Canine Skin Issues

Canine Skin Issues

By Dr. Becker

 

Today I’m here with my model , Rosco, a Boston terrier who is one of my pack. He’s going to help me demonstrate how to deal with minor skin abrasions, cuts, infections and hot spots.

Rosco swims in a small body of water in front of our house. It’s a pond in the spring, and more like a swamp during the summer months.

Rosco swims and splashes around out there every day during warm weather, and as a result, he gets an impressive collection of bacteria on his skin.

When Regular Bathing Isn’t Enough

Even though Rosco and our other dogs get regular baths, all of them still wind up with localized skin infections on their bellies. It happens every summer without fail. I don’t panic about it, but I do know I need to address the situation as soon as I see it or the bacteria will continue to spread.

If a localized skin infection is left untreated, your dog could wind up on antibiotics, which is something we want to avoid.

I’ve never had to resort to antibiotics to treat my dogs’ bacterial skin infections, because I do two things as soon as I notice a problem:

·     Clean the skin and keep it clean

·     Disinfect the area regularly to stay ahead of the infection

Rosco’s Bumpy Belly

Rosco and our other dogs started getting these acne-like bumps on their bellies a couple weeks ago.

What’s interesting about these infections is one pimple will appear while another is healing. There’s a cycle of eruption and healing – as one pimple is erupting, another is slowly disappearing.

You can think of these bumps as similar to human acne. It’s not a life-threatening condition, but if you don’t address and control it, it can get much worse and may ultimately require medication.

As you can see when I stand Rosco up here that his infection is on his sternum. We can see healing eruptions, and we can also see a few lesions below those. They’re not bothering Rosco, but they bother me because I don’t want them to spread.

So, it’s time for another treatment.

Treating with Povidone Iodine

For skin infections like Rosco’s, and also hot spots, minor abrasions, and any other skin problem that either is infected or could become infected, we want to disinfect with a gentle solution.

The solution I’m about to use will take care of staph, yeast, and pretty much any common bacteria, but doesn’t sting or irritate the dog’s skin at all. And it’s safe if dogs lick the area after cleaning.

It’s povidone iodine, and I use it here at Natural Pet and also at home. You can buy it at any pharmacy.

For the purpose of disinfecting skin, you want to dilute the povidone iodine until it’s the color of iced-tea. I’ll pour a little of the iodine in a dish and add some warm water to dilute it.

The Disinfecting Process

Now I take a clean washcloth and soak it in the diluted povidone iodine solution.

My helper is going to hold Rosco up so I can access his belly and disinfect his sores. I’m just wiping the iodine-soaked washcloth over his sores, which removes the bacteria around the eruptions.

All animals, including humans, have normal levels of flora (bacteria) on the skin, as does Rosco. The goal isn’t to rub the skin raw of all bacteria, but just gently disinfect the whole belly, paying special attention to the areas where there are lesions and eruptions that could evolve into a more serious, secondary skin infection.

Now I’ll rinse out the washcloth, do one more swipe across Rosco’s tummy, and pat him dry.

The great thing about povidone iodine is it’s completely harmless if ingested. So Rosco can lick his belly with no problem.

I recommend you do this disinfecting process twice a day if your dog has a minor skin infection or other problem. It has effectively resolved all the skin infections my dogs have acquired and prevented the need for antibiotics.

 

Dementia in Pets

By Dr. Becker and comments by Diane Weinmann

According to the U.K.’s The Telegraph, a growing number of dogs and cats in Britain are suffering from dementia, and veterinarians are warning pet parents that sedentary lifestyles and poor diets are to blame.

An increasing number of dogs are dying of the condition, and cats are displaying “clumsiness” and confusion.

According to veterinarians, an estimated 1.3 million pets in Britain suffer from dementia, with a third of dogs showing signs of mental decline by the age of 8, and two-thirds by the age of 15. In cats, the condition is seen in about half of all kitties 15 and older, and a third aged 11 to 14.

Professor Dr. Holger Volk, a leading veterinary scientist at the Royal Veterinary College, told the Telegraph, “I don’t think that people really realize how serious this problem is.”1 He believes a lack of physical activity and a diet of “cheap pet food” play a primary role in the onset of dementia in dogs and cats.

“We are seeing an increase in pet obesity,” says Volk. “Just as we see health problems among people who are less active so we see the same problems with their pets eating more and getting less exercise and this may lead to an increase in dementia.”

