For Gertrude; Our Last Day

For Gertrude; Our Last Day

My journey with Gertrude hasn’t been easy. It’s been one of the most difficult and biggest life changing experiences of my life.

When I picked her up from a transport rescue who had traveled to Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas I had no idea what I was in for. Her need for a foster seemed so desperate. 

Gertrude tested positive for heartworm the day I got her. She immediately saw the doctor the following Wednesday (three days later ) where she was diagnosed as terminal. The worms had been inside her heart for too long, and killing them would kill her. Her heart and liver were enlarged and she was diagnosed grave or terminal. She had such a heavy worm burden they warned me she could drop dead at any second. 

The rescue made it my choice to either foster her until death (one to three weeks). Since she was in discomfort my other option was to euthanize her that week. I chose euthanasia.

They scheduled to euthanize Gertrude a few days later. In those few days, I realized so much from her. Just because she was dying doesn’t mean she is dead. 

I couldn’t put her down. I knew if I did it would be because I didn’t want an old, scared, dying, and untrained dog in my house. I’m a dog lover, it’s my civic duty to save all lives, even the terminally ill ones.

I decided I was going to cure Gertrude: if you think that’s how the story ends it doesn’t. it hasn’t ended yet: her appointment is tomorrow at 4:15 pm. I researched heartworm like a nerd in a library and tried many techniques. I reached out to everyone I could and every veterinarian I knew from work and all confirmed her grave diagnosis. 

When I finally accepted her fate, I decided; I wanted to keep her alive as long as I could. The problem is the terminal illness no matter how healthy she becomes is still terminal. Manifesting in her blood stream and heart the warm burden is too heavy and she is in extreme discomfort having her heart sacrificed to the worm burden. 

For weeks I have prepped her meals full of proteins and nutrients to put some weight on her and gave her cough tablets, supplements, and pumpkin seeds in hopes of “paralyze” any worms. For two, almost three weeks Gertrude did great. Her strength was up, she had slept off years of uncomfortable sleep, and she seemed less depressed. I sort of fell in love with her personality the more she showed me how much she wanted to be a dog. Her personality radiates strong even though she appears weak. She’s a survivor. First time playing with a ball Debating whether or not to trust the food I feed Her finding out there were so many toys she could eat Located the toy bin She’s in my spot 

She started moving from one side of the couch to where I sat. I couldn’t tell if she was trying to take over or if she was bored of her toy/blanket/fort 

Until she let me take a selfie. I realized she was shy, and she was just not sure she could trust meThat might’ve been one of the best days of both of our lives

I didn’t resent her for not trusting me. I don’t think I fully trusted her. I would sleep on the couch just to make sure she didn’t go to the bathroom (but she would inevitably do anyways when I was asleep) it wasn’t until my body gave up from exhaustion that I went to my room, a room she was not allowed in, and I slept and slept and slept some more. 

I realized all she wanted was to go into my room. It was something she’s never done and wasn’t allowed to do. I refused to let her come in and lay on my bed. I didn’t want potty accidents in that one area of my home. I would have continued to not let her have my boyfriend not caught this image of us while I was asleep. 

From That moment on we immediately trust each other. She never went potty in the forbidden room. To this moment she hasn’t. 

We still spend every second together. We don’t leave the bedroom and every hour is sleep hour. 

at this moment she can trust me I can trust her. 

Knowing when the right time to put her down and working in veterinarian feeling like I should know when the right time is one of the hardest emotional struggles I’ve ever faced. I woke up to her coughing and I laid there. At that moment I start crying as I realize there’s never a right time. There will never be a good time to put her down. S

o, the choice has been made because if I were her and I was suffering I would want her to put me down before I suffered anymore as long as I at least lived a happy life for a little bit.

I don’t want her to be in any more pain ever again. To die happy with me is what she would want, its what any dog would. Holding on to her past her expiration date only ruins any good that I had done. She’s had enough years of suffering. 

So here we spend our last night together and she rests peacefully. If people think that an old, used-up dog isn’t worth their time then they are missing out on a very eye-opening, emotional, and bittersweet event. Not one thing, no dog, no species, is worth nothing. We all deserve a good life. Even if it’s just for a little bit. 

I will forever hold this dog in my heart. She broke down a wall I had by showing me hers. Words can’t describe the immense sadness I feel. I hope everyone can learn from this experience. Life is short, trust is earned and it’s okay to talk about death. Death is a part of life. Old dogs know the best tricks and saying goodbye never feels good. It doesn’t feel good even though its right. Me being there for her during is as important as any other part of our adventure together. She can trust me until the very end. I’m going to miss my friend 

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Share this: byThe Taco TalkPosted inUncategorizedTags: euthanasia, goodbye, happiness, medicine, memory, nerves, saying goodbye, spirits, spiritual, wisdom, words

Published by The Taco Talk 

I cover a wide range of subjects not limited to any specific field but engaged mostly with Veterinary medicine, animal behaviour, sociology and psychology. I research a lot of science and technology, and even the sociology of artificial intelligence. The thoughts and questions concerning anything that might cross one’s mind- toilet thought.View more posts

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How can you tell if a pet store gets their pets from a puppy mill?

