abdominal belly fat and a pot-bellied pig appearance. This can also lead to stretched skin on the back and a bony spine appearance. Keep in mind that your dog still wants attention and affection from you. However, as their body composition changes, they may desire attention in a different way.

Life Expectancy

Dogs with the pituitary gland type of Cushing’s Disease are expected to live three years longer on average. Since Cushing’s often occurs in elderly dogs some dogs may simply die of old age and not necessarily the disease. This disease can be controlled with medication, but it is not curable. Treatment is expensive, and your dog will need a regular check-up every 3 – 6 months to monitor the condition.

If your dog has had a successful surgery to remove a tumor on the adrenal glands then they may make a full recovery from the disease. In some cases, the tumor may grow back.

About the Author

Ame Vanorio is a freelance writer who specializes in blogs and articles on pets, wildlife, and veterinary topics. She lives on her farm in Falmouth, Kentucky with 5 fabulous dogs and numerous other pets.

What to Feed a Dog with an Upset Stomach

Stomach problems are very common in dogs. Almost every dog will go through some tummy upsets at some point. Mostly the stomach problems are minor and clear up after a few days. However, if an upset stomach persists, especially with vomiting and diarrhea, it can be a major problem.

Causes

Stomach problems in pets could be a result of many factors. From poor diet, allergies, infections, food intolerance or ulcers. Coffee is very toxic to dogs; it leads to vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, or even death. Keep caffeine away from dogs as it can put them in life-threatening situations.

The most important thing to remember is to monitor your dog’s symptoms closely regularly. This will help in getting a definitive diagnosis of the symptoms. Stomach problems could also be a symptom of underlying diseases including:

Gastritis – This is the inflammation or infection of the stomach lining. It causes a dog to vomit profusely accompanied by diarrhea. Sometimes there can be blood in diarrhea. Gastritis can be caused by infectious agents like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Gastritis can occur due to a bad reaction to certain medications like NSAIDs. Gastritis can either be acute or chronic.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – IBD still does not have an exact cause. Classic IBD symptoms include chronic diarrhea and/or vomiting. It is not curable but very manageable after an endoscopic biopsy is done by the vet.

General symptoms

Dogs naturally nibble at grass whenever they have stomach pains. Some common symptoms of an upset stomach in dogs include

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in vomit
  • Blood in diarrhea
  • “Growling” sounds in the stomach area
  • Retching
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Excessive drooling
  • Gagging
  • Fever
  • Bloating

Preventive Measures

Taking good care of your pet means feeding it the right type of food as well as taking precautionary measures. Here are some great feeding tips that will help your dog avoid coming into contact with common stomach upsets.

1. Hydration

Make sure your dog drinks clean water. Establish a routine of always emptying the water bowl after a few hours. Stagnant water is great breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. You could give your dog fresh cooled distilled water or regular tap water. Hygienic hydration will prevent bacterial related stomach problems.
Check on the hydration levels of your dog. This can be done by a simple exercise to establish skin elasticity. Pinch the skin, if it quickly pulls back your dog is okay. If it pulls back at a slower rate, chances are your dog is a little dehydrated.

2. Food

Pets, especially dogs should be fed with a specific diet by breed, weight and other genetic factors. If your pup is getting all the necessary nutrients in its diet, there is less chance of getting an upset stomach.
If you are planning to switch diets, do so in stages. When pet owner movea to a residence they might suddenly change diet which may cause an upset stomach in dogs. Dog’s stomach takes longer to adjust to new foods and may cause them to get stomach growls. It is also important to limit the amount of human food you feed your pet.
Feeding animals scraps off your dinner table denies your dog the nutrients they need. Dogs will also form a habit of clamoring at the table whenever food is prepared in anticipation of food.
This may be a bit embarrassing if you have dinner guests at your home. Some types of human foods may not go down well with dogs’ digestive system. These foods may be toxic to canines, causing stomach ailments.

What to do if your canine has an upset stomach?

Generally, if you notice your dog is having signs of stomach upsets there are a series of home remedies he can take to alleviate the pain. It is important to assess your dog’s condition in case it is a serious condition that needs immediate veterinary attention,

1. Stop all food and water intake – This is done to ensure the contents of the dog’s stomach are empty. It can be hard since we all love our dogs, but it’s a useful step in reducing stomach upsets. This can be done over 12- 24 hours, and it helps reduce vomiting and diarrhea. Fasting helps the stomach lining to rest if it was previously inflamed
During this fasting period, make sure that he has access to lots of cold fresh water. You could feed them ice cubes or chilled water. If you suspect tap water is the source of the problem, you could try giving your canine purified water or bottled water. Increasing the water intake helps in relieving stomach upsets faster.