Volk says U.K. pet parents have very little understanding of the problems they create by allowing their animal companions to become inactive and overweight, and this lack of awareness is causing them to miss the signs of declining health in their pets.

Signs of Dementia in Dogs and Cats

According to The Telegraph, signs of dementia in pets include:

 

✓ Getting “stuck” behind furniture and needing help to get out ✓ Walking in circles
✓ Forgetting what they’ve just done, for example, greeting their owner, and immediately doing it again ✓ Forgetting to eat, or forgetting they just ate
✓ Standing near the hinge side of a door instead of the side that opens ✓ Struggling to find their way around
✓ “Drifting away” from activities

Volk believes the key to preventing or slowing the onset of dementia is to make sure pets get regular, vigorous exercise. “Neurons in the brain go into decline with dementia,” says Volk, “and the more you exercise the more they remain active.”

He also recommends transitioning pets to a high-quality pet food containing fatty acids.

Dementia Rates in U.S. Dogs

Here in the U.S., dementia or cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) in dogs and cats has been on the radar of researchers, the veterinary community and many pet parents for at least a decade.

About a quarter of U.S. dogs 10 years and older show signs of brain aging, and over 60 percent of dogs have symptoms by the age of 15.2 However, dogs as young as 6 can begin to experience mental decline.

In a relatively young dog, it’s especially important to investigate for an underlying illness or disease before making a diagnosis of age-related cognitive decline. In dogs, we look for one or more of the following five common signs of CDS:

  1. Increased total amount of sleep during a 24-hour period
  2. Decreased attention to surroundings, disinterest and apathy
  3. Decreased purposeful activity
  4. Loss of formerly acquired knowledge, which includes housebreaking
  5. Intermittent anxiety expressed through apprehension, panting, moaning or shivering

Other signs of mental decline include failure to respond to commands and/or difficulty hearing, inability to recognize familiar people and difficulty navigating the environment.

There are three main contributors to the changes in an aging brain that cause a gradual impairment in cognitive functioning: oxidative stress from free radical damage, formation of lesions on the brain and alterations in oxygen and energy availability.

The brain is thought to be more sensitive to the effects of oxidation than other tissues of the body. The damage to your dog’s brain caused by oxidative stress can cause a decrease in cognition as well as degenerative nerve disease similar to, for example, Alzheimer’s disease in humans.

The aging process also involves the accumulation of beta amyloid deposits on the brain. These deposits consist of nerve-damaging protein that forms plaque. This “senile plaque” buildup interferes with the transmission of signals from the brain.

How Feline Cognitive Dysfunction Is Measured

Cats can also suffer a decline in their mental faculties, and many veterinarians and feline experts use the acronym DISH to measure cognitive dysfunction in kitties.

D = disorientation. Kitties with CDS may wander aimlessly, stare at walls and appear lost or confused at times. They may also intermittently fail to recognize family members.

I = reduced social interactions. A cat with CDS may seem confused when his guardian arrives home at the end of the day. He may also show less interest in being petted or sitting in his owner’s lap.

S = changes in sleep patterns. An affected cat may sleep more during the day but turn into an insomniac at bedtime, wandering the house and often crying out for no obvious reason.

H = house soiling/housetraining. Cats with CDS frequently lose their housetraining skills. This happens because they either forget the location of the litterbox, or they are no longer terribly concerned about their own cleanliness or perhaps a bit of both.

CDS in cats hasn’t been studied, so no scientific explanation currently exists for what causes the problem in felines. However, in humans and dogs, the condition is thought to be caused by Alzheimer’s-related changes in the brain (the formation of beta-amyloid plaques) or cerebrovascular disease.

In dogs with CDS, it is known that pathological changes in the brain are closely associated with the severity of dementia symptoms, and the same probably holds true for cats.

10 Tips to Help Your Aging Pet Stay Mentally Sharp

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help your dog or cat maintain good mental function for as long as possible, and delay the onset and progression of cognitive decline.

  1. Feed a nutritionally balanced, species-appropriate diet that includes omega-3 essential fats, such as krill oil, which are critical for cognitive health. The perfect fuel for aging pets is a healthy variety of fresh, living food suitable for your carnivorous cat or dog.
  2. Eliminate all refined carbohydrates (grains, potatoes and legumes) to allow more room for excellent-quality protein, full of critical amino acids, to be fed.

