Tips for the At-Home Groomer and the DIY Dog-washer
It's been muddy. Dogs love walking through mud. Dogs love rolling in mud. These are just facts. Well, these are just facts in my household.
The rolling isn't just limited to mud, either. The smellier or more disgusting the pile, the more inviting it is to roll in. There are several theories as to why they do this primarily including to brush out loose fur or dirt, as an instinct to cover their own scent, or just because it feels good. What our little dirt-divers don't realize is two out of three of those reasons will likely lead to a bath for them. Now a bath is an enjoyable experience for many crusty canines, but for others it's akin to cruel and unusual punishment. Here are a few "Do's and Don't's" to ensure your pet's grooming routine is healthy and peaceful.
First, before you even get started, make sure you have the proper tools. This includes nail trimmers, a styptic powder like Kwik-stop (to stop bleeding nails), a pet-specific shampoo, an ear cleaner with a drying agent, a coat-appropriate brush, and a pet toothbrush. Check out our online pharmacy for many of your grooming needs and until April 30th you can use the promo code NOHEARTWORM2021 to get 15% off your entire first order! If you plan on trimming your pet's fur as well, we highly recommend purchasing clippers with a guard and watching a tutorial (or three) before you attempt it on your own.
Take a look at our tips below and keep reading for a bonus tip for those...especially smelly situations!
These tips should form a good basis for healthy, safe, and pleasant at-home grooming for both you and your pet. As you gain experience, you'll learn more tricks to make grooming easier and more pleasurable. As always, if you have any questions, please call the clinic. Don't forget to take advantage of our current offer of 15% off your first online order. Use the code NOHEARTWORM2021 at our online store.
Some dogs just know how to make friends, and like people, they don't always make the best choices when it comes to friends. So when your dog decides to make friends with the neighborhood skunk and comes home a smelly, mix up the following recipe and use it as a shampoo:
From now until the end of April, you can can get a 15% discount on your first order through our online pharmacy by using the promo code NOHEARTWORM2021. That's on your entire order, not just one item! Now is a perfect time to stock up on flea and tick prevention; we've already pulled three ticks off pets this year.
Head over to the website and start filling your cart! The discount can be applied to prevention, prescription food, and medications, but it has to be all on the same order and has to be placed by April 3oth.
As we've mentioned on our home page, we plan to use a curbside model for the foreseeable future. We're hoping this guide will help you to prepare you for your appointment and make it go as smoothly as possible.
There are a few things you can do before you even leave the house. Make sure your phone is charged, operational, and, most importantly, WITH YOU. We also ask every pet to be restrained properly for the transport from the car to the door. We've found the walk to the door is the most stressful for many dogs and for us. By having correct-fitting collars and harnesses with leashes (locked if they are retractable) it greatly reduces the chances of them slipping out. For cats and exotics, we won't carry them into the clinic if they are not properly secured in a carrier or suitable container. If you are bringing a new patient in or this is the first time visiting our clinic, please fill out the "New Patient Form" or "New Client Form" beforehand. Don't forget any pertinent records or samples!
Now that you have prepared for your appointment, here's what will happen when you arrive at the clinic. First, call us at (734)929-4071. We'll get you checked in and take down the best number to reach you at during the appointment. Then you'll likely be placed on a brief hold until a technician is available to take a history. They'll then come out to bring your pet into the clinic for the exam. For dogs, we ask owners to step out of the vehicle while wearing a mask to hand off the leash. Dogs are more comfortable coming with us when we don't reach into the car for them. We're happy to get carriers or other containers from your car, we just ask you wear a mask during face-to-face interactions.
We'll have you wait in the parking lot while we do the exam because we are limited in the number of pets we can have in the clinic at this time. If you leave, we may not be able to get started on our next appointment because we can't get your pet back to you. After the doctor completes their exam, they will call you from a restricted number because we are limited in the number of phone lines we have. The technician will then bring your pet back out if they haven't returned them by this point. They will get you checked out and go over any medications then. Please let us know if you have any questions and we look forward to seeing the top half of your face soon!
New Year is a time for celebration and our January Pet of the Month definitely deserves celebrating! It is our honor to name Ellie our first Pet of the Month in 2020.
Ellie has been coming to City Pets since January 2013. Her owners, Bill and Cindy, found her under a car in the parking lot of a restaurant 16 years ago. She “wolfed down the spaghetti” they were taking home and then fell asleep in Cindy’s arms. When no one responded to signs they posted, they decided to keep her and name her after the restaurant where they found her, Cascarelli.
