NewsletterThe veterinarians and staff at the Dover Veterinary Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Earth Day: How to Make Your Dog More Green

Let's face it: Dogs have big carbon pawprints, as we all do. Because they are largely carnivorous, their toll on the environment is nearly as large as that of a human, but there are ways to create a more environmentally sustainable pooch.

What is a Carbon Pawprint?

A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere just by living our daily lives. Environmental groups have been watching the rising amount of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and urging everyone to cut back where they can. The biggest emitters of CO2 are automobiles, factories and coal-fired power plants. But even the family dog creates its share of harmful greenhouse gases. Some report that the dog is as big an emitter as the family SUV.

The Carnivorous Diet

Your dog's meat-loving diet is the biggest factor in his carbon emissions. Beef cows emit methane, an even more dangerous greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Even chickens and lambs are not raised in an eco-friendly way, and those heavy bags of dry food and cans of meaty foods have to travel a very long way to get to your door.

The solution? Make your own dog food using locally grown or organic vegetables and vegetable proteins. Your veterinarian can help you determine the exact mix of carbohydrate, protein and fat to keep the dog happy and healthy, and can suggest vitamins and minerals that should be included.

Consider how much healthier homemade meals can be for your dog, especially considering the recent recalls of commercial pet food. Toxins and salmonella introduced in the manufacturing process poisoned and sickened many pets. Your homemade dog food also won't have chemicals and preservatives.

If this seems too complicated, consider buying smaller packages of locally made dog food, or you can switch to meat sources other than beef, which have less impact on the environment.

Other Environmental Impacts

When buying pet products, look for eco-friendly brands that limit the amount of harmful chemicals that will eventually enter the air or water. Dog shampoos often contain environmental pollutants such as sodium lauryl sulfate. Read labels. If you are buying dog toys, avoid plastic and synthetic products and look for recycled and recyclable goods. There are many available products made from natural fibers such as organic cotton or hemp. Dogs love cotton stuffed animal toys they can toss around, but make sure they are tough enough not to break apart.

Safe Flea and Tick Treatments

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recently published a warning about flea control products. Their research suggests that some products pose a risk of cancer for children. If you have young children in the household, ask your vet about safe handling instructions for your pest products. You may wish to consider some alternate products available from your veterinarian. You can also read the NRDC's list of safer flea control products.

Pooper Scoopers

When walking your dog in a city park or along suburban sidewalks, most dog owners know to pick up after their dogs. Not scooping the poop is irresponsible. If you leave dog droppings, the bacteria can contaminate nearby water reservoirs and wells. If you are picking up after your dog, shop for biodegradable plastic bags.

Control Pet Populations

Overpopulation of dogs, and a surplus of unwanted dogs, is not a healthy situation for the planet. Spaying and neutering your dog is the eco-conscious thing to do. An unwanted litter of puppies creates a huge environmental impact, as much as a fleet of SUVs. Consider visiting a shelter or rescue organization when it comes time to add a dog to your family.

Small steps such as these can make a difference, especially when practices become widespread. You don't have to give up the dog to be environmentally responsible. If we all do our part, we can make pet ownership sustainable.

Say Thank You: World Veterinary Day is April 29

Saturday, April 29 is World Veterinary Day for 2017. Started by the World Veterinary Association, World Veterinary Day was started to honor veterinarians and spread awareness of the One Health Concept, which “recognizes that the health and well-being of animals, humans and the ecosystem are interconnected, and depend on effective and sustained collaboration between human and animal-focused disciplines.”

But what does your veterinarian actually do?

If you think veterinary medicine is about animals, you’re only partially right. Animals don’t call veterinarians. People call veterinarians. The vast range of people and places needing veterinary services include research laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, zoos, dairies, swine farms, public health departments, feed industry, livestock industry and pet owners. Veterinary medicine is a great field because it encompasses so many different areas.

Most people don’t realize how closely human medicine is linked to veterinary medicine. Lifesaving medical advances, in areas from vaccine development to heart surgery, could not have been made without the use of research animals. People may also be unaware of the public services that involve veterinarians. Government agencies from the FDA to state health departments rely on veterinarians to track rabies, foodborne illnesses and diseases transmitted from animals to people.

Of course, there are many benefits to working closely with animals. One of the pleasures of being a veterinarian is that people who own animals love their animals, whether the animals are horses, pigs, iguanas or puppies. You are generally dealing with people with empathy who like what they are doing. They recognize that what is best for the animal is also usually best for them.

For more information about World Veterinary Day, check out the World Veterinary Association’s website.

Adopting the Right Dog for You and Your Family

Man's best friend comes in all shapes, sizes, and of course, personalities. Choosing the right one can be overwhelming! The good news is that almost any dog can make a wonderful, lifelong companion for you and your family. The bad news is that most dogs are returned to the shelter or breeder because the original owner did not take certain key elements into consideration.

Choosing the right dog generally means identifying the type of animal who matches your lifestyle and needs. If you live alone in a small apartment, adopting a large, active retriever might not be the best choice. Conversely, if you have a family of four and are looking for a companion to match your active lifestyle, such a dog may be perfect. A dog's size, exercise requirements, friendliness, assertiveness and compatibility with children should all figure into your decision.

Start by learning about different breeds and mixes. Talking to breeders, visiting with animals at the shelter, speaking with adoption counselors and asking questions to an owner of a specific breed are good ways to learn about what kind of dog might be right for you. Dogs fall into one of two categories: purebreds and mixed breeds. Most animal shelters have plenty of both. The only significant difference between the two is that purebreds, because their parents and other ancestors are all members of the same breed, are similar to a specific "breed standard." This means that if you adopt a purebred puppy, you have a good chance of knowing approximately how big he or she will get, as well as their general physical and behavior characteristics.