Eliminating extruded foods (kibble) means your pet won’t be consuming the toxic byproducts of the manufacturing process, including heterocyclic amines and acrylamides. You can improve digestion and absorption of nutrients by feeding a less processed diet, not to mention improving your pet’s microbiome, which has been linked to improved cognitive health in humans.

  1. Stop vaccinating and start titering. Vaccines don’t “wear out” over time, and more vaccines means more adjuvants and heavy metals that accumulate in your pet’s brain.
  2. Keep your pet’s body and mind active with regular exercise appropriate for her age and physical condition, and mental stimulation (puzzles and treat-release toys can be beneficial). Make sure your dog has opportunities to socialize with other pets and people. Think of creative ways to enrich your cat’s indoor environment.
  3. Provide a SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) supplement as a safe and effective way to stall or improve mental decline. Consult your holistic veterinarian for the right dose size for your dog or cat. There are also commercial cognitive support products available.
  4. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) have been shown to improve brain energy metabolism and decrease the amyloid protein buildup that results in brain lesions in older pets. Coconut oil is a rich source of MCTs. I recommend 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight twice daily for basic MCT support.
  5. Other supplements to consider are jellyfish extracts, resveratrol (Japanese knotweed), which protects against free radical damage and beta-amyloid deposits, ginkgo biloba, gotu kola and phosphatidylserine — a nutritional supplement that can inhibit age-related cognitive deficits. Consult a holistic veterinarian for dosing guidance.
  6. Keep your pet at a healthy size — overweight dogs and cats are at significant increased risk for disease as they age.
  7. Maintain your pet’s dental health.
  8. I recommend twice-yearly veterinary visits for pets no matter the age, but this becomes even more important for dogs and cats getting up in years. Keeping abreast of your animal companion’s physical and mental changes as he ages is the best way to catch any disease process early.

Ask your vet to perform a blood test to check your pet’s internal organ health to make sure you are identifying possible issues early on. There’s also a blood test that measures inflammatory fats you may want to consider. You can find more information at VRD Health.

These recommendations won’t be tremendously helpful for a pet in the advanced stages of cognitive decline, which is why it’s so important to diagnose and begin treating the problem as early as possible. Cognitive dysfunction is a progressive disease that can’t be cured, but early diagnosis and intervention can slow mental decline and offer your aging pet good quality of life.

 

Supplements for Horses

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As a horse lover I have provided many supplements to my various horses through my 42 years of owning and loving horses.  Obviously many of us horse lovers want the very best for our beloved equine friends and we turn to supplements to keep them comfortable and happy.  I have used hoof supplements, joint supplements, blood enhancers such as Red Cell and many more.  Ah, what we do for our pets!  Read all about supplements by clicking on the link.  Enjoy and learn!

 

Dogs Eating Poop

Why Dogs Eat Poop

By Keep the Tail Wagging

The show didn’t cover poop eating, which would have been perfect in this segment, so I’ll write about it here.  Rodrigo has a history of eating his poop – not the poop of other dogs, just his own.  This is related to his GI issues and adding a quality digestive supplement is what helped him.

When I was researching adding pancreas to his diet, I stumbled across a condition in dogs called EPI or Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency,  In this condition, the pancreas, which is the organ that regulates blood sugar level and produces digestive enzymes, isn’t working correctly resulting in symptoms that I was seeing in my dog.

I imagine Dr. Courtney and Dr. Olivieri cringing if they read that I used Google to diagnose my dog.  I talk to my vet too! I promise!

I give my dog a pancreas supplement called Bio Case Plus which has stopped the EPI symptoms, allowed him to produce raw fed poops finally, and stopped the poop ending.

What is Pica?

“Pica is a medical issue referring to a dog’s craving of a non-food item and the subsequent eating of said item. Coprophagia, meanwhile, is the eating and ingesting of feces. Generally, neither of these conditions are the result of an underlying disease, however, it can occur.”  Source: PetMD.com

My other dogs don’t eat random things.  My cat went through a period when he would eat the carpet; I bought him a few more cat toys and he stopped eating the carpet.  Now we have a few repairs to make around the house.

Why Dogs Eat Crazy Things

  • Hunger
  • Boredom
  • Anxiety
  • Stress

Medical Conditions that Cause Pica

  • Anemia
  • Diabetes
  • GI Issues, like IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Increased hunger
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Malnutrition
  • Neurological disease
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Thyroid disease

Signs of a Blockage in Dogs

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea and/or tarry stools
  • Difficulty pooping or inability to poop
  • Lethargy
  • Burping

If you think your dog has a blockage, call your vet immediately.  On this episode, Dr. Courtney spoke with a woman who’s dog ate glue, which expanded in his gut and created a life-threatening blockage that required surgery to remove.

