Drumroll: The Top Blogs of 2019 From Goldorado Animal Hospital 

Many of us view our pets as family and treat them accordingly. And with increased awareness of what it takes to keep a pet healthy and well, we’ve seen our community of responsible pet owners increase every year. 

Regular wellness exams are the cornerstone of pet health, and we are continually impressed by how our pet owners ensure the wellness of their pets. We receive many questions about how best to care for pets, and in response, we publish a pet care blog each month. Our goal is to provide pet health information that is relevant and useful, and maybe even a little bit fun! 

We took the opportunity of the new year to look back at which topics you found most interesting, and have compiled them here. Please enjoy our top blogs of 2019!

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Traveling with Your Pet During the Holidays

Traveling with your pet is a wonderful way to include them in family fun, but it is not without its challenges. Pet travel is now the norm as we treat our fur friends as family members.  There are numerous pet friendly lodging options and pet welcome restaurants, cafes, malls, and other fun choices in entertainment. 

The team at Goldorado Animal Hospital encourage you to make some plans to make this holiday the best (and furriest) by following some of these helpful tips.

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This Holiday Season, Everybody Wins With DIY Pet Treats

When it comes to making DIY pet treats, you can bet there is a niche market for the exact type of product you’re looking for. You can also develop your own recipes and become a social media influencer yourself! At the very least, Goldorado Animal Hospital hopes your pet has a satisfying, even indulgent, holiday season, one that is free from worry.

Protecting Them From…

Let’s face it, the months between Halloween and Easter can be really dangerous to pets. Chocolate is everywhere, toxic plants, and more household visitors can mean greater exposure to hazards. 

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Pot and Pets: The Straight Dope

A small white dog looks a little out of it while wearing a red, bejeweled collar against a white background

Since the passing of Proposition 64 in 2018, cannabis use has exploded across California. Although the drug can have a positive impact for both medicinal and recreational users, the effects on our pets is quite the opposite.

Since pot was first legalized, veterinarians throughout the state have seen a dramatic increase in cases of marijuana toxicity in pets. Pot and pets simply don’t mix, and it’s critical that all pet owners, regardless of whether or not they use the drug, be aware of its dangers to their furry companions.

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Red Eyes in Dogs: Cause for Panic or No Biggie?

If you notice your pet’s eyes looking red or irritated, you probably will want to know what is causing it. Goldorado Animal Hospital knows it can be hard for pet owners to know when to worry about these things, and we are here to help. Red eyes in dogs is never normal, and it’s always a good idea to call us whenever you notice a problem with your pet’s eyes.

Why Red Eyes in Dogs Happen

There are quite a few things that can contribute to red eyes in dogs. While pulling an all-nighter is not a likely culprit, we do see a varied number of causes from serious to totally benign. 

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Grain Free Pet Food and Other Potentially Fatal Fads

When it comes to choosing the best food for your pet, the choices are overwhelming at best. On top of that, it seems that everyone has an opinion. If you ask (or even if you don’t) you are likely to be bombarded by information from your pet store clerk, breeder, trainer, best friend, and various pet food review websites. So how are you to know what the right choice is?

Goldorado Animal Hospital is here to help! We hope that you will consider our stance with a little more weight given our education and history of providing care with your pet’s best interest at heart. 

Learn why we are taking a tough stance against grain free pet food and other fad diets lacking scientific background. 

Where the Grain Free Pet Food Fad Turned

Grain free pet food, all meat diets, and other fad diets featuring “holistic” ingredients are nothing new. The veterinary community has long recognized that these types of pet foods are largely popular due to marketing with little, if any, scientific basis. 

Until recently, though, veterinarians have turned a mostly blind-eye to these types of feeding regimens. While we have found them to be mostly unnecessary, client demands and media pressure have made us relatively silent on the matter. After all, for most pets these diets were harmless, albeit expensive.

That has changed. As of July 12, 2018 the FDA released an alert to veterinarians after recording a significantly increased number of animals diagnosed with a serious heart problem called dilated cardiomyopathy. The pets being diagnosed had one thing in common: they were all dogs eating grain-free or other boutique or exotic diets (kangaroo, bison, etc.) containing peas, lentils, potatoes, or other legume seeds. 