2. Reintroducing solid food – After the fasting period is over, re-introduce solid foods. This mainly consists of a bland diet. During the recovery phase, make sure that you do not add any oils, fats or spices to the food.
Give small portions, as you gradually increase the amount of food and water offered over time till you reach the amount of a full meal for the dog. However, if your dog is still not feeling well enough to eat solid foods, try some chicken broth.
Try starting out with boiled white or brown rice. Prepare the rice to be a little mushy and serve in gradual small portions.
Next get some low-fat chicken meat as another form of food. Chicken has proteins which energize your dog and help in the recovery. Make sure you remove the skin and bones, feeding only the tender meat. Chicken meat goes well with rice or porridge and may be serve 6-8 times during the day.
Pumpkin also serves well for upset stomachs. Go for canned pumpkin and mix it into a soup. Because pumpkin is an excellent source of fiber, it helps dogs with vomiting and diarrhea problems. It has an agreeable taste, and your dog will love it.

Probiotics

Probiotics play a very big role in maintaining your dog’s overall health and helps in the recovery from upset stomach. The World Health Organization defines probiotics as “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” The word originates from the Latin preposition pro meaning “for” and the Greek word bios which translates to “life.” In simple terms probiotics are the good bacteria that a dog needs to prevent and treat many diseases.
Probiotics are usually present in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract and block the development of harmful bacteria in the body. Some of these harmful bacteria include E. coli, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens, which cause stomach upsets in dogs.
Here are some active probiotics that help in relieving stomach upsets in dogs:

Yogurt

Yogurt helps with inflamed intestines. It is a natural probiotic that alleviates an upset stomach. Administer two or three spoonfuls a day for best results. Also, avoid the flavored brands and go for plain yogurt. Probiotic digestion supplements help in maintaining normal bowel function, as well as hardening of stools

Kefir

Kefir is a rich source of natural probiotics, made of fermented food that is great for relieving stomach upsets for your canine. Kefir is comprised of milk, kefir grains, yeasts, proteins, lipids and sugar. Most dogs love Kefir as a topping on their food or as a separate snack. Kefir is readily available at the grocery store but make sure you go for the unsweetened version. You can also make your own water kefir or coconut kefir at home.

Organic goat milk

Raw goat milk is rich in natural probiotics. Most people prefer it to cow milk because goat milk has very little concentration of lactose. Lactose contains sugars that may aggravate the upset stomach. Goat milk is also easier to digest than cow milk.

3. Observation stage – If your dog is responding well to the natural remedies, they should have no more vomiting or diarrhea. Lethargy should also have dropped off. Keep an eye out for any resurgence of symptoms.

4. Returning to the normal diet – Take your time and slowly transition your dog from the bland diet to the normal diet. A week should be enough while starting with a ratio of a bland diet to dog food at 1:4. Gradually increase the ratio throughout the week until you fully transition to dog food.

In case the stomach upset persists, do not hesitate to visit your veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Wrap Up

Prevention is the best way to avoid stomach upsets in dogs. Provide your dog with clean water, the correct foods and additional supplements. Most stomach upsets are very preventable. It is important to monitor your dog’s behavior if your dog is acting sick or not as his normal self. Look at what they could have eaten or drunk. This will help in identifying the cause of the problem. The home remedies are great for treating a vast array of stomach problems. If you are not sure about your dog’s symptoms seek immediate veterinary attention.

About the Author

Kathryn Brown is a freelance writer. She lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband and her pet Duke. When she’s not out exploring other countries, she spends most of her time teaching others how to work remotely while her pit bull, Annabelle, lounges alongside. She’s also an advocate for dogs like hers and aims to spread awareness everywhere she goes and make the pets feel included in the new world of technology.

Insuring Your Pet: Your Many Options

Just as sure as the sky is blue, the unexpected will happen to your pet. It’s not something we all want to think or be overly preoccupied with, but an unexpected sickness or accident may happen to your pet.

Why is Pet Insurance Important?

  • Two out of every three pets will experience a significant health problem during their lifetime
  • A pet receives emergency medical care every 2 ½ seconds
  • One in three pets will need emergency veterinary treatment every year
  • Dogs under the age of one are 2.5x more likely to have an unexpected visit to the vet

Now we can’t have our pet encased in a plastic bubble for the rest of its life. They need to be able to do fun pet things: Your dog needs to walk, run, play and socialize with other pets. And your cat needs to do the same. But incidents will happen, and your pet will sooner or later require medical attention.

Pet insurance is structured in the same way as health insurance is for humans. The premiums you pay vary depending on the scope of coverage, pet characteristics (age, breed, overall health), deductibles, and claim limits (annual, lifetime, treatment). A major component of premium costs relates to whether a policy covers preventative care. Policies can be simple, just covering shots and exams to more broad coverage, which can cover hereditary conditions.

Other interesting facts about pet insurance is that it is regulated as property and casualty insurance, not health insurance. 91% of pet insurance policies cover dogs. Accident and illness coverage average about $535 annually for dogs and $335 annually for cats. Finally, cancer, which is diagnosed in 12 million pets annually, will set an owner back an average of $2,033.

How Can I Pay?

