Since my birthday is in July, I thought I would bestow myself with one the best birthday presents and take a weekend trip to Toronto, Canada for the second annual Meowfest event. The one-day catextravaganza raised over $10,000 for non-profits animal organizations and got some rescue kitties adopted in the process! The first one last year took place in Vancouver, British Columbia. British Columbia is one the most beautiful and greenest places ever. I decided to go to CatCon in Los Angeles instead. Well, this time, a girl is doing both! CatCon in June and the next week heading to Toronto in early July.
With this 24 degree New York City weather, I needed something to cheer me up and warm me up. Lancelot will not be happy with my absence but he never complains with all the goodies I bring back.
PetCon2018 was held last November at the Jacob Javits Center. It was a weekend-event featuring vendors, pet celebs and their owners, along with some very excellent panel discussions of varying topics to building a social media pet platform to the devastating effects overfishing for human and pet consumption is leading to the disastrous eco imbalance to ocean wildlife.
To Grain or not to grain. The veterinarians addressed the question if owners should feed pets a grain-free diet. Many people are unaware that dogs not strictly carnivores, like cats. Their dietary needs are similar to people. They need an omnivore diet with carbs and grains to stay nutritionally balanced.
Vaccinations on dogs. Overvaccination is a real concern for pet parents. The veterinarians have seen if a puppy gets the proper amount of vaccines during that young stage in their life will help reduce the need for more vaccines in the future. The procedure of titers (measurement of how many antibodies are in the animal’s blood) is expensive but effective. A sufficient amount may prevent needing additional vaccination. However, the law does not recognize titers for rabies, and if your animal bites a person, they can quarantine the animal or order the pet to be destroyed. Vaccinations for rabies must be administered regularly to stay in the state’s compliance.
Dental care. How many of us are regularly cleaning our pet’s teeth? I don’t clean Lancelot’s teeth as much as I should. The veterinarians couldn’t stress enough the importance of regular dental hygiene, starting when they are kittens and puppies. Circular motion with a pet toothbrush, wipe, etc., is the best technique to dislodge the plaque buildup. Years of oral hygiene neglect may require a professional dental cleaning – x-rays are strongly suggested before any dental cleaning. Dental disease can transfer to other vital body organs with fatal consequences. Teeth and gum care are of paramount importance! Daily or every other day.
Heartworm medication. This can be an agonizing choice for dog owners. Depending on the dog’s lifestyle will determine what heartworm medication will be best. One size does not fit all. Older or dogs with compromised immune systems may have to look for alternatives than pesticide treatments. Heartworm is debilitating if your pet contracts it. The treatment is a long process so prevention is key. The mosquito carrying disease is on the rise with pet animal rescue from disaster areas such as Puerto Rico.
The raw food diet movement. Feeding raw food is not a new concept but it has certainly gone mainstream by more companies offering raw food products for pet owners. The veterinarians strongly cautioned administering such a diet because of the risk of food poisoning like salmonella. They have seen some animals do better on a raw diet due to their unique health issues. Please speak with your veterinarian about a raw food diet.
The final question was about veterinarian checkups. How often? Once a year is sufficient until the pet becomes eight years or older. All the panelists agreed the animal should come in every six months with bloodwork to measure the function of their liver, kidney, etc. A very good discussion. I look forward to PetCon 2019.