Of course, the size, appearance and temperament of most mixed breed dogs can often be predicted as well. After all, mixed breeds are simply combinations of different breeds. So if you happen to know the ancestry of a particular mixed breed puppy or can identify what type of dog he is (e.g., terrier mix), you have a good chance of knowing how he'll turn out.

Once you decide what kind of dog you'd like for your and your family, there are a couple of questions to ask yourself when faced with a number of different dogs that fit into the category you have chosen.

How old is the dog?

You may want to select a puppy as your new companion. However, young dogs usually require much more training and supervision than more mature dogs. If you lack time or patience to house train your pup or to correct problems like chewing and jumping, an adult dog may be a better choice.

How shy or assertive is the dog?

Although an active, bouncy dog might catch your eye, a quieter or more reserved dog might be a better match if you don't have a particularly active lifestyle.

How good is the animal with children?

Learning about a dog's past through a history sheet or from an adoption counselor can be helpful, but past information isn't always available or reliable. In general, an active dog who likes to be touched and is not sensitive to handling and noise is a dog that can probably thrive in a house full of kids. Also, keep in mind that puppies younger than 4 months often do not go well with families with young children because of their fragility and special needs.

Every dog in a shelter or kennel can provide you with boundless love and companionship, and every dog certainly deserves a lifelong home. But some dogs are better for you and your lifestyle than others. That is why you should take the time to make a thoughtful choice. After all, you are choosing a friend likely to be with you for 10-15 years, if not longer. Select the right dog, and you and your new companion can enjoy those years to the fullest.

Keeping Your Cat Healthy: Immunizations

• Rabies - Transmitted by bite wounds and vaccination protocols are often dictated by state or municipal regulations. Vaccinating cats helps prevent the transmission of rabies to humans.

• Feline Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper)- Transmitted from one cat to another. The virus is very resistant and can survive in the environment for more than a year. Since maternal antibodies interfere with immunizations, a series of vaccinations needs to be given. Vaccination is highly effective for prevention.

• Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis and Calicivirus (Feline Respiratory Disease)- Common viruses that cause approximately 90% of feline upper respiratory disease. These viruses are spread directly from cat to cat through respiratory secretions. Sneezing cats are known for transmitting the disease in catteries, animal control facilities and boarding kennels.

• Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)- Transmitted through respiratory secretion through the sharing of food and water bowls or litter boxes. Mutual grooming, cat fights, and mating can also transmit the virus. The main effects of the virus are on the cat's immune system. An infected cat is extremely susceptible to any type of infection.

• Feline Immunodeficiency Virus- Spread primarily though bite wounds, making cats that are born of negative mothers, live indoors and never fight at low risk. Lymphocytes are important cells involved in the body's immune (defense) system. FIV infects and destroys these lymphocytes. Without lymphocytes, immunodeficiency results, leaving the body open to infection. Symptoms associated with FIV are generally due to secondary bacterial, viral and fungal infections.

• Feline Parasitology- De-worming of kittens and cats as part of a preventive medicine program is recommended. When the kittens are three weeks old, they and their mother should be treated with an oral de-worming medication. All kittens should be treated again at regular intervals and their stools should be checked for parasites. The U.S. Center for Disease Control recommends these guidelines not only to protect the kitten, but also to protect humans from possible infection.

Basic Puppy Training

A well-behaved dog is the product of teaching him to understand what is expected; you are responsible to teach him what behavior is or is not tolerated. As the owner of a new puppy, training is necessary and mutually beneficial. Young puppies are a veritable behavioral blank slate. If you are able to take advantage of this special time and begin temperament and basic obedience training using gentle, positive reinforcement methods, you are much more likely to end up with a well-behaved, sociable companion for life.

Benefits of early puppy training include:

• Instilling good manners

• Utilizing your puppy's critical socialization period to familiarize him with all kinds of people, animals and environments

• Getting him used to being handled and touched

• Stimulating his abilities

• Troubleshooting common puppy problems like play-biting, chewing, digging and housebreaking before they become inconvenient dog problems

Young puppies are a blank slate

Obedience Training

The classes to look for should include information and instruction on how to communicate with your puppy. Housetraining, chewing, bite inhibition, off-leash socialization, handling, house manners and often an introduction to basic obedience skills should be part of your puppy's program. Imagine a pre-school for puppies.

Once your puppy has become a socialized member of the canine community and is old enough to begin learning commands, classes are usually available at a variety of levels. These classes start from the beginning, covering basic commands such as sit, stay, down, come, etc. They help you continue the "conversation" you had begun with your puppy at your first puppy class. By having everyone in your family participate, your puppy learns to accept his place in the family.

• Keep sessions short (around 5-10 minutes) as dogs generally have short attention spans.

• Determine what kind of positive reinforcement training you are going to use and stick with it. If your puppy is not responsive to food, try a favorite toy or enthusiastic verbal praise.

• Consult with a training school or personal trainer (yup, dogs have them too!) to help establish a routine.

• Initiate consistent house rules with other family members. If Mom says "lay down" but Dad says "down," it could cause confusion, thwarting progress.

Ultimately, how much and how well your puppy learns is up to you. Constant attention and positive reinforcement are the keys to success. Helping your puppy become a fun-loving and obedient companion also makes your relationship that much more enjoyable in the long run.