Every February, the veterinary community celebrates National Pet Dental Health Month by encouraging pet owners to take care of their pets’ teeth. Without proper dental hygiene routines, pets develop periodontal disease, which is the most common disorder affecting our pets nationwide. By age three, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have periodontal disease.
At advanced stages, dental disease can significantly impact a pet’s quality of life. It can cause mouth pain, which makes eating difficult. Plus, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause heart, liver and kidney complications. Pets are good at hiding pain, so it’s important for pet owners to take steps to prevent periodontal disease from striking in the first place.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 58% of cats and 54% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. When pets are overweight, they’re more likely to develop diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, kidney and heart disease, joint injuries and many types of cancer. Plus, excess body fat decreases life expectancy by two years.
To keep your pet at a healthy weight, do not give them any people food. Also, make sure you’re not giving them too much of their own food. Your Bear Valley Veterinary Care Center veterinarian may also recommend exercise and Hill’s metabolic diet food, which is specially made for pets needing to lose weight to get healthier. We can calculate the proper amount of calories your pet should eat per day so they lose weight at a safe rate.
If you’re concerned about your pet’s weight, or if you want to take preventative action to keep your pet healthy, schedule an appointment at Bear Valley Veterinary Care Center.
Saturday, August 27th 10:00 am to 2:00 pm We’ll have festive concessions and non-alcoholic beverages, plus we’ll give away goodie bags with treats for you and your pets! Snap photos at the photo booth, play carnival games, and check out brief informational demos about laser therapy, acupuncture, early disease detection, nutrition, professional dental services, and heartworm prevention. A local police officer will also do a demo with his K9 bomb-sniffing companion! All attendees who RSVP will receive a coupon for one free night of boarding.* All pets are welcome as long as they are leashed throughout the event.
For more information and to RSVP, click here. We hope you’ll join the fun! *You will receive a free boarding voucher when you RSVP. Make sure you print your voucher and bring it to the event; it is only valid after a Bear Valley staff member signs it.
It is important to ask questions when it comes to the wellness of your pet. Pet food companies place sales reps in stores acting as nutrition experts for the store itself. As these are biased individuals they may not be the best source of guidance. Additionally, anyone can post their opinion about nutrition on the internet and may not have any education whatsoever in nutritional needs of pets. When evaluating pet food choices, a discerning consumer can make an educated choice by following a few simple guidelines:
Does the brand have an established a reputation for quality?
Does the company conduct research and publish their results in peer-reviewed journals and textbooks?
Is the food fed to animals in clinical food trials before marketed and sold? (AAFCO feeding trials)
Does the company in question employ veterinarians or have a scientifically-grounded quality control?
When researching individual brands, we advise our clients to look for red flags on marketing websites and product labels.
Grain-free: It may be a popular diet choice for humans; however, very few animals cannot tolerate rice, wheat or corn. Some grains contain beneficial nutrients and are active ingredients rather than simple filler. There is no evidence of alternate ingredients having higher nutritional value.
Veterinarian-approved: A meaningless term requiring no testing or regulation.
However, while not a guarantee of quality, AAFCO tested brands signify that the manufacturer was willing to undergo feeding testing, thus the designation carries some weight.
No byproducts: Not an indication of quality, as many animal byproducts are more nutritionally beneficial than standard muscle meat.
Raw diet: Raw food is also a dangerously misleading dietary trend. Marketed as being closer to their pet’s natural diet, raw food can contain dangerous parasites and bacteria, causing severe illness if consumed, not to mention the risks to the human handling the food. Prepared (cooked) food eliminates these dangers by killing bacteria. In addition, these types of diets are commonly very deficient in vital minerals and nutrients that pets require for general health. The American Medical Veterinary Association made a policy discouraging the feeding of raw diets in 2012.
As with any food, the most important part of the equation to consider is that pets can tolerate a poor diet for a long period of time before symptoms develop. A pet may be developing heart disease, vision loss, immune deficiencies, bladder stones or other severe diseases far before the pet becomes ill. Only a veterinary professional can evaluate your pet’s nutritional needs and determine what foods are best.
A balanced and complete diet is a major component of overall pet health. As an owner, you have complete control over your pet’s daily nutrition, making you responsible for their dietary health. In the past, most owners fed their dogs and cats mainstream brands. Now, fueled by recent human diet trends, companies have started to push alternatives like “holistic,” “natural,” “grain free”, and “evolution diet” products, resulting in untested brands entering the market.
Commercial pet foods have been manufactured and sold for over 150 years. With the proliferation of online retailers, information about unconventional pet dietary needs has propagated and companies can market “complete and balanced” products. Many of the terms contained in the labeling of these products may appear straightforward, but are actually misleading. For example, “natural” is a legally-protected term requiring no artificial or synthesized ingredients. However, the term “natural” is often inaccurate as factory-produced vitamins and minerals are added to most pet foods.
About a year ago, a local family found a little Chihuahua running the streets of Lakewood. Despite searching far and wide, they had no success finding his original family. With compassion in their hearts, the family decided to take him in as one of their own, naming him Papi. They didn’t know anything about his history, where he came from, if he had vaccines or anything else. But, they did know he was sweet.
Eventually, the family decided they needed to bring him in for veterinary care because they noticed that he had trouble going to the bathroom. During his exam we discovered a number of health issues including severe dental disease and the source of his bathroom issues, a hernia common to unneutered older dogs.
Since one of their other pets was already in the hospital, they decided to schedule the surgery for Papi a few weeks down the road. Unfortunately for poor Papi, the day he came in for surgery we found a perforation of his large intestine, which uncommonly accompanies this type of hernia. The risk of surgery and the chances for proper healing and survival dramatically changed in this moment. Knowing the increased risk, he underwent surgery that day.
Sometimes our state’s love of the great outdoors can come back to bite us. Due to increased outdoor activity and high levels of interaction with other pets, the risk of fleas in the Denver area is high during the warmer months. These bloodsucking insects feed on mammals and lay eggs in their fur, transmitting harmful parasites like tapeworms, as well as causing dermatitis and anemia. Fleas also carry potentially fatal diseases like the Murine typhus and plague, with Colorado ranking among top three states in the country for reported plague cases, which can also be transmitted to humans, endangering friends and family.
One flea can reproduce nearly 50 times a day, making it a substantial threat to your pet’s wellbeing. Flea infestations often spread throughout your home — living in your carpet and furniture, and making them tough to eradicate.
Fortunately, regular application of flea medication is a surefire way of keeping your pet free of these nasty parasites. Flea medicine comes in a number of forms including topicals, shampoo and chewable tablets, all of which work by killing existing fleas and preventing new infections by stopping their eggs from hatching. Unfortunately, most over-the-counter flea medication is highly ineffective and should be avoided. For the majority of our patients, Bear Valley recommends Frontline Plus. In addition to flea control, Frontline protects against ticks, making it a critical component of preventative care.
We recommend that all pets begin a monthly prevention regimen as soon as possible. If you suspect that your pet may already be infested, please contact your Bear Valley veterinarian to schedule an appointment today.
It is time again for Bear Valley’s annual open house! Each year, we open our doors for a day of fun activities, delicious food and great giveaways for our patients and their families. All attendees will automatically be entered into the Free Pet Care For a Year drawing, winner to be announced later this year!
At Bear Valley Veterinary Care Center, we strive for excellence when it comes to customer/patient service. Last week our staff reviewed Bear Valley Vet’s protocol and discussed ways to improve, so we can better serve our clients and their furry friends.
Courtney Calabrese CSR
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2111 S Sheridan Blvd. Denver, CO 80227
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