Latest Posts

February is Pet Dental Month!

January 30, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 4:48 pm

Pet Talk
By Dr. Norette L. Undewood
February is Pet Dental Month!
Is Cleaning Your dog’s teeth Really Necessary?
The importance of cleaning dogs’ teeth is become more apparent as veterinary medicine advances. It started with pet owners complaining about their dogs’ bad breath and wanting solutions. After veterinary investigation, a disturbing recognition came to light: at least 80% of dogs and cats, over 2 years of age suffer from some level of pet dental disease. Pets that develop periodontal disease struggle with excruciating dental pain that they can’t communicate to their owners. They develop loss of appetite because it is too painful to chew. Their health may deteriorate from bacterial infections that can invade the bloodstream and go to the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver. Yes regular dental cleaning is one of the secrets to your pet living a long healthy life.
Symptoms of Pet Dental Disease
Your pet may be one of the 80% in need of pet dental care if he or she:
• Has bad breath
• Drools excessively
• Has red, swollen and/or bleeding gums
• Has loose or missing teeth
• Has crusty, yellow or brown buildup on the teeth
• Has chew toys stained with blood
• Seems in pain when eating or drinking (or is reluctant to do either of those activities)
• Has any cysts, lumps or tumors on or under the tongue or on the gums
• Has never had a pet dental checkup
If you notice one or more of these signs consult your veterinarian to see if they need a professional dental cleaning. But keep in mind: many pets hide their dental pain well; so even if no signs are readily apparent, there may still be a problem. So schedule an appointment as soon as possible whether symptoms are apparent or not.
The Importance of Cleaning Dogs Teeth
There are two critical aspects to pet dental health:
1. Professional veterinary dental cleanings (as recommended by your veterinarian)
Keep in mind that a regularly-scheduled dog dental cleaning costs far less than having to treat organ and tissue damage caused by unchecked dental disease. Your veterinarian will thoroughly examine your pet’s teeth while under anesthesia. The anesthesia is important because your pet needs to remain absolutely still during the cleaning process; the dental tools are sharp and a nervous flinch from even the calmest pet can lead to injury. This will also enable your veterinarian to give the most thorough cleaning and check for any other problems. If your pet’s dental problems are severe, your veterinarian can also perform extractions or other oral surgery.
2. A daily dental hygiene routine at home:
Daily brushing will give your pet a longer, healthier, less-painful life. Without regular brushing, plaque builds up and becomes cement-like tartar. This becomes a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that can damage gums, facial bones, teeth and internal organs.
Your veterinarian and their Hospital team can give you advice, instructions and even outfit you with the appropriate toothbrushes and toothpastes that will work for your pet. (NOTE: Do not use human toothpastes for your pet. They are not meant to be swallowed. They can cause stomach upset. Animal-formulated pet toothpastes come in yummy flavors like chicken, tuna and peanut butter; flavors more enjoyable for your pet!)
If you have questions about pet dental care contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of the Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at or call 870-483-6275.

Why does my neutered pet still hump?

January 24, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 5:17 pm
  • Pet Talk
  • By dr. Norette L. Underwood


Why does my neutered pet still hump?      


One of the most common questions I get asked on a daily basis is why does my pet still hump after neutering?

In theory, neutering should eliminate humping in a male dog because once castrated, his testosterone level falls.  Neutering may not shut off the behavior in a large percentage of dogs.  Even neutered,  a male dog is still a he. He gets small bursts of testosterone from fetal testes and it remains a part of a male dog’s makeup. 


Being a he isn’t all there is to humping.  The drive to hump isn’t all about maleness, which is why you will see female dogs engaging in the disturbing behavior.  Here are some reasons for humping:


  • In puppies, humping is thought to be an innate form of practice for future sexual experiences.

Flirting. When mature dogs that haven’t been spayed or   neutered hump, it is often to initiate a sexual encounter.

  • For some dogs, humping is a way to demonstrate their dominance to people or other animals.
  • Many dogs hump simply because it feels good. Humping can be pleasurable for all dogs — spayed and neutered dogs, intact dogs, and females and males.
  • Dog humping can sometimes be a form of play, especially for dogs that have had little socialization or that become overexcited during play.

Excitement. During a particularly stressful or exciting time for a dog, such as meeting someone new, dog humping is a normal response.

Medical Problem.  Humping can be a sign of a urinary tract infection, urinary incontinence, priapism (painful or persistent erections), and skin allergies.


If your dog engages in humping try to distract the dog by diverting their attention by throwing toys, giving a command to perform a trick, or give a treat.  Do not start yelling at your dog and putting on a show when he humps. Dogs like attention, even if it is negative attention.


Even cats may hump other cats, blankets and toys.


If you have questions about inappropriate humping contact Dr. Norette L Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at

Grain Free: Fact or Fiction??

January 16, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 6:38 pm

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


Is Grain Free food fact or fiction!



