Friday, November 29, 2013

Elvis the beagle and his power of pregnancy detection

So we all know the nose of a beagle is an amazing superpower

One beagle's made the news recently for what he can do with his special talent -- detect pregnant polar bears.

Kelly Green, the blogger behind SeaWorld Mommy, did this guest post for us on Elvis, who is putting his talents to use for SeaWorld.



When human females have an inkling they’re pregnant, it’s easy to determine whether or not the blessed event is imminent. What used to involve the loss of a rabbit (or at least her ovaries) to determine, is now done with a hormone-detecting home kit and a urine stream. For Polar Bears, the process to determine pregnancy is a bit more complicated and in some cases involves a dog, a beagle to be exact, whose ovaries are completely untouched. Confused?

Elvis tests samples. (Courtesy: Cincinnati Zoo Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife)
It’s long been known that a dog’s sense of smell is powerful, but scientists are only beginning to uncover the amazing range of scents in astoundingly minute amounts they can detect. In a recent German study, dogs were discovered to have the ability to detect lung cancer by smelling breath samples of cancer patients. In determining a polar bear’s maternal status, scientists at the Cincinnati Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) have enlisted the help of a two-year-old beagle named Elvis to “sniff out” the truth.

Matt Skogen, Professional Working Dog Trainer at Iron Heart High Performance Working Dogs was invited by Dr. Erin Curry from CREW to participate in the study to determine if dogs could provide early detection of pregnancy in Polar Bears. Dr. Curry is a Post-Doctoral Fellow studying polar bear reproduction. For the study, over 200 fecal samples of pregnant polar bears were sent to Iron Heart where Elvis began his training in identifying and remembering that “certain smell” that signaled a positive pregnancy status.

Szenja is making a den for herself at SeaWorld. (Courtesy: Cincinnati Zoo Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife)
After 10 months of training, Elvis was ready for his final exam. In late October, two samples each from 17 polar bears from 14 zoos throughout the U.S. and Canada were submitted for examination. One of the bears was Szenja, an 18-year-old polar bear from SeaWorld, SanDiego.

Results of the sniffing test for Szenja are positive, and with Elvis’ 97 percent success rate (almost that of a human hormone “stream” test), Szenja is most certainly going to be a mother soon. In the wild, pregnant polar bears spend their winters in dens. To simulate that environment, Szenja was provided with nest materials which she’s used to create a den in the back area of Wild Arctic. She’s also put on a significant amount of weight (currently 722 pounds), and is becoming a picky eater, refusing fats and biscuits and choosing mostly meats.

Because of habitat loss, polar bears are classified as a threatened species. According to the IUCN, a Polar Bear Specialist Group, of the 19 subpopulations of polar bears: 8 are declining, 3 are stable, and only 1 is increasing. By learning about polar bears in zoological settings, conservationists can do more to help protect them in the wild.

“Figuring out which component of the samples Elvis recognizes in the pregnant bears may allow us to work backwards and finally identify the polar bear pregnancy factor, once and for all,” said Dr. Curry.  “In addition, we are considering how sniffer dogs can continue to be trained and work in both the wild and captivity to help save some of the world’s most endangered animals.”


Thursday, November 28, 2013

On this Thanksgiving, showing love to my friends

Over the last year and a half, I've made some awesome friends through blogging. So I thought Thanksgiving would be a great time to show them some love. Please check out their blog, and comment below and tell me what your favorite blog is. I am just sorry I can only post some of them.

My Sentiments Exactlee: I always considered blogging, but Lee was the one who actually nudged me in the right direction. She blogs reviews, giveaways, entertainment, that sort of thing. She's been a great friend and mentor.

Then, there are my pet blogging friends!

Carma Poodale and Bunny Allen: I met Carma and Bunny through #Petchat on Twitter and BlogPaws. It's been great meeting her at conferences and chatting with her almost daily. She's become a great help with writing about shelters, which is what she knows about. She works with the Owensboro Humane Society in Kentucky. And Carma is Bunny's service dog.

Pepper Pom and Angel: Another #Petchat alum! Pepper is Angel's service dog, and the two make a great pair. They're also fellow Floridians. Angel and Pepper are the authority on pet products -- want to know what a product is like, they review it. They've been really helpful in teaching me about products, product reviews, talking to PR groups, service dogs and more. 

