Our furry canine friends are just like us in terms of loving that Fall is here and temps are dropping. Gone are the "Dog Days" of summer which left everyone's tongues panting including ours, here in the Carolinas. Just like Summertime, Wintertime holds certain risks for our pets that need paying attention to.
1- Even though our Winter temps in the Carolinas pale in comparison to our Northern friend's winters do, we need to pay attention to how much time is spent outside when temps are cold.
Just because they are coated in fur, that doesn't mean they don't become acclimated to being inside out of the cold. Certain short hair breeds such as Boxers and Pugs are even more susceptible to losing body heat due to not being as furry as maybe a Golden Retriever.
2-When spending time outside in cold temps, remember that dogs bodies pull blood from the extremities to the center of their body to stay warm. This means that even though your dog may be rocking an awesome Christmas sweater, blood is being pulled away from the ears, paws and tail leaving them highly susceptible to frostbite.
3- Keep them boys and girls dry! Any moisture from standing water in the yard to sweat from frolicking around can make their body temperature plummet. Avoid letting them out after a bath until they are completely dry.
4-How cold is too cold? A good indicator of temperature is that if its too cold for you to stand outside your door without a coat, it's probably to cold for your dog. Let's handle our business doggies and get back inside!
5-Enjoy when the sun is out. Our dogs are like us, they need exercise in the winter months. (As always, this will help keep them calm and not get cabin fever). When the sun is shining, get outside and go for a walk, play fetch or any fun activity that will get the blood pumping and burn some energy.
6- Just like we like to have an extra layer on our beds on cold nights, give your pooches extra bedding this time of the year too. Avoid letting them sleep on cold wood or tile floors. Those plastic trays in crates can get very cold also. Throw them an extra towel or blanket in to snuggle with. They will thank you!
7- Dogs will often seek heat during cold weather. Keep them away from heat sources such as space heaters and fireplaces. Also, if you have baseboard radiator covers, you can install covers to protect them.
8- Hydration. Keep water readily accessible just as in warmer months. It is just as easy for a dog to get dehydrated in Winter as it is Summer.
9 - Stay inside as much as possible. Enjoy outside time but once you get cold and need to go in, bring the dogs in too.
10- Don't overfeed. Feed normal healthy food amounts. The only extra layering our pets need to put on in winter are those sweet sweaters as I referenced before.
11- Keep their paws clean. Salt can stay on roads and sidewalks long after the snow is gone. Check paws and clean as necessary.
12- Lastly, remember the senior pets. Cold weather is harder on us older human's; arthritis and snap, crackles and pops. Older pups will have the same aches particularly arthritis. There are some good natural joint supplements out there to help keep their joints lubed up. Also, exercise as much as possible.
Our pets depend on us to keep them safe and healthy. Remember, few things will help keep you warm on a cold winter night as a dog (or 5 in our case) snuggled up with you on the couch!

Feline Distemper affects vital cells Annual exams and vaccinations are important for the health of your pet, family and pet sitters. Fluffs of Love is researching details this fall about viruses that require annual vaccines in dogs and cats. Today we look at a preventable virus that highly contagious and life-threatening to cats. Feline distemper, or FVP, requires several initial shots to prevent distemper in kittens and cats. But after the second inoculation, cats are safe from contracting the virus from infected animals. Feline distemper is a misnomer, because the virus does not affect a cat's temperament. Also cat and dog distemper are not related nor are feline and canine parvovirus. However, the feline parvovirus causes distemper in cats. Humans, cats and dogs cannot catch the parvovirus from one other. Many names and acronyms refer to feline distemper: feline panleukopenia virus, or FPV; and feline parvovirus, or FP. All of these refer to the same virus, which can be prevented with vaccinations and deadly without required annual shots. Symptoms include uncharacteristic behavior? Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and several other signs the cat is not well. Some less common symptoms are cats hiding, tucking their feet under their bodies and or resting their chins on the floor for long periods of time or suffering from a lack of coordination. Symptoms of the virus might not show until four or five days after a cat was exposed to infected blood, urine or feces. Fleas that attached to infected animals can also transmit the virus. Pregnant cats are at high risk of contracting the feline distemper because of their compromised immune systems. A pregnant cat that gets infected can pass feline distemper to unborn kittens or after their birth through breast milk. Infected cats from two to six months old are most likely to suffer from severe symptoms or death. Young kittens benefit from vaccination? Kittens as young as four weeks can get a killed vaccine if they have likely been exposed to the virus. Kittens older than 4 weeks can get a modified live vaccine, but neither live nor killed vaccines protect the cat until after second vaccine. Feline distemper attacks blood cells? This virus affects blood cells that divide rapidly, especially cells in the intestines, bone marrow (which makes red and white blood cells), and in the stem cells of a fetus. With blood cells under attack, the FPV can lead to anemia and make the cat vulnerable to other viral or bacterial infections. Cats can survive distemper. In adults cats, the virus usually occurs in mild form and might even go unnoticed. Cats that survive feline distemper will never again be sickened with the virus after they are well. Disinfect contaminated areas?The parvovirus resists common disinfectants and can survive for years in contaminated environments. To clean an environment where feline distemper is suspected, leave a solution of 1/2 cup of bleach to a gallon of water for 10 minutes. Then wipe away the solution. Renowned veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker recommends