The dog is fine today.

Diabetes in Cats

Diabetes in Cats

By Karen Decker and comments by Diane Weinmann

Sadly, feline diabetes rates have skyrocketed over the last decade. The disease is most often seen in overweight and obese adult cats who are fed biologically inappropriate dry food diets and get little to no exercise.  However, this is not always the case!

 

Feline diabetes is almost 100 percent preventable, so for the sake of your precious kitty, I hope you’ll give serious consideration to the importance of nutrition, exercise and maintaining your pet at a healthy weight. Tips for preventing diabetes in your cat:

  • Avoid dry food. All dry foods require starch (carbs) for manufacturing. Avoid canned cat foods containing grains (e.g., corn, wheat, rice, soy, millet, quinoa). Also avoid starchy “grain-free” high calorie, high-glycemic diets containing potatoes, chickpeas, peas or tapioca.

All the carbs (starch) in your cat’s food — which can be as much as 80 percent of the contents — break down into sugar. Excess sugar can result in diabetes.

Help your cat stay trim by feeding a portion controlled, moisture-rich, balanced and species-appropriate diet consisting of a variety of unadulterated protein sources and healthy fats, and specific nutritional supplements as necessary.

  • See to it that your kitty gets a minimum of 20 minutes of daily aerobic exercise.
  • Don’t allow your cat to be over-vaccinated. There’s a growing body of research that connects autoimmune disorders to diabetes in dogs, and the same may be true for cats. If your kitty has had vaccines in the past, there’s a high likelihood her immunity will last a lifetime.

Each time a fully immunized pet receives a repetitive set of vaccines, it increases the risk of overstimulating the immune system.

If you’re concerned about your cat’s disease risk, I recommend you find a veterinarian who runs titer tests to measure antibody response from previous vaccinations. Titer results will tell you whether vaccination is necessary, and for which specific diseases.

One of my friends was able to turn around the diabetes in her cat with diet changes—here is her story:

Case Study- Bonnie’s (Diane’s friend) Cat

Caressa is Bonnie’s cat who was diagnosed with diabetes.  Bonnie fed Caressa only wet cat food with the highest amount of meat and the lowest grains and veggies.  She chose Fancy Feast Classic and she stayed away from the fish variety.  The cat was fed only two times a day -morning and night – as close to the same time as possible.

Bonnie feels that if you catch the diabetes early enough sometimes just switching the cat to only moist food will bring them back to a normal blood glucose reading.  But with Caressa she had very high numbers and had to be on insulin.  She followed her vet’s tight regulation protocol.  With this protocol you draw blood and test it with a glucometer and then determine the amount of insulin to give your cat.  This was done twice a day, morning and evening.

It took a while but in time we no longer needed to give Caressa any insulin and her body stayed in a good range.  She remained diabetes free for almost 6 1/2 years before she ended  up with hyperthyroid.  One thing that is super important is that if your cat is ever diagnosed with diabetes you must always feed her the moist food, giving them any form of dry food can send them right back into the diabetic state.

Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing your experience with Caressa’s diabetes.  Caressa has transitioned into spirit but she was a sweet, darling girl and I was so glad you were able to keep her comfortable in your last few years together.

Do-It-Yourself At-Home Dog Checkup

By Dr. Becker DVM

Dr. Shea Cox of Bridge Veterinary Services in northern California, writing for The Bark, offers a do-it-yourself (DIY) dog checkup in seven simple steps, to which I added a few notes of my own:1Do-It-Yourself At-Home Dog Checkup

Dr. Shea Cox of Bridge Veterinary Services in northern California, writing for The Bark, offers a do-it-yourself (DIY) dog checkup in seven simple steps, to which I added a few notes of my own:1

 

  1. Your dog’s temperature should be between 100 and 102.5 degrees F. Take her temp using a digital rectal thermometer by lubricating the end with a bit of coconut oil and gently inserting it about 1 inch into the rectum of a small dog, and about 2 inches if your dog is larger. If it doesn’t slide in easily, don’t force it.
  2. You can check your dog’s pulse by locating the femoral artery inside her thigh. Use your fingers to gently feel for the roll of the artery and a pulse. Then just as you would when taking your own pulse, count the number of beats over a 15-second period and multiply that number by 4.

