We’ve long known that obesity is one of the biggest threats to our health. Unfortunately, this problem is no longer limited to humans – pets are also suffering the effects of being overweight or obese. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese.
The Pet Experts care deeply about all pets, and we believe that owner education is the key to correcting and preventing pet obesity. Let’s start by tackling the top 5 pet weight myths!
5 Pet Weight Myths
Being overweight can shorten your pet’s lifespan and puts them at risk for conditions such as heart disease, osteoarthritis, certain cancers, urinary bladder stones, and more. Pet weight myths don’t help anyone, and making sure owners have the information they need to keep their pets healthy is our top priority.
I don’t have time to exercise my pet. Exercise doesn’t have to take up a lot of time, and it’s critically important to your pet’s health and happiness. Take a few moments to look at your daily schedule, and get your whole family involved to make a commitment to exercising your pet. Fun ideas for exercise include:
A quick game of fetch, tug-of-war, or hide-and-seek
Use a string, feather toy, or ping pong ball to entice your cat to play
Place a cat tree or cardboard boxes around the house to encourage climbing and exploring
My pet is “naturally chubby.” In the wild, animals aren’t chubby, and yours shouldn’t be either. Obesity in pets is an entirely preventable disease. Take a few moments to assess whether your pet might be obese or overweight:
You should be able to feel all of your pet’s ribs without a thick layer of fat covering them.
When viewed from above, your pet should have a “waist” – shoulders should be wider than the abdomen.
When viewed from the side, your pet’s belly should not droop excessively or hang low to the ground.
Spaying/neutering causes weight gain. Dogs and cats don’t gain weight simply as a result of being sterilized. Eating too much and moving too little is the cause of weight gain in pets, just as it is in humans. Having your pet spayed or neutered is an important part of responsible pet ownership, and it can reduce or eliminate certain health and behavioral problems down the road.
My pet should have access to food at all times. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While some pets are “nibblers” who tend to take little bites of food here and there, most will scarf down whatever you put in front of them. Without portion control, this can quickly lead to excess weight gain. We can help you figure out the right amount of food to feed your pet each day.
Pets need the same amount of calories regardless of age. As pets age, their caloric and nutrient needs change. Older animals tend to have slower metabolisms and may be less active than their younger counterparts, but they still need a diet that’s rich in protein and micronutrients. Your veterinarian can help you determine the right type of food and portions to feed your older pet.
If you’re concerned about your pet’s weight, please give us a call. Your veterinarian is happy to provide a nutritional assessment and will work closely with you to develop a diet and exercise plan that meets that needs of both you and your pet.
You know your pet benefits from regular wellness exams, up-to-date vaccinations, and year-round parasite protection, but many pet parents don’t realize that pet dental care is just as important. Professional dental exams and cleanings can be costly, and it’s easy to think they just aren’t worth the money. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
February is Pet Dental Health Month, and The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital want to make sure our readers know how important (and cost effective) it can be to invest in your pet’s dental health.
Why Pet Dental Care is so Important
Dental disease is one of the most common conditions diagnosed in pets over the age of three. Just like in humans, pet dental disease develops when plaque and tartar build up, causing inflammation in the gum tissue, tooth discoloration, pain, and infection.
Bacteria from an infected mouth can also find its way into the bloodstream, where it can cause widespread damage throughout the body. Pets with untreated dental disease can lose anywhere from 1-3 years off their total lifespan – a significant percentage of a pet’s life. Caring for your pet’s oral hygiene with daily toothbrushing and regular dental care can help keep your pet from becoming another bad statistic.
Invest in Your Pet’s Future
Professional dental exams and cleanings require anesthesia. This allows us to examine your pet’s entire mouth, probe each tooth, perform digital x-rays, and thoroughly descale and polish each tooth.
Offset the cost of professional pet dental care with the following tips:
Talk to your veterinarian ahead of time about pricing for various procedures so you won’t be blindsided by the bill.
Although most pet insurance companies don’t cover the cost of routine dental care, some offer a wellness program for an additional fee, which usually includes dental cleanings and exams.
Each month, put money into a savings account to help pay for your pet’s dental and medical care.