Rescue Disinfectant Cleaner. A cat with distemper can shed the virus through urine and feces for up to six weeks. If your home had a cat with distemper, disposing of all pet items the cat came into contact with is safest. But you can soak the hard items in one of the solutions above. Anything that was soiled with feces or urine should be discarded. If your shoes or clothing were contaminated, dispose of them. When you are handling a cat recovering from distemper, use soap and water frequently and keep your cat from other cats as long as the veterinarian recommends. But do show the cat attention and affection. Cats suffering distemper are physically and emotionally depressed and need you interaction. Change clothes when you leave and wash them well. You, your pets and any other cats can avoid feline distemper with a couple of shots. Vaccinate ANY cat before you let it into your home. NOTE: The feline distemper vaccine is required for any stay at Purrfect Paradise Cat Hotel. (www.purrfectparadisecathotel.com/) At Fluffs of Luv, your pet’s care and comfort is our primary concern. We are extremely careful not to spread illness from one pet to another. Therefore, we require all pets to be current on vaccinations. Call us or visit fluffsofluv.com today to schedule visits now. Resources pets.webmd.com/pet-vaccines-schedules-cats-dogs - This link provides a useful chart of core and non-core vaccines. www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+2134&aid=222 www.vetstreet.com/care/feline-distemper-and-rabies petmd.com/cat/conditions/infectious-parasitic/c_ct_feline_panleukopenia Keywords feline distemper feline panleukopenia feline parvovirus FPV FP By Beth Crosby

Vaccine protects against upper respiratory infections Feline herpesvirus causes an incurable upper respiratory infection of a cat’s nose and throat. This virus causes the Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR) infection. Annual core vaccines protect cats against this infection that affects cats’ eyes, nose, mouth, throat, and breathing. All cats can contract the feline herpesvirus (FHV-1), but kittens, pregnant cats and brachiosephalic, or flat-faced breeds, such as Persians are more susceptible. Kittens can be infected in utero or as early as five weeks after birth. Multi-cat homes, catteries (boarding or breeding establishments for cats), shelters and kennels can pass the infection because of overcrowding, poor ventilation, poor sanitation, or poor nutrition. Crowded or stressful conditions put cats with compromised immune systems, such as pregnant cats, at greater risk. Secondary infections complicate treatment Cats weakened by FHV-1 can also develop secondary infections, and frequently these bacterial infections must be treated along with the respiratory infection and other possible complications, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) http://www.eyecareforanimals.com/conditions/feline-herpesvirus/. FHV-1 can be transmitted through coughs and sneezes, as well as eye, nose, or mouth discharge, either directly or on shared items such as food dishes, water bowls, and litter boxes. Cats grooming each other also can pass the virus. The incubation period after exposure is two to five days, and symptoms tend to diminish within seven to ten days. Cats are contagious for up to three weeks after they develop symptoms and can shed the virus through urine and feces. Cats exposed to the virus can be infected. Vaccinated cats can get FHV-1 and FVR if exposed but with less severe symptoms and for a shorter length of time. This underscores the reason that boosters are important. Symptomatic cats need exam If your cat or a cat you are thinking of bringing into your home exhibits any of the symptoms, note how long the symptoms have persisted, know as much medical history as possible and call the vet. A full round of lab work, including the complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry profile and urinalysis, combined with a list of symptoms typically provide enough information for the veterinarian to make a diagnosis. More advanced tests are available, but the results take longer. Treatment usually involves broad-spectrum antibiotics, medications to address eye infections or eye ulcers, anti-virals for the eyes, and nasal decongestants. Other supportive therapies include frequently cleaning the eyes with moist tissues to remove discharge, using a humidifier and giving the cat an amino acid called L-lysine. The cat client we gave L-lysine liked the supplement well enough to lick the gel from my finger. Home care is critical When the cat goes home in your care, proper and sufficient diet and clean water are critical to the cat’s recovery. Because of blocked nasal passages, cats might lose their sense of smell and stop eating. A strong-smelling canned food can entice the cat to eat. With a healthy diet and hydration, coupled with a calm, restful environment, the cat’s prognosis is good. An infected cat is never cured of FHV-1 and can always have a recurrence. Some infected cats will always be carriers, even if sometimes the virus is latent, or dormant, in the cat’s system. The virus can recur. Stress is a strong factor in awakening the virus. A feline can shed the virus in bodily fluids and exhibit only sporadic or mild symptoms that clear up on their own. Other times, cats will develop a full-blown infection. Feline herpesvirus is “species specific” and cannot be transmitted to dogs or humans. The same is true of the canine herpes and human herpes viruses. At Fluffs of Luv, your pet’s care and comfort is our primary concern. We are extremely careful not to spread illness from one pet to another. Therefore, we require all pets to be current on vaccinations. Call us or visit fluffsofluv.com today to schedule visits now and for holidays. Resources www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/infectious-parasitic/c_ct_feline_rhinotracheitis? www.eyecareforanimals.com/conditions/feline-herpesvirus/? pets.webmd.com/cats/feline-herpes-symptoms-treatment By Beth Crosby Keywords Feline herpesvirus FHV-1 Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis FVR Copyright ©2016 Fluffs of Luv. All rights reserved.?If any part of this publication is reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or stored in a database or retrieval system, full credit must be given to Beth Crosby and Fluffs of Luv. No part may be used for commercial gain without the express written permission of Fluffs of Luv.

