Dog Health

Madison County - August Spay/Neuter and Vet Clinics

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Friends of Madison County Animals (https://www.fomca.org) makes low-cost spay/neuter and veterinary services available to Madison County residents each month. These are the August dates for FOMCA services:

Low Cost Spay/Neuter

Wed., Aug. 14 and Wed., Aug. 28
6:30 - 8 AM drop off
Call 828-649-9798 or visit https://www.fomca.org for cost and instructions.

French Broad Vet Clinic

Fri., Aug. 9 and Fri., Aug. 23
2 - 5 PM at the FOMCA Office in Marshall
Call 828-412-1181 for more information.
Walk-ins are welcome.


Is CBD Good for Dogs?

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 2.03.37 PMAs a dog owner, you likely have your ears to the ground for the latest and greatest ways to treat your dog, from actual treats and food to enrichment toys and doggie daycare. If your dog’s health suffers at all, however, you may be looking for more serious options to improve their quality of life and wellbeing.

One such option is CBD. Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a cannabis compound that provides health benefits without the high of marijuana. Many dog owners are increasingly turning to CBD to treat a variety of canine conditions, from anxiety to arthritis.

CBD is legal in all 50 states and it is becoming widely available in Western North Carolina, but the research around its effects on dogs is still developing. However, a growing number of veterinarians are recommending it to their clients. While the research is not yet definitive, many believe CBD offers several therapeutic benefits to dogs.

The CBD Awareness Project has created a comprehensive guide that will help you evaluate CBD for dogs. You'll find it here: https://www.cbdoil.org/cbd-oil-for-dogs/


Alert: Is Your Dog Food Linked to Canine Heart Disease?

Urgent alertThe latest scare regarding dog food concerns products that most dog owners think of as healthier: grain-free dog food.

A current investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is studying the effect of grain-free dog food on a condition called Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). According to the FDA:

"In July 2018, the FDA announced that it had begun investigating reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods, many labeled as "grain-free," which contained a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds (pulses), and/or potatoes in various forms (whole, flour, protein, etc.) as main ingredients (listed within the first 10 ingredients in the ingredient list, before vitamins and minerals). Many of these case reports included breeds of dogs not previously known to have a genetic predisposition to the disease. The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), a collaboration of government and veterinary diagnostic laboratories, continue to investigate this potential association. Based on the data collected and analyzed thus far, the agency believes that the potential association between diet and DCM in dogs is a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors.

"We understand the concern that pet owners have about these reports: the illnesses can be severe, even fatal, and many cases report eating “grain-free” labeled pet food. The FDA is using a range of science-based investigative tools as it strives to learn more about this emergence of DCM and its potential link to certain diets or ingredients."

Certain brands of grain-free dog food seem to be more suspect than others. There is a lot more information about this from the FDA here: https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy


Arthritis in Dogs

Guest Post by Alex Saunders

Belgian-shepherd-dog-435944_1920Affecting more than 20% of all dogs over one year old, arthritis is the most common joint disease in dogs. Much like in humans, arthritis can make life difficult for your dog. Due to the sometimes unbearable joint pain, you may find that your dog is unable to complete simple tasks such as regular walks.

Types of Arthritis

Dogs are affected by multiple types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common. This is a type of arthritis that affects multiple – or even all – of the joints in the body, and it has multiple causes.

In the case of osteoarthritis, your dog’s joints rubbed together abnormally. This led to the cartilage eventually disappearing, leaving the joints to rub together painfully. This can be worsened if your dog has experienced an injury in his lifetime, especially to one of the limbs. You may also find that arthritis is just another part of aging in your dog.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of arthritis in dogs are very similar to those in humans. Due to the stiffness and pain, your dog will be more reluctant to engage in physical activity such as walking, going up stairs, and playing. Colder weather, dampness, and long periods of stillness will worsen the associated pain and stiffness.