Brush your pet’s teeth every day! Preventive home care is the single best defense against dental disease. Plus, not having to pay for costly tooth extractions and other emergency dental care will save you money in the long run.
The Pet Experts are here to help every step of the way as you strive to provide the best oral health care for your pet. We’re always happy to answer questions about at-home and professional pet dental care. Give us a call today, and ensure a bright, pearly white future for your pet!
Take advantage of our current offer as we celebrate Pet Dental Health Month in February with 20% off dental cleanings! Book your appointment now!
As we prepare to close out another fantastic year here at Wheaton Animal Hospital, we want to take a moment to thank you for choosing us as your partners in veterinary care! The Pet Experts are honored to provide you and your furry family member with the very best, and we treasure the relationships we’ve built with our patients and their families.
Pet owner education is important to us, and our regular pet care blogs aim to provide useful, relevant (and sometimes fun!) information to our readers. After reflecting on which topics were most meaningful to you this past year, we’ve put together a list of our most popular blogs of 2018. Enjoy!
Wheaton Animal Hospital’s Top 5 Pet Care Blogs of 2018
#4: Finishing Strong: The Benefits Of Exercising A Senior Pet Pets age faster than humans and begin slowing down between 7 to 10 years old. Because of their age and associated health conditions, it might seem more compassionate to allow/encourage them to lay around the house. After all, they’ve earned their place on the couch, right? However, a sedentary lifestyle not only exacerbates age-related issues, it can also decrease an animal’s quality of life. Let The Pet Experts of Wheaton Animal Hospital review some fun, safe ideas for exercising a senior pet! Read on!
#3: Is Pet Insurance Worth It? The Big Question If your pet was hospitalized with a critical injury tomorrow, could you afford the bill? Many of us consider our pets to be family, and of course – they are! With advancements in veterinary medicine over the past decade, we now have access to advanced medical care for our pets – including cancer treatment, advanced surgical procedures, and critical care that rivals human level medicine.
As we reflect on the past year we spent serving Glen Ellyn pets, we’re met with an enormous sense of satisfaction. We hope you’ll continue to learn from and enjoy our pet care blogs. As always, please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help improve your pet care journey!
If your pet was hospitalized with a critical injury tomorrow, could you afford the bill?
Many of us consider our pets to be family, and of course – they are! With advancements in veterinary medicine over the past decade, we now have access to advanced medical care for our pets – including cancer treatment, advanced surgical procedures, and critical care that rivals human level medicine.
As wonderful as it is to be able to provide this life saving care for our fur friends, it certainly does not come cheap. Canine Journal estimates that the annual cost of pet care is topping $1800 per pet. So it’s no wonder that some families struggle financially with providing the kind of veterinary care they want for their pet.
Enter: pet insurance. Designed to bridge the gap between medical care and cost, pet insurance can offset the financial burden of unexpected injury or illness to our pets. But is the monthly cost worth it? The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital delve into this question, so you can weigh the costs and benefits for yourself.
Pet Insurance 101
Unlike our preventive care plans, which are monthly plans to make wellness care more affordable, pet insurance was designed to help pet owners meet the cost of unexpected injury or illness. There are some pet insurance companies now who also will cover preventive care, such as exams, vaccinations, and dental cleanings. However these policies typically are more expensive on a monthly basis.
Most pet insurance companies expect pet owners to pay for veterinary services up front, and then submit the bills for reimbursement after care is complete. For this reason, many pet owners choose to have a Care Credit account as well, to cover these costs while the insurance company sends you the reimbursement amount.
Unlike in human medical insurance, pet insurance does not require that pet owners choose a specific provider – meaning your pet’s policy will cover visits to any veterinarian your pet needs, including an emergency clinic or specialist.
Comparing Apples to Apples
There are now many pet insurance companies offering coverage, so it’s smart to do a little research before you select one. To pick a plan that works for your financial situation is a personal decision, but if you compare apples to apples you’ll be on the right track.
Monthly costs (premium amounts)
Limits (age, lifetime, per incident)
Exclusions (breed, congenital)
Waiting periods (some policies require time before the policy kicks in)
Add on costs
You may also want to consider customer service and online reviews when selecting the plan that is right for you and your pet.