This holiday, give thanks for safe pets The holidays are upon us, and you are likely thinking about Thanksgiving. During the next week, remember your pets and keep them safe. With visitors, rich foods and decorations, pets ? all pets ? can become easily overwhelmed and sick. Read below about Thanksgiving pet dangers. First, consider foods    Unless you are eating out or taking a simple dish to share with friends and family, you have lots of dangerous foods that cats and dogs might ingest. * Turkey and ham are high in fat and cholesterol. A mere taste can wreak havoc on your pet's digestive system. Pets with pancreatitis are especially vulnerable to fatty or spicy foods. * Sugar should be withheld from your pets to avoid stomach upset. * Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in candies, gum, and many baked goods are deadly to most pets. * Indulgences such as chocolate, alcohol, and candy should be kept away from pets. Keep these treats up high or in cabinets, as necessary. Birds should not celebrate with any of these holiday treats, either. * Guard or remove the garbage can and after eating. Push plates away from the counter or table edges that pets can access. Plan for visitors All pets, from dogs and cats to birds and pocket pets can be upset by visitors and loud noises. If your pets will be among the crowd and noise, check with your veterinarian to see what is best to calm your pet(s). Some might need calming medication or pheremones. Perhaps some pets prefer to stay in a quiet part of the house with food, water and toys. If your pets suffer from separation anxiety, plan accordingly.  Leaving an article of clothing such as the shirt you wore yesterday can calm anxious pets. Give your dogs potty breaks and walks or playtime. Be sure your kitties have clean litter. Children can overwhelm or play too rough with pets, so be watchful or assign someone to watch over pets and children when they play together. As always, use care in opening and closing doors. Cats and dogs especially like to scoot out of doors. Bird out of the cage can fly out. (It has happened!) Be sure all of your pets have tags. Dogs, cats and birds can be microchipped. Be sure the contact information is accurate and up-to-date. Ask your veterinarian about microchipping other pets. Decorations attract pets Keep decorations high and plan for what pets can get into. Candles are interesting because they flicker and smell. Keep furry and feathered pets from open heat sources. Flames can burn fur, feathers, ears, paws, and any other parts that come into contact with the fire. Candle scents and smoke can also cause allergies, so be attentive to physical or behavioral changes. If wreaths and other hanging decorations fall, they can shower the floor with dangerous pieces harmful to paws. Secure decorations. As you decorate, take time to set up slowly, and consistently teach your pets to "leave it". You can also practice "stay" or "place" with dogs. If you start decorating for Christmas this weekend, leave the bare tree up for hours or a day so the cat can learn to avoid the tree and your hard work isn't wasted. Cats climb trees, and some learn quickly while others take a tree down every year. Plan ahead to avoid frustration. Parrots can enjoy a cranberry or two, as long as the feathered companions won't demolish your decorative cranberry wreath. Dried cranberries are a part of many bird foods and mixes. Seasonal fruits such as apples and cherries are safe, but the pits are toxic to birds. Keep pets warm and comfortable Of course, never leave your pets outside in the cold or rain. Be sure they have healthy food and fresh, clean water. If you have freezing temperatures, provide fresh water a couple of times each day helps to ensure the pet's water isn't frozen. Holidays are a time of celebrating, decorating and enjoying yummy foods. Heed these Thanksgiving pet safety tips to take care of your pets. Love your pets well, and give them each a special treat to celebrate their good behavior. At Fluffs of Luv, your pet’s care and comfort is our primary concern. From now through the new year is hectic. Call us or visit fluffsofluv.com today to schedule visits now and for holidays. If you will be gone shopping or celebrating for extended periods, we can schedule additional visits! By Beth Crosby Resources www.companionparrots.org www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/thanksgiving-pet-safety.aspx Keywords Thanksgiving pet dangers Thanksgiving pet safety