How can you tell if a pet store gets their pets from a puppy mill?

How to Identify puppy farmla dog breeders and backyard breeders.

“Puppy mills
are commercial breeding facilities that mass-produce dogs (and cats in cat mills) for sale through pet stores or directly to consumers through classified ads or the Internet. Roughly 90 percent of puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills.” – PAWS – resources puppy mills

PAWS › resources › puppy-mills

As horrible as puppy mills are, the ASPCA estimates that there are still more than 10,000 of them in the United States alone. If you want to make sure that your next puppy isn’t coming from a puppy mill, keep an eye out for the following ten signs:

  1. The puppies come from out-of-state – particularly Midwestern states like Missouri and Illinois.
  2. The puppy’s parents are not kept in the same facility, and you cannot see them before buying.
  3. The breeder wants to meet somewhere else if you request a visit to their facility.
  4. The facility offers several different breeds – reputable breeders focus on one or two species.
  5. The breeder has multiple litters available at the same time.
  6. Neither the parents nor the puppies have been appropriately vaccinated.
  7. The breeder makes extreme promises about the puppy’s size, temperament, or other quality.
  8. The puppies may smell like a kennel, and they are likely to have low coat quality.
  9. The breeder doesn’t ask you to fill out any kind of contract or spay/neuter agreement.
  10. The puppy is under eight weeks of age or appears to be much younger than the breeder claims.

Unfortunately, if something on this list is right about the puppy you are thinking about buying, a puppy mill breeder is unlikely, to be honest about it. For example, a puppy mill breeder might offer you papers and a license for your puppy, but if you look more closely, you may be able to tell that it is fake. If at any point the breeder doesn’t appear to be forthcoming about information regarding the puppy, its parents, or the breeding facilities, it is a big red flag. Not only should you avoid buying from this breeder, but you should also report him to the ASPCA or the Humane Society.

Buying a puppy from a pet store is a significant risk for several reasons. For one thing, many of the puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills, and it is straightforward to fake the papers or registration that pet store owners use to convince you that it is not so. If you want a puppy, consider adopting from a shelter or go through a reputable breeder.

10 Signs Your Dog is From a Puppy Mill – PetGuide



Dogs Naturally Magazine, a Veterinary based magazine, inspired me to research this incredibly important, Interesting, and alarming article about dog nutrition.

Studies recently show canines eating brand new diets to pups eating brands with nutrition deficiencies (I.e., Pedigree, Beneful, Alpo), which contain large amounts of processed foods, found that dogs eating fresh foods statistically live on average two years and eight months longer than those with the low nutritional diets and/or “cheap” brands.

That’s an extra thirty-two months on your beloved fur baby’s life.

There are many explanations for canines prematurely aging. Contemporary research shows that telomeres – a compound structuring at the end of a chromosome “shortening” could be one connection between processed diets and a shortened life.


The end of each chromosome is a stretch of DNA named telomeres in both canines and homo sapiens.

Telomeres 🧬 are essentially the tough rounded ends of shoelaces. Telomeres conceal the perimeters of your dog’s chromosomes and stop ✋ them from unfolding. 🚫

As canines age, their telomeres get shorter. Generally, old canines have immensely shortened telomeres. Every time a cell divides, the acting telomere for that chromosome gets shortened. Cells are continually dividing, such as surface cells like skin and cells within significant organs such as the liver.

Once the telomeres are wholly gone, its chromosome on the DNA unfolds 🧬 , and the cell will execute one of three plans:

  • Self-destruction (apoptosis)
  • Go Solo (evolve cancerously)
  • Retire (becomes senescent)

The body is continually residing with cancers and stands adequately equipped to handle them. If the immune system is working sufficiently, it can pick up and demolish any cancerous cells. Again, that’s if the immune system is not compromised.

It’s the senescent (or cessation of cell division) cells that do the most damage to the body. Senescent cells are the one guy who ruins the party as these cells come baring early-onset of age-related disease.

Senescent cells lay dormant, and at any given time in the body, they discharge poisonous chemicals. These chemicals begin to grip to encircling healthy cells, causing that cell to become senescent or cancerous.

You need to protect the telomeres.


Researchers in Spain looked at telomeres size and diets in human participants. They lay the first stone that the more processed diets they ate, the faster they shortened telomeres.

Partakers that ate three or more servings of refined or processed foods everyday stood 82% more apt to bring into light shortened telomeres.

