Tag Archives: Dr. Katy

Blog - Make Your Vet Visit Count

Dr. Katy: Making the Most of Your Vet Visit

When ABC’s 20/20 program aired a TV segment in November titled “Is Your Veterinarian Being Honest With You?” it left much of the pet community buzzing with questions and concerns.

 

As we all know, trust in the relationship between pet parent and veterinarian is extremely important. The idea that some veterinarians may have pushed unnecessary services onto pets to make additional money is frightening! But as Dr. Katy points out, the vast majority of the vet community always puts pets and their health first.
 Dog Visiting the Vet

 

One of the best ways to avoid a negligent vet visit is to make sure that you’ve properly prepared going into the visit. To help you prepare to make the most of your next visit to the vet, Dr. Katy shares with us some important tips on how to make sure that your pup or kitty is getting the proper care that he or she needs.

 

From Dr. Katy:

 

When ABC’s 20/20 segment on veterinarians came out last November, it created quite the stir in the pet community. While many of my colleagues were talking about it, I really haven’t heard any concern or questions from any of my pet parents. Hopefully that’s a sign of faith in me!

 

But in all seriousness, this is a very important topic to address. I have the utmost faith in the veterinary community, and the response to the segment on ABC’s 20/20 has shown just how much veterinarians truly do care about the pets that they serve each and every day. Regardless of your personal feelings about the segment, it served as a very important reminder about just how much trust plays a role in the veterinarian / pet owner relationship.

 

With all of the veterinarians that I’ve gotten to know over the years, I genuinely believe they’ve always had one thing in mind: what’s best for your pet. But, the veterinarian cannot do it all by him or herself. That’s why it’s important that you approach each vet visit with the proper preparation and mindset, to help your vet make informed decisions in the best interests of you and your pet.

 

Dr. Katy and Her Dog

 

So I’ve put together some “Do’s and Don’t’s” that I’ve learned over the years since working as a vet. Keep these in mind during your next visit to help get the most out of your time there, and to ensure you and your pet leave on the healthiest note possible:
  • DO: Bring In A List of Your Questions: When heading to the grocery store, we often go with a grocery list in hand because it’s easy to forget everything we need. Shouldn’t the same be for your vet visit? I’d recommend keeping a journal, whether on your phone, computer or a good old-fashioned paper one, where you jot down things that your pet does that might be a concern. Maybe a few times a month he/she drinks a bowl of water and throws it up. Or maybe twice a week she walks away from her breakfast without eating. It’s always better to bring up small problems before they become big problems, and writing them down can help you remember to address them at the vet’s office before life’s other distractions get in the way.
  • DON’T: Bring In Tons of Your Own Research! While we love to see the enthusiasm, it can sometimes be misinterpreted by veterinarians as implying that you don’t trust their knowledge or experience. If you’ve done your own investigating, or perhaps a friend has hinted at a potential diagnosis, feel free to bring it up to the veterinarian, but try to avoid creating a diagnosis before you walk in the office. Sharing what you’ve noticed in your pet is invaluable for your vet, but remember, they’re the professionals and are usually the experts in proper diagnoses!
  • DO: Bring a Fresh Fecal Sample: If it’s time for your pet’s annual exam, then your vet will likely run your dog or cat for an annual parasite check. If your pet is experiencing diarrhea, then your vet may look at the stool to determine the cause. No matter, it’s better to be safe than sorry – and bringing a stool sample can be very telling to your vet!
  • DO: Ask for An Estimate: If your vet suspects a problem that may require additional diagnostics or procedures, don’t be afraid to ask for an estimate. Actually, your vet would probably prefer you be up front and ask to avoid any surprises with the final bill. Everyone stands to benefit this way!
  • DON’T: Bring Everyone to the Vet’s Office: You love your family and friends dearly, but you often only have 30 minutes with the vet, so the fewer guests fighting for your attention, the more time you can focus on what’s important during the visit: your pet! If you do bring your kids along, make sure they’ve got something to remain entertained while mommy and daddy can hear everything the vet is saying.
  • DO: Ask About Your Pet’s Oral Hygiene: Most pets start to have some form of dental plaque and tartar build up after age three. A thorough dental exam should be done by your veterinarian at each visit. Ask if your pet needs a professional cleaning, and what you should be doing at home to keep you pet’s teeth healthy.