Annual Cat Vaccines: A Look at Rabies ? By Beth Crosby If you have an inside cat, you know you should maintain annual vaccines, regardless of whether the cat goes out. If you have outside cats, both core and non-core vaccines are critical. Annual feline vaccines are divided into core and non-core. Core cat vaccines include Rabies, Feline Distemper (FVRCP), Feline Herpesvirus, and Calicivirus and are required for all felines Non-core vaccines are recommended if your cat's lifestyle necessitates them. Some viruses are recognized by cat owners, but what is calicivirus? And why does your cat need the non-core vaccines, Bordetella or Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)? We will answer those questions in the next several blog posts. Cats can contract and transmit rabies The focus today is on transmission and symptoms of rabies in felines. The rabies vaccination is a core vaccine required in all states. No cure is available for rabies in any mammal. Cats die from progressive paralysis caused by the virus or must be euthanized if symptomatic or known to be infected. No detection is available for live animals, so tests are performed after death. Cats most frequently infected In the United States, rabies has been reported in cats more than any domestic species since 1988. Rabies is most often transmitted through the bite of an infected animal, and cats are susceptible to the virus especially from wild animals. Feral cat populations often host the rabies virus and keep transmission active. If your cat is vaccinated, it will neither get the virus nor transmit rabies to humans through its bite. Rabies is painful to the animal and painful to watch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8fbAFOMTp4). ANY transmission of the infected animal's saliva to mucous membranes or open wounds can spread the virus. So humans who have any thought that the animal they are handling has been infected should wear protective gloves and ensure no contact with the potentially rabid animal. Also beware that noises can cause the animal to scratch or claw, along with other neurological disorders caused by the virus. Cats can carry the latent virus? Symptoms can appear within a week or remain undetected for up to a year after exposure. But soon after the virus becomes active, symptoms appear and rabies kills cats within a day or two. Symptoms increase Most people think of animals suddenly becoming aggressive and foaming at the mouth if they are rabid. Wild animals that are not afraid of humans or nocturnal animals that appear during the day might also be rabid. Cat rabies symptoms can involve aggression or restlessness and lethargy accompanied by muscle tremors, fever, weakness or uncoordinated movement. Symptoms also include increased vocalization, loss of appetite, weakness, disorientation, paralysis, seizures and even sudden death, according to The American Association of Feline Practitioners. Rabies is 100% fatal to cats? Changes in behavior are obvious, but much more happens inside the animal's body. Imagine the pain if a cat yowls or the fear when it becomes paralyzed. The virus attacks the brain and spinal cord, so disorientation and weakness likely make them fearful. The cat dies from progressive paralysis in both the classic "mad-dog" syndrome, which also affects cats, and the paralytic form. The less common paralytic form of rabies affects the throat and jaw muscles and often causes excessive salivation and the inability to swallow. Human infection can occur when examining the cat's mouth or giving medication with bare hands. Paralysis kills the cat within a few hours when this form strikes. Cats that are vaccinated will not get or transmit the rabies virus. Kittens need initial shots and boosters. Initial adult rabies vaccines last for a year but can generally be followed-up with a three-year shot. State laws dictate when vaccines are required. Keep copies of your vaccination records, both in case your cat bites someone and if you need pet care. Purrfect Paradise Hotel (http://www.purrfectparadisecathotel.com/) requires boarding cats to be vaccinated against rabies and FVRCP (feline distemper). At Fluffs of Luv, your pet’s care and comfort is our primary concern. We are extremely careful not to spread illness from one pet to the other, so we require all pets to be vaccinated annually. Call us or visit fluffsofluv.com today to schedule visits now and for holidays. Resources ?pets.webmd.com/pet-vaccines-schedules-cats-dogs - This link provides a useful chart of core and non-core vaccines. http://www.catvets.com/cat-owners/disease-and-conditions/rabies? http://www.merckvetmanual.com/pethealth/cat_disorders_and_diseases/brain_spinal_cord_and_nerve_disorders_of_cats/rabies_in_cats.html Keywords rabies vaccination rabies cat rabies symptoms

What viruses do annual core vaccines inoculate (part 2) By Beth Crosby In Fluffs of Luv’s most recent post, we discussed two viruses that the annual core canine vaccine prevents: rabies and distemper. Today’s post will explain parvovirus and canine hepatitis, the remaining viruses prevented by annual core vaccines. Parvo Canine parvovirus (CPV or parvo) is highly contagious. The virus can manifest in two different forms. The intestinal form is most common, with symptoms including vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, and lack of appetite. The cardiac form is not as common but can be deadly to puppies up to six months old. Younger puppies are most susceptible to deadly parvovirus. Puppies that are vaccinated early are affected significantly less than those that are not. Dogs contract Parvo Dogs that come into direct contact with an infected dog or its stool will likely contract the virus. An infected dog’s stool carries high concentrations of the virus. Humans who step in parvo-contaminated feces can track the virus to their