Emmy and Carol Bryant (Courtesy of Emmy)
Emmy Scammahorn of Emmy Sits: Emmy is a great friend. She's very funny, and fun to be with. I enjoy talking to her on #Petchat. She always has great advice because she's cared for so many animals, plus she can see things from the small animal perspective as an avowed hamster lover.

Edna at Nutro: Edna and I got to be good friends through #Petchat, but she is also like my personal Nutro dog food representative. When I first started, it was Edna and Renee from Nutro who were there for me and gave me advice on how to freed Lulu well. Edna has a blog called Mancat Musings about her two men -- Troyer and Panky, two very handsome black kitties.

Carol Bryant and Dexter: On top of being BlogPaws' PR person, she also runs a blog called Fidose of Reality. I want to be Carol when I grow up. The idea of blogging and writing and traveling with my pets is a dream I want to make a reality. Carol is always happy to share her experiences.

Here's some more -- Rebecca and Garth of The World According to Garth Riley, Deanna and Kona who run K9 Carryall, Theresa O'Connell of A Coonhound's Tales, Diane and Rocco of To Dog with Love, Rosalyn and Sugar the Golden Retriever, Gina and Oz of Oz the Terrier, Adam of Singing Dogs, Sarah Allen and of course -- my Mom.



And there's Lisa the Pet Blog Lady and the Blog Paws team (Tom, Yvonne, Chloe, Felissa), and Rebecca and Rebecca from Pet360.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Thankful for Lulu the beagle

Monday was Lulu's Gotcha Day. My parents adopted her on Nov. 25, 2009 from SPCA of Central Florida in Orlando. She was only six months old.

She became mine after my apartment was broken into on Dec. 30, 2011, as my frequent readers may remember.

She led to this blog, because I wanted to document my journey as a first-time dog owner. I was tweeting all the funny stuff she did, and people enjoyed it, so I decided to blog about it.

Here was Lulu Sunday, when we had an early Gotcha Day breakfast at Peach Valley Cafe in Orlando.

She has less black on her head now and a lot more white. But she's still my friend and my protector. And she still makes me smile.

Happy Gotcha Day, Lulu!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Living with diabetes: Canine diabetes: Can you prevent it?

All this month we've been talking about diabetes in dogs and cats. You can see all those stories in our special section.

On Saturday we talked about preventing diabetes in cats. But that seems to be a bit easier, since diabetes in cats can be caused by obesity. Keep your cat slim, greatly reducse the chance of getting diabetes.

But can you do that with dogs?

Remember that no disease is 100 percent preventable, and some dogs have a higher risk than others to diabetes.
  1. Miniature schnauzers
  2. Toy and miniature poodles
  3. Samoyeds
  4. Pugs
  5. Keeshond
  6. Puli
  7. Miniature Pinscher
  8. Cairn terrier
  9. Poodle (no specification)
  10. Dachshund
  11. Beagle
That's the first thing you want to consider when trying to lower your pet's risk.

PANCREATITIS

The pancreas, like the human pancreas, has two important functions -- produces insulin, which breaks down sugar in the blood, and produces digestive enzymes.

Pancreatitis is when the pancreas is inflamed, forcing those digestive enzymes into the stomach, where it starts to break down fat and tissue.

"Pancreatitis, especially chronic pancreatitis, can cause enough damage to the pancreas (including the beta cells responsible for secreting insulin) to be a cause of diabetes," said Dr. Lorie Huston, a veterinarian and one of the experts who has helped with this series.

So how can you prevent pancreatitis (and again, not 100 percent preventable)? Here's what PetMD.com said:
  • A reduction in the dog's weight (if it is overweight), and proper on-going weight management
  • Avoidance of high-fat diets
  • Keeping your dog as close to its ideal weight as possible
  • Avoidance of drugs that may increase inflammation
In other words, keep your pet from becoming obese. OBESITY (an indirect link to diabetes).

And FYI -- pancreatitis becomes a concern around the holidays. There's lots of rich food around, and everyone is offering your dog food, or your dog is sneaking food, or you have special treats for your dog, etc. So watch what your dog is getting for Thanksgiving this week.