One of the most significant impediments for people not being able to go to the vet is a lack of funds. Veterinary procedures can run up to several thousands of dollars, and this can leave some pet owners in a bind. In the worst situations, a pet owner may have to choose between taking care of their own financial obligations or the health or even the life of their pets.

There are many solutions available to help owners who are in these stressful situations. Pet insurance is now available through pet specific providers like Trupanion and Healthy Paws. Insurance conglomerates like Nationwide have pet plans to go with their many coverage packages. Crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe and YouCaring present online platforms where the community can donate to a pet-specific cause. Furthermore, there’s a new option that combines insurance and crowdfunding models to provide a way for pet owners to pay for each other’s expenses together.

Despite a tiny percentage of pets being insured in North America, pet insurance is now being considered by millennials and younger professionals who are choosing not to have children. It is because of this group of individuals that decide to become “pet parents” and are considering adding pet insurance to their standard plans, instead of having children. Companies are now considering adding pet insurance to their health, vision, and dental packages.

The next option pet owners should consider for funding pet expenses is through crowdfunding. When most people think of crowdfunding, they think of Kickstarter and Indie-a-gogo, which are mostly used by tech entrepreneurs to help seed their early stage startups.

Crowdfunding Is the Way to Go

Crowdfunding has become prevalent for charity and donations. Websites GoFundMe and YouCaring have been the most popular sites for funding those who have suffered through some sort of misfortune or are afflicted by ailments and are needing of financial help. These crowdfunding sites can be used by pet owners who do not have the financial capabilities to care for their pet. They need only to turn to the crowd, their friends, family, and anyone who cares for their cause.

If the unexpected were to happen to your pet, it is very easy to set up a GoFundMe campaign. Also, you can share your campaign on social media with your inner circle and your community.

The best cases of a GoFundMe campaign being successful relies on how much exposure the campaign receives. Often times a news report from your local station will mention a GoFundMe campaign raising funds to help an individual. Also, if you are extremely active on social media, your campaign will receive a lot of eyes because you have a lot of online friends. Unfortunately, some pet owners are not able to get local news coverage or have a professional publicist at hand. Also, not every pet owner, no matter how many times they post their pet’s picture on Instagram or Facebook, have a large following. We can conclude that crowdfunding through sites like GoFundMe can generate a lot of funding from the caring community but it requires a lot of legwork or a bit of luck to create the exposure and the buzz.

The option that combines insurance and crowdfunding the best would be an upcoming startup like Eusoh (pronounced you-so). This startup provides a platform where pet owners can come together and join groups to share pet expenses together. Simply, this site allows people to “pool” money together in case something happens. Traditional insurance works in this same way, but you’ll be paying substantially more, and your monthly premiums are part of the insurance companies’ revenue.

Eusoh requires a low monthly payment of $10 a month to use the service. It also requires a first-time “pledge” or payment, which will be used to cover the expenses of the group. You will be using these funds or someone in your group will be using it. Whoever it may be or whose pet is the beneficiary of the funds, you are making an agreement with your fellow group members and Eusoh users to help pay pet expenses as a community.

What happens is that when there is an expense, you will pay your share of the invoice. Your share of the costs will never get too high. The reason for this is the technology behind eusoh: The platform expands and brings in other users from other groups to help pay for costs. The occasion of this happening will be very seldom, but rest assured, eusoh has taken the steps to ensure that you, your group, and other members will not pay too much.

How does this differ from insurance?

Basically, you are obligated to pay your insurance premiums every month. With Eusoh, you’ll be paying only for the subscription and your share of the costs. The system will not allow your share to get too high. Altogether, studies from insurance companies have found that pet owners will save at least 20% monthly on Eusoh. And if there are cases where no one in your group has any expenses, the only thing you pay for is the subscription fee. If nothing happens to anyone’s pet, no one has to pay a share.

Eusoh works similarly to insurance because it allows people to create “risk pools” but it won’t hanker you down with ever-increasing monthly premiums. And compared to crowdfunding sites, you don’t need to acquire exposure or local news coverage or a large social media following for your campaign. Eusoh already has a large user base that is ever increasing. And as the user base increases and when you do the math, overall savings for everyone will be greater. Simply, the more people using Eusoh, the less you have to pay.

Wrap Up

The options pet owners have when the unexpected happens to their pets are many. From the traditional insurance, to the Internet-based crowdfunding to the hybrid, crowdsourcing site, Eusoh. With insurance, costs will vary due to the breed, age, and overall health of your pet. The success of crowdfunding is correlated to the amount of exposure a campaign receives. And the hybrid option, Eusoh, is a new and somewhat complex concept. Whatever option you choose, it should be enough to cover your pet expenses now and in the future. We implore everyone to research these options and find out which one saves them the most money and time.

About the Author
Joe Cayetano is the Marketing Manager for Eusoh.com, Eusoh is a new crowd sharing platform that provides an affordable and transparent way for consumers to share expenses using scalable technology and the power of community in today’s sharing economy. Joe is the proud owner of a Golden Retriever and he is an avid lover of horses.