What is refined or processed food? Like yourselves, your canine companions rely solely on the diet you feed them and to enhance longevity, as well as address specific breed diets and needs it’s important to know how to read a dog food label and more important to understand it. Think of processed food as “fillers”. Bad brands of dog food will usually list a filler or a meat “meal or derivative” (essentially ANY part of the protein source, I mean any part) and include a lot of grains such as corn to keep your pet full for longer. Corn, isn’t easily digested whole for humans, and it’s no better for dogs. This does not mean you should feed your pets grain-free food. It means the grains if at all should be healthy, ground up if needed, and easily digested.

Recent articles in both frontline and DVM360 have linked grain-free diets to cardiomyopathy or heart disease/failure. Hills Food Manufacturer sent a disturbing informational article to all associate Veterinary hospitals in June of 2019 showing the research-based evidence and development of grain-free diets and heart failure or sudden death due to heart issues in over five hundred canines.


A LOT of pet foods and food brands (raw foods included) encompass refined ingredients. The ingredients are exposed to high heat, processing machines, or prepared in a laboratory and approximately entirely nurtured by human reserves. It cuts expenses for the pet food corporation to put fillers and processed food in the nourishment as grain is an inexpensive crop and corn is the cheapest. Corn that is not ground up is not generally tolerated by humans nor pets- the food must contain appropriate grains such as “ground” corn.

The first ingredient listed should always be the protein source (meat). Don’t be fooled by the word meal derivative or meals; this meat is essentially the meat you don’t want your pet to have (I.e., Weird body parts or even meat from untrustworthy or none grass-fed animals from non-accredited farmers).

Dog food standards are not the same as human food standards. The only thing a dog food brand needs is a label listing the ingredients and for it to be visible on the bag. No further testing of the food to date is required by law. PET FOOD DOES NOT need to be FDA tested unless it’s a prescription diet. It does need to pass its own “FDA” mentioned below.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) provides nutritional standards (called model bills and regulations) that pet food manufacturers must abide by if they want to advertise their food as “complete and balanced.” – dogsnaturallymagazine

While the pet food industry reduces their costs by supplementing essential nutrients with fillers, processed foods and protein meals and maybe save a few bucks on the packaging, this day in age the brands are all aware (if they weren’t before) and still sell garbage to gain more personal profit (though they swim in it as is), they add bills to your veterinary tab and take years off your pet’s life, practically load your dog up with fillers, meat and meal derivatives, and indigestiblele grains. We simply have no idea we are slowly killing our pets. Not to mention they STILL push grain-free when it causes heart failure.

Name brand pet food. Is it malicious? Not all, well some probably are, but there are many brands of food. It’s unlikely intentional all pet food corporations are trying to murder your pet since canine and feline nutrition is only recently becoming a significant component of raising healthy pets, and though many brands have been forced off shelves or forced to re-do their recipe; to this day, pedigree, also, and Beneful cut corners. Will display labels below

Pet foods don’t just contain animals with unbalanced fats … they contain grains and foods that also include unbalanced fats. This is mostly to keep costs down — and the folks at AAFCO seem to be fine with this”

What are the ingredients most likely to be processed? What do you need to pay extra attention to? Words.

  • Meals (like chicken meal or corn meal)
  • Flavors (even natural flavors)
  • Colorings
  • Vitamins – what vitamins and how much?
  • Minerals– what minerals and how much?

You probably already know to stay away from meals and flavors. But many “high end” brands and freeze-dried foods contain vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins sourced in pet food are made with petroleum or fat products and are highly processed in factories. Minerals are also being processed in high heat and can be toxi. Avoid “added vitamins and minerals” or “all-natural and fresh with added supplements”

Processed foods are deficient in antioxidants. A fixed stream of antioxidants is vital to ameliorate oxidative stress harm and telomere curtailing.


Simple! Food and lifestyle change. Small adjustments you can make that will help keep your dog’s telomeres long and inflammation down.

Here is a list of supplements proved safe to give to pets that are found OTC. These you can purchase yourself.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fats: Both omega-6 and omega-3 fats have the ability to control hormones — and the hormones they control have very different jobs. The omega-6 fatty acids produce hormones that increase inflammation, which is an important part of the immune response. They also help with blood clotting and cell growth. The hormones produced by omega-3 fatty acids also control the immune system and they work alongside the omega-6 fats in an antagonistic manner. So, balance between these fatty acids is an important part of a healthy immune system. Both fats are important and your dog needs both in his diet. But these fats must be reasonably balanced for a balanced immune system … and today’s modern diets make this balance difficult.

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Sulforaphane: Broccoli and especially broccoli sprouts are rich in a polyphenol called sulforaphane. This is a powerful antioxidant and liver detoxifier … but make sure it’s not heated as heat destroys the enzyme that converts sulforaphane in the body.

Probiotics/Prebiotics: A prosperous stomach includes an abundance of bacteria that reduce inflammation. And as pups age, their microbiomes become less distinct, and this can cause inflammation and telomere shortening.