MEDICATION-INDUCED

Last week we met Loki the rottweiler. Loki's diabetes was induce due to long-term use of prednisone.

Prednisone is a glucocorticoid.

"Another important point is that there are certain drugs, like glucocorticoids, that can also predispose an animal (dog or cat) to diabetes," Dr. Huston said. "That’s why the long-term administration of these drugs is not generally recommended unless absolutely necessary medically."

PERIODONTAL DISEASE

Remember before how we said that keeping the teeth in good shape was important? It's important in preventing diabetes too.

Studies right now show that people with periodontal disease (inflammation and/or infections in the gums) are more likely to develop diabetes. The research right now shows that periodontal diseases release cytokines, a toxin that can damage the pancreas. The diseases can also disturb the regulation of glucose in the blood stream, which can eventually cause diabetes.

So, what is the bottom line? The best thing to do is to try to keep your dog healthy.

  1. Avoid pancreatitis by feeding your dog a proper diet and getting them plenty of exercise.
  2. Try to avoid prolonged exposure to certain drugs.
  3. Keep the teeth healthy to avoid gum diseases. 
If you do this, and get your dog regular check-ups, you have a better chance of keeping diabetes at bay.
POSTS

Nudges -- USA made jerky for USA dogs *SPONSORED*

I rarely if ever give Lulu jerky treats because I normally just feel it's the safest thing to do. With all these recalls, how can you know that the product is safe? Especially since a lot of these companies are getting ingredients from China.


So when I was offered the chance to review Nudges treats, I was wary, but intrigued.

Nudges is manufactured by Tyson Pet Products, division of Tyson Foods (the chicken people). They also make True Chews and Top Chews. They also make beef bully sticks and pork ears.

Tyson uses American grown chicken, and produces the treats in a plant in Independence, Iowa. So they are Made in the USA dog treats. They just recently began expanding that plant, according to an Iowa TV station. Interesting story, Tyson closed that plant in 2006, but reopened it to begin making pet treats (proof of the growing power of the pet industry).

Anyway, Nudges sent me an Lulu a package of their Vitamin Essentials chicken jerky treats. The ingredients include a number of vitamins, but no fillers.

But the ingredients are approved by the FDA and by AAFCO (which monitors pet food).

Lulu, of course, loved them.

A lot. She tried to rip the bag open and wouldn't sit for a picture with the unopened bag.


And she certainly enjoyed them.

One thing they also have on their website is a feeding chart, so you know how much to give your dog depending on their size. For instance, Lulu gets up to three.

So, how can you get some?

Nudges are sold at Walmart and at Kroger, and a few other stores. The website has a store locator.

You can also get a dollar off coupon by going to the Nudges Facebook page and liking it. You can also talk to Nudges on Twitter with @NudgesDogTreats.

DISCLAIMER: "I have written this post on behalf of BlogPaws Pet Blogger Network  for Nudges . I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Nudges Wholesome Dog Treats , but we only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers."

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Caturday: Best ways to prevent feline diabetes

 Hello, humans -- Galadriel here, taking over the beast's blog.

The servant has been talking to you about diabetes all month. Today, we get to talk about the only diabetes that really matters (to me): feline diabetes.


I interviewed Dr. Anna Coffin, a veterinarian with an office in Guthrie, OK, about feline diabetes.


1) Welcome Doctor Human. The servant says you know about cats and diabetes. I'll
be the judge of how much you know about cats. How many do you have? And do you
care for their every whim?

Hello and nice to meet you Galadriel! I currently have one cat or should I say one cat owns me. Her name is Sylvie and she is very spoiled. She loves attention and gets lots of loving care.

2) Why should I worry about diabetes?
The symptoms of diabetes will cause you to be extremely thirsty and make you pee more than normal. If you are diagnosed with diabetes you will have to get poked by a needle twice daily every day with insulin. It can be difficult to regulate cats and this requires frequent trips to the veterinarian for more pokes with needles to test your blood sugar.

 
3) The servant says I could stand to lose some weight. Will that keep me from
getting diabetes? If not, what's the point then?

Overweight cats are three times more likely to get diabetes! So a weight loss program of diet and exercise would help decrease your chances of getting this horrible disease. Not only that but overweight pets tend to have a shorter life span so if you lose weight you can have a chance at conquering the universe.

4) I don't know WHAT you are talking about. I have no interest in being a feline overlord. AHEM.

I eat some wet food and then some dry food. Is that good for me?
Yes, a combination of dry and wet food is good for you. Canned food has increased water content which is also beneficial for your urinary health. I recommend diabetic cats eat a prescription canned food as the canned food is lower in carbohydrate than the dry which helps control diabetes.

5) I enjoy eating! I get upset when the servant doesn't keep my plate full! I
should be able to eat when I want.

Don’t we all! Self-control and patience builds good character.

6) I like to play with laser lights, and sometimes a ball on a string. How much
should I play? Is it important?

That’s great that you like to play. It’s great exercise which will help with weight loss. Cat’s in the wild typically hunt and kill 9 small prey a day. It’s best to try and mimic this life style to prevent behavioral and medical problems.

7) Do you see many diabetic cats?
Yes, I have several that I am treating right now. I have been practicing veterinary medicine for about 20 years and it seems that I am diagnosing this more frequently in dogs and cats.

8) What happens if I do get diabetes?
It is treatable but requires a serious commitment from your master, ops I mean servant, and your veterinarian. They will have to work together to get you regulated. Cats with diabetes can live a fairly normal lifestyle.


9) Sounds so unpleasant. What else can I do to keep from getting diabetes?
You’re pretty smart! It is unpleasant. For cats, weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight is probably the most important factor in preventing diabetes. Just like your servant, pets can have genetic tendencies toward these diseases so if it’s in your family’s history you are more at risk.

10) Dr. Human, you've been most helpful. Thank you. Anything else you want to
add?

You’re very welcome and thank you for helping to spread the word about diabetes and prevention. Keep up the good work. For more information about pet healthcare you can visit my blog at http://guthriepet.net/AskDrAnna/ and feel free to ask questions or add some comments as you seem highly intelligent.

The servant wants to make sure you know that Monday will include an episode on preventing diabetes in beasts (dogs). Or at least trying to.

I hope this series has been helpful to you. Don't forget to sign up for our giveaway. The water fountain is quite nice (when it's not on), and the giftcard from Petco can lead to lots of yummy food.

POSTS


Friday, November 22, 2013

Living with diabetes: Meet Loki the rottweiler

All this month we are taking a closer look at canine and feline diabetes. Check all my stories here.

Earlier this month we introduced you to KC, the cairn terrier who lives with diabetes.

This is Loki the rottweiler.

Janet Ruda Archer is Loki's mom. Here's what she said about living with Loki and canine diabetes.

1) What kind of pet do you have? Dog, Rottweiler.

2) Name, age, sex... Loki, 7 years old male, neutered.

3) How old were they when they got diabetes? 6 (been diabetic for 14 months.)

4) How early were they diagnosed? Very early. Within 3 weeks, got diabetes from prednisone induced.

5) Are they insulin dependent? Yes Humulin N.

6) What do you feed your pet? Used to be on Annamaet option 24 dry with evangers canned beef. Now consulting a nutritionist at Univ of Penn for a one cooked recipe specifically tailored to him and his multiple ailments. He currently is on boiled hamburger, brown rice, green beans and pumpkin twice daily plus supplements.

7) Walk me through a typical day with your pet. Wake up 6am, ear pick for blood to test glucose. Feed. medicate, walk. Repeat all in 12 hours.

8) Are there any special things you've bought your pet (besides insulin) to help them live with diabetes? Alpha Trak glucometer specially designed for pets. Human meters are NOT accurate. we calibrated against the vets and found two brands that were way off. Syringes, lancets and test strips. Diabetes is a very expensive disease to keep regulated. Also purchase ketodiastix to check for ketones in the urine.

9) Do you have anything in particular you have to be mindful of? Too much exercise can create a low and hence a Hypoglycemic seizure. Weather changes affect glucose. Monitoring intake of water to see if any changes. Too many high numbers cause cataracts to form faster. Any change in food or treats through out a day changes your numbers. Everything can affect the glucose level.

Most important is the meds must be 12 hours apart. You do not want insulin overlapping itself. Using the correct syringes to the insulin. We use the U-100 insulin and the syringes must be for that. Insulin is only good for 30 days once opened, you must throw out any unused insulin or it may result in inaccurate numbers. Some people push that, I do not.

Unopened insulin must be stored in the refrigerator. Open Humulin N can sit out once opened. (Away from direct light and extreme heat) you also can never shake insulin, it must be rolled gently to mix.

10) Anything else you'd like to add? Pancreatitis is very common in diabetics and you must watch fats. And fat content on their food. The most important thing for new owners is that diabetics eat, not what they eat until they get regular.

Thank you, Janet, for sharing your story with us.

Just a week left in National Pet Diabetes Awareness Month. We'll be talking about the most important thing of all -- prevention, next week.

And on Saturday we'll talk feline diabetes.

POSTS


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Demanding a rub

"Hey Mom, this tummy won't rub itself."

Does your dog like tummy rubs, or do they prefer a back rub?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Be the change: Help for pets in the Philippines

Skipping Beagle of the Week this week to ask for help for those affected in the Philippines.


First a quick update on Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Yolanda).

This infographic is from the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:


The storm was clearly devastating. International efforts are being coordinated to help bring relief.

And groups are on their way to the Philippines to help the animals as well.

That's where you come in. World Vets is looking for donations as it tries to help the animals hurt or displaced by the storm.

Dr. Jessica Voglesang from the website Pawcurious is helping with the efforts. Read what she said:
If you’re wondering why the media hasn’t been more active covering the story than they have been, it’s because everyone is still trying to get there. It is BAD. Bad, bad, awful, nightmarish. My heart goes out to those many souls and I will, as always, make a donation to the Red Cross to help the human victims.

The plight of the animals, domestic and wildlife, will almost certainly be overshadowed by the massive human suffering, but make no mistake, they are in dire need as well and even less likely to get it. I view animal welfare in a disaster as one more necessary component of disaster relief, not something to do later or when all the other needs are met, but in conjunction with other efforts. This is why there are veterinarians and animal welfare organizations who are trained for these sorts of situations. As always, World Vets has stepped up to help our friends across the world. After speaking with our contacts in the Philippines, World Vets is sending a team with requested immediate supplies and is on their way now. Once they have arrive, World Vets has committed to continuing support as the needs evolve. This will not be a short-term mission.
 This gives you a better idea of what your donation will go to:


I've added a link to donate on my blog on the right. Please consider helping.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Canine diabetes and obesity: Not connected, but still a danger

All this month we are observing National Pet Diabetes Awareness Month. We are examining different aspects of the disease in both cats and dogs. See our stories so far, and enter our giveaway.

As the experts we've talked to have said before, obesity so far does not have a direct link to canine diabetes. In cats there is a direct link, but not in dogs.

However, that doesn't mean that poor diet and lack of exercise can't be a problem for dogs, especially once they get diabetes.

So to talk about obesity, I've enlisted the help of Steve Pelletier, founder of Slim Doggy. He's an expert in the field of pet obesity, and how to whip your pup into shape. He graciously wrote this guest post for us.




Canine Obesity:  We are killing our dogs and paying a lot of money to do so.

Yes, you read that headline right.  Having a fat pet is costly:
  •  To the dog’s lifespan: lean dogs will live on average almost two years longer than their fat littermates.  They will also have a more active and higher quality of life.
  • To the owner’s wallet: owners of fat pets are spending a lot of money that they might otherwise not spend if their pet was fit and slim.  In the U.S. alone, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, there are about 37 million overweight dogs.  We estimate that the owners of these overweight dogs are spending somewhere near $8 billion dollars each year, on extra food, medical care, and medicines, all because they have fat pets.

A Human Problem

Pet obesity is actually a human problem, not a pet problem.  Most dogs (and cats) that I know do not have opposable thumbs to open the fridge and serve themselves.  Nor do they go shopping for their own food.  It is the human who controls the quantity and quality of their food.  We are the stewards of our pet’s health and heretofore, we are failing them.

Obesity is arguably the biggest health threat to our pets, yet, it is entirely, and easily preventable in most cases.   There are many health related problems that are a direct result from your dog being fat including:
  • Shorter life
  • Arthritis and other orthopedic problems
  • High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer
That is a scary list, and I don’t know a single pet owner who would feel good about themselves if they were to unwittingly facilitate the development of such conditions by letting their pet become overweight.