Since your dog won’t be able to get around as easily anymore, you’ll find them sleeping more often and just experiencing general lethargy. This can also lead to weight gain and irritability, especially when touched. In extremely severe cases, your dog may begin to have accidents around the house since he will be unable to make it outside every time. If your dog is displaying any of the signs, it’s important to speak to your veterinarian about getting an x-ray for a possible diagnosis.

Treatment

While curing arthritis isn’t possible, there are many things you can do to treat the associated signs and symptoms to help your dog enjoy life to the fullest.

Natural

Orthopedic Dog Bed

Sometimes, all your dog needs to feel better is a new bed. Most of the time, dogs sleep on the floor, furniture, or just a regular dog bed. This can put strain on the joints and pressure points, worsening the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. Thankfully, there are dozens of options at a variety of prices so that you can pick the absolute best orthopedic dog bed for your arthritic dog. These beds, unlike regular dog beds, are made out of special memory foam designed to support your dog perfectly. After a few nights of good rest on one of these beds, you may find that your dog is feeling better and even greeting you at the door again.

Acupuncture

Needles may seem like a painful option, but the ancient technique of acupuncture has surprising benefits. It can cause the body to completely relax while improving circulation, alleviating your dog’s symptoms of pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms. It can also cause the body to produce an increased amount of certain hormones that can aid in the healing process. While a single appointment won’t be enough to provide relief, multiple, regular appointments will allow your dog to experience lasting effects.

Pharmaceutical

Before considering any type of pharmaceutical treatment, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian. Each medicine, like your dog, is unique, and some pose more risks of side effects than others.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

You may know these as NSAIDs; these are medicines that, like in humans, reduce swelling and joint-related pain and stiffness. However, NSAIDs that are safe for humans aren’t necessarily safe for your dog. Make sure you speak to your veterinarian for a prescription.

Supplements

You may also find that supplements – such as omega-3 oils – can help your dog as well. In some cases, depending on the severity and progression of your dog’s arthritis, your veterinarian may be able to prescribe supplements that will not only help protect the existing cartilage and joints but can even help repair the cartilage. Supplements will also work to reduce swelling, which will, in turn, help with the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. 


Arthritis is one of the most common conditions in dogs, and, with a variety of causes and symptoms, it can be difficult to know exactly where to start when it comes to treatment. Whether you decide to take a natural route or let your veterinarian help you with a pharmaceutical route, you will never completely heal your dog’s arthritis. However, you could find that your dog will eventually return to his old self, and that the pain associated with common tasks will no longer burden your dog, allowing him to continue doing what he loves: spending time with you.

Image: Pixabay.com 

Alex Saunders writes for DoggieApproved.com a website that provides dog owners helpful tips to be a better dog parent. You can read their most recent review of the best orthopedic dog beds for dogs struggling with arthritis.


Caring for a Senior Dog Doesn't Have to be Expensive

Guest Post by Jennifer Scott

Old-dog-3303296_1920As dogs get older, their needs begin to change. They may need special supplies, different food, or new forms of treatment. Most owners accept this as part of pet ownership and continue to love and care for their dogs as they learn to adapt to their aging pet’s new needs.

However, there is no denying that these changes can be worrying, both emotionally and financially. The only thing you can do for the former is to enjoy and cherish the next few years as much as you can. When it comes to finances, however, there are small ways you can ensure you are not overpaying for all the things your older dog needs.

Pet Supplies

As your dog gets older, you may have to buy her new supplies, whether it’s simply a more comfortable bed or a specialized product for senior dogs, such as pet stairs, a lifting harness, or a specially designed rubber toy for aging teeth. You can save money by looking at big box retailers, and be sure to check for online deals like Walmart promo codes and coupons that will cut your costs even more. The more money you save on items like accessories, the more money you will have for bigger costs like healthcare.

Food

It is true that food requirements for older dogs can vary in terms of nutrition, texture, and digestibility, and some dogs will need adjusted diets as they age. For example, dogs that are losing muscle mass may need more protein, and dogs with sensitive teeth need softer foods.