Dilated cardiomyopathy is nothing new. We have historically diagnosed this potentially fatal heart issue, especially in predisposed breeds such as Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, and Great Danes. The FDA alert in 2018, however, noted reports in breeds that we have previously not  had a significant problem in, including Golden Retrievers, Miniature Schnauzers, and Labs.

Perhaps the scariest part of this whole debacle is that no one yet knows for sure what is causing this to happen. The best information that we have is that there is a strong correlation between the diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy and pets being fed BEG diets (those made by boutique companies, made with exotic ingredients, and grain-free).

Our Advice

So what is a pet owner to do? It is difficult to know how to proceed. No one wants to put their pets at risk of a serious heart condition, yet there are opinions on all sides. The resounding advice from veterinary nutritionists and the educated veterinary community is to steer clear of these BEG diets, though. 

So where do you even begin?

Stick with feeding trials — When commercial diets are produced, AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) they can be approved as a formulated diet which means that the nutrient profile on paper appears adequate for the type and species they are intended for. Look for diets that have been approved via feeding trials, which means that live animals have been shown to do well on them.

Don’t look to taurine — In cats we have discovered that the amino acid taurine must be supplied through diet in order to maintain healthy heart function. This is why cats don’t do well on vegetarian diets. Some people wishing to continue to feed BEG diets are supplementing taurine. At this time, though, while it appears that some pets suffering from diet-induced taurine deficiencies, this is mostly not true. Taurine supplementation will not always prevent DCM in pets on suspect diets. 

Raw or homemade isn’t better — In the face of this apparent nutritional concern in the pet food industry, many pet parents are tempted to turn to raw or homemade diets for their pets. This is a risky move, however, as the problem has also been identified in pets fed these types of diets. Pets fed homemade diets are also at high risk for other nutritional deficiencies and imbalances as well.

Proceed with caution — If your dog currently eats a BEG diet but doesn’t have any sign of heart trouble, the choice is yours. Because we don’t know exactly where the problem lies, and because it doesn’t appear that every or even most dogs on these diets have a problem it is hard to offer advice on whether it is safe to continue or not. Because dilated cardiomyopathy is a potentially fatal disease and can be difficult to detect in the early stages, it is often best to reconsider your pet’s BEG diet. 

If you are overwhelmed by the choices, please give us a call. We are happy to help guide you. We also recommend using resources provided by board-certified veterinary nutritionists such as the website through Tufts University.

There is a lot of information out there when it comes to feeding your pets. We hope that you will turn to us when it comes to sorting through all of it. Our education, experience, and compassion should speak for themselves. 

Camping Essentials: Your Summertime Guide to Camping With Dogs

For some of us, there can be nothing better than spending time in the great outdoors. Pitching a tent near a lake, in a forest, or anywhere else can be what recharges us.

Have you ever included your pets on these excursions? Camping with dogs can be fun and entertaining. It can also be stressful, unless you follow the Scout motto: “Be Prepared”. With that in mind, Goldorado Animal Hospital shares our best tips for camping with dogs.

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Avoid Standing Water, Prevent Canine Leptospirosis

Who knew puddles and ponds could be so dangerous to a frolicking, curious, and thirsty dog? A sloppy drink from standing water may not always get your pooch in trouble, but unknown water sources can absolutely be contaminated with dangerous bacteria called leptospira. Known for causing canine leptospirosis, a bacterial infection, people can also become sick from this zoonotic illness.

In other words,  a quick slurp from a suspiciously still body of water probably isn’t worth the risk.

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Benefits for All: Crate Training 101

There are plenty of internet articles touting the “easy” way to crate train your puppy or dog, but no matter which way you slice it, crate training requires patience, gentleness, and positivity. With those three ingredients in mind, we’ll share some reasons crate training can be beneficial as well as our tips for success!

First Things First

Different people have different circumstances that may make crate training a good idea. Here are some common reasons:

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