Many employers are now offering pet insurance plans as a part of their employee benefits package, so check in with your company to see if this is the case for you.
No insurance company covers pre-existing conditions. So it makes sense to sign your pet up as soon as possible, (as a puppy or kitten is ideal) before any pre-existing conditions (that won’t be covered) arise.
Peace of Mind Is Priceless
For some, the peace of mind that a pet insurance policy can provide is simply priceless. Pet insurance could very well save your pet’s life. If your pet has a critical injury, or receives a cancer diagnosis, having a pet insurance policy can allow you to focus on your pet’s medical care, rather than how you will pay for treatment. If you have questions about pet insurance, please contact us. Many of our team members have pet insurance policies for their own pets, and we’re happy to share our experiences with the different companies.
If you’ve ever had an emergency with your beloved pet, you know how comforting it can be to have a knowledgeable and experienced veterinary technician caring for them. When you bring your pet in to see us, you know they are getting the very best in care from our team.
Our veterinary technicians are an integral part of that team. And with October 14-20th, 2018 designated as National Veterinary Technician Appreciation Week, we can think of no better time than now to tout the amazing capabilities and talents of these professionals. This week is dedicated each year to allow managers, veterinarians, and pet owners to thank veterinary technicians for all they do to care for and love our pets.
What Is A Veterinary Technician?
Also called a veterinary nurse, veterinary technicians assist the doctors in caring for animal patients. They possess invaluable skills and expertise in client education, and bring an extra set of senses into the exam room with veterinarians that they work with.
Each state has different requirements for credentialing technicians. In Illinois, there are a number of AVMA accredited schools that provide a certified veterinary technician program. Once schooling is complete, the individual must pass a state board examination before they are designated as a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT).
What Do Veterinary Technicians Do?
Ask any one of our veterinarians. They will tell you that they simply could not do their jobs without their veterinary technicians. These professionals wear many hats, and their jobs vary greatly from day to day. Simply put, their expertise complements the veterinarian’s knowledge, and raises our pet owner’s confidence in the level of care we provide at The Pet Experts.
Providing updates and information to veterinarians regarding patient health
Answering client questions and providing client education
Far from just another set of hands to fetch a vaccine, veterinary technicians use all their senses, knowledge, and experience to help veterinarians deliver exceptional care on a daily basis. They often notice things a veterinarian or pet owner might miss, and keep the flow of the day moving forward.
Veterinary technicians thrive on learning new skills and expertise, and are required to maintain current knowledge of new technologies, medical advancements, and skills. There are also technician specialists just like there are veterinary specialists – in the areas of emergency and critical care, oncology, surgery, and nutrition (to name a few).
Perhaps the single biggest attribute of these amazing and talented veterinary technicians is their love for animals and dedication to animal welfare and well being. Your pets are benefitting from the expertise and experience of not only the veterinarian, but the veterinary technicians assisting them. And that’s a win for everyone!
This October, take a moment to thank your pet’s veterinary technician for all they do. We’re celebrating them, too, and so give us a call at Wheaton Animal Hospital if you have ideas for how to show appreciation to these amazing team members.
The big day is almost here! As 2016 comes to a close, we’ve had a chance to reflect on what an exciting, productive, and rewarding year we’ve had here at Wheaton Animal Hospital, thanks in no small part to our wonderful clients and patients!
As you finalize your December 31st plans, put the finishing touches on that New Year’s resolutions list, and contemplate taking down the holiday decorations, The Pet Experts invite you to enjoy our list of the top 10 blogs that were the most popular among our readers in 2016. Enjoy!