However, a lot of “senior dog food” is the same food sold in different packaging, and often at a higher price. Don’t fall for this — rely on your vet’s advice to make any adjustments. Often, your senior dog can be just as healthy with the food they have been eating all their lives. Just remember to adjust portion sizes if their physical activity has decreased.

Healthcare and Insurance

This is likely to be the biggest cost of having a senior pet. Healthcare for pets always runs the risk of being expensive; according to CNBC, emergency vet bills average between $800 and $1,500. In the case of senior pets, there is an increased chance you will have to pay for ongoing treatment, some of which can quickly become expensive. Cancer treatment, for instance, can cost up to $10,000. You will also have to take your senior dog to the vet more often, which means more money spent on checkups and ailments.

You could start putting aside some money for this, but it may also be wise to invest in pet insurance. Ideally, you will have purchased health insurance for your dog when she was young to take advantage of cheaper premiums. However, if you haven’t, now is the time to consider doing so. Ultimately, it’s a small price to pay for your pet’s health and longevity. The Bark has a detailed guide on pet insurance, including help with understanding caps and deductibles. Consumers Advocate also offers a free pet insurance guide. Many insurers don’t offer policies for dogs above 12, but there are still some good options.

In many ways, caring for a senior pet isn’t much different from caring for a younger one. You still need to give your dog plenty of love, attention, and exercise — you just need to also be mindful of any special needs they have as a result of aging. Stay aware of any potential issues and be proactive about preventing and addressing them, and you and your furry friend will enjoy many more happy years together.

Image: Pixabay.com

Jennifer Scott is a lifelong sufferer of anxiety and depression. She created her website, SpiritFinder.org, as a platform for advocacy on opening up about mental health. Through the site, she hopes to share the types of steps and success stories that can help others realize their own power. When she isn’t working on her website, she enjoys traveling, working with animals, and seeking out new friendships and adventures.


Low Cost Vaccines - Hot Springs, NC, June 15

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 1.36.41 PMA low cost vaccination and microchip clinic will be held on Saturday, June 15 from 10 AM to 12 PM at the Hot Springs Community Center, North Andrews Ave., Hot Springs, NC. 28743 Rabies and other vaccinations will be available, along with microchips.

If you want a 3-year rabies vaccination, please bring proof of current rabies shot. Dogs should be leashed and cats should be crated. The clinic is sponsored by Friends of Madison County Animals. For more information visit their website, www.fomca.org, or call (828) 649-9798.


Do Dogs Suffer from Depression?

Dogs-2195708_1920What do dog owners do if they think their pet might be depressed? Is it even possible for a dog to become depressed? The simple answer is yes, but you need to find out the why behind it and how you can fix it.

Why Do Dogs Suffer from Depression?

Dogs can become depressed, just as easily as their owners. This might shock you considering you are used to your tail-wagging friends jumping and licking on you the second you walk through the door. But what if he isn’t doing that all of the sudden? It may be depression. But why? Of course, if your dog's behavior changes, you need to talk to your vet. For now, here are a few reasons why dogs become depressed:

  • The absolute biggest reason a dog may find himself depressed is the loss of a pet owner or companion. Dogs become incredibly attached to their owner, so not having them anymore can cause separation anxiety and a great deal of trauma on a pet’s mind and behavior. They are also very connected to their companion, and a loss of a companion dog can bring them to a deep level of depression as well.
  • Dogs can also pick up on any grief that their owner is feeling. If you’re struggling with a traumatic event in your life and are grieving because of it, your dog may be able to sense these feelings and also feel them for themselves as well.
  • Moving to a new house can have a lot of impact on a dog that does not like change. This big change and not having his stuff in a usual location can bring on a bout of doggy depression.
  • Bringing a new baby or pet into his situation can also bring on depression in your dog as he begins to receive less and less attention. He will also feel a bit of jealousy over the new baby or other pet as they don’t feel like the prized possession any longer.
  • A big change in the routine of your dog’s life can cause depression, as well as stress and anxiety. Dogs tend to be routine creatures, so switching up his everyday life can be a huge hurdle for your dog to get over.
  • Did something happen to your pal that left him injured? Dogs, like humans, don’t like to be injured or have pain or discomfort from an injury. If your dog has had a recent injury that has left him in pain and hasn’t allowed him to do his normal routine, this can cause depression.

