Seeing your pet having a seizure is one of the scariest things that has happened to me as a pet owner. I hope that by writing about my experience I can help someone else who may have this happen to them at some point in their pet ownership journey. Twenty years ago, I had no idea what to do or what my dog having a seizure meant the first time it happened to one of our pets. Poor little Sadie barked at me to wake me up in the middle of the night and was running around the house as I had never seen her do before. Then she collapsed and just started shaking uncontrollably; she wouldn’t respond to anything I was saying to her. The shaking lasted for about 2 minutes, but to me, it seemed like 20. After the shaking stopped, she laid there for a while and slowly “woke up” and was just very tired the remainder of the night. This was 20 years ago, our Vet didn’t have emergency hours; I didn’t know if there was a 24-hour emergency Vet anywhere like there is today. I don’t think I slept at all the rest of the night. Thankfully though when we did get to the Vet the next day, they didn’t find anything wrong with our girl and she lived another 12 years before having another seizure.
The next seizure was much more severe than the first. It was at 1 o’clock in the morning. But this time I knew what to do. It wasn’t completely unexpected – we knew that Sadie had a nasal tumor and our time with her was growing short. That didn’t make the seizure any less scary because it was much longer than the first – this one lasted well over five minutes. And she did not recover from this one. All I could do was lay beside her and talk softly to her to let her know she wasn’t alone. Following this seizure, we took our girl to MedVet where we humanely euthanized her because we knew that was the right thing to do for her. We loved our sweet Sadie for 14 years through her very last breath.
Please take a moment to read this article to learn more about the causes of seizures in pets, what the signs of a seizure are (because it’s not always the flailing, shaking like what we experienced with Sadie) what to do for your pet when one happens, and how to talk to your Vet. This may one day help when you least expect it. The more we know, the better pet owners we can be.
Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer
More and more pet owners are understanding the need to care for their pets’ teeth. But not enough. Over the last few years, almost every dog that has entered our home through Laber of Love has had dental problems. Rotten teeth, nasal fistulas, broken canines, no teeth at all. These poor babies are in pain and they have health problems caused by horrible dental issues. Heaven has scar tissue growing in and around her mouth due to the fact that her teeth were removed at a young age (she is only 9), and the vet who removed them left the canines broken off in her gums. Nevaeh has no teeth left at the age of 10, her heart damage is probably due to bacteria from her teeth that entered her bloodstream. She also has nasal fistulas which are holes from her mouth up into her nasal cavity – the vet that removed her canines either didn’t properly close the incisions or there wasn’t follow-up care. Unfortunately, we can’t fix that issue due to her other medical conditions. Poor Forrest’s mouth was such a rotten mess that his dental cleaning cost $800, and he was in so much pain afterward due to the Vet having to pull so many teeth. Ray’s dental disease was a factor in his kidney disease. Can you imagine how painful that must be for all of them and for us to watch? Virtually all of this could have been avoided by regular dental cleaning at the Vet and a few simples things that pet owners can do at home. Please take the time to take care of your pets’ dental health. It’s not a minor part of their overall wellness – it is a major factor that can help or hurt their overall health from how well they eat to their heart, kidneys, and liver functions. It also keeps them happy. Imagine how you feel when you have a toothache, and multiply that times 42 because that is how many teeth a dog has. If interested in helping your pet’s dental health, take a look at this article for more information: https://www.stfrancisvh.com/blog/7-reasons-why-dental-care-for-dogs-is-important/
Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer
Introducing a new pet to your already established pack can sometimes feel stressful and overwhelming. Whether it be a pet that you’re keeping long-term or just interacting with another pet while you’re out and about, the key is to remain calm and be observant of the situation.
If you and your dog are out on a walk or in a store and encounter another dog, always make sure the encounter between your pets is mutually acceptable. Some dogs may be working, timid, or not great with close, social interactions. Once the interaction has been agreed upon with the other owner, watch for initial behaviors to gauge the pets’ willingness to interact cordially. If they seem to be tense, are turning their tails down, growling, yawning, and/or their hackles are raised, this is a sign that they are not comfortable with the interaction and should be separated before the situation escalates. Again, it is always important to know your dog’s behavior and watch for signs that do not seem friendly toward the other party.