dogs. Evidence suggests parvovirus can live in the ground for about a year, regardless of weather. Clean any surface exposed to the virus with the only disinfectant known to kill canine hepatitis, household bleach. At-risk Breeds According to PetMD, “Certain dog breeds, such as rottweilers, doberman pinschers, pit bulls, Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, English springer spaniels, and Alaskan sled dogs, are particularly vulnerable to the disease.” Pet MD continues, “Diseases or drug therapies that suppress the normal response of the immune system may also increase the likelihood of infection.” Canine Hepatitis This virus is most often found in dogs younger than one year and causes upper respiratory tract infections. Canine hepatitis also affects the liver, spleen, and kidneys. It can cause corneal clouding of eyes and endothelial cells (defined by PetMD as the cells that line the interior surface of the blood vessels). The virus cannot be eliminated, so treatment is limited to fluids and supportive care. Virus spreads many ways Canine hepatitis develops and grows in tonsils 6 to 8 days after exposure to this DNA virus from ingesting urine, feces or saliva. If your dog visits areas where other dogs can run and eliminate their bowels or comes into contact with other dogs, your dog is at higher risk of contracting canine hepatitis. Contaminated runs, kennels or cages, dishes, hands, boots, etc., can also facilitate transmission. Early in the illness, canine hepatitis sheds into the dog’s feces and saliva. The virus sheds in the urine for up to 9 months, even after the dog appears well. All of these bodily fluids can infect dogs. If the dog is also infected with parvovirus or distemper those infections worsen the prognosis (the course the virus will take). Symptoms vary Visible symptoms of canine hepatitis include eating less and appearing more thirsty. Infected dogs might appear lethargic, apathetic or depressed. As the illness progresses, you might observe fever, tonsillitis, vomiting or diarrhea in your dog. Call your veterinarian immediately if you notice bruising of skin or enlarged lymph nodes. Late stages of canine hepatitis frequently cause death within hours. The dog’s eyes might appear to have conjunctivitis (or inflammation in the eye or eye lid often called pink eye in humans). Discharge from the eyes and nose is another symptom. Less frequently, the dog suffers abdominal pain and vomiting. The mouth might develop pinpoint dark red spots or enlarged tonsils from internal bleeding. The virus will clear the immunized dog’s organs within two weeks, but will remain in the kidneys. Canine hepatitis will be shed in the urine for 6 to 9 months. Hepatitis blue eye affects vision If the virus is not completely neutralized, the dog will have chronic hepatitis. This condition leads to “hepatitis blue eye”. Late stage infection will result in 20 percent of cases developing eye inflammation and corneal swelling 4 to 6 days after infection. Dogs often recover within 21 days, but infectious hepatitis can progress to glaucoma and corneal ulceration. Canine hepatitis is not limited to our canine companions. The virus also is in “foxes, wolves, coyotes, bears, lynx and pennipeds (carnivorous aquatic mammals); other carnivores may become infected without developing clinical illness”, according to the “Merck Veterinary Manual”. We’re a call or a click away?Your pet’s care and comfort is of paramount importance to Fluffs of Luv pet sitters. We are happy to assist you with annual or emergency veterinary visits. Call us or visit fluffsofluv.com today to schedule additional visits you might need now or for the holidays. Copyright ©2016 Fluffs of Luv. All rights reserved.?If any part of this publication is reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or stored in a database or retrieval system, full credit must be given to Beth Crosby and Fluffs of Luv. No part may be used for commercial gain without the express written permission of Fluffs of Luv. KEYWORDS dog vaccinations annual shots annual vaccinations canine hepatitis parvo?parvovirus RESOURCES www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/generalized_conditions/infectious_canine_hepatitis/overview_of_infectious_canine_hepatitis.html www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2102&aid=405 www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/infectious-parasitic/c_dg_canine_hepatitis www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/infectious-parasitic/c_dg_canine_parvovirus_infection#