Symptoms of Doggy Depression

The symptoms of depression found in humans are generally the same as in dogs. Some of the symptoms you will notice in a dog that is suffering from depression include:

  • Being withdrawn. Dogs with depression will appear to be withdrawn, not wanting to engage in social or physical activities like they used to.
  • Decrease in energy. All of a sudden, your rambunctious buddy doesn’t want to go for a walk or play, right? It could be due to depression.
  • Change in eating habits. Big eater not eating? You might want to see if he is struggling with depression and has lost his appetite because of it.
  • Change in sleeping habits. Perhaps he is oversleeping obnoxiously or hardly getting any shut-eye. Both are common effects of depression.
  • Anxiety typically goes hand in hand with depression, so this isn’t a big shock.
  • Aggression. A once nice and gentle pup can turn to a more sporadic, howling mess if he is dealing with an ample amount of depression.
  • Excess whining. All dogs will whine here and there, but if you notice a big increase in the amount of whining or he is apparently whining for no reason at all, he may just be dealing with depression.

Treatment for Dog Depression

  1. You need to give your pet extra attention. Much like a human suffering from depression wants to have more love and affection shown to them, so does your dog. Make sure you are not giving into your dog while they are moping or whining, though. When you see them showing any sign of happiness, reward them with love and treats so they know that is the right behavior to show.
  2. Make sure you give your dog enough time for exercise. Without adequate time to play, going for walks, or doing any other special activities they enjoy, they won’t be able to conquer their feelings of depression.
  3. Consider doing some more activities that include other dogs. This might be a special class where dogs meet and greet, going to the dog park to get some exercise and communication, or just hanging out at a specified doggy daycare.
  4. If all else fails, you might want to consider a natural remedy such as CBD oil, which can be found in our FOMO bones. While CBD oil hasn’t been tested greatly, it has shown to reduce anxiety and depression levels in humans as well as dogs. Make sure you only buy dog products containing the right amount of CBD oil to prevent over-consumption.

Image: Pixabay

This post was provided by FOMOBONES, dog treats for anxiety. Visit their website at www.fomobones.com


Should You Buy Pet Insurance?

Hound-437532_1920 (1)Pet insurance - or veterinary health insurance for your cat or dog - is about being prepared for the unexpected. Having a plan with a top-tier company gives you financial protection; in the event you’re faced with an expensive $2,000-6,000 surgery for your pet, a good insurance policy will pay up to 90% of that vet bill.

What questions should you ask? And which companies have the best plans for your pet? These are important questions, but getting good answers can be confusing.

ConsumersAdvocate.org has put together a comprehensive guide to pet insurance providers, how they work, what they cover, and how to choose the right one for your dog. The organization has done over 200 hours of research and evaluated 15 companies. This valuable free guide is a must-read if you are considering pet insurance.

Access the guide here: https://www.consumersadvocate.org/pet-insurance

Image: Pixabay


Low Cost Vaccines - Hendersonville, May 20

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In an effort to make vaccinations accessible and affordable to the animals and residents of Henderson County, Blue Ridge Humane Society offers low cost vaccines the third Monday of every month at the Adoption Center (88 Centipede Lane, Hendersonville, NC).

The next scheduled vaccine clinic is Monday, May 20 from 1 to 5 PM.

