The veterinarians and staff at the Beach Veterinary Clinic are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Companionship at a Cost

Owning a dog in a city can be difficult decision for potential owners when they consider the bustle of the streets, the brownstones and skyscrapers, and the speed of it all. Making the decision requires consideration of your surroundings and self-reflection as to whether you’re up for the challenge. But for city-dwelling dog lovers, the companionship a pet provides may be worth the cons. Before taking in a dog, consider the challenges and benefits.

Owning a dog in the city is not cheap. The estimated cost is $14,000–$16,000 a year. This price includes standard expenses such as food, grooming, and training. But there are other costs to factor in specific to city living. Because of demanding, busy work schedules, many city dog owners need to hire dog walkers for afternoon or evening walks. There are no shortage of dog-walkers in cities, but be prepared to spend $20–$30 per walk. If you plan on leaving your dog behind while away overnight, “doggie hotels” are available, but can cost anywhere from $50–$100 per night.

Time is another challenge: there simply is not enough of it. In a day packed with subway rides, work meetings and nightlife, it may be difficult to find time for the veterinarian recommended four walks a day. Remember that dogs require love and attention. Raising a puppy will require more time and energy than taking in an older rescue. And there is no such thing as a “quick walk” for a dog on a city street filled with new and interesting odors to sniff.

If time can be made available, conflicts may arise while searching for the right apartment. Landlords can impose rules that restrict or limit the breed of dog allowed in their buildings. For instance, dogs with reputations of loud or aggressive behavior may be disqualified, even if the dog in question is highly-trained and obedient. Furthermore, if a landlord says no pets in their building, they mean it, and you’ll have to consider other living options. Some buildings won’t allow larger dogs (e.g. no dogs over 25 lbs.). Although some large dogs may be comfortable in a small apartment, many need space to roam, which equals more money spent on a larger apartment.

With all that being said, there are terrific benefits to owning a dog in the city. Dog parks are plentiful in urban areas and can be a great way to meet other dog owners. It’s not hard for you and your dog to make new friends. “Dog runs”—areas to jog alongside your leashed friend—can be a great form of exercise for the two of you.

The added responsibility of dog ownership means you’ll learn how to take care of someone other than yourself, you’ll learn how to create a routine, and you’ll be pushed towards becoming more social. Perhaps the greatest benefit is the companionship that a dog can provide. Many city dog owners say the best part of a hectic day is coming home to a companion wagging their tail at the door. A dog’s love is unconditional. If you’re willing to take on greater responsibility, that companionship will be worth it.

Feeding Growing Puppies: Part I

When it comes to adequate nutrition, one of the most critical times in a puppy's life is immediately following birth. At this time, the mother produces a special type of milk called colostrum, which contains antibodies that newborn puppies absorb through their intestine. These antibodies provide temporary immunity for the puppy, offering it protection from a variety of infectious diseases.

Since the puppy's intestine can only absorb these antibodies during the first 24 hours of life, it is vitally important that it receives adequate colostrum during this period. After this 24 hour period, the colostrum changes, and within three to four days, the mother is producing mature milk.

To determine if a newborn puppy is growing normally, consider weighing the animal daily during the first two weeks and then every three to four days until weaning. During the first three to four weeks of life, puppies should gain one to two grams per day for every pound they're expected to weigh as an adult. For example, if the anticipated adult weight is 25 pounds, the puppy should be gaining 25 to 50 grams daily.

Puppies should nurse a minimum of four to six times a day. In healthy puppies, the mother's milk is adequate for normal growth until about four weeks of age. After this time, milk alone cannot meet the nutrients needed for normal development, therefore supplemental feeding should begin.

Introducing Solid Food

• Start semi-solid food at three to four weeks of age

• Feed a thick gruel of dry puppy diet mixed with warm water (do not use cow's milk, which may cause diarrhea)

• Place the gruel in a shallow dish

• Feed a minimum of three times per day

• At each feeding, clean the plate and replace unfinished food with new food

• Dry puppy food (instead of gruel) can be introduced at six weeks of age

The Rapid Growth Period

Puppies grow most rapidly during the first six months of life. During this period, rapid organ growth occurs. Supplying a complete and balanced diet for growth during this phase is essential for normal development. Energy requirements during this period of development are greater than for any other stage in life (except for a female at the end of pregnancy and during lactation). The energy needs of a rapidly growing puppy are three times the needs of an adult dog.

Similarly, the protein requirement of growing puppies is greater than that of adult dogs. Because puppies have higher energy needs and eat more food than adult dogs, the total amount of protein they consume is naturally higher. Pet foods for growing puppies should contain more protein than foods developed for adult dogs. More importantly, the protein contained in the food should be high quality. The recommended minimum percentage of energy supplied by protein in the diet for a growing puppy is 26%.

Take Your Dog to Work Day is Friday, June 24

Every dog has its day.

Take Your Dog to Work Day

Initially celebrated in 1999, Pet Sitters International's Take Your Dog To Work Day® (TYDTWDay®) was created for two reasons: first, to celebrate dogs’ innate virtues of loyalty, love and dedication to their human companions, and second, to encourage canine adoption from rescue shelters, humane societies and breed rescue clubs. This year, the annual event occurs on Friday, June 21 and employers are encouraged to support TYDTWDay by opening their workplace to employees’ canine friends. Participation will create an immediate “feel good” workplace environment and allow your staff to meet each other's special family members.

Looking for additional ways to celebrate and support this popular day?