Ellie has been a firecracker here at the clinic since Day One. Even Bill and Cindy report she’s retained much of her feral attitude from her earlier years. Her “dissent” over what constitutes necessary veterinary care has always posed a unique challenge for Dr. Weinrick, Dr. Hui, and the staff. For Ellie, a hands-off approach was best until she came in during the summer of 2014 because of urinary accidents and losing weight despite eating very well. Dr. Weinrick recommended blood work and it was determined Ellie had hyperthyroidism. The good news is it can be managed with medication; the bad news is while Ellie has always loved her owners, she would not tolerate a pill. Thankfully there was another option: a trans-dermal cream.
Cindy and Bill would need to rub a small amount of the medicated cream inside her ear every 12 hours and this would hopefully level out her thyroid and control her symptoms. Ellie has been on the medication for 5 years. She comes in to City Pets at least once a year for a check-up and blood work to ensure her dose is appropriate and her other organs are functioning well. So far, her symptoms are being managed and Ellie is living her best life. And in spite of others wondering why Bill and Cindy tolerate her feral ways and the staff at City Pets needing to don protective gear for her exam, they like her. So do we…from a safe distance.
All of our patients are important to us and we use our Pet of the Month to highlight one of their stories, especially if it is particularly inspiring or we believe it can bring awareness to a condition or illness. This month’s Pet of the Month fills both of those criteria and it hits very close to home. It is our pleasure to introduce you to Harley, May’s Pet of the Month. She is an immediate member of the City Pets family, but we think you’ll agree she’s earned this honor all on her own.
She was adopted from the Humane Society by Bill and his wife, Lindsay, in December of 2016. She arrived on the “Love Train” and when Bill visited her on his lunch break, he knew she would be coming home with them by the end of the week. Lindsay met her two days later, just hours after her spay and it was confirmed she had found a new home. She’s been a handful from day one when she could literally fit in your hand. Bill and Lindsay were convinced they would one day have to bring her in for a foreign body surgery because she has gone hamper diving more than once.
She’s full of personality and energy. On a walk during a hot August day in 2017, she pulled and pulled during the walk while Bill and Lindsay tried desperately to keep her from exerting herself too much. Eventually they decided to cut the walk short and headed home. With her long tongue hanging out, making her look like a crazy person, she made it to the neighbors’ lawn and she decided it was far enough. She “collapsed” and refused to finish the walk. Lindsay had to scoop her up and carry her home. Luckily, she is very amenable to being carried.
We say “luckily” because Harley ruptured a disc in her back at the end of March. At first, they weren’t sure what had happened or why she had woken up crying and in great pain. (When a disc ruptures, it is usually precipitated by a clear incident or traumatic event.) They took her to City Pets right away and she was examined, radiographs were taken (which showed no clear orthopedic changes), and given anti-inflammatory medication. It wasn’t until the next morning Bill noticed she hadn’t moved all day and was sitting in her urine. They took her back to City Pets and Dr. Weinrick tested her back legs for a neurological response. When she confirmed she wasn’t using her back legs, she called Dogwood Veterinary Neurology Center and they told her to send Harley right away.
After an exam and MRI, it was confirmed Harley had ruptured a disc and would need surgery. There was still only a 50% chance she would regain feeling and the ability to walk. All Lindsay and Bill could do now was wait for a sign her back would heal. They were told it could take up to two weeks. About 6 days before her recheck exam, she started to regain feeling in her feet. Harley also started physical therapy with Dr. McRae the same week and her improvement began to progress exponentially. Based on her progress, she was given an 80% chance of a full recovery at her Dogwood recheck appointment. Bill and Lindsay report she has continued to make great progress and continues to blow past milestone after milestone. She has even taken a few steps on her own, though they may be better categorized as falling forward gracefully. Thanks to Dr. Weinrick’s quick referral, the surgical team at Dogwood, and Dr. McRae’s physical therapy regiment Harley is making great “strides” toward recovery.
There are numerous things to celebrate in April: Easter, spring is (sort of) here, and Tax Day. We want to add our April Pet of the Month Rini to the list! Rini is a rabbit, so she’s a serendipitous choice for April. She was adopted in 2012 by Amie and Jonah after they realized their male bunny, Red-who was adopted by the family after he hopped into their yard-needed a partner. They instantly bonded and are truly in love with each other, though Rini is still the boss.
Rini loves to dig and chew on everything, especially paper towel rolls and phone books (she may be the only living being still excited by phone books). She also loves to run short sprints and binky around when she’s in an especially good mood. According to Amie, her feistiness adds so much to their family. Her favorite treats are bananas and apples.
It was after she refused these treats recently Amie and Jonah knew something was wrong. They first took her to the Emergency Veterinary Hospital of Ann Arbor because it was after hours and they understood time is imperative when it comes to rabbits refusing to eat. The emergency hospital noted Rini’s molars had points on them and it could be causing her inappetence. The pain caused by the points makes it uncomfortable for them to chew their food which could lead to gut stasis. She was first treated with medication and syringe feedings of a special diet to get her gut stasis resolved. After an exam at our clinic to ensure she was stable, we set a date to trim her molars under anesthesia to help prevent a relapse. Once the points were trimmed, Rini came out of anesthesia ready to eat! She started eating hay shortly after waking up and even ate some banana later in the afternoon. She’s been recovering well at home because Amie and Jonah intervened quickly when they noticed she wasn’t eating.