While out on the town last week, I heard some friends talking about avoiding wheat and other grains because of gluten sensitivities.  Interestingly, I have friends and clients whose canine and feline friends are eating “grain free” foods.  I had a look into the “no-grains” pet food craze.


Pet owners are always looking for new things to make sure their dogs and cats are as healthy as possible.  The latest diet fad is the use of “grain-free” foods for our pets.


By avoiding the use of wheat, corn, bran or other grains, many believe that they can keep their pets from developing allergies, resolve current skin issues or prevent digestive upset.  Furthermore, a small percentage of owners don’t believe dogs and cats can digest grains.


Although gluten sensitivity is common in humans, it is actually quite rare in pets.  Only Irish Setters have shown any genetic susceptibility and experts don’t know how widespread it is in other breeds or mixed breed animals.


Many pet owners also think that a majority of pets are allergic to corn or wheat in the commercial diets.  This urban legend is also not entirely true.  Wheat is in the top five allergens for dogs, but it falls behind beef and dairy.  Corn actually comes in at #8.  Dust and grain mites are the top 2 offenders.


With this myth in mind, pet owners have started switching to over the counter “hypo-allergenic” diets, like those made with lamb and rice, turkey and barley or other novel combinations.


Unfortunately, this easy availability may make diagnosing the true food allergy dog more difficult as many pets are exposed to a wide variety of allergens as owners try different and more exotic diets.

Pet owners often notice an improvement in their pet’s gastrointestinal health when changing to a grain free diet. These diets are generally premium foods that contain higher qualities of ingredients in general. Changing food also means changing formulations that include many different amounts of different ingredients. This means that not only has the amount of gluten changed, but the amounts of other ingredients that may have caused the problem have also changed. A responsive pet may actually be responding to the decrease in an allergen other than the grain gluten. But because the food is grain free, the obvious conclusion for owners is that it must be the gluten. This is not logical.


Despite being “no-grain”, these foods are not “no-carb”.  In fact, in some of the diets made with potatoes, the diet can’t even be called “low-carb” as the level of carbohydrates is even higher than typical diets based on corn or wheat.


Finally, many people believe that pets can’t digest corn or wheat.  This common myth has been disproved by decades of research.


If you want to use a grain free alternative diet for your pet, do it for the right reasons.  Also, ask your veterinarian about the best brands and what might be the right choice for your unique pet. Many new brands of foods have come into the market. Remember old established companies have teams of research veterinarians on staff that study foods and are constantly looking into better nutrition. Many of the “new Foods” on the market do not have a research staff.


If you have questions about nutrition and your dog consult Dr. Norette L. Underwood of the Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at



Paw Care For Your Pet

January 9, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 2:54 pm

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


Paw care for your Pet!


With winter weather arriving, I want to remind you about taking care of your pet’s paws.


Snow and ice can play havoc on your pet’s paws.  The snow and ice can ball up in the fur on their feet causing pain and frostbite.  Ice melt can cause irritation to the paw pads themselves, but also stomach irritation from licking it off their feet.   To wipe your pet’s paws, use plain warm water or a warm water and apple cider vinegar mixture.  You can also purchase wipes formulated for dogs.  Please read the ingredients on wipes because some wipes for babies can be toxic to your pet.

Do your research and check with your veterinarian.


Trimming Paw Hair

To trim or not to trim is the questions.  Trimming the hair on your pet’s feet can reduce the amount of dirt that they bring into the house and make inspecting the feet for ticks and burrs much easier.  On the other hand, the hair protects the pads from the elements. Depending on your pet’s lifestyle, your dog may be better off with the hair left intact.


Cracked Pads

Cracked paw pads can be a result from running on rough surfaces, temperature changes or a symptom of internal disease.  Paws are not indestructible! They can receive punctures, scrapes, cuts, burns, and frostbite from the surfaces that they travel.  Paw pads were never meant to walk on cold or hot asphalt, tar, and cement. These surfaces can damage the pads and make them susceptible to a secondary infection.

If your pet has cracked paw pads, the first step is to go to your veterinarian to make sure there is no underlying medical problem.  If not a medical issue you may need to change the areas your pet walks upon. Booties may be a good option if the concrete is causing irritation to their feet. Be careful using booties because they decrease their traction and slipping on certain surfaces may occur.


Foot licking

Dogs lick their paws, so whatever you wash or put on their paws with be swallowed.  Use sparingly, and if your dog shows any type of adverse reaction discontinue the product.  Constant licking can make the pads soft and injury easily.  Foot licking can be a sign of pet allergies or peripheral nerve pain.  Incessant licking is a good reason to take your pet to your veterinarian.


Paw Products

There are many products marketed for your pets paw pads.  Please do your research and consult your veterinarian for product safety.  They range from Shea butter, beeswax or lanolin to mineral based petroleum products. Also essential oils are popular but many are toