Health & Wellness
When Jill Hourihan isn't feeling up to her usual run, she looks to Alex for motivation. He's not her $100-per-hour personal trainer; he's her dog, a chow/golden retriever mix who doesn't let her forget their regular runs. "I really consider him my running coach," she says. "Once he knows it's time, he won't leave me alone. He'll just keep checking in with me to see when we're ready to go." In addition to the companionship and protection her jogging buddy provides her, Hourihan said Alex gets perks, too. "He went from being a shy, reclusive dog to becoming mayor of our walks - just a friendly, wonderful dog," she says. Hourihan is such a fan, she opened her own dog-running service in the Boston area, Running the Pack, five years ago to help other dogs get in their daily run. For owners looking to bring their pup along for a jog, there are many factors to consider. Here's a guide to get you started. Start at the Vet's Office "It's just like going to your own physician when you begin a new exercise regime," says Dr. Rene A. Carlson, veterinarian and president-elect of the American Veterinary Medical Association. "You need…
What's the best advice to give man about respecting man's best friend? Animal behaviorist John Bradshaw says it's realizing that dogs are neither wolves nor furry humans and that dog owners have certain responsibilities to make sure their dogs are psychologically healthy. Bradshaw, who has spent much of his career debunking bad advice given to dog owners, is the author of a new behavior guidebook called Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet. The book details what pet owners should expect from their dogs and what their dogs should expect in return from their owners. How To Reprimand Your Dog One of the most common problems owners face, says Bradshaw, is knowing what to do when a dog misbehaves. For example, many owners might be inclined to immediately physically reprimand a dog for jumping up on visitors. But Bradshaw says that's the wrong way to teach your pet how to behave because dogs see any form of attention — even negative attention — as a reward. Instead, he says, owners should immediately ignore their pet completely. "Most dogs require their owners' attention [and] they want their owners' attention," he…
Brutus, Duke, Coco, Lola and Jake...sure, they're fairly common pet names, but they're also the names of just a few of the pets that died last year because they were left in cars on warm (and not necessarily hot) days while their owners were shopping, visiting friends or family, or running errands. What's so tragic is that these beloved pets were simply the victims of bad judgment. Want numbers? An independent study showed that the interior temperature of vehicles parked in outside temperatures ranging from 72 to 96° F rose steadily as time increased. And cracking the windows doesn't help. add to that the fact that most pets are not properly restrained while in the car, and you've got some dangerous situations – for people and pets alike. Unrestrained pets can be seriously or fatally injured, or could even hurt you, in a collision or sudden braking situation. In addition, they're a distraction for the driver, which increases the risk of driver errors. According to a 2010 American Automobile Association (AAA) survey, 2 out of 3 owners engage in distracting behaviors (playing with, feeding or petting their dog, or letting their dog sit in their lap) when pets are in…
Exercise is more fun when you have a companion along -- like your dog. Join a live web chat on how to exercise with your pet on Monday, April 25, at 11 a.m. Pacific time (1 p.m. Central, 2 p.m. Eastern). Our chat guest is Jackie Epping, a public health scientist in the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Epping, who has five dogs and a cat, presented her paper "An Exercise Machine with Hair? How Dogs Can Increase Physical Activity" at the American College of Sports Medicine's recent meeting. We asked her if dogs can engage in some of the same endurance sports that humans do, such as running.. "It really depends on the breed and the fitness level of the dog," Epping says. "I know people who run several miles a day with their dog, and their dog does just fine. Some breeds, such as dogs in the working group, tend to need more exercise generally. But the key is to know your particular dog's limitations.. "As with people, it's better to start slowly and work up to longer distances. You need to pay attention to how the…
Sometimes it takes being in the presence of a hero to help others become heroic. Welcome to the home page for the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Foundation’s Chase Away K9 Cancer Website: a portal of hope, healing, action, and promise! Like many worthwhile organizations, the Chase Away K9 Cancer campaign finds its beginnings at the end of a great love and loss. And, like a Phoenix rising from the depths of sorrow, works to provide new hope and promise for many, now and in the future. Chase was a beautiful black Lab, who achieved the designation of AKC Master Hunter, and Elite Jumper status in DockDogs’ Big Air and NW Challenge Championship in 2005. She was a picture of good health and vitality until her “mom,” Cera Reusser, discovered a lump under her chin. It turned out to be nasal carcinoma. Even after the best possible care by a Board-certified veterinary oncologist it was too late to save Chase. She died three months shy of her seventh birthday. But her unfailing devotion to her family and her courage throughout her ordeal earned her the title of hero. Propelled to action by the loss and determined to find a…
Here is an introduction to some great things people do with their dogs. Most activities welcome all dogs, whether purebred or of mixed breed heritage. Some of these activities are classed as "working dog" activities, but are also done on a recreational basis, or as a public service. Some dog activities are purely recreational in nature, while others are competitive dog sports. Many of these activities may be new to you. I have chosen my links based upon how welcoming they are to the merely curious. People who play with their dog, stay with their dog. Why do dog activities matter? Why promote them? Dog activities matter because they help dogs keep their homes. When people and dogs do things together it is good news all around. Many of these activities provide the structure that helps people learn to better communicate with their dogs. The dogs have a better opportunity to learn good manners. That makes them easier to live with and less likely to be given up. The activities help people get in touch with one another to share information. That also helps people to learn about dogs, to avoid problems, and to solve them in a healthy way.…
Arthritis and chronic pain are not purely human conditions. Dogs and cats feel pain too and arthritis causes long term pain that can affect your their behavior and activity level. Modern veterinary diagnostics and therapies can offer some hope. Pain has many causes. When it happens to your pet friends, it's especially sad. It generates almost the same emotions in us as when our children hurt. Arthritis is even more common in dogs than it is in people. One out of every six people, or about 43 million, suffers with some form of arthritis. Compare that to dogs where about 20%, or one in five dogs, feel the pain of arthritis. This number almost doubles in dogs older than 7 years. This occurs as both people and dogs and cats grow older. The joints don't function as smoothly and lose some of their ability to lubricate joint movement as time passes. Often a pet owner overlooks this pain as simply "the pet is getting older". In fact, some veterinarians believe that over half of all dogs and cats with painful arthritis are going untreated because their owners don't recognize the subtle and insidious symptoms of joint pain. Chronic pain can…
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 43% of all dogs and 53% of all cats are classified as overweight. What’s worse is that an additional 10% of all dogs and 19% of all cats are considered obese! Therefore, more than half of our dogs and cats are overweight or obese. So, should your pet start an Atkins Diet? Ramsey is a “cheese-aholic”. At 6 years old and 156 lbs, this Bull Mastiff listens for his owner to unwrap the cellophane from a cheese slice and then makes a beeline for the refrigerator. Joyce Sternberg, Ramsey’s owner, says originally cheese was an incentive to teach Ramsey to shut the back door. As a result, Ramsey had become so heavy he actually tried to avoid walks. Dislike for exercise is a common theme for overweight pets. Irene Snow was chided by her veterinarian for allowing her Malamute mix, Yogi Bear, to balloon up to 127 pounds. An overweight pet is more prone to heart problems, poor skin condition, lameness, and more serious illnesses, like diabetes. A ground-breaking study actually details how pets who free feed live an average of two years less than pets with limited calories. Without realizing…
Pets are living longer thanks to advances in veterinary care, diagnostics, and earlier intervention. But the key to enjoying our "senior" pets lies not only in extending their life span, but in helping them enjoy their later years to the fullest. Like people, dogs and cats are prone to debilitating ailments as they age. Kidney failure, heart disease, arthritis, dental disease, cancer, and cognitive dysfunction can occur during the normal aging process. In the past, because many diseases weren't diagnosed until advanced stages, veterinarians could do little more than make a pet's golden years a little more comfortable by treating the symptoms of age-related illness. If the pet was lucky, the problems would progress slowly. Most pet owners just accepted the fact that their four-legged friends were just going to live a relatively short life, get old, and pass on. But thanks to technical advancements in modern veterinary medicine, surgery, diagnostics and nutrition, not only do pets live longer but their quality of life has increased dramatically as well. One example follows human medicine in the development and use of the new generation of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs help the aches and pains of many senior pets while keeping…

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Laura M. Perez, DVM, CVA, CCRT
PO Box 125
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Phone: (518) 222-4275
Fax: (518) 282-6026
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