Dogs’ heart rates cover a wide range, but 80 to 120 beats per minute is considered normal for most dogs. Larger breeds, especially canine athletes, sporting and working dogs, tend to have slower pulses than small breeds and puppies.

 

  1. Starting at your dog’s head, take a careful look at his nose, which should be smooth and soft to the touch, and clean. (It doesn’t necessarily have to be cool or moist, by the way. Healthy dogs sometimes have dry, warm noses.)

 

Next, check his eyes, which should be bright, moist and clear, with little or no discharge. The pupils should be the same size, and the whites should be white (not yellow, pink or red), with just a few visible blood vessels. His ears should be clean, dry and odorless (or nearly).

His gums should be a healthy pink color and moist. There should be no lesions or swelling in his mouth, and no bad breath. His teeth should be free of tartar and plaque, the tongue clear and the roof of the mouth clean and free from debris.

  1. Moving down to your dog’s chest, notice how he breathes. His chest should move in and out without effort, and the breaths should be rhythmic. Unless he’s panting or is a flat-faced (brachycephalic) breed, his breathing shouldn’t be audible.

The normal resting respiration rate for dogs is 15 to 30 breaths per minute. If your dog is sleeping, his rate will be closer to 15 breaths per minute. If he’s excited or anxious, it will be on the higher end of the range. Small dogs tend to have faster breathing while at rest than larger dogs.

  1. Next, take a careful look at your dog’s skin, which is actually the largest organ of her body and can give a pretty accurate picture of her overall health. Her skin should be soft and smooth with no lesions.

There should be no redness or rough spots, and very little odor. Her coat should be soft, shiny and smooth (unless she’s a wirehaired breed).

  1. Check to insure your dog is well-hydrated. You can do this by gently lifting the skin of her neck or back into a “tent” and releasing it. It should quickly return to its normal position. If it returns slowly or remains in the shape of a tent, she may need more drinking water or moisture in her diet.

Now to the torso. Put your hands just behind her ribs and gently press on her tummy. If she’s just had a meal, you may feel a fullness on the left side of her stomach just under the ribs, which is normal.

Evaluate her muscle tone and weight. If you feel she’s carrying extra weight, you’ll want to address the issue with more exercise and feeding a nutritionally balanced, species-appropriate diet.

Check for heat and swelling over her body, and test the range of motion of the joints, which should move freely, without resistance or difficulty.

Moving your hands over her body toward the rear, feel for lumps, bumps and masses; signs of discomfort; or distention of the belly that may warrant further investigation by your veterinarian.

If you notice an unusual lump, bump or wart during your DIY exam and you don’t think it warrants immediate attention, it’s a good idea to start a body chart for your pet. Draw a simple diagram of her body and note whatever you’ve found in the appropriate place on the drawing.

Be sure to include exactly where it was found, when you found it, how big it is and whether you’ve noticed it changing. If you notice a lump that has grown bigger or changed appearance a day or two later, make an appointment with your vet.

Finally, examine her toes, nails and the pads of her feet. There should be no debris between the toes, the nails should be clipped to a comfortable length and the pads of her feet should contain no cuts or sores.

I need Diane’s lotion bar please!

If you examine your dog regularly, you’ll quickly become familiar with what’s normal and what’s not. Performing regular at-home exams is a simple and very effective way for you to keep a close eye on your canine companion’s health.

 

Vet-Approved Human Medications for Pets

By Helen Anne Travis

When our pets are sick, we want to do everything possible to make them feel better. Sometimes that means giving them the same medications we use to treat our own strains, sprains, and symptoms.

 

While some of the pills and potions in our medicine cabinets are safe for pets, it’s imperative to consult your veterinarian before administering any new medication, says Dr. Cathy Meeks, a board-certified internal medicine specialist and a Group Medical Director at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa, Florida.

 

“We have to remember the size of our pets compared to us,” she says. “Even with the medications that are safe for pets, the dosages are drastically different.” And some drugs are flat out dangerous for pets at even the tiniest doses.

Here are nine “human medicines” that, when dosed properly, are vet-approved to help your pet feel better faster.