Wheaton Animal Hospital’s Top 10 Blogs Of 2016
Too Hot to Trot? Water Safety Tips for Dogs – Swimming is an international sport, but not all animals enjoy it as a summer pastime. Indeed, your pet may exhibit a general excitement for splashing around, but how do you know when – or if – it’s appropriate to graduate to larger bodies of water? Read More…
Our Favorite DIY Pet Gift Ideas – This includes gifts for our pets. For the artsy pet lover, DIY gifts are both heartfelt and fun to make. To help you get a jumpstart on the season, The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital have compiled some of our favorite homemade pet gift ideas. Read More…
Dog Bite Prevention for Dog Owners – Although we love our canines, dog bites are an unfortunate reality, with an estimated 4.7 million Americans bitten by dogs every year. That’s why awareness events, such as National Dog Bite Prevention Week, focus on the basics of how to avoid a bite. Read More…
Lyme Disease and Dogs: What You Need to Know – Tick season runs from April to October every year in Illinois, and living in an endemic state we need to be conscious of Lyme disease in both people and pets. The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital want to help you understand how to protect your pets and why Lyme disease and dogs just don’t mix. Read More…
Knowledge Is Power: Preventing Pet Poisoning In And Around The Home – March 2016 marks the 54th anniversary of National Poison Awareness Week. Originally intended to educate the public about the dangers of poisonings in people, particularly children, National Poison Awareness Week is the perfect time to remind pet owners everywhere about the dangers of accidental pet poisoning, and what you can do to prevent it. Read More…
The Skinny on Hyperthyroidism in Cats – It is impossible for cat owners to be aware of every ailment and condition that could affect their feline friend. There are a few notable diseases, however, that are common enough that every cat lover should know about. One of these is hyperthyroidism in cats. Read More…
Protecting Your Pet From Ice Melt Toxicity – Ice melt toxicity is a very real concern, not only for those with small children but also people with pets. Ice melt (deicers) are used to melt snow and ice on roads, walkways, driveways, and other areas to prevent accidents. Unfortunately, despite its good intention, ice melt can have dire consequences for pets. Read More…
Preventive care is essential to keep your pet healthy and happy for life, and pet dental care is a big part of that approach. It’s been reported that 85% of dogs and cats have some form of dental disease by the age of 3. But did you know that pet periodontal disease is actually preventable?
It’s important to know there are multiple stages of pet periodontal disease. Without a dental exam, x-rays, and cleaning, there’s no way to know if your pet’s oral health is at risk.
Stages of Pet Periodontal Disease
Below, The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital have outlined the four stages of dental disease and the treatment recommended for each:
Stage 0 — Okay, we know we said four stages of pet periodontal disease, but we think it’s important to know what oral health looks like. In this stage, the teeth are clean and white; the gums are flat against the teeth with healthy pink tissue.
Regular tooth brushing, dental exams, and periodic dental cleanings will keep things looking and feeling great!
Stage 1 — Mild gingivitis and plaque
The gums are inflamed and slightly swollen; some plaque and tartar buildup is evident. However, at this stage, there’s no indication of bone loss. Treatment includes regular at home care, dental exams, and professional cleanings to remove plaque and tartar.
Stage 2 — Moderate gingivitis
This stage is called early periodontitis because the teeth have begun to lose the supporting bone underneath. Gums are swollen and red, and there’s significant plaque and tartar buildup. In addition to a dental exam and cleaning, tooth-specific interventions may be needed, but the teeth may still be saved. After cleaning, at home dental care is imperative to prevent further bone loss.
Stage 3 — Severe gingivitis
In this stage, bone loss has progressed, and there’s marked plaque and tartar buildup coupled with swollen, painful, and bleeding gums. Gum recession is common. At this stage, only advanced veterinary dentistry can save teeth, and extractions may be recommended.
Stage 4 — Severe periodontal disease
At this stage, we may be unable to save teeth, as bone loss is too pronounced. Pets with severe periodontal disease are not only at risk of losing teeth, but the infection in the mouth can seep into the bloodstream, overwhelming the immune system. This could lead to problems in the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs, resulting in decreased life span.
Prevention and Treatment
Because animals are so good at hiding signs of pain and disease, you may not notice anything is wrong until your pet is in a more advanced stage. During their preventive care exam, we can show you where your pet falls in the 4 stages of pet periodontal disease and discuss prevention and treatment strategies.
Please call us with any questions or to schedule your pet’s next dental exam. We are offering 20% off pet dental cleanings in February. Together, we can give your pet a lifetime of good health!