To receive vaccinations at a Blue Ridge Humane Society clinic, pet owners must meet ONE of the below required criteria:

Vaccinations are on a first come first served basis. The day of the vaccinations, pet owners must bring with them the following items:

  • Please bring proof of prior vaccinations including a Rabies Certificate (a rabies tag will not count).
  • All animals should be in good health and have not shown previous signs of aggression.
  • All cats should be in carriers and all dogs should be leashed upon arrival.
  • Owner must bring proof of how they meet the required criteria for vaccination at a Blue Ridge Humane Society.
Vaccine Prices
  • Rabies 1 year (Dogs or cats over 3 months) – $10.00
  • Rabies 3 year (Dogs or cats with rabies certificate, a tag will not count as proof of previous vaccination) – $10.00
  • Bordetella  (Dogs over 2 months) – $10.00
  • DA2PPV (Dogs 6 to 12 weeks) – $10.00
  • FVRCP (Cats over 2 months) – $10.00
  • Microchip (Dogs or cats over 2 months) – $15.00

For further information, visit www.blueridgehumanesociety.org

 

When Do You Say Goodbye to Your Dog?

Old-dog-3303296_1920It's a fact of life that humans typically outlive their beloved pets. One of the more heart-wrenching decisions for any dog owner is knowing when to "let go," either because a dog is critically ill or old age is making life difficult if not unbearable.

A very informative article in The New York Times addresses the issue in objective fashion. The writer, Tara Parker-Pope, discusses her dilemma facing an end-of-life scenario with her own dog. She refers to a "decision tool" created by Dr. Alice Villalobos, a California veterinarian who is nationally known in the field of veterinary oncology. The tool includes seven indicators, such as "Hurt," "Hunger," and "Hydration," which a pet owner rates from 0 (very poor) to 10 (best) to determine the assess a pet's condition. Parker-Pope writes, "When pet owners approach end of life this way, they often are surprised at how much they can do to improve a pet’s quality of life... By revisiting the scale frequently, pet owners can better assess the quality of the pet’s hospice care and gauge an animal’s decline."

Dr. Villalobos tells Parker-Pope, "“Natural death, as much as many people wish it would happen, may not be kind and may not be easy and may not be peaceful. Most people would prefer to assure a peaceful passing. You’re just helping the pet separate from the pack just as he would have done in nature.”

You'll find the decision tool, as well as more helpful information, in the article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/19/well/family/pet-dog-cat-death-euthanasia.html?

Image: Pixabay


Expanded Vaccine Clinic Hours - Greenville, SC

Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 3.00.21 PMGreenville Humane Society now offers a walk-in vaccine clinic (no appointments needed) during the following hours:

Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 4 PM
1st Saturday of every month, 9 AM to 12 PM
2nd Thursday of every month, 5:30 to 7 PMhttps://www.greenvillehumane.com/vaccine-clinic/

The clinic is held at the Greenville Humane Society, 305 Airport Road, Greenville, SC. All dogs must be leashed and cats must be in carriers. Visit https://www.greenvillehumane.com/vaccine-clinic/ for more information.

Pricing

Service Price
1-Year Rabies Vaccine $9
3-Year Rabies Vaccine $25
1-Year Canine/Puppy Distemper/Parvo-DHPP $9
3-Year Canine Distemper/Parvo-DHPP $25
Canine Kennel Cough-Bordetella $15
Heartworm Antigen Test (dogs) $25
Feline Distemper Vaccine $9
3-Year Feline Distemper Vaccine $25
Feline Leukemia (FeLV) Vaccine $15
Feline Leukemia/FIV Combo Test $26
Microchipping $15 + tax

Low Cost Vaccination Clinic - Asheville, April 27

AHS Low Cost VaccinationsAsheville Humane Society offers pet owners access to low cost vaccinations, microchips and ID tagging.

Come to a low cost vaccination clinic on Saturday, April 27 from 11 AM to 2 PM at Emma Elementary School, 37 Brickyard Road, Asheville, NC 28806. No appointment is necessary.