Those are just expansions to your pet’s diet. Additionally, for an upset stomach, you can serve none-dessert canned pumpkin or boiled chicken and white rice. “Bland” diets are preferred when a dog is experiencing digestive tract issues. What your dog food should contain are the three driving energy sources.

Your dog needs three sources to operate: protein, fats, and carbohydrates. These macronutrients are the only source of calories your dog gets.

Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. Amino acids are important not just for energy but for vitality and tissue assembly in the bodies cell production. They also fire up the metabolic process. (hence energy drinks are loaded with amino acids and bcaa)

Fat is a rich source of energy. Pound per pound fat is two times more highly caloric than the protein source. You need to watch the amount of fat per protein ratio when feeding. Fat is essential in protecting your dog’s cells and aids in making hormones as well as fattysoluble vitamins. Without a steady supply of protein and fat, your dog will die.

Carbohydrates are not essential for life, and dogs can survive without them, but that does not mean they shouldn’t be removed from the recipe. Carbohydrates help boost the dog’s immune systems and help reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases.

That being said the following sites are great for pet nutrition recalls, questions, and information.

Dog food advisor Constantly updates with researched and laboratory-based evidence for every type of pet food imaginable
Different breeds means different nutrition needs!


Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, 28-lb bag

Nutritional Information

  • Beef, Peas, Garbanzo Beans, Lamb Meal, Canola Oil, Egg Product, Wild Boar, Ocean Fish Meal, Pea Flour, Dried Yeast, Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil (A Source Of DHA), Salt, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Tomatoes, Blueberries, Raspberries, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bi Fidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D Supplement, Folic Acid. Contains A Source Of Live (Viable), Naturally Occurring Microorganisms.

Caloric Content

  • 3,600 kcal/kg, 360 kcal/cup

EXAMPLE: Bad Dog Food- look at the first few ingredients.


Ingredients : THE BOLD ARE VERY BAD.


Directions :

Throw dog food out.



I’ve spent the better end of 29 years figuring out which items to get for my pets and how to get the best deals on products, living on a low income, and with only Dr. Google to advise me.

Once I got into Veterinary Medicine, I realized that most of what was on my “new puppy” or “new pet” list was garbage. So to simplify, it’s “best” in my opinion to have these items RIGHT off the bat; you will somehow eventually need them anyway- that I can guarantee you. Dogs and Cats have different needs, so the list is curated depending on the pet, but it’s generally the same. Yes, treats and toys are important, but they come near the end of my list. There are definitely items that need to come before the fun stuff.

These items may seem like NO BRAINERS, and they are! They are also the items you are most likely to forget.


If you are getting a cat or a small dog, it’s essential to have a secure way to travel with them. Cat’s should never be unattended in a car or anywhere. Even your vet will tell you off if you have an unleashed/unsecured animal wandering with you. It puts other pets, yourself, and ultimately anything surrounding your pet in danger- especially if you’re unsure if your pet is vaccinated.

A carrier is different than a crate. Dogs need crates for safety reasons while a human cannot attend to them, and sometimes little dogs can fit in carriers (depending on their size). Cats only need a carrier and do not need crates. We don’t like typically crate cats. They wouldn’t like that much.AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Hard-Sided Pet Travel AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Hard-Sided Pet Travel Carrier, 23-Inch: Pet

I have supplied links to the essential items. However, with a little bit of thrifty shopping, I’m sure you could pull a lot of these items from your vet hospital (call and see if they have extra crates), garage sales, thrift stores. I have yet to go into a thrift store and not seen an abundance of pet supplies. Even the shelter is full of cat crates. Vet hospitals typically hold on to carriers after a pet has passed, incase, for instance, you and your new furry friend need one.AmazonBasics Single-Door Folding Metal Dog or Pet Crate Kennel with AmazonBasics Single-Door Folding Metal Dog Crate Kennel with Tray, 36 x 23 x 25 Inches: Pet

The crate is the first item on your puppy/dog list. I CANNOT EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH. No matter what any breeder or rescue tells you, no dog should be unattended until you know for certain they will not get into anything dangerous in your home. IT SEEMS LIKE PUNISHMENT, BUT IT’S THE OPPOSITE. After spending enough time in the crate, your dog will grow to see it as a “haven” or a place of solitude to go to when he/she wants a nap, but moms still up!

It might be annoying to come home to a house where the furniture is chewed, and your dresser is scratched at. It’s also really unhealthy for your dog to be chewing these things. It will cause acute pancreatitis none the less. As well, dogs prefer expensive things to chew on- in my opinion (expensive art utensils, makeup, etc.), which contain lots of chemicals. When the Vet tells you to get a crate, it’s not to rack up your pet bill. It’s to save you from surgery down the line.