Isn’t it great when you know you can always count on someone? It takes the stress out of the unknown and relieves any doubt or confusion about what may unfold. That’s why we pride ourselves on our pet care blog that readers can depend on every two weeks.
Besides the lighter topics that offer fun insights into pet quirks, we also strive to deliver timely and relevant information to our growing community of pet owners. In other words, you can always count on us to share tips and tricks to help you provide the best care for your best friend.
Every year, Wheaton Animal Hospital conducts a round-up of sorts to see which pet care blog topics hit home with our readers. Thank you for helping us identify what’s most important to you, so that we may continue improving in 2018.
The Short Snout: Brachycephalic Breed Safety – Flat-nosed breeds are unique and lovable, but the same physical features that endear them to owners are the same ones that endanger their health. Indeed, a shortened muzzle not only contributes to vision difficulties and eye ulcers, but problematic breathing and eating are equally as common – especially during the summer. When the temperatures are high, brachycephalic breed safety must be priority number one. Read More…
Train Your Cat To Walk On A Leash? You Bet! – Just when you thought you had heard of everything, we’re now learning how training techniques can be applied to our feline friends, and how those techniques can provide them with numerous benefits to their health, safety, and fun. One of these important training techniques involves leashing training, which allows cat lovers everywhere to enjoy what dog owners have been doing for decades! Read More…
Dehydration In Pets: Is Your Furry Friend Getting Enough Water? – If you’ve ever over-exerted yourself on a hot day, you probably know how lousy dehydration can make you feel. It’s also quite easy to become dehydrated when many of us drink more soda and less water each day than we should. That’s why it’s not a stretch to assume that dehydration in pets can pose several problems and make them quite ill, as well. Read More…
Harmonious Home? How To Help Your Pet Adjust To A New Baby – The best things in life come in small packages, right? Newborn babies are the most delightful little bundles of joy, but this sentiment may not be shared immediately by your pet. Don’t worry. As you transition into your new life with your little one, your pet can also learn about the sights, smells, and sounds associated with babies. It may not always be smooth sailing, but you can definitely help your pet adjust to the new normal with these tips from The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital. Read More…
Introducing… The Catio! The Ultimate Chill Spot For Your Feline Friend – As devoted feline fanciers, we may go to great lengths to keep our furry friends happy, active, and purring. We provide excellent nutrition, complete wellness care, and offer plenty of daily affection to these incredible pet companions. In fact, many cat lovers have made the choice to keep their cats indoors – knowing that it is safer and ultimately healthier for them. Read More…
Leptospirosis And Your Dog – Leptospirosis is not a disease that most people are familiar with, yet this relatively common bacterial disease is on the rise. It is a serious infection not only affects our pets but can infect people as well. Leptospirosis is caused by a bacterial organism that is found in the urine and bodily fluids of infected animals. Because a leptospirosis infection can be so devastating, it is important for all pet owners to understand what it is and how it can be prevented. Read More…
Why Dogs Eat Grass? – Dogs are pretty infamous for eating anything they come into contact with. While we can definitely understand some of the more tasty options that fall from the table, it might be a stretch to say that other canine snack choices don’t invite scrutiny. At the top of that list is, of course, grass. Read More…
The Very Real Threat Of Coyotes To Your Pet – If you’ve seen a coyote recently, you are not alone. These highly adaptable animals are becoming more common in and around developed areas, due in large part to the sheer variety of possible shelters and abundant refuse to eat. Read More…
You can always count on The Pet Experts to help you care for your cat or dog. We hope you continue reading our pet care blog in the new year. From all of us at Wheaton Animal Hospital, we hope you have a safe and happy celebration!
Like us, pets benefit incredibly from clean teeth and gums, but unfortunately, many pets don’t get attention to this area before certain problems have already taken root. Some, sadly, don’t ever have their teeth cleaned. The issue isn’t aesthetic, although a fresh-smelling slobber-kiss is certainly preferable to the alternative. Instead, through the prevention of pet dental disease, owners invest in their pet’s overall health and longevity. As the Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital can attest to, this is no small feat.
The Truth About Inflammation
The teeth are supported by gums, bone, and tissue. When these structures become progressively inflamed, tooth loss is the typical result. But the process starts long before when bacteria forms plaque on the teeth and gum line. To make matters even worse, saliva is comprised of certain minerals that, when combined with plaque, form the worst offender: tarter.
