Veterinary Visits During COVID-19

As more and more businesses are temporarily closing due to the Coronavirus outbreak, many concerned pet owners are wondering if their local veterinary practices will be open.  According to an article on the Veterinary Information Network website, some—but not all—states are declaring veterinary clinics as “essential services” to remain open.

If you need to take your pet for veterinary care, be sure to call and check with your own veterinarian and/or local pet emergency and specialty clinics before bringing your animal in.

Some states are providing guidance to veterinarians on whether to stay open or not, and what types of services they should provide.  For example, here in California, the state veterinary medical association is asking members to use their best judgement based on what types of conditions their own communities are facing.

The AVMA suggests that veterinarians may want to defer certain kinds of non-critical care to conserve personal protective equipment like masks, gowns, and gloves.

Many veterinary practices that are staying open are limiting contact between pet owners and veterinary staff.  If your pet needs care, you may have to drop him or her off at the clinic door or in the parking lot and will not be permitted to go inside.

The best advice is to postpone any non-essential treatment.  If your pet needs urgent veterinary treatment, always call the practice or emergency clinic before you go.  Even if you are not allowed in the building, you should expect to receive phone calls from the veterinary team to update you on what’s going on with your pet.

Be sure to refer to the AVMA website for updates on the COVID-19 situation as it relates to veterinary care.  You can also check with your local state veterinary medical association for more specific information.

 

New Finnish Study Shows Anxiety is a Common Trait in Many Dogs

Researchers in Finland conducted a survey of nearly 14,000 dog owners to determine the causes of canine anxiety.  They found that over 72% of dogs experience some form of anxiety.

What types of anxiety are most common, and are there certain breeds that are more anxious than others?  Here are a few key findings from the study:

  • The most common form of anxiety in dogs is noise sensitivity (fireworks, thunder, etc.) followed by fear of specific things (such as strangers, other dogs, or surfaces and heights).
  • Female dogs are slightly more likely to show anxiety and fear than male dogs (51.5%). Male dogs tend to show more separation anxiety.
  • Certain behavior problems tend to be associated with canine anxiety, including inattention, aggression, hyperactivity, and compulsive behavior (such as self-biting).
  • Some breeds are more anxious and fearful than others. Labrador Retrievers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers show low levels of fear, while Shetland Sheepdogs and Rough Collies tend to be more fearful.

The authors of the study note that canine anxiety can have a genetic basis.  However, the prevalence of canine anxiety shows that it is common across breeds and factors like training, socialization, and the home environment play a role too.

Interested in learning more?  Check out the full study HERE.

 

COVID-19 and Pets: Facts from the AVMA

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has created a fact sheet on Coronavirus for pet owners.

They address common concerns, including whether or not cats and dogs can become infected with the virus or pass it on.  As of this time, there is no evidence that pets can become sick from Coronavirus.

There have been reports about a couple of dogs contracting the virus, but the AVMA says that these pets have not shown signs of being ill with COVID-19 specifically.

Should you keep your pet’s veterinary appointments?  The AVMA says there is no reason to cancel appointments unless you yourself are sick and feel it is best to stay home.

They also advise pet owners to make plans for pet care in the event that you are unable to care for your pet at home.

You can download the full fact sheet HERE.  Be sure to check the AVMA website for any updates on Coronavirus and veterinary health.

 

Top Pet Food Trends of 2020

This year’s Global Pet Expo, a convention hosted by the American Pet Products Association and the Pet Industry Distributors Association, highlighted some new product trends that are driving the pet food market this year.

A Switch from Grain-Free to Grain-Friendly Diets

The grain-free pet food trend, which was growing in popularity over the past few years, has faced a setback as an increased number of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) cases in certain dog breeds have been linked to ingredients found in grain-free diets.

The pet food industry is now focused on “grain-friendly” diets featuring healthy and wholesome grains such as barley, oatmeal, and brown rice.

Pet Foods that Target a Specific Health Issue

Solutions-based pet foods that are designed for a particular life stage or health condition are continuing to gain in popularity.  Some of the most popular address issues like obesity and skin, coat, and joint health.

Foods that Address “Rotational Feeding”

Rotational feeding is a growing trend among pet owners who like to feed their animals different formats of the same dietary formula.  Examples of this include wet, dry, and treat options that address a particular concern or contain the same combination of animal proteins.

Whole-Animal Nutrition

It used to be that pet foods containing animal by-products like organs, bone, and cartilage were frowned on.  Today’s quality pet food manufacturers are returning to “whole-animal nutrition” by adding some of these ingredients to their high-end diets.

Lickable Food and Treats

Pet owners are increasingly turning to pet foods and treats that have a very soft mousse or gel texture.  They can be served out of containers or tubes and include meaty broths and frozen, ice cream-like treats.

 

March is Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month

An important animal awareness holiday happens in March:  Pet Poison Prevention Month.

The ASPCA urges pet owners to be mindful of the following common pet poison hazards:

  • Household cleaning products
  • Pesticides (insect and rodent)
  • Certain people foods
  • Automotive products (like antifreeze)
  • Medicines (human and pet, Rx and OTC)
  • House and yard plants
  • Certain flea and tick products

Feeling overwhelmed about what’s safe and what’s not?  The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center has created a free mobile app that covers the toxicity of hundreds of items.  It includes pictures and other tools to help you identify what’s harmful to your pet.

Download the app HERE!