Canine Obesity and Diabetes Linkage

You might notice that diabetes was not on the list of health problems related to having an overweight dog.  Unlike with cats, who are prone to type II diabetes, there is no evidence that supports the notion that type II diabetes occurs in dogs or that obesity is a risk factor to this disease[1].   

For some background, diabetes is classified as either type I, caused by an inability for the body to produce insulin, or type II, impaired insulin production along with an inadequate response to the insulin hormone.  Type II diabetes is directly linked to obesity in both humans and cats (but not dogs) and the treatment protocol centers around weight reduction.  Read our recent article “Exercise and Canine Diabetes” for more information on canine diabetes and suggestions on how to properly feed and exercise a dog with diabetes.

Despite the fact that there is no linkage between canine diabetes and obesity, it is still very important to keep your pet fit and slim, for all of the reasons listed above.    Below are some of our top tips to help you keep your pet at a healthy weight.

Courtesy Robin Zebrowski via Flickr Creative Commons
 5 Tips to Help Keep Your Dog Fit and Slim 
1.       Provide proper exercise for your dog.  Dogs need exercise!  They thrive on it.  Putting your dog out in the back yard does not count either.  They need 30 minutes or more each day of vigorous exercise depending on their age, breed, and medical history.  They will feel and look better.  So will you!  And don’t let excuses get in the way.  Winter weather?  No problem.  Use a dog treadmill, try alternative exercise like core and balance training using balance cushions and wobble boards, or simply bundle up and get outside.
2.       Determine your dog’s daily calorie requirement to achieve or maintain their ideal weight.  Most people have no idea how many calories they should be feeding their dog, given their dog’s age, weight, and activity level.   Our SlimdoggyiPhone app was created to supply this information.  Note that the more active your dog is, the more you can feed them.  If you exercise your dog more on the weekends, they can be fed differently than on the weekdays!
3.       Measure, measure and measure.   It is crucial to accurately measure how much you feed to make sure you stay within your dogs daily target range.  Use a measuring cup.  If you are a ‘high-tech’ person, or are not at home for long periods of time, there are actually some pretty amazing technologies and devices being created to help with the measurement problem.  PetNet.io (formerly PintoFeed.com) is one company that is building an intelligent pet feeder that will help people address the overfeeding issue.
4.       Account for treats.  We all love giving or dog’s treats and table scraps and there is nothing wrong with it.  You simply have to account for those calories and adjust your regular feedings accordingly.  It helps to know the calorie content of the dog foods and treats you use—another benefit of using the SlimDoggy app.
5.       Learn to read dog food labels.  Your pet’s overall health is greatly impacted by both “how much” and “what” you feed your dog.  Spend some time examining your dog food labels and learn to spot healthy and unhealthy ingredients.   Use your analysis to buy the best food possible given your budget.  For more tips on how to read a food label, go to slimdoggy.com and search on food.


[1] Canine and Feline Diabetes Mellitus: Nature or Nurture? Jacquie S. Rand2, Linda M. Fleeman,  Heidi A. Farrow,  Delisa J. Appleton, and Rose Lederer, 2004

Thanks Steve.

On Saturday, we will talk about obesity in cats and the link to feline diabetes.

In the meantime, check out our previous stories, and be sure to enter our GIVEAWAY!

POSTS

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Living with diabetes: Products to make it easier for pets and a GIVEAWAY

This giveaway happened in 2013 and is now over. But continue to check out these products that can help pets with diabetes.

All this month we are talking about diabetes awareness for dogs and cats. Check out our previous stories here.

Today we are talking about making it easier to live with diabetes, and be sure to read to the end of the article, because we are hosting a giveaweay!

Diabetes in pets causes a number of side issues. Many are actually very similar to human diabetes. So how can you make these issues easier for pets to live with? Here's a few products to consider.

BLOOD GLUCOSE METERS

A blood glucose meter is number one to help you monitor blood sugar levels in your pets. You can't use the one for humans though, you have to get one for pets.

AlphaTrak is one type of glucose meter on the market.
Dr. Joe Bartges from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine says having in-home sugar levels are very helpful top have.