Tarter is hard and calciferous. Oral bacteria gets beneath tartar buildup, inflames the gums (a condition called gingivitis) and eventually destroys the tissue that supports the teeth. Pet dental disease doesn’t end with tooth loss, though. The same bacteria responsible for tooth decay can actually seep into the bloodstream and infect the body’s major organs.
A Shorter Life
Because pet dental disease decreases longevity and quality of life, the prevention and detection of the symptoms are paramount to overall health.
Inflamed, visibly recessed, or bloody-looking gums
Reluctance to eat, or preference for chewing on just one side
Pawing at the mouth
Loose teeth or missing ones
Swelling of the gums, cheeks, or face
Assessing Pet Dental Disease
Periodontal disease affects the tissue and bone structure beneath the gum line. As a result, the only way to truly understand the extent of a pet’s is to examine a pet while they’re under general anesthesia. We also highly recommend digital radiographs to measure bone loss and identify other likely problems, such as abscesses.
Professional cleanings while your pet under general anesthesia help enormously toward the removal of plaque and tartar, but if necessary, extraction, root canals, and root planing are performed.
Schedule and Save
Daily brushing at home can guard against excessive plaque and tartar accumulation. There are also top-notch dental rinses, diets, and treats for optimal oral health (contact us for recommendations). Unfortunately, nothing can replace routine prophylactic dental care.
To help your pet achieve long-lasting dental health, we encourage yearly exams and cleanings. To that end, we’re offering a savings of 20% off your pet’s dental cleaning this September. Please give us a call at 630-665-1500 to schedule your pet’s appointment.
Remember, the Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital are always here for you!
Everyone can agree that exercise in all forms is a good thing, regardless of one’s shape, size, age, gender, or species. When pets and people work out together, a sort of magic happens. The bond between them is almost tangible when walking, hiking, playing, or swimming, but it’s also common during a pet yoga session. The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital can see why pet yoga is taking off!
Let’s take a closer look.
It is well documented that physical exercise is important to support the body’s functions, but there is no match for the direct impact on mental health and well-being. Indeed, we all feel better, more relaxed, or rejuvenated after a workout, and so do animals, no matter their age.
The ancient practice of yoga hinges on a central idea: being in the moment. Pets are excellent at being in the moment, and dogs, because they’re pack animals, thrive in moments of union with their pack leader.
When pet owners exercise with their pets, the bond between them strengthens and deepens. And, it’s fun! Like other modalities, the effects of yoga are amazing for the body and mind. Beyond the stretching, deep breathing, and relaxing, pet yoga has the potential to truly seal the emotional and physical connection between pets and their people.
Pet yoga builds trust, improves circulation and range of motion, and can also calm down a hyperactive, stressed, or anxious animal. In this day and age, where a startling majority of pets are overweight or obese, pet yoga is a great option for gentle exercise.
Many yogis incorporate massage into their pet yoga sessions. This may center a pet and get them to a point of trust and willingness to experience yoga poses. We certainly don’t know many pets who dislike a good rub-down, so hopefully your pet will enjoy this opportunity.
Pet yoga is just like regular yoga in that the human practitioner can flow, or move through asanas, just as they would if alone. There is not a pose out there that a yogi cannot do because their pet is on the mat with them. Simply scoop your pet up and hold them as weight resistance, or encourage them to get into the pose alongside you.
The connection between animals and yoga goes back centuries. The following yoga poses were inspired by the actions or anatomy of the animals they are named after:
The Best Part
The trend of pet yoga is growing fast, and it’s not that difficult anymore to find a class in neighboring towns. Many animal organizations hold puppy or kitten yoga classes where you can attend a practice and adopt a sweet pet afterwards. Likewise, studios offer classes that you can bring your very own pet to (provided they’re trained and properly socialized).
The best part about pet yoga? You and your best bud can practice it at home, or anywhere else for that matter. All you need is each other.
As always, when it comes to your pet’s health, wellness, and happiness, The Pet Experts are here for you. Namaste!