- Solicit photos and designate a bulletin board for a “Dog/Owner Look-Alike Contest”
- Host a Pet Fair. Provide ASPCA or shelter materials and client educational materials regarding dog adoption, preventive care, training, diets, etc.
- Award a “Top Dog” honor- which employee’s dog can do the best trick, has the cutest face or the most endearing personality?

So don’t let sleeping dogs lie. Win over your employees and your clients by participating in this fun annual event… and watch as wagging tails spread office joy.

VIDEO - How To Brush Your Dog's Teeth

Fresh breath isn't just important for humans - your dog needs regular dental cleanings, too. Here's how to keep plaque, gingivitis and doggy breath at bay.

June is Adopt-A-Cat Month - Here's How to Find the Right One

You may have heard the saying, "You own a dog, but you feed a cat." It is true that cats value their independence a bit more than their canine counterparts. But, if you've ever been around cats, you already know they crave and require love and companionship. Cats make wonderful pets and most easily adjust to a variety of lifestyles and living spaces. Every cat is a true individual though, so it's important to take the time to choose a four-footed friend who's right for you. A cat's personality, age and appearance, as well as the kinds of pets you already have at home, are all things you should keep in mind when making your selection.

If you've ever been to a shelter, you have probably noticed that some cats meow and head butt the cage door while others simply lie back and gaze at you with a look of total ambiguity. There are as many different personalities of cats as there are cats in the shelter. Which disposition is best for you? YOU have to decide.

Regardless of individual personality, look for a cat that is playful, active, alert, and comfortable while being held. At the shelter, ask an adoption counselor for assistance when you wish to spend some time with individual cats. Because they are in an unfamiliar environment, some cats that are usually quite social may be frightened or passive while in the shelter.

As a general rule, kittens are curious, playful, and full of energy, while adult cats are more relaxed and less mischievous. Kittens also require more time to train and feed. Cats are only kittens for a few months, though, so the age of the cat you adopt should really depend on the level of maturity you are looking for. Young children usually don't have the maturity to handle kittens responsibly, so a cat that is at least four months old is probably the best choice for homes with young children.

They All May Be Cute, But Which Is Right For You?

Though dogs also have differences in coat, choosing the length of coat on a cat is a little different. Because the hair is generally finer and cats generally shed more, hair length can be an important part of your decision. Cats can have long, fluffy coats or short, dense fur, and the choice between the two is chiefly a matter of preference, availability, and your willingness to devote time to regular grooming. Short-haired cats are generally easier to come by since they're the most popular and the most common. Keep in mind that long-haired cats require frequent grooming to remain mat-free. Felines with short coats also require brushing, though less frequently. Most cats enjoy a regular brushing and look forward to this daily ritual.

If you already own a cat or dog, you're probably wondering how easy it is to add a cat to the family. The good news is that cats can get along with other cats, and despite the common stereotype, most dogs can get along with cats too! Unfortunately, introducing a new cat to a home with other pets can be time consuming and require patience on your part.

The best way to handle adding a new cat to the home is to provide time for a period of adjustment. You can do this effectively by isolating your new feline in a room of his own for a while, something that is a good idea for a new cat anyway. After several days, supervise meetings between the animals for periods of increasing length. Most cats will soon learn to accept each other. Some dogs simply won't tolerate the presence of a cat, but by carefully introducing them, most problems can be solved.

No matter which kind of cat you choose, remember that you're making a commitment to love and care for your new feline friend for his or her lifetime. That could mean 10, 15 or even 20 years! So choose you new companion carefully and be a responsible pet owner. In no time at all you'll know how wonderful sharing your home with a cat can be.

For more information about Adopt-A-Cat month, please visit the American Humane Association's website.

Budgerigars: Do they Empathize or Are They Just Excellent Mimickers?

Yawns are highly contagious between some mammals. Humans, chimpanzees, dogs and one type of rat are all susceptible to the wide-mouthed symptom of boredom or sleepiness; however, catching a yawn is about more than your energy level. Researchers have linked yawn-catching to the capacity for empathy.

“Contagious yawning by itself is not exactly empathy, but it hints at the tendency to mimic and synchronize with the bodies of others,” said Frans de Waal of Emory University in Georgia. “This process is probably the basis of mammalian empathy.”

New research shows budgerigars (also known as parakeets or “budgies”) experience contagious yawning, too. If this is true, the parakeets are the first known non-mammals to exhibit this empathetic behavior.

The Findings

Researchers from the State University of New York observed the behaviors of budgerigars in two studies. For the first study, the parakeets were placed in neighboring cages with and without visual barriers. When they could see each other, the birds demonstrated contagious yawning three times more often within five minutes of witnessing a yawn from their neighbor.

For the second study, the budgies were shown video of another budgie yawning. In this case, the birds watching the video were inspired to yawn every time. Birds shown a video with no yawning still yawned nearly 50% of the time.

A Highly Social Bird

Budgerigars are considered social parrots who are intelligent and clever creatures. More so, they are known for being fantastic mimickers. Like other parrots, they can learn words, sounds and phrases through repetition; however, they can also learn through observation. Many budgie owners have reported their birds learning how to escape from their cages simply by seeing their human open its hatch every day.

Could contagious yawning simply be another form of mimicry? That remains uncertain.

Seemingly empathetic behaviors have, however, been documented in other birds. Crows and jays are said to hold “funerals” when a member of their flock dies. Birds who fly in V-formation take turns in different positions (which all require different amounts of energy expenditure). In addition, birds experience increases in heart rate when flock members experience conflict.

“Until now, most empathy research has been on mammals,” said de Waal. “Empathy may turn out to be a mechanism even more widespread than we think, which is all the more remarkable given that it was thought just one or two decades ago that empathy was uniquely human.”