Dog's Teeth

  • DON’T: Put Off Exams: Annual exams (or semi-annual for older pets) really are necessary! By having your pet examined frequently, your veterinarian can find and address minor problems early on before they turn into something major. Also, if your pet is having a problem, make the appointment sooner rather than later. There’s nothing worse than finding out that something that could’ve been treated early on was left unaddressed for too long.
  • DO: Ask About Your Pet’s Weight: Studies show that thinner pets live an average of two years longer than overweight pets. With over 60% of American pets being overweight or obese, it’s a serious problem. If your veterinarian says that your pet is obese, don’t take it the wrong way, they have your pet’s best interest at heart! Ask your veterinarian for a detailed weight loss plan, discuss your pet’s diet, routine exercise, etc. By being proactive and addressing this properly, you can get your pet’s weight under control and hopefully gain a few more happy, and healthy, years together.
If you can keep these in mind for your next visit, you’ll help your vet help you in making sure your pet is the healthiest he or she can be – and that’s what’s most important at the end of the day!

 

Lastly, if you’re looking for a new veterinarian for your pets, I like to recommend trying a few reviews sites, such as VetRatinz, which often have lengthy reviews from other pet parents like yourselves about local vet practices, veterinarians, etc. Feel free to post your own as well to help grow this community!

 

Do you have a question for Dr. Katy about your pet’s health? Feel free to ask in the comments below and Dr. Katy will select a few to answer!

Walking Dog in Snow

Dr. Katy: Prepping Your Pet for 2014!

With the holiday season having come and gone, we have so much to look forward to with a brand new year ahead!

 

You’re not alone if you may have indulged a little too much in tasty food and drinks over the holidays as you were enjoying the time with family and friends. While it can be easy for us to head to the gym or make slight changes in our diet to get back to our target weight, it can be more difficult for our pets to shed any unwanted pounds they may have added. According to a study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, on average dogs gain 0.3 pounds and cats gain 0.4 during the holidays. That is equivalent to 5-7 pounds for a human; a lot of extra weight for a pup or kitty to lug around!

 

As I’ve often said before, keeping a healthy lifestyle for ourselves and our pets is critical for long-term health and happiness. Unfortunately, because our pets cannot choose their diet on their own, it’s important for us to make sure they’re putting their “best paws forward” when it comes to nutrition and activity.

 

As we head into 2014, here are my tips on how you can help your pet battle the bulge that he/she may have picked up in the new year, and how to monitor their weight throughout the year:

 

A quick check to determine if your pet is a bit overweight is by feeling around the rib cage.

A quick check for excess weight can be done by feeling for your pet’s rib cage, which should be easy to spot if your pet is at a healthy weight. (Photo: elfin_peaz. Flickr)

 

  1. Check your pet’s weight regularly. You can check your pet’s weight at home by gently running your fingers along their rib cage. At a healthy weight, their ribs should be felt easily and have a thin, silky layer of skin moving over them. If you feel your pet is overweight, make an appointment with your vet to discuss an appropriate action plan. You can read more about how to conduct the “feel test” here.
  2. Portion control. Pet obesity is largely due to the overconsumption of commercial food and treats. Feeding guidelines are usually based on a “healthy adult pet” and one size does not fit all. There are many factors used to determine how many calories your pet needs, like life stage, reproductive status, physical activity, and disease conditions, so be sure to speak with your vet to determine what daily caloric intake is right for your pet. This is what we call “target weight,” or the ideal weight for your pup or cat. And while we love to feed our pets treats, these added calories can push your pet over their target weight – so treat with caution!
  3. Read labels. Cats and dogs are natural carnivores and thrive on fresh, meat-based diets. Many traditional shelf-stable pet foods are carbohydrate-based and contain fillers like corn, wheat and soy, which are harder for your pet to digest. Instead, look for all natural food that has meat as the first ingredient, like Vital Beef & Bison or Freshpet Select Chunky Chicken & Turkey slice & serve rolls. A protein-dense food will also help your pet stay fuller longer and provide longer-lasting energy.
  4. Avoid table scraps. Human food is not appropriate for household pets in most instances. A complete and balanced food made especially for pets is recommended, just like all of the recipes you’ll find with Freshpet.
  5. Regular exercise. Keeping your pet active will help them burn calories and gain muscle tone. For a list of fun ways you and your pet can exercise together this year, visit my blog post on 10 fun ways to exercise with your pet.
 