Services provided:

Rabies 1 year  |  (Dogs or cats over 3 months)  |  $10.00
Rabies 3 year  |  (Dogs or cats with rabies paper certificate)  |  $10.00  
-Rabies tags are not accepted as proof of rabies vaccination-
Bordetella - Kennel cough  |  (Dogs over 2 months)  |  $15.00
DA2PPV - |  (Dogs 6 to 12 weeks or under 25 lbs)  |  $15.00
DA2PPV + Lepto - |  (Dogs 12 weeks or older and over 25 lbs)  |  $15.00
FVRCP/FELV - Rhinotracheitis, Calici, Panleukopenia and Leukemia  |  (Cats over 2 months)  | $20.00
FVRCP  (Cats over 2 months)  |   $15.00
FELV |  (Cats over 2 months)  |   $15.00
Microchip  |  (Dogs or cats over 2 months)  |  $15.00

Please note: Cash is the only accepted form of payment.


Moving? How to Ease Your Dog into a New Home

Guest Post by Cindy Aldridge

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 11.16.08 AMMaking the transition into a new home comes with many challenges. You might be in a new neighborhood and new city, with a new job, and trying to get your house in order. For anyone, it’s a lot to take in, and it can often become overwhelming.

This change is just as disorienting for your dog. Keep him safe and secure by following a few basic tips for a stress-free transition. The first step toward easing your dog into a new home is keeping him calm leading up to the move. If he’s already disoriented and anxious by the time you get to your new home, it might make things more difficult.

Before the Move

Here are a few things you should do before moving to ease your dog’s transition:

  • Keep his routine. On the days leading up to the move, keep your dog’s feeding and walking times as consistent as possible.
  • Maintain his exercise. Keeping your dog exercised and tired will help reduce stress and subdue anxiety, which can often manifest in a variety of ways.
  • Get his records. Make sure your dog has all his shots and is wearing identification. If he should wander out into the new neighborhood, this will make him easier to find.

In the New Home

Pay attention and monitor your dog’s behavior. A common mistake is to simply let your dog loose in a strange house or yard. Introduce him slowly to the perimeter and walk along with him.

If you think your dog is acting strange or funny, it’s important that you’re aware of it and address it as soon as possible. Some common signs of stress include a loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and incessant barking. Ways to ease your dog into the transition include:

  • Encourage routine. As soon as you move in, establish or continue known routines for your dog. This keeps his life structured and helps with stress.
  • Keep his old toys. Familiar smells help dogs feel safe and secure. Keeping his old blankets and toys gives him a sense of home.
  • Give him attention. According to The Bark magazine, giving your dog lots of love will make him feel comfortable. Also, help your dog adjust to his new home by playing with him throughout the house and yard.
  • Plenty of exercise. Just like playtime, exercise and regular walks will ensure your dog is tired and releases accumulated energy.
  • Walk him in the neighborhood. After you have looked up the specific laws regarding pets in your neighborhood, show him around the neighborhood so that he becomes familiar with smells and sounds of the new place.

When you’re settling in with your dog, it’s also important to address the quality of air inside your new place. After all, clean air helps keep us happy and relaxed, and our pets, as much as we love them, can unintentionally contribute allergens on a regular basis. So, consider trying out an air purifier to reduce the amount of dander and pet hair floating throughout your home. Air purifiers come in all shapes and sizes, so make sure you know which one to purchase by reading through online guides and best-of lists before you make up your mind.

Fence Safety and Tips

Before you leave your dog alone in the new yard, make sure to check for places that might present a danger or allow your dog to escape. According to the Humane Society, dogs commonly escape due to isolation and boredom. This can present a problem in a new environment if your dog is left alone right away.

Robert Frost said, “Good fences make good neighbors.” This especially applies to dogs and dog owners. Installing a new fence may be necessary. You want to consider a fence that is appropriate and safe for your four-legged friend. Assess your dog’s tendencies and consider his ability to jump and dig. The investment is worthwhile if it ensures your dog’s safety and helps him feel comfortable. It might also solve problems of excessive barking and keep your dog safely confined when he’s alone. And while you’re at it, make sure you have an up-to-date ID tag and a reliable GPS tracker in case your pooch does manage to break free from your yard. Having both will help you to find your friend as soon as possible.