In the circumstances, and yes, with chewer breeds, this is likely to happen; your dog may need to be created every time you leave for the first 4 years! When that was the case with my labrador, I slowly upgraded the crate to a “secure” play home.New World Pet Products Foldable Metal Exercise Pen & Pet New World Pet Products B552-30 Foldable Exercise Pet Playpen, Black, Medium/24″ x 30″: Pet

This was only done after I could trust my dog not to use the extra space in the play home as a place to go potty. If your dog is not potty trained, do not get that foldable fence until then. These foldable fences are really great for an entirely different reason among pets. Some choose to keep their little pets in there, so they have more room to run, and like me, I kept my dog in there with her blankets and a tough toy (once I knew she wouldn’t choke on), and I felt less bad about having to crate her. Remember, crating is the NICEST thing you can do for a chewing dog unattended. Keeping your dog crated when you are home, and attentive IS neglect. Never use the cage, carrier, or playpen as punishment- that’s super old school, and it’s not what it’s about.


Surprisingly cats do not like drinking out of toilets. Your dog may man the toilet just fine, but your cat may be so particular it will ONLY drink out of glass or ceramic bowls. That meaning, they should be fed out of glass or ceramic bowls (a portioned amount) and avoid Anything where it can’t see its own shadow, but let their whiskers rub against the sides. In nature, cats don’t drink out of ponds and puddles; they drink out of streams. They use their whiskers to sense the circumference and “feel out” what they are drinking. Cats do not have particularly good “Day Vision” and really heavily on their static whiskers to guide their everyday needs. It’s incredibly easy for a cat to get dehydrated, especially if your cat is only eating dry food. If you have both a cat and a dog, this next recommendation works for both. Believe it or not, dogs mouths ARE NOT clean and especially aren’t cleaner than humans’ mouths. I wouldn’t own a pet before getting one of these, from again, wherever you choose. The filters are changeable, and you can be assured your pet is getting good quality water- not the remains of what’s left in your toilet.PetSafe Drinkwell Cat and Dog Water Fountain – Platinum, 1/2 or 1 Gallon Pet Drinking Fountain – 64…PetSafe Drinkwell Cat and Dog Water Fountain – Platinum, 1/2 or 1 Gallon Pet Drinking Fountain – 64 oz, 128 oz or 168…

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It’s helpful to get a supply of the water filters as well since the water barrier needs to be cleaned every two weeks (depending on usage)

Again, with these items- it’s more of a shop around (if you have the time) thing. They should all be items you have BEFORE you get your new pet. It will make your life SIGNIFICANTLY easier to follow the rules and stories of those who have raised their cats or dogs without these items. If you have a MALE CAT, THEY ARE PRONE TO GETTING BLOCKED (URINARY CATHETER + EXPENSIVE HOSPITAL VISIT). THEY CAN GET BLOCKED IN ONE DAY FROM STRESS. ADEQUATE WATER FOR MALE CATS IS ESSENTIAL. WHICH BRINGS ME TO MY NEXT POINT IN CASE.

Wet animal food contains about 70% water. That’s good, especially if your new furry friend doesn’t drink enough, or, in my dog’s case, drinks TOO much too fast and risks bloat (poss. fatal illness where stomach flips on itself for drinking too much) Even though, yes, the teeth will go downhill a bit faster, I think every pet must have a healthy mixture of wet food and dry food. If cleaning the teeth is something you haven’t been keeping up with. You can start by getting these:Oravet Dental Hygiene Chews for Small Dogs 10-24 Merial Oravet Dental Hygiene Chew For Dogs (10-24 Lbs), Dental Treats For Dogs, 30 Count: Pet

3. DENTAL CARE OraVet is made by Merial and is backed by Veterinary wise. The best choice for cats would be The price is well worth the amount of plaque it takes off your dog’s teeth. Start with these and then slowly move to a finger brush or wipes to maintain healthy teeth for both your dog and cat. Like anything, the sooner in life your pet becomes accustomed to you doing these things (brushing teeth, cleaning ears, bathing, and trimming nails), the easier you’ll have it down the line. If you have an older pet who simply won’t let you brush their teeth, you have a couple of options. 1. Call your Veterinarian; it’s expensive, but the chances are your pet may have periodontal disease grades 1–4. When I say this, and it scares you, it’s meant to. If disease from lack of dental care gets above the gum line or the gum line recedes, then the bloodstream is compromised with bacteria and other crap your pet just doesn’t need. These are a clear pointer that your pet could be going into kidney and liver failure if untreated. If there is only MINOR bad breath and plaque, you can try and get it yourself with the vet chews, enzevete chews, and my favourite — wipes! Your pet should have his or her teeth routinely checked at office visits. Anything above a Grade 3 probably needs extractions and work done right away. That’s why prevention is your best friend.Petkin 40-Count Plaque Toothwipes (1 Pack) Petkin 40-Count Plaque Toothwipes (1 Pack): Pet

this product can be purchased online and at most retail stores. It’s the best luck I have had personally in refreshing my cat & my dog’s teeth. In my ten plus years working in the Veterinary Industry, I truly only came across ONE dental product that I wish they would put more of on the shelf. That is Virbac’s Enzymatic Dental treats. They can be found online for cats and dogs at or sometimes