Eleven ways to Ensure Halloween Safety for your Dogs and Cats Many of us enjoy Halloween, whether we are kids yelling, "Trick or Treat"  for candy or adults dressing up. While we are planning the festivities, we must look out for the safety of our pets, too.  Keep reading for a list of ways to protect your pets. First, be sure you always have the closest emergency veterinary clinic's address and telephone number  handy. Keep both veterinarians' and poison control numbers (in references below) in your telephone contacts. (Take time to save your primary and emergency vet numbers in your telephone now.) For the benefit of your family, post the life-saving information in a conspicuous place.  The call incurs a charge, but it might save your pet's life. First aid training is helpful in these situations. * Candy & Gum ? No animal should eat sugar. The primary ingredient in candy can affect digestive health, cause tooth decay and obesity, and lead to diabetes. Many candies and sugar-free gums are made with Xylitol, which can be deadly to dogs and cats. * Xylitol ? This artificial sweetener can quickly kill both dogs and cats, so if you suspect the pet consumed Xylitol, contact your vet immediately. This naturally occurring sugar alcohol found in fruit, vegetables and mushrooms is available as granulated powder for cooking and baking as well as in candies or gum. So look carefully at the ingredients in treats, cookies and baked goods to keep your pets safe. If you are not sure of the ingredients, do not share the snack with your pets. Xylitol can cause liver failure and death. I knew of a dog that was otherwise healthy and died within 30 minutes of sneaking gum from the owner's purse. Symptoms of Xylitol poisoning include lethargy and loss of coordination as a result of lowered sugar levels. More dramatic signs are seizures, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, or widespread bleeding in the stomach, intestines, or abdomen. A dog's gums might show dark specks or splotches as bleeding spreads. * Chocolate and caffeine ? These favorites, even in the smallest amounts, can cause illness and death in pets. The symptoms of consuming these toxic treats are dramatic and require a veterinarian's immediate testing and intervention. Pets can die within 24 hours of eating chocolate or caffeine. Chocolate toxicity can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, restlessness, muscle tremors, and seizures, as well as hyperactivity, discomfort, and excessive thirst and urination. Chocolate and caffeine can also damage the heart and nervous systems. Baking chocolate and dark chocolates are more dangerous than milk chocolate, but keep all chocolate from cats and dogs. * Raisins ?  Grapes and raisins are toxic to pets and can cause kidney failure. Be on the lookout for candy and baked goods containing raisins and boxes of raisins. *Alcohol ? Much like any poisonous substance, alcohol can cause vomiting and diarrhea.  The central nervous system is affected and can cause difficulty breathing, tremors, interfere with coordination, altered blood chemistry, coma and even death. Some people find an intoxicated pet funny, but alcohol can resultin devastating consequences. * Tobacco and marijuana ? These products can affect pets' nervous systems and lead to death. * Costumes ? Many pet owners enjoy dressing their dogs and cats in costumes, especially for Halloween. If your pet doesn't mind wearing the costume, ensure that the attire does not constrict movement. The pet should be able to hear and breathe normally, eat and bark or meow. If the pet seems panic, suffer allergies, or show abnormal behavior, remove the costume. A decorative collar, harness or bandana might be the best option. Be sure to let your dog or cat try the costume and grow accustomed to the garb before the hectic holiday. *Decorations ? If you have pets, you know that your home's decor is often dictated by wagging tails or leaping cats. During this holiday season, consider battery-powered candles. Pets can burn themselves or cause a fire with traditional candles. Monitor your pets around decorative spider webs, rubber rats and other fun holiday traditions. String can cause digestive problems if ingested, especially if you don't know what happened and the pet seems to be in pain. This can result in severe pain, death, or a dangerous and expensive emergency surgery. * Door bell ? A ringing door bell and the squeals of excited children can torment a pet. Dogs often want to be involved in family activities, and cats get spooked. Both have raced through front doors to escape noise and hysteria. Secure pets in a room far from outside doors. Turning on a radio or television in the room can buffer trick-or-treaters or guests at a Halloween party. You do not want to stress pets more by making them feel trapped. * Children and guests ? Costumed children can scare unsuspecting dogs and cats. Protect the kids and guests from bites and scratches by putting your pets safely behind closed doors. * Outdoors ? Not everyone who goes out on Halloween has good intentions. Some cause mischief. Others tease, hurt, steal or kill pets on Halloween night. So keep your pets inside and bring outdoor pets, especially black cats, inside several days before Halloween and keep them inside for a few days after the holiday. If your pets don't like staying inside, consider putting them in a barn or garage and check on your pets often. * Identification ? Be sure you take time to check and update tags and microchips or GPS trackers. If your furry family member is scared and bolts outside, you want to give it every opportunity return safely. Provide a way for the person who finds your pet to get it home safely. We are committed to caring for your pets, so call us to schedule regular or holiday visits. RESOURCES: www.caninejournal.com/dogs-and-marijuana/? www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/poison-control-hotlines-to-contact-if-you-suspect-pet-poisoning/? ASPCA Poison Control phone number (888)426-4435 Pet Poison Helpline (800)213-6680 By Beth Crosby