Dogs are territorial animals and can be very sensitive to a change of environment. Some extra consideration can go a long way and make the transition smooth and stress-free. In just a few weeks, your dog will be adjusted and back to his old self.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Cindy Aldridge is passionate about dogs and pets and loves sharing her thoughts and insights on being a responsible dog owner. When she isn’t busy writing, she spends all her time with her two fluffy golden retrievers. Check out her website: http://ourdogfriends.org/


10 Fun Activities that Will Keep Your Dog (and You) Healthy

Guest Post by Sadi Khan

Dogs activitiesDogs need exercise and physical activities as much as humans do. It keeps them happy and healthy (both physically and mentally). This is why it is not enough to just take your dog out for a walk. You are missing out on a lot of fun and health benefits if that’s the only thing you do with your dog.

Let’s have a look at some healthy ways to have fun with your dog. 

1. Running

Running has a never-ending list of benefits for you and your dog. It improves cardiovascular health, keeps obesity at bay, improves mood, and boosts mental health. You cannot get the same benefits from walking because running is more intense and uses different muscles. You will also see an improvement in your dog’s behavior because running will help him burn a lot of energy. You can do a short, light paced jog with any breed, but active breeds like terriers or shepherds can run relatively long distances as well.

2. Hiking

Walking or running with your dog in the neighborhood is great but you might get bored after doing it consecutively for a few days. The best way to deal with this monotony is to change the terrain and go hiking. There are some really good options in Western North Carolina and the Upstate, including trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway and in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest. Search the web to find a dog-friendly trail near you. Hiking will be a great experience for dogs who naturally want to explore.

3. Cycling

If you are not much into running, you can ride a bike and use a biking leash to have your dog tag along. It is a great workout for big, strong dogs and they will be less destructive at home. Mountain biking is also an option (without a leash). However, you need to make sure your dog is young and fit enough to take part in this exercise. It can be too exhausting for young puppies, very old, or small dogs to run while you ride a bike. Choose a cool time of the day and do it only for a short period.

4. Go to a dog park

There are great dog parks in Western North Carolina, such as Azalea Park and French Broad Dog Park in Asheville and the Morris Broadband Dog Park in Bill Moore Community Park in Fletcher. You and your dog will enjoy the outdoor time without a leash, and you can just sit and watch your dog play with other dogs. (Always keep an eye out for rough play, however, especially if you are not familiar with the other dogs.) Used appropriately, a dog park can be a great socializing experience for both dogs and their owners.

5. Play hide and seek

If you are looking for a fun activity that is less of an exercise and more of a game, then hide and seek is a great option. Initially, your dog will need some training (and treats) but once he gets the hang of it, it can be a lot of fun. It will improve your dog’s mental health, problem-solving, and recall skills.

6. Play fetch

Dogs of all sizes, breeds, and ages already know how to play fetch. As hunting animals, it comes to them naturally. This activity is also a great way to interact and build a bond with a new dog.

7. Dancing

This might come as a surprise but you can actually try dancing with your dog. It is a great cardio exercise if the weather or neighborhood doesn’t allow for running or biking. It will also build flexibility, stamina, and agility in dogs. You can follow tips and tutorials online or join a proper class, especially if you want to take part in some competition.

Don’t be so hard on them though. Not every dog can move it like Pudsey.

8. Events or competitions

You can find a lot of dog-friendly events and competitions, like dog races, disc dog, or dock jumping. You can also participate in one of these dog-friendly races. You will get to meet many dog owners, learn about other dogs, and discover lots of new products. Some of these canine-friendly events are meant for charities, so you will have fun while supporting a good cause. 

9. Swimming

During the summer, you can take your dog for a regular swim. Dogs can get irritated with the summer heat because they do not sweat and cool down like humans. It will take some time before they learn to swim, but once they do, most dogs will enjoy every bit of it. And it will be a great workout.