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This is the toothpaste form. The product also comes in freezer dried savoury snacks for cats and larger “hide” looking treats for dogs. WEIGHT IS VERY IMPORTANT WHEN PURCHASING THIS PRODUCT- purchasing treats too big or too small can cause choking hazards or G.I blockage and upset.
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Suppose you’re lucky enough that your dog will tolerate toothbrushing. Combining this with the C.E.T. Virban Enzymatic toothbrush could nearly eliminate your pet’s need of EVER having to go under for dental procedures. Again, it’s about the tolerability of your pet and how early/how bonded you two are to be able to get in there.

The C.E.T Enzymatic Cat treats are a tough find. When we sold them at one practice I worked at, they were usually off the shelf before unfinished boxing. They look like this, and they work the best, in my opinion.

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For those just starting with the product, I highly suggest getting the Virbac C.E.T Hextra chews. Familiarize your pet with the delicious taste. (side note; these pets take these threats very seriously, may be wise to separate cats and dogs while feeding). IN an outstanding pet owner’s closet, they have the treats, the wipes, and toothpaste. But we aren’t all made of money. It’s come to my knowledge that spending a little more on a good product is WAY cheaper than reaping the effects of fixing problems that the cheap products have caused.



a) CATS: I’m going to break up the next items by animal species. Though cats and dogs co-exist, they are completely different animals. I’ve spent a fine dime PURCHASING the following for cat owners. Those who simply refuse to believe their cat needs this item, and those owners who are completely wrong. If you have a cat and do not have one of these- you are not allowing your cat to have its own higher tower in its OWN home. If you see those skittish cats that are always hiding under things- likely, they don’t have a higher place to go. Cat’s don’t need to be trained on how to use their toys or litter boxes. Unlike puppies- they self teach for the most part.

[A friend of mine insisted that his cat would never use a cat tree, as it’s older and had never used one before. I saw my friend’s dog constantly finding the cat and “playing” (harassing) the cat. I finally broke down and bought the poor cat, a cat tree, which he immediately started using. Like the dog crate, the cat tree had become this cat’s home, a place where he was unreachable and could do his favourite cat things (look down on people)] If you cannot get a cat tree, I strongly urge you to hold off on getting a cat. Not only is having the correct cat gear essential for your cat, oftentimes it can’t wait. Cat’s do NOT have the same rebound rate as dogs. As in, don’t piss on your cat, or you might have a pissed-off cat for the next 12 years. Aside from that, cats want to be respected, so place the tree by a window- where they can see birds. Make sure it’s high enough that the cat can look down on things and that no other dog/creature can reach it. Give your cat the feeling that it has some power in your home, and you’ll watch your skittish cat go from insecure to confident in days. This is extremely important in the early days of getting your cat as you are JUST STARTING to feel each other out. Give your cat space, and respect and you will get the same in return.

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Multi-levelled are the best, and make sure it’s appropriate for the size of your cat. This, a proper carrier, appropriate dry/wet food, a cat’s favourite toy, a grooming brush, and a water fountain are MUSTS for every cat owner. Whether you wait 8 years for problems to arise or if you prevent them right away, IT WILL affect both the quality of your life and your cats. Nobody can stand living with a furious cat.

Which leads to the next topic with cats. With a few select items, you can make your cat pretty happy. Water fountain, Cat Tree, Mixture of GOOD dry wet and cat food (we’ll get to later), and of course toys. As flimsy as cat toys seem, they are actually essential and built very precisely to satisfy the cat’s natural need to hunt.

[A client at our hospital had noticed that her once the all-loving cat was getting needier since the pandemic had started. Her cat not only went from basically trying to own the house but trying to own her. I asked the owner what toys she was using to get the excess energy out of her cat. The prey and hunting instinct was her cat’s natural reaction to being overstimulated, and it wasn’t something her cat could control. Instead of using negative methods like spray bottles, I encouraged her to get a cat toy, AT least one. Cats need something to do to get rid of that extra energy, and cat toys are made so intricately you can tell whoever designed them knew exactly how to get your cat to behave. Cat toys are a MUST.] You wouldn’t get your dog toys with the question, why would you not get your cat any toys??? Luckily, they come cheaper than dog toys too. They can be a little more fun and constructive as well. Such toys such a “Kitty City” are tunnels that you can purchase repeatedly and separately ( and eventually build a “KittyCity.” When she finally purchased the cat toys and started her kitty city, she noticed her cat was less eager to bite her but more compassionate and tired.

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Kitty City Walmart

(Most things I have listed are just because finding them on Amazon was easiest. It’s by far NOT the cheapest, and as I said- if you’re good at digging around, making a list of the essentials and heading to Savers isn’t a bad idea)

B) Dogs: If you are creating your new pup, and we are sure that your dog isn’t a destroyer of beds. It’s a good idea to put a bed inside the crate- make it more “Cozy” for them. Some dogs might need a few years before they understand not to chew their beds; some understand the difference right away. I personally don’t like using towels because I’ve slept on towels. They aren’t comfortable, and if I’m bored in a cage with no toys all day, that towel is gonna look mighty fine to chew. Although putting toys in a dog’s crate while unattended is frowned upon, I find it virtually ridiculous to give your dog nothing to do while you’re at work or out. Dogs need mental stimulation; that’s why they get destructive. Now, from MY mouth to your ears, if you’re going to leave a dog unattended in a cage with a toy- only the following toys should be given. BASED ON THE DOGS BREED & WEIGHT! Puppies are teething. They lose their baby teeth between 4–6 months of age. Finding toys that can soothe/scratch their gums is very comforting to them.

(side tip: while you have a puppy, try to soothe the gums with your fingers as much as possible. This makes teeth cleaning a non-issue as the puppy ages)

Suitable Dog Toys: Puppies and Chewers

Rubber Kong Toys– These are virtually indestructible, which eliminates the choking hazard. They can be reused for generations with little damage by even the strongest dogs (pit bulls, labradors, you name it). They are also designed to be filled with treats that your pet must figure out how to retrieve from inside the toy. There are many different recipes online where you can create a mush of food, freeze it in the kong toy, and give it to your pet on your way out the door. For the lazier, they literally have KONG STUFFER. It’s more expensive than peanut butter, but it does the same thing. Just doggy made.

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I don’t suggest putting soft toys in your dog’s cage, even if they are more likely to play with a soft toy. The risk of the stuffed/soft toy getting destroyed and digested is far too high a risk for most people to take since “Foreign Body” surgeries can range from $1200-$1600. You can ask the few clients who left 29 pairs of socks out, and when their dog got bored and ate all of the socks and didn’t defecate them out. They had really wished they knew better before leaving their pet unattended by the laundry hamper.

I’m no expert on pet toys, but some people are. If you want to save money in the long run, you need to figure out the breed of cat or dog you are getting and what type of chewer they are. This website has the best toys in 2020 for dogs weighted by all breeds. Here are the best dog toys to buy online:

  1. Best Overall: Nylabone Flavored Dog Chew Toy
  2. Best-Selling: Kong Classic Dog Toy
  3. Best for Strong Chewers: Petstages Dogwood Stick Dog Toy
  4. Best Multi-Pack: ZippyPaws Squeaky Plush Dog Toys
  5. Best for Exercise: Chuckit! Dog Ball Thrower
  6. Best for Puppies: KONG X-Small Teddy Bear Dog Toy
  7. Most Affordable: Hartz Dura Play Ball
  8. Most Durable: Mammoth Cotton Dog Rope Toy
  9. Best Non-Toxic: West Paw Design Hurley Dog Toy

No matter your dog’s size, play style, or strength level, there’s a fun option for every type of canine here. Keep reading to learn why customers recommend each of these toys so you can pick one that both you and your dog will love.

Number 6: EYES & EARS

At some point (unless your cat or dog is fortunate), you may run into, or you most likely will run into an ear infection or eye infection. Not only are these extremely contagious to other pets, but they rarely EVER go away permanently once onset. That’s why PREVENTATIVE maintenance with your pet will save you tons at the Veterinary Hospital. You should be cleaning your cat and your dog’s ears weekly/bi-weekly. DO NOT USE COTTON SWABS!!!!

THE ONLY BRAND I completely back, and a lot of Veterinarians have come to agree on ZYMOX. It works magic for both maintenance, infection, and post-infection care. Remember, when checking the health of your dog, do as the Veterinarians do. Nose to tail examination. You check the eye for any signs of issues, ears for debris and infection, nose/respiratory, and teeth for periodontal disease. The Veterinarian will then check all four limbs to make sure they are in the correct motion/place and evaluate your pet’s weight, habits, and check the anal glands. If you are an owner who takes excellent steps in caring for your pet (thus reading this article, I assume you are), your Veterinarian will be impressed by your care and hopefully not push you on to new services. If your dog is diagnosed with Yeast or ear problems- Opt for the Veterinarians’ ear solution and get Zymox. The instructions for cleaning are simple

  1. douse a cotton ball in Zyvox
  2. put in ear and smoosh around
  3. take out a cotton swab with debris and throw it out
  4. dry ear most of the way with a fresh cotton swab
  5. Repeat with another ear.