*Rini is a very busy bunny and doesn't have time to sit still for very many photos.
When it comes to nutrition, the most common question we get is "What type of food should we feed?" followed by "When should we transition from puppy food to adult food?" These are very important questions, but they aren't the only questions you should be asking when it comes to your pets' nutrition. It is just as important to appropriately transition your pet to a senior diet and make changes to how you feed them as they age. Before we even consider diet changes, we have to determine at what age your pet is considered a senior. The general rule for dogs and cats is seven years old, though larger breeds start to exhibit signs of aging earlier than smaller breeds. This is the age we recommend switching to a food designed for senior pets and also bi-annual exams.
While it can be normal for senior pets to have a decreased appetite as they age, sometimes there could be something else going on. Dental, gastrointestinal, or kidney issues can cause a decrease in appetite as well. If you notice other symptoms coupled with your pet's decreased appetite, we recommend bringing them in for a thorough exam. Your pet may require a special diet depending on their diagnosis. Generally speaking, these prescription diets will trump a senior diet because they are specially formulated for your pet's specific condition.
Some people may prefer to cook for their senior pet at home. This can be an alternative to store-bought kibble, but there are steps needed to ensure it is nutritional balanced. If you are interested in preparing food at home, we strongly urge you consult with a veterinary nutritionist first.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we chose a pet with an Irish name for Pet of the Month (ok, so, we didn’t actually do this, but it worked out!) We’d like to introduce our March Pet of the Month, Bailey! While he may not be Irish (he’s an English Springer Spaniel), his family feels very lucky he picked them nearly 13 years ago.
When his family visited his litter to choose a new family member, he made the decision easy when he started nibbling on their daughter’s ear. They met the entire litter, but this little guy had made an impression and it was very clear to Melanie and Steve this was the puppy for Abby. Bailey was an incredible bundle of energy and passionate about food since day one. In recent years we have seen him because he’s been slowing down a bit. Frequently, Bailey can be found staring out the family’s front bay window-or maybe Bai’s window- where he earned the nickname “Captain of the cul-de-sac”. He actually has a few nicknames, including Mr. Puckett and Bails.
Bailey is also a multi-talented dog. From very early age, he has regaled the family and their friends with his singing along with the piano, especially during birthday parties. His family would return the favor during car rides by singing “Lonely Goatherd” to calm him. Bailey is also a great athlete, specializing in fetching tennis balls and Frisbees. Although at his age, he is semi-retired.
Even though he is older, Bailey is doing great and getting around pretty well. He visits us for regular exams and Dr. Weinrick checks his joints and mobility regularly. He has started an anti-inflammatory medication to help ease discomfort caused by advanced age. His family recently switched him to a senior specific food which helps brain function in older dogs. There is no fountain of youth, but preventative care, a good diet, and a proactive family are a great alternative.
March might not seem like an appropriate time to talk about ticks, but you'll feel differently after you read this article. We're going to bust some tick myths and hopefully help protect you and your pets from the "blood-sucking" arachnids. *Warning: Pictures of ticks follow.*
Myth #1: Ticks are dormant in the winter
While it is true ticks are most prevalent during the warmer months, they are still active during the winter. Ticks are usually buried under the ice and snow until those longed for warm, sunny winter days. As the snow melts, they are "freed" and find their way to animals enjoying the warmer winter weather, you and your pet for example. Hunters have even been known to stumble through tick nests and came away covered with hundreds of tick larva. Ticks pose a greater risk during the winter because their bites are painless and we are less likely to find them because we aren't actively looking for them. This allows them to be attached for a longer period of time and increases the chance of transferring a tick-borne illness.
Myth #2: Ticks smell your blood.
Ticks are often believed to have the ability to smell blood, like a shark. Like a tiny eight-legged land shark. Thankfully, this is not true, but the truth isn't much better. Ticks can smell CO2, one of the by-products of respiration. Ticks can literally smell you breathe. Upon second thought, we aren't sure the truth is ANY better than the myth.
Myth #3: Lyme infections have a distinct bulls-eye rash.
This one is more of a half-truth than a full-on myth and isn't technically about ticks. Many humans will develop the trademark bulls-eye rash, but not every human does. Animals will rarely, if ever, develop the telltale rings. Aside from possible redness and irritation at the site of tick attachment, there aren't any signs of Lyme infection that present on the skin. Joint swelling and pain, fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy are the most common symptoms. If pets have similar symptoms and a veterinarian determines a plausible case for infection upon examination, the diagnosis can be confirmed with a blood test. Symptoms for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses can range from very mild to severe with some pets being asymptomatic.