10. Traveling

Traveling is one of the best ways to break free from a grinding routine and have some fun. Research confirms that leisure traveling can reduce your chances of a heart attack or developing cardiovascular diseases. Traveling with your dog is easier than ever because of all the dog-friendly accommodations available. Your dog can be especially great company if you are traveling alone and you will feel more secure traveling with him.

All these fun activities will help you and your dog live a happy, healthy life. Just make sure you have discussed any regular exercise with your vet before starting.

Image provided by author.

Sadi Khan is a research analyst and fitness blogger at Runrepeat.com. He believes regular exercise is crucial to your own health and the health of your dogs.


Got a Cold? Keep Your Meds Away from Your Dog

Allergy-18656_1920It's cold and flu season, so you may need some medications to relieve your symptoms. But if you're a dog owner, you likely don't think about the fact that cold and flu medications can be harmful to your dog.

The ASPCA Poison Control Center offers some helpful advice about cold medications that can be dangerous to your dog. Included on the list are:

  • Cough drops
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Dextromethorphan
  • NSAIDS
  • Ibuprofen
  • Antibiotics
  • Eye drops

Read this important article if you use any of the above medications: https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/dangers-treatment-options-cold-flu-medications

Image: Pixabay


Monday Vaccination Clinics at Spartanburg Humane Society

Praisaeng-freedigThe Spartanburg Humane Society holds low-cost vaccination clinics every Monday from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The next clinic will be held on Monday, March 4. The location is 150 Dexter Road, Spartanburg, SC 29303.

Rabies vaccinations are $9, Distemper Booster vaccinations are $11, and Bordetella (boarding) vaccinations are $11. The Spartanburg Humane Society also offers permanent microchip identification for a low $15.00 at the vaccination clinic.

Image: Praisaeng, freedigitalphotos.net


Vaccinations at Petco, Asheville, March 2

Praisaeng-freedigVaccinations, including rabies vaccine for as low as $19, will be offered at Petco, 825 Brevard Road, Asheville, NC 28806 on Saturday, March 2 from 10 to 11:30 AM and on Saturday, March 30 from 10 to 11:30 AM.

All types of vaccinations are available, as well as heartworm testing, flea, tick and heartworm prevention, deworming and microchips.  The "Healthy Dog & Puppy" package includes the following vaccines for $69:

  • Distemper/Parvo Combo
  • Bordetella
  • Lepto (optional)
  • Round/Hook Dewormer.
  • A rabies vaccine can be added to this package for an additional $10.

Vaccines and services re provided by licensed veterinarians with no office visit fee. No appointment is needed. For further information call 877-838-7468.

Image: Praisaeng, freedigitalphotos.net


Low Cost Vaccinations - Greenville, SC, March 2

Screen Shot 2019-01-28 at 9.28.59 AMNo appointment necessary for monthly Saturday Vaccine Clinic held on the first Saturday of every month at Greenville Humane Society, 305 Airport Road, Greenville, SC. The next clinic will be Saturday, March 2 from 9 AM to 12 PM.

Get all of your animal's shots starting at just $9, with no additional fees. Greenville Humane Society also offers heartworm testing, rabies vaccines, ear cleaning, microchipping and much more. Be sure to also get your pet's flea/tick/heartworm preventative while you're there!

Dogs must be leashed and cats in carriers. For further information, including pricing, visit: https://www.greenvillehumane.com/vaccine-clinic/


Low Cost Vaccinations - Candler, Feb. 23

Praisaeng-freedigOn the last Saturday of every month, veterinarian Dr. James Boatwright offers low-cost vaccinations at Candler Feed & Seed, 1275 Smoky Park Highway, Candler, NC. Vaccinations are administered from noon to 3 PM. Proof of previous rabies vaccine, if any, should be brought along, and cats should be in carriers. The next vaccination clinic will be on Saturday, February 23. For additional details call (828) 553-5792.

Image: Praisaeng, Freedigitalphotos.net