Ensure that if your dog is diagnosed with an ear infection, you will not use the Zymox medication and then immediately clean the ear. You will just clean out the medication. The cleaning for maintenance should be done once a week, and the medication is usually prescribed but otherwise once a day or every other day. No competition, 15 years running, and Zymox is all I will use.

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Zymox can be purchased right from the Zymox site or


WHENEVER doing routine grooming of your cat or dog, PLEASE make sure that the product you are using is appropriate for the species you are using it on. FOR EXAMPLE, Flea and Tick Preventative for dogs are 100% toxic to cats. They will start a seizure immediately. It’s important to have both breeds in your house to ask your Veterinarian about an edible flea and tick treatment.

Sadly, since heartworm disease is so fatal, you CANNOT legally obtain heartworm medication over the counter. This being, if you give a heartworm-positive pet a heartworm preventative — it will kill all the worms in the heart immediately, thus most likely killing your pet. Cat’s do not contract heartworm as easy (through mosquitos), but they DO still get it. Dogs and Cats both get fleas and ticks, and it’s not a scare tactic. FOR THESE PREVENTATIVE MEDS (Which should be given monthly for the rest of your pet’s life) It’s IMPERATIVE that you go to a veterinarian and you must get your dog or cats bloodwork checked and stool samples checked annually.

If you are at a crossroads with Veterinarians or in between (always take your time to research), Keep your pet on a flea and tick over the counter and preferably one with mosquito REPELLENT. There is no legal one to kill mosquitos, but the repellent will work until you can get into your regular vet. Which leads me to my next recommendation: Flea and Tick OVER THE COUNTER for dogs and cats. BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN READING THE INSTRUCTIONS/SIZE/SPECIES

My personal recommendations are K9 Advantage/Advantix. It is most likely not as good as Nexgard (a chewable you get from the veterinarian but does work and effective at repelling mosquitoes). REMEMBER: this is not a substitute for your dog’s heartworm test.

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Number 8: Food

Now food is a tricky topic. Unless you are certified in Pet Nutrition, there is really no one and done answer for every pet. I watch people spend hundreds and hundreds on expensive dog foods (blue buffalo, extremely rich in flavour) and have it actually cause the opposite effects on their pet. Your pet’s food needs to be enriched by your pet’s needs. Your pet’s needs? That’s for YOU to find out. What breed of cat/dog do you have? If they are mixed, what are they mixed with? Labradors are infamous for eating too fast, so a brand like Royal Canin Labrador Retriever, where they have designed the pellets to be easily digestible and harder to eat all at once, maybe the best option. If you have a dog with a TON of allergies (bulldogs, shar-pei, Boston terriers), you will want a decent brand with fewer ingredients. My Chinese Sharpei personally does well with Simple 6. GRAIN FREE is NOT THE WAY TO GO. Studies show that dogs that eat all grain-free food have a higher risk of cardiomyopathy and early death. If your goal is to eliminate the garbage from the food, then eliminate the garbage grains (I.e. corn, processed crap). The first ingredient in your pet’s food should ALWAYS be a protein source. If it’s a filler, that food is garbage. I will show you a picture of a good pet food label and a bad one. This works for both cats and dogs- though they have different nutritional needs, there are still good brands and bad brands. If you want just a quick list of the best brands for your pet- without money in mind always refer to

Here is exactly what you WANT to see and what you DON’T want to see on your dog’s food label.

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Cats; being delicate as they require different nutritional percentages. Cats almost eat more similarly to humans than they do to dogs. It’s unwise to let your dog or cat each other others food/vice versa. Since cats can get very ill very quickly, you want to make sure ANY food you buy for them is AFFCO approved. This is the highest veterinary standard they have out for cat food since pet nutrition is just coming to light. Cats and dogs also put on weight quickly and lose weight quickly; when you are reading the back of the label, and your dog is 65lbs but should be at 55lbs, DO NOT feed them the amount for 65lbs but feed the amount for 55lbs. If you feed the weight for 65lbs, your dog will never drop the ten pounds, and ten pounds on a dog can do about ten years of damage to the vital organs and limbs. DON’T JUST PURCHASE! Make use of that cellphone. DOWNLOAD THE APP PETMD- Veterinarians and Veterinary Staff as myself are always looking for ways to spread good preventative care information!.

Below is a list of helpful websites for pet owners:Drs. Foster & Smith Pet Products | PetcoBrowse Petco’s wide selection of Drs. Foster & Smith products. Explore, read reviews, & shop Drs. Foster & Smith…www.petco.comFeeding Your CatTo live a long, healthy life, your cat needs proper nutrition. Here are some things to consider when selecting an…

www.chewy.comUnderstanding Senior Cat IncontinenceUrinary incontinence is involuntary or uncontrollable. The condition manifests itself when a previously litter…

Written By: Emily Ridyard Veterinary Professional; Oct. 2020