Another way you may encounter this type of situation is if you are introducing a new pet to your home. While it can be a big task to take on, always remember to first do your research, remain calm, and know when to call in the experts if needed.
Every instance of introducing a new dog to your home can be different. Pets have different personalities just like humans. For example, puppies are developing skills and learning boundaries that adult dogs already have. If you are introducing a puppy to an established pack, keep this in mind and watch for those uncomfortable, tense behaviors. Don’t scold your adult dog for these behaviors. Instead, take a step back and give the adult dog a break or breaks as needed. If you’re introducing an adult dog to your home remember that each dog has had different experiences in life and may not approach an interaction the same way. Take the interaction slowly and if need be, change your approach. Your established dog may feel more comfortable at first with the new addition on a leash outside versus both being loose inside. Pay attention to your intuition and seek experienced help if needed.
Don’t give up on your furry friends if introducing them is not going well and don’t let a bad first impression sway you to make a rash decision. I’ve been there and experienced vastly different meetings within my own pack. You will never regret the time and patience that you give to bringing in a new pet to your home.
If you need help, reach out to your local training community for tips and/or training. I also found some helpful tips in this article from OSU: https://indoorpet.osu.edu/dogs/new_additions_dogs/dog-dog-intro
If you’re introducing a new dog to your home through adoption or foster, we wish you the best and hope you found this information helpful!
Nicole Bolin, Interim Board Secretary
As our pets age, we have to make some adjustments to keep them comfortable, happy, and healthy. These adjustments may be as small as adding a supplement (as guided by your Vet). But they can be bigger things too. At our house, we have primarily older or sick dogs as I am sure everyone has guessed. Some of these dogs find it hard to go up and down steps because of aching joints. Because of this when it came time for us to move we specifically bought a house that is one story. We also installed a ramp from the back porch down to the yard rather than them having to go up and down even those three steps. I can definitely say that the ramp not only helps the dogs but it helps my back too – I don’t have to carry anyone up and down! I’m not saying sell your house to make it easier for your aging pets, that’s just something we did because we knew we would have older pets at our house all the time with what we do.
There are a lot of small ways that you can help. Pet ramps are amazing – for both indoors and outdoors. They can help your pets get on and off the couch so that they can still be with you and are comfortable. They can be used for the bed as well if your pets sleep with you. A ramp can be a lifesaver for the car too! You can buy them online or at your local pet store, or if you are handy you can make your own.
As our pets age, their nutritional needs change as well. At your annual visit be sure to talk to your vet about diet. There are foods designed especially for senior pets, and there are supplements and vitamins that can be added to get the right balance for your pet. Your Vet would be happy to advise you on what is best for your situation.
Hopefully the better we take care of our aging pets, the longer they will be with us! For more ways, you can help your aging pet be comfortable, happy, and healthy check out this article: https://www.thesprucepets.com/aging-pet-care-awareness-3384785
Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer
As a dog owner keeping my dog’s toenails trimmed was always recommended to be a priority. It wasn’t until I started taking in homeless senior dogs that I realized why toenail care was such an important part of a dog’s healthy life. For whatever reason, these dogs will typically come to us with overgrown toenails that are causing them pain in their feet and even up into their joints. Then once you try to relieve the pain by trimming their toenails they are confused as to why you are touching their feet and causing them more discomfort.
August in Ohio. What a wonderful time for warm summer days, county fairs, bountiful harvests, and….allergies? Yep, you read that right: allergies. It is ragweed season, my friends! For some, that means runny noses, itchy eyes, and lots of sneezing. Guess what? If you’ve ever experienced seasonal allergies, you’re not alone. It turns out, seasonal allergies can also affect your pets.
When dogs experience these allergic reactions, you may notice them scratching between their legs, biting and licking their paws, and rubbing their face more frequently than normal. If left untreated, these symptoms can lead to bacterial and yeast infections, so it is important to get your pet into the Vet to diagnose the problem and learn how to provide relief for them. After all, we all want our fur babies to be as happy and as comfortable as possible!
For more information on seasonal allergies, check out the articles below.
Cortney Ley, Fospice Mom and Board Secretary