Taking your pet for a walk is an excellent way for both of you to get exercise, helping to burn calories and release endorphins. (Photo: Kenneth Allen - WikiCommons)

Taking your pet for a walk is an excellent way for both of you to get exercise, helping to burn calories and release endorphins. (Photo: Kenneth Allen – WikiCommons)

 

 
I hope that 2014 brings many amazing experiences and memories with you and your pet, but most importantly, I wish you a healthy (and happy) year ahead!

 

Dr.-Katy-on-Beating-Holiday-Stress

Dr. Katy’s Advice for Beating End of Year Stress

This time of year, it can feel like we’re being pulled in a thousand different directions.

 

There’s holiday shopping, the end of year blitz at work, managing your busy schedule, managing those of your kids (furry ones included), and prepping for the New Year. It can be exhausting. Then, there are so many things that we feel like we should be doing as well: volunteering, giving to charity, going to visit family, etc. With all of that going on, we can forget to take care of ourselves.

 

There’s a known term for letting our hearts get too big and actually causing stress: “Compassion Fatigue.” Whether you’ve got a house full of pets, kids still at home, or are responsible for the well-being of others as part of your career, when you focus on others too much without practicing self-care, that’s when a healthy adjustment might be necessary. While there are many lessons we can learn from our pets, taking time for ourselves to relax is one of the most important and healthy.

 

Dr.-Katy-on-Beating-Holiday-Stress

 

As an emergency veterinarian, I have certainly experienced “Compassion Fatigue” in my career. There are days in this job where it seems like everything I see is in critical condition, and every owner has a story that pulls on the heartstrings. Some days, all I can do is stay compassionate and supportive for them and their pets. But when I have my own things to worry about, taking on someone else’s can be draining.

 

While caring for the needs of others is extremely important, balancing their needs with your own is critical. If you’re not happy and healthy, it’s hard to care for someone else! Thus, prevention of emotional, physical and spiritual burnout is key. Here are my tips for surviving the busy (and sometimes overwhelming) holiday season and heading into the New Year with you on your mind:

 

    1. Carve Out Time for You: I know, easier said than done; but as a multi-career working mother, wife, entrepreneur, volunteer, daughter, friend, etc. let me assure you that it can be done. Be sure to make yourself as much a priority as you do everyone else.
    2. Get Some Rest and Manage Your Intake: Beware of yummy “feel good items.” It’s okay to have that delicious Gingerbread Latte occasionally, but having to have one can become a problem. Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can make you feel better temporarily, but are not the answers when experiencing burnout. Instead, make sure to get into bed earlier to wake up feeling well rested and with a more positive outlook.
    3. Spend Time With Your Pets: Loads of research over the last 25 years has shown us that living with pets provides numerous health benefits, both physically and mentally. In an article I wrote recently, I mentioned that spending more time with our pets could lower our blood pressure, lessen anxiety, reduce allergies, encourage healthy socializing, and boost our immunity. So, there’s a great excuse to build in more time with your pets, even if it’s just a quick walk together or extra few minutes of giving them affection.
    4. Get Some Exercise: Just a 10-minute walk around the neighborhood with your furry friend can make a healthy impact. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural “feel good” hormones. This way, you’ll be doing your body and mind a favor, while helping your pet experience the same. Here are some great ways to get exercise in with your dog or cat, whether at home or on vacation this holiday.
    5. Ask for Support from Those Closest to You: It’s never a sign of weakness to tell those you love that you could use a hand. Perhaps you can delegate a few responsibilities, or ask for them to help you get something done. Or, sometimes just having someone to listen can make us feel so much better. It’s important to be sure to ‘escape’ from the busy lifestyle every once in a while and, sometimes, doing so with a close friend or loved one is the best way!