Understanding annual dog vaccinations By Beth Crosby Pet owners know dogs need annual vaccinations. But the human caregivers don't always know about the viruses that core and non-core vaccinations prevent. (A future blog post will discuss annual feline shots.) Core and non-core vaccines Core vaccines are recommended for every puppy and dog. These shots fight rabies, parvovirus, distemper, and canine hepatitis. Today we will learn about rabies and distemper. Non-core vaccinations might be recommended, depending on the dog's lifestyle. For example, if the dog lives outdoors or is frequently boarded, additional vaccines are recommended. (This will be another blog post to look for.) Most owners know what rabies is but might not know the dangers of the other preventable, serious, and sometimes deadly, viruses that vaccines prevent. You might appreciate the following review on rabies. Rabies Rabies affects the central nervous system of humans and warm-blooded animals. The virus is zoonotic, meaning it can spread from animals to humans or vice versa. Wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes carry the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Rabies is transmitted through saliva. (Most of you know that foaming at the mouth is only one symptom.) Animal bites or scratches where saliva is introduced into muscle and nerve ending-rich tissues. Symptoms of the fatal disease can take from weeks to months to manifest, depending on where the bite or scratch is and how long the virus takes to travel up the spinal cord to the brain. According to World Health Organization, dogs contribute up to 99% of all rabies transmissions to humans. Throughout the world, children under 15 account for 40% of humans who are bit. The vaccination cannot cause rabies. (www.vaccines.gov/diseases/rabies/) Distemper is a highly contagious and serious viral illness. No cure is available, but with immediate, aggressive treatment, an animal might survive. The strain of the virus and the strength of the dog's immune system are factors in the dog withstanding the virus. Brain and nerve damage, such as seizures and paralysis usually result but might show up until later in life. Veterinarians have no cure, so they treat the symptoms. Canine distemper affects a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, respiratory and central nervous systems, as well as the membranes of the eyeball and eye lid. The virus initially attacks a dog’s tonsils and lymph nodes. It continues to increase for about a week before attacking the respiratory, urogenital (organs relating to urine and genital organs), gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. Death can result two to five weeks after initial infection. The virus spreads through the air and by direct (urine, blood, saliva, sneezing, coughing, sharing food and water bowls) or indirect (utensils, bedding) contact with an infected animal. Affected wild life species include raccoons, wolves, foxes, coyotes, skunks, and ferrets. In addition to wild animals and infected dogs directly or indirectly transmitting the virus, unvaccinated mother dogs can infect their puppies. Initial major symptoms of canine distemper are fever of 103.5 or greater, reddened eyes, and watery discharge from nose and eyes. Typical symptoms of a sick dog include lethargy, persistent coughing, vomiting, or diarrhea. Then distemper strikes other systems of the dog’s body. The nervous system is at risk, and as the brain and spinal cord are affected, the dog can have seizures, paralysis, and attacks of hysteria. Certain strains of canine distemper can cause abnormal enlargement or thickening of the dog’s pads. If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately isolate the dog to protect other pets and have your veterinarian diagnose and treat the virus. At Fluffs of Luv, your pet’s care and comfort is our primary concern. We are trained to look for symptoms of illness or changes in a pet’s behavior. We must be extremely careful that we do not spread illness from one pet to the other, so we require all pets to be vaccinated annually. Call us or visit fluffsofluv.com today to schedule visits during the fall and holidays. Resources pets.webmd.com/pet-vaccines-schedules-cats-dogs - This link provides a useful chart of core and non-core vaccines. peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2115&aid=950news-medical.net/health/What-is-Rabies.aspx pets.webmd.com/dogs/canine-distemper?petmd.com/dog/conditions/respiratory/c_dg_canine_distemper# Keywords Pet vaccinations Rabies Distemper Copyright ©2016 Fluffs of Luv. All rights reserved.?If any part of this publication is reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or stored in a database or retrieval system, full credit must be given to Beth Crosby and Fluffs of Luv. No part may be used for commercial gain without the express written permission of Fluffs of Luv.