Pepcid

Uses: Helps reduce stomach acid and protect the stomach lining

Pepcid can be used to treat or prevent ulcers and inflammation caused by stomach acid in pets and humans. Some pet owners also administer it to pets to help with vomiting. But this isn’t always a sure-fire plan, Meeks says. If your pet is vomiting and uninterested in her food, it could be a sign of a bigger problem. Consult your veterinarian if symptoms continue, she advises.

While Pepcid is relatively safe for pets, in dogs it may cause side effects such as loss of appetite and drowsiness, says Dr. Carol Osborne, an integrative veterinarian and author of the books “Naturally Healthy Cats” and “Naturally Healthy Dogs.”

“Signs of overdose include vomiting, increased heart rate, red mouth and ears, pale gums, restlessness, low blood pressure, and collapse,” Osborne says.

Prilosec

Uses: Helps reduce stomach acid

Prilosec is another acid-reducing medication that’s generally safe for pets, Osborne says. But it’s not without its side effects, which may include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence, and changes in urination or behavior

Lomotil

Uses: Antidiarrheal and cough reliever

While Lomotil can treat diarrhea, it’s most often used as a cough suppressant in dogs. Smaller toy breeds are predisposed to collapsing trachea, a condition whose symptoms include a persistent cough, Meeks says. Lomotil can help dry out the air passages and reduce the spasms that cause coughing.

Lomotil is a relatively safe drug, but since it’s also an antidiarrheal, side effects may include constipation in pets and confusion in pet owners, she says.

“Whenever I prescribe it, people will call back and say, ‘I think you gave us the wrong medicine,’” Meeks says.

Benadryl

Uses: Antihistamine and mild sedative

Just like with humans, Benadryl can be used to help treat acute allergic reactions, Osborne says. It can also serve as a mild sedative for pets who are stressed out by road trips or fireworks and as a preventative for motion sickness.

Side effects include dry mouth, decreased urination, vomiting, and loss of appetite, Osborne says. It may also cause hyperexcitability in cats.

To learn more about giving Benadryl to dogs, watch this video. By Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Benadryl, also known by its generic name diphenhydramine, is one of the few over-the-counter drugs that veterinarians routinely have owners administer at home.  While it is generally well tolerated and has a wide safety margin, there are a few things owners should keep in mind before dosing it at home:

1. What is Benadryl used for?

Benadryl is an antihistamine, blocking the H-1 receptors on smooth muscle and blood vessels. Some of its most common indications are the treatment of environmental allergies, allergic reactions to insect bites or stings, and pre-treatment of vaccine reactions. It also has some efficacy in the prevention of motion sickness in dogs and as a mild sedative.

2. When should I not use Benadryl?

Benadryl is contraindicated with certain conditions, such as pets with glaucoma, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. It’s always best to contact your veterinarian for guidance before administering any medication to your pet, including Benadryl.

  1. How much Benadryl should I give?

The standard dosage for oral Benadryl is 1 mg per pound of body weight, given 2-3 times a day. Most drug store diphenhydramine tablets are 25 mg, which is the size used for a 25 pound dog. Always double check the dosage before giving an over the counter medication. In addition, many formulations are combined with other medications such as Tylenol so make sure Benadryl tablets contain only diphenhydramine.

  1. When should I contact my veterinarian?

Oral Benadryl is considered a mild to moderately effective antihistamine. If a pet is having an acute allergic reaction with facial swelling or difficulty breathing, skip the oral medications and go straight to the vet. Many allergic diseases require a combination of medications and treatment of underlying infections; if your pet is not responding to the medication, talk to your vet for other options.

Saline Eye and Nose Drops

Uses: Rinses, moisturizes, and relieves congestion

Meeks says she uses children’s nose drops to help clear the upper airways of congested cats. Saline eye drops can also help relieve mild conjunctivitis and other eye irritations.

Dramamine

Uses: Relieves motion sickness and vertigo

Pets get dizzy too, Meeks says. Properly dosed Dramamine can help relieve the symptoms of carsickness and vertigo. The most common side effect is drowsiness, she says.

 Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Uses: Improves joint health

These supplements can be administered to older or injured animals to help alleviate the pain caused by arthritis and other joint problems, Meeks says. There are little, if any, side effects, she says.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Uses: Emetic

Everyone’s favorite stinging antiseptic can also help induce vomiting in pets who have swallowed something they’re not supposed to, say a dog who just ate five chocolate bars. But call your vet first. You don’t always want to induce vomiting when a pet has eaten something dangerous. Batteries, among many other examples.