 

 

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Our pets are great at taking time for themselves, something to emulate! And don’t underestimate the positive effects spending time with our furballs can have on our health. (Photo: Phil Roeder, Flickr)

 

By taking a little time for yourself, you strengthen your own ability to give to others by making yourself a happier person. As we enter the thick of the holiday season and begin to think about the New Year, it’s important that we remember these important tips to take care of ourselves.

 

Happy Holidays to you and yours, and I can’t wait to connect with everyone again in the New Year!

Hi-My-name-is-Atlas1

Freshpet Visits the Bloomfield Animal Shelter

We love spending time with some of the shelters that we work with.

 

Last Friday, when the Bloomfield Animal Shelter invited us to come see how much their pups and kitties were loving our Freshpet donation, we jumped at the opportunity!

 

Over the last few months, we’ve donated more than 1,500 cases of Freshpet Vital food to shelters around the country in time for Thanksgiving. Our friends at the Bloomfield Animal Shelter received more than 500 pounds of their favorite Freshpet Vital Beef & Bison rolls to help their rescues get the proper nutrition and energy they need in hopes of being adopted by a permanent family. So, what did they think of their special delivery?

 

One of the two Bloomfield Fridges filled with Freshpet Vital!

 

When we first arrived, Shelter Manager and Supervisor of Bloomfield Animal Control, Mike, gave us the grand tour. They had not one, but two Freshpet fridges stocked with boxes of Freshpet Vital food! The pups were so excited and were wagging their tails intently as we walked through.

 

After showing us around, Mike brought out Orlando, an absolutely precious pit bull with such a sweet disposition – quite the charmer! Orlando came to the shelter two weeks ago after being picked up by someone as a stray. Given how friendly he was with shelter volunteers and our team, it seemed as though Orlando had previously been living with a family or at least was used to human interaction. This adorable pup joined us outside for some Freshpet taste-testing. He was so excited for an afternoon treat!

 

Here’s our adorable new friend, Orlando, as he eats his Freshpet Vital!

 

Before leaving, we met another new friend of ours, Atlas. This pup was also found as a stray in town, but was really on his last legs when he arrived at the shelter. Without much more than skin, bones and a few very painful-looking sores, Atlas’ weight was at a mere 21 pounds. Thanks to some veterinary attention and endless love and affection from the volunteers at the Bloomfield Animal Shelter, not only are Atlas’ infected sores cleaned up, but he’s beginning to regain his coat and now weighs in at a healthy 42 pounds! Mike said that without Freshpet, not many of the pups that come in with such low weight issues would be able to regain the muscle and fat they need to survive and potentially be adopted.

 

Our new furry friend Atlas, who put on over 20 pounds since arriving at the Bloomfield Shelter!

 

Thank you so much to Mike and the rest of the volunteers over at the Bloomfield Animal Shelter! We loved coming to visit and are so thrilled that the pups and kitties are enjoying their Freshpet food in time for Thanksgiving. We hope to hear about many adoptions for the animals you have taken in soon and thanks again for the work you do every day!

 

For more information on how we work with shelters around the country, please visit our Freshpet Charitable Donations page here.

 

The Bloomfield pups ready for new homes!

 

 

The Bloomfield Animal Shelter has many deserving cats and dogs available for immediate adoption to residents of any community. If you’d like to learn more, please contact them at (973) 748-0194!
Freshpet's Katie Helps Hand Out Freshpet in Central Park!