Importance of Training with Hand Signals? By Beth Crosby You might notice changes in your dog's sight and hearing as it ages. Fortunately, we can train blind and deaf dogs. Today, we'll look at the benefits of training puppies with hand signals. Silent commands are useful with hearing dogs in loud situations and agility competitions. Instead of speaking to convey the desired behavior, the human moves his hand and possibly arms and body. Do you notice that you clap your hands when you call Rover? This might be an example of unconsciously using common sense signals to supplement our oral commands. Other times we intentionally teach the dog silent commands in addition to voice commands. "Hand signals encourage the dogs to watch as well as listen," Michael DeAngury explained. The Charlotte owner of Dog Training In Your Home continued," They are a primary means of training deaf dogs along with sign language". While no established dog hand training language is agreed upon, several hand commands are accepted by dog training professionals. Different people might use different commands, just as some pet owners say "Off" while others say "No!". (The distinctions in voice commands is another post. Dogs don't understand multiple definitions for a single word.) Hand training commands include sit, down (as in lie down), stand, heel, crate, and even a few fun offerings like spin. Hand training can prompt most, if not all, behaviors. In addition, pet owners use body language, body movement and sign language. At Fluffs of Luv, your pet's care and comfort is our primary concern. We are happy to enhance visits with your pets by using hand commands during our visits. Call us or visit fluffsofluv.com today to schedule fall and holiday visits. Copyright ©2016 Fluffs of Luv. All rights reserved.?If any part of this publication is reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or stored in a database or retrieval system, full credit must be given to Beth Crosby and Fluffs of Luv. No part may be used for commercial gain without the express written permission of Fluffs of Luv. RESOURCES deafdogs.org/training/signs.php? dogs.about.com/od/dogtraining/a/Training-Dogs-Using-Hand-Signals.htm

When should you take your pet to the vet? Some pet parents call the veterinarian about everything they notice: sneezes, long claws, or dirty ears. Others visit the vet only when the pet is on the brink of death. Both annual exams and emergencies warrant vet visits. Of course, puppies and kittens require more frequent check-ups during the first year. Annual visits can identify problems before they are too big to resolve. These visits also provide the opportunity for preventive care, such as heartworm medicine. If heartworm doses are missed, a test is required to determine if the pet is infected. Info on how to prevent heart worms Some people think traveling vets provide adequate care. These vets offer required shots and some tests, such as a heartworm test, but they don't offer "check-ups" or exams. Administering shots is only part of an annual visit to the veterinarian. What happens at a check-up? An annual veterinary visit includes examining the skin, eyes, ears, mouth, teeth and abdomen. Fecal and urine cultures can detect harmful bacteria, parasites, or infections. The vet also asks questions about behavioral changes, what kind of food and treats the pet eats, and changes the owner has noticed. Specific breeds require attention to traits such as hip dysplasia or ear infections. Veterinarians bring experience and  examine through the eye of an experienced animal practitioner. What additional care might be necessary? Veterinarians provide dental cleanings beyond what owners can do at home. Oral health becomes more important as the pet ages. Bad breath should be addressed with your veterinarian because malodor can indicate infected gums and tartar build-up. As with humans, infections can enter animals' bodies through unhealthy teeth and gums, resulting in a weakened immune system. The body is more susceptible to disease with compromised immunity. Poor tooth and gum health can cause pain that prevents pets from eating or dogs to snap if the mouth is touched. What other reasons would you go to the vet? If your pet exhibits signs of pain, discomfort or behavioral changes, call your veterinarian. Allergy symptoms such as runny eyes and noses or scratching are another reason to contact your vet. Also, if the pet gains or loses weight in a short time period, consult your vet. Pet Tech™, the first international training center dedicated to  CPR, First Aid and Care for dogs and cats, recommends an immediate visit to the vet if any of the situations below occur. Call your vet to let them know you are on the way in an emergency. Your vet might redirect you to a specialist or emergency veterinarian. Quickly getting the pet to the appropriate doctor is critical. What requires an emergency vet visit? 1. Trauma to head, chest or abdomen 2. Seizure, first time or prolonged 3. Arterial bleeding 4. Fractures 5. Poisoning 6. Shock - Symptoms include weak, rapid, shallow breathing; confusion; pale gums and weakness. The pet can be conscious or not. 7. Respiratory distress 8. Inability to walk 9. Bloat 10. Unconsciousness Time is of the essence in an emergency. Call the vet right away so that your pet is treated immediately. Know your vet's telephone number and address, as well as how to get there. Take time to write down and perhaps record on your phone Your vet's NAME ___________________ Address ___________________ Phone number ___________________ Any other specialists the dog sees NAME ___________________ Address ___________________ Phone number ___________________ Maintain a list of medications your dog takes, such as heartworm medicines, flea control, daily meds and glucosamine. Record immediately all medications you administered since the pet showed signs of injury or illness (Benedryl, pain reliever, Pepto Bismol, etc.) NOTE: Pepto Bismol and Kaopectate formulated with the ingredient bismuth subsalicylate are harmful to cats. As a responsible owner, you should take your pet to the vet for annual visits, as well as concerns for its health and emergencies. If you don't have a vet you like or trust, we can refer a provider for your pet. At Fluffs of Luv, your pet's care and comfort is our primary concern. We are trained in pet first aid and will take your pets to the vet in an emergency. We are also happy to transport pets to scheduled vet visits at the owner's request. (Schedule the additional vet visit.) Call us or visit fluffsofluv.com today to schedule visits. Resources pettech.net By: Beth Crosby Copyright ©2016 Fluffs of Luv. All rights reserved. If any part of this publication is reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or stored in a database or retrieval system, full credit must be given to Beth Crosby and Fluffs of Luv. No part may be used for commercial gain without the express written permission of Fluffs of Luv.

We can't wait to play with your furry family member. Call us today for a FREE consultation.

Fluffs of Luv, LLC

Pet Sitting, Dog Walking, Cat Sitting & Overnights

(704) 421-3492 (828) 668-2860 Text (704) 612-8166 Fax PetSitter@CallFluffs.com

We support The Humane Society of Charlotte. CLICK HERE to donate now.