Ask Our Dog Experts . . . Will fish oil or egg yolks give my dog a shiny coat?

By Karen “Doc” Halligan, DMV

QUESTION:

Fact or Myth: I’ve heard fish oil and/or egg yolks give your dog a shiny coat. Can you tell us your thoughts on fatty acid supplements?

“DOC” HALLIGAN’S ANSWER: 

Supplemental fatty acids are widely used in pets to relieve itching associated with allergies, and also to add luster to and improve the health of hair coat and skin. Supplementation often must continue for two to three months before a positive effect can be seen. Side effects are rare. Many vets prescribe fatty acids for shedding, itching, scales, and allergies, usually with favorable results.

Animals can produce some of the fatty acids they need, but not all of them. Those they can’t produce, called essential fatty acids, must be supplied in the diet.

Essential fatty acids are found in different quantities in many plants and coldwater fish. Two main classes of fatty acids are omega-6 and omega-3. Omega-6 fatty acids predominate in vegetable and flaxseed oils, while omega-3 fatty acids predominate in fish oil. Linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linoleic acid (omega-3) are essential fatty acids in dogs and cats. The ratios of omega-6s to omega-3s and the total amount of fat intake all affect response. Most pet foods contain more omega-6s than omega-3s, and since omega-3s are more limited in the diet, it’s easier to see beneficial effects from their supplementation.

The bottom line is… For your dogs health and a shiny coat, be sure to feed your pet a high quality diet that has enough essential fatty acids and discuss with your vet if a supplement is the right choice for your dog.  I would not recommend giving your dog egg yolks unless instructed by your vet because it adds on too many extra calories or fat to their diet.

Doc Halligan’s Top Ten Ways To Save Money On Your Vet Bill

By Karen “Doc” Halligan, DMV

You don’t have to be wealthy to keep your beloved pet healthy, but knowledge and prevention will go a long way toward enhancing your pet’s well-being and keeping vet bills at bay. The key to your pet’s longevity is practicing preventative medical care. Always spend the money for the preventative medical services the vet offers for your particular pet. Any amount of money spent on your animal when it’s not sick will save you twice that much if or when it gets sick.

Knowledge is power. Just provide preventative medical care, common sense and lots of TLC. Remember your pet’s unconditional love is free!

1.) Spay or neuter your pet early. This will prevent serious medical conditions such as breast, uterine, and testicular cancer, as well as infected uteruses or pyometras, prostate disease and hernias. Spaying or neutering greatly reduces vet bills from hit-by-car accidents and fighting. The cost of caring for a pregnancy, treating accident injuries or a serious illness like cancer is the alternative.

2.) Avoid switching your pet’s diet. Find a high-quality diet that your pet likes and stick with it. Don’t just randomly change your pet’s diet without discussing it first with your vet, and if you must switch, do so gradually to avoid stomach upset.

3.) Early morning appointments can save you money. If your pet requires sedation or general anesthesia, an early morning appointment may allow sufficient recovery time to avoid the expense of overnight hospitalization. Also avoid feeding your pet prior to coming to the clinic, just in case sedation is required.

4.) Keep your pet up to date on heartworm, flea, and tick preventatives. Don’t wait until your pet is infested with fleas and ticks, or worse, has contracted heartworm disease. Prevention is so much cheaper than treatment. With the products available today, it is relatively inexpensive and easy to prevent these disturbing pests.

5.) Keep pets at an ideal weight. Don’t let your pets get fat. Obesity leads to a host of orthopedic problems as well as diabetes, heart disease, and other medical disorders. Pets who are lean live 15% longer and have fewer medical expenses.

6.) Always have up-to-date copies of your pet’s records. Keeping up-to-date records can save you money if you have to go to a vet while you’re traveling, or if you need to go to an emergency clinic. Know your dog or cat’s medical history and keep a journal of your pet’s normal routines and behaviors.

7.) Don’t waste money on fancy toys and supplies. Cats love to play with wadded-up pieces of paper, and you can supply them with hours of enjoyment just by cutting holes in boxes or large paper bags. Dogs like playing with old tennis balls just as much as the expensive ball from the pet store. To them, a ball is a ball, whether it was free from your local tennis court or $6 at the pet store. You can also search garage sales, classified ads, discount stores, and Internet sites for bargains on cat trees, bedding, and other pet items.

8.) Trade dog/cat care with your neighbors. You can avoid the high cost of boarding your pet or hiring a pet sitter by trading pet care with a friend or neighbor when you go on vacation. The savings will be substantial as pet sitters charge anywhere from $10 to $15 a day and boarding fees can easily run up to $30 a day. If you must board your dog or cat for a long period of time, ask for discounts. Many facilities offer discounts for long-term boarding.

9.) Pet-proof your home and yard. Pet-proofing includes storing medications and chemicals out of your pet’s reach, making sure that fences and gates are secure, and knowing the list of poisonous plants your pets need to avoid.

10.) Ask your vet for generic prescription medications. About 75% of medications used for cats and dogs were originally developed for humans. Some antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs come in generic forms. If a human drug equivalent exists, your vet may write a prescription for the generic form.

Brian Lee’s Top 4 Training Philosophies

By Brian Lee, Dog Trainer & Behavioralist

1. The more you need to be in control, the less control you have. Constantly giving commands is controlling. Allow your dog to self-direct instead of using external force and you will achieve true peace and harmony.

2. Thoughts and internal dialogue can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Your dog is keenly aware of your attitude, so try to avoid having a victim mentality. Do not underestimate the power of intention.


3. Take total responsibility for your own actions. Owners tend to blame their dogs for unwanted behavior even though the dogs have no control over their environment. Your dog is the prisoner and you are the warden; you either set them up to win or set them up to fail.

4. Focus on the positive, ignore the negative. As simple as this philosophy sounds, rarely is it achieved. Like us, dogs repeat behavior that is rewarded. Drawing attention to negative behavior ensures it will happen again. Instead, remember to enjoy the abundance of positive qualities your dog possesses.

To learn more about Brian Lee’s Way of the Dog Canine Counseling visit: www.wayofthedog.com.