Freshpet Joins Pups in Central Park for Dog Fair

We had so much fun at last Saturday’s My Dog Loves Central Park Fair in New York City’s Central Park.
It was such a beautiful day outside and we loved getting to spend so much time with hundreds of pet parents. There were so many different breeds of pups there that we just couldn’t get enough!

 

 

Freshpet's Katie Helps Hand Out Freshpet in Central Park!

Freshpet’s Katie Helps Hand Out Freshpet in Central Park!

 

We brought the Freshpet Truck with us, which is always a big hit with human kids and fur-kids alike. With pet statues on top and huge pet stickers, it’s becoming a My Dog Loves Central Park Fair icon. Between 11am and 3pm, pet parents and their pups walked up and tried free samples of our delicious food and treat recipes. Each pooch that stopped by got to take home one of our one pound Freshpet Select Slice and Serve rolls to try at home – talk about lucky dogs! We also brought boxes and boxes of our Dog Joy Chicken Treats, Dog Joy Beef Treats and Dog Joy Turkey Bacon– the pups were gobbling them right up.

 

Freshpet friend and veterinarian Dr. Katy Nelson joined us for her first My Dog Loves Central Park Fair experience too. She helped the Freshpet team greet the park patrons and hand out samples to all of the pups. It was so great to have her on hand, and we think that pet parents would agree. Dr. Katy not only answered many pup-related questions, but she also helped people sign up for our Freshpet Fridge Challenge to have a chance to win free Freshpet for a whole year!

 

Dr. Katy enjoying her first Central Park Paws Fair!

Dr. Katy enjoying her first Central Park Paws Fair!

We love going to local events like these because they remind us of the strong bond between people and their dogs. Every sample we handed out and pet parent we talked to reminded us of why we love what we do. When we see the way pups and their parents interact together, its clear why keeping their dogs healthy with nutritious, fresh food like Freshpet matters so much.

 

There were so many exotic breeds there too – including a Puli! He was so sweet and posed for many pictures because the kids absolutely loved him. But our favorite part of the day was when a stroller full of chihuahuas came by around 1pm. Their mom brought them over with these adorable collars and they were just the cutest. We gave them the Dog Joy Turkey Bacon treats and they couldn’t get enough – every Freshpet team member was spoiling them rotten!
A family of Chihuahuas paid us a special visit!

A family of Chihuahuas paid us a special visit!

We can’t wait for next year’s My Dog Loves Central Park Fair! To see where you can find the Freshpet truck next, be sure to click here.
Your next visit is the perfect chance to ask about your pet's weight.

Dr. Katy Weighs In On Your Fur-Kid’s Weight

We want to keep our fur-kids in the family for as long as possible.

 

Maintaining their health is critical in helping them live long, happy lives. Yet, today over 60% of pets in the United States are clinically obese. Extra weight can lead to conditions like diabetes, heart disease and even cancer for our dogs and cats. This is a scary reality that many pet parents face, but it’s an issue that we can work together to solve.

 

Your next visit is the perfect chance to ask about your pet's weight.

Your next visit is the perfect chance to ask about your pet’s weight.

 

We checked in with Dr. Katy Nelson, Freshpet friend and veterinarian, to help put together some advice on managing your loved one’s weight and how Freshpet recipes can help! Here’s what she had to say:

 

Why Maintaining a Healthy Weight is Important for Our Little Ones

 

Sometimes, we think of pudgy pups and kitties as cute, fluffy, or even big boned. But the reality of the situation is that that extra weight can really do damage to their general health. When our fur-kids are overweight, they’re lugging around extra pounds that create a sedentary lifestyle, or put extra strain on their heart and joints. To avoid dangerous conditions like diabetes, it is important to keep their weight in check.

 

How To Determine if Your Fur-Kid is Overweight

 

If you suspect your pet is overweight, I highly recommend scheduling an initial appointment with a veterinarian to analyze your pet’s body weight. However, there are a few simple tests that you can use at home to see if a check-up is necessary.

 

One quick test is to put your hands around your dog or cat’s rib cage. When pressing down gently, you should be able to feel his or her ribs. If you have to put a significant amount of effort and really dig in to feel the rib cage, he or she may be carrying excess weight. Another commonly used test is to look at your pet’s chest –  if his chest is not deeper than his belly, he may be overweight.

