Mobility is particularly challenging for larger pets. A small dog or a cat can readily be carried from place to place, lifted onto their favorite couch, and taken outside to do their business. However, even our short-legged buddies can benefit from a little extra help sometimes. Let’s look at some of the changes we might observe in an aging pet, and what we can do about it.Read More →

‘Tis the season – for FIREWORKS! Does this strike a chord of fear in your heart? Ringing in the new year with firecrackers and small fireworks is a long-held tradition here in Hawaii.  These days, with new restrictions, it’s a little quieter, but late June, early July and the New Year are still stressful for many pets and their owners. Common reactions to the noisy celebrations include hiding, escape (animal advocacy groups report shelters are very busy in fireworks season), or vocalizing. Other signs of anxiety include shivering, panting, attention-seeking, and restlessness. Many pets also hate travel, especially if they must fly overseas in the cargoRead More →

We talk a lot about quality of life in senior pets because many the factors that interfere with it are obvious. But central to your pet’s happiness is his or her relationship to you. Get started on the right foot with positive training that establishes a lifelong bond. And what is the first thing you teach a new puppy? How to sit, of course!   Watch this video on by Melissa Spooner, LVT, VTS (behavior), BS, KPA-CPT:   [contentcards url=”” target=”_blank”]  Read More →

Also referred to as degenerative joint disease (DJD), arthritis is a very common condition of older pets. Arthritis can cause significant pain, discomfort and loss of function. The signs can be very subtle, but you, as the caregiver, are the best person to recognize them. The good news is that there are many different treatments that we can try to make your pet more comfortable and happy. These are divided into several broad categories:   Anti-inflammatory drugs Other pain medications Nutritional support and supplements Physical therapy Integrative medicine Exercise and weight management Environmental modification   The best treatment plans incorporate two or more of theRead More →

How much do you know about the way our pets express pain? And what can you do about it? Take this two minute quiz to test your knowledge!Read More →

I frequently counsel pet owners on end-of-life care for their ailing companions. Most of us, faced with this difficult transition, will at some point agonize over whether our pet is suffering, which procedures are worthwhile for the sake of extending life, how much money it is reasonable to spend, and most importantly, when to make that most difficult decision to choose euthanasia. The “right” answers are unique to each pet and their family; I try my best to merely help guide these choices. I made it remarkably far – at least a decade – into my veterinary career before having to face some of these decisions myself. With that experienceRead More →

There’s that old saying about the cobbler’s children having no shoes. As a veterinarian, sometimes I feel ashamed after dropping the ball with my own babies. Like the time my Lab found a stash of raisins I didn’t even know I had. Then did it again two weeks later. I’m supposed to know better! I have had a few occasions to feel guilty when I realized I had been missing some important but subtle signs once they’re back to their usual selves. What I’m trying to tell you is that you will get no judgement here. 20% of dogs suffer from arthritis pain and some ofRead More →