"There are also interstitial glucose monitors that give very detailed information," Bartges said. "There is a little probe inserted under the skin and the probe measures the sugar in the tissue fluid every few minutes."

WATER

Dehydration can be a problem in diabetic pets, especially if the diabetes is not in control. Dehydration can be dangerous for your pet anyway, but it can affect the gums and the skin, and it can also affect the way the body gets insulin.

Urinary tract infections are another issue. Diabetic pets are far more susceptible.

The best thing is for pets to have lots of fresh water. For that, consider a water fountain which uses a pump to keep the water flowing and aerated.

 
On Friday I reviewed the PetSafe Drinkwell Water Fountain. The fountain is an excellent way to keep fresh water for your pet. Just make sure your cat is willing to drink from the fountain.

Now if your pet is drinking more water, chances are they might pee more. If you have a cat, make sure you have a good absorbent cat litter, and keep the pan as clean as you can. If you have a dog, it might be time to consider giving them a place to go in the house if they need to. Earlier this year I reviewed the reusable, designer pee pads from Spoiled Pup Boutique. It might be a good option.

CUTS, SORES AND DRY SKIN

One problem that is true for both humans and pets is a higher susceptibility toward infections, especially skin problems. Pet parents need to watch their pets for cuts or bites or other things that, if left untreated, could get infected. Fungus can also be a problem.

Suggestions: 

  • Paw balms to keep the pads soft and free from cracks (especially helpful in the winter time).
  • Liquid bandages, blood stopper powder and other products to easily stop pet bleeding.
  • Salves that help with hot spots and sores. I would suggest Dr. Rose's remedies for this. It's all natural, and my friend said it seemed to help with her dogs sores. 

ORAL CARE

Veterinary expert Dr. Lorie Huston said no list would be complete without proper oral care.

"Tooth brushing (with a tooth paste designed for pets, not humans) is the gold standard," Huston said. "Check with your veterinarian before using chewies or other dental treats though."

It's not just about cleaning though, but about getting into the habit of checking your dog's mouth regularly. Pets with diabetes are more susceptible to infections, and if the tartar in the teeth is not taken care of, bacteria in the mouth can lead to infections there and elsewhere.

Never brushed your pets' teeth before? This is something that takes some time for the pet to get used to. you may actually want to start with your finger instead of going right to the tooth brush. Carol Bryant from Fidose of Reality did a great video earlier this year explaining how to get your pet used to get their teeth brushed.

FOOD AND TREATS

Food is probably the most important part of keeping diabetes in check and helping pets live with the disease. But it's not something that any of the vets I talked to were comfortable making suggestions for.

The reasons are simple: every dog or cat is different. And some pets will have different needs to maintain a balance. If the pet is overweight, you may need some special food. Just putting your dog on a grain free diet may not be the answer right away. So you need to check with your vet. They will likely suggest a prescription diet, usually created by Hill's or Purina. Do your homework before you look into those.

With the help of your vet, you may be able to get food specially created for your dog. In Orlando, we have a place called Rick's Dog Deli, which designs dog food based on the pet's needs. See if you have something like that near you.

As for treats, it might be best to stay away, at least at the beginning. There are many companies that are coming out with low calorie treats, like the PetSafe Lickety Stik or the Natural Balance Perfect Bites for cats. But again, check with your vet.

When it comes to food, Dr. Huston also suggests getting something else.

"An automatic feeder that can be programmed to dispense a given quantity of food at a given time," Huston said. "A low tech version, still very acceptable, is a measuring cup used to make sure the same amount of food is delivered each day. Feedings should be given at the same time each day as well, which is why an automatic feeder might make life easier for busy owners who can’t always be at home at the same time each day."

POSTS
AND NOW --Time for a GIVEAWAY!

We are giving away two prizes:
  • A PetSafe Drinkwell Avalon water fountain ( white in color, value at $90 -- Thanks to PetSafe for providing the fountain)
  • A $25 Petco Gift Card (Thanks to Petco for providing the card)
To enter, all you have to do is comment below on what your do to keep your pet healthy. PLUS, enter the Rafflecopter below.

The giveaway closes on Dec. 1.

a Rafflecopter giveaway