 

Feeling for your pet's ribs is a great weigh to determine if there's excess weight.

Feeling for your pet’s ribs is a great weigh to determine if there’s excess weight.

 

How Freshpet Can Help Your Loved One Avoid Obesity

 

One of the first things to consider when helping your pet avoid weight gain is his or her diet. Foods high in carbohydrates, like many dry kibbles or treats, can be difficult for pets to digest and cause excess weight gain. Freshpet recipes are great for weight loss or prevention because they are low in carbs, high in meat content and do not contain simple carbohydrates like corn or white rice. Many of Vital Slice and Serve Rolls or Complete Meals are grain-free, and Freshpet Select Slice and Serve Rolls are made with complex carbs like brown rice, which is high in fiber and helps our loved ones feel fuller, longer.

 

Obesity in our pets is not always due to food content, but rather food quantity. As pet parents, it is our responsibility to effectively exercise portion control when feeding our pups and kitties. Freshpet Slice and Serve rolls have portion measurements that are easy to use, thus helping follow Feeding Guidelines and manage portion sizes.

 

How You Can Help Your Pet Lose Weight

 

The first step to help your fur-kid lose weight is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Typically, the vet will do a general examination and possibly blood work to rule out any underlying health issue leading to excess weight.. Each pup or kitty is different, and your veterinarian can help identify the specific causes, or resulting conditions, that may be resulting in his or her obesity.

 

When meeting with your veterinarian, be sure to discuss suggested changes to your pup or kitty’s diet, as well as calorie counting. The goal should be to establish your little one’s ideal weight, then work backwards from there to chose a target daily caloric intake. It is important to note that simply because the Feeding Guidelines may suggest a certain portion size, doesn’t necessarily mean that is the appropriate amount to feed your loved one. I recommend feeding your pet in accordance with their target weight, as established with your veterinarian, not their current weight. From there, pledge to track the amount of food and calories you give your pets each day. Calories are fairly easy to keep an eye on, as pet foods are required to list calories on the package. On the Freshpet website and all Freshpet packaging, under Guaranteed Analysis, you’ll find the calorie count for their recipes.

 

With proper feeding and regular exercise, you can help keep your fur-kid healthy and happy for years to come!

For more information, listen to Dr. Katy’s Radio Interview on Pet Obesity Here

FFC - Two Little Cavs

Two Little Cavaliers Tries Week Without Fridge

Featured: Two Little Cavs’ Busy Schedule Means More of the Pantry

 

#freshpetfridgechallenge

 

To bring awareness to the fact that we rely so heavily on our refrigerators, the Freshpet #FridgeChallenge makes us take a step back and think about just how often we open the fridge door to pull something fresh, healthy, and nutritious out.

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FFC - Two Little Cavs Featured Photo

Keep the Tail Wagging Forgoes the Fridge

Featured: No Fridge Feels Like “Super Size Me”

I am blogging on behalf of Freshpet and I received compensation for my time for sharing my experience and views on the Freshpet Fridge Challenge; all my views are my own. 

 

Love this food - but not too often!

Love this food – but not too often!

 

Yummmm! Not the healthiest meal, but I’ll take a couple bites.  Just not 2x a day, every day.

 

Over on Keep the Tail Wagging, I’ve been writing about the Freshpet Fridge Challenge that I’m participating in.  Thankfully, today is the last day and I can go back to eating fresh food.  The one thing that I took from this challenge is that with kibble, our dogs are eating a fast food diet.

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FFC - Cat Tipper

Follow CatTipper’s Fridge Challenge

Featured: CatTipper Reflects on Seven Days Without the “Magical Fridge”

 

 

Today marks the end of our seven-day #FridgeChallenge, the challenge put forth by Freshpet to bloggers to live without the refrigerator for seven days. (Pets were exempt from the challenge but we weren’t allowed to use the refrigerator for our own items.)

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