Myth #4: Ticks are only a threat while camping or hiking.
The inference of this myth is ticks are only a threat when adventuring to the deep woods, "roughing it" in the remote, unsettled areas of the world, or traversing through natural preserves rarely touched by humans. Ticks prefer shady, moist areas while clinging to shrubs, bushes, grasses, and weeds within two feet of the ground. They are sometimes found in lawns and gardens near the woods or old stone walls. Ticks can sometimes be transferred in dirt and mulch to areas they aren't naturally found. Moral: you aren't safe just because you aren't under trees. No one is safe.
Myth #5: Use flames, alcohol, or other liquids to remove ticks.
Ticks are infamous for their ability to burrow into the skin of their hosts and attach themselves firmly for days at a time. Many "old wives' tales" exist on how to remove a tick, but most methods could actually make the situation worse. If you try to burn a tick off, it could cause them to burrow deeper as they try to flee the flame and you also risk burning your pet and yourself. Using soap or alcohol could also cause the tick to burrow deeper if it becomes irritated by the liquid. The most effective way to remove a tick before it is ready is to grip it tightly with a pair of tweezers or tick removal tool just above the skin and pull with even pressure. Don't pull too quickly to minimize the chance of the head detaching and staying lodged in their skin. If this does happen, don't panic, there is very little risk of a serious problem. Watch the area for redness, swelling, or discharge.
Myth #6: I'll see them before they can bite.
The most dangerous ticks come in the smallest packages. It's true adult ticks look scary and gross, but this is a benefit to us because we can see them. It's common for us to hear, "We don't need prevention because I check my dog whenever they come in from outside." This is a good practice, but nymph ticks are as small as a poppy-seed (see above photos if you aren't eating a muffin). This can make it incredibly easy to miss one which is all it takes to transfer a tick-borne illness. Tick prevention requires a tick to bite its host before it can kill the tick, but should kill it before it is possible for bacteria to transfer between the tick and the host. For dogs, we recommend giving flea & tick prevention and vaccinating for Lyme disease because neither protection is 100% effective, but they are both better than nothing.
Hopefully you feel more prepared to handle the scourge called ticks. If not, at least you have a few tick tidbits for your next garden party. Don't forget to sweep your yard for ticks beforehand.
Bonus tick tidbit: There have been cases of spontaneous red meat allergies caused by bites from the Lone Star tick found in the southern and eastern United States. Seriously, ticks, why do you have to ruin everything?!
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! We have an especially sweet treat for you this month. Allow us to introduce you to Geordi, our February Pet of the Month. He was adopted from Motor City Ferrets, along with his snuggle-buddy, Bev, (who is a sweetie in her own right) by Beth and Tony.
Geordi and Bev had been at Motor City Ferrets for about a year when Beth and Tony found out the two older ferrets were currently the longest the residents at the shelter. Tony and Beth already had three ferrets at home and weren’t planning to add more, but Beth couldn’t stop thinking about the two ferrets and eventually emailed the shelter to adopt them. Both Geordi and Bev adapted quickly and took very well to their other ferrets: Socks, Deka, and Neuf.
Geordi is an easy-going ferret, but also likes to be on-the-go from the minute he wakes up. Unlike most ferrets (who love the “snooze button” according to Beth), he will snap wide awake and is ready to go as soon as his sleep is disturbed. Right away, they realized he has limited or no vision, but it wasn't noted when they adopted him because it happened while he was at the shelter and he had learned the layout of the room. He has now become familiar with his new home and gets around as well as the other ferrets. He will also use his other senses which can make it difficult to get a good photo because as soon as he senses Beth or Tony nearby, he comes right over to see what they are doing. It also doesn’t stop him from playing hide-and-seek with his soft rattle toys and exploring his crinkly play tunnel.
Geordi was diagnosed with insulinoma during his stay at the shelter and he was started on prednisone, a steroid. Insulinoma is a tumor on the pancreas which causes an increased secretion of insulin and is very common in middle- and old-age ferrets. The increase of insulin leads to low blood sugar which usually starts with weakness in the rear legs. If left untreated, it causes the ferret to become depressed and unresponsive during an episode. Geordi first came to City Pets because Beth noticed he was walking stiffly at times and wanted to have his glucose checked to make sure the prednisone was helping control his insulin levels. After making an adjustment to his dose based on his glucose levels, Geordi has been managing his insulinoma well. Insulinoma can sometimes be managed with surgery, but it can be an issue of cost, effectiveness, and age-related risk.
We think it’s easy to see why Geordi’s story is perfect for the February Pet of the Month. It’s a heart-warming “tail” perfect for the holiday of love AND to combat the lasting effects of the polar vortex.
You can visit Motor City Ferrets at http://motorcityferrets.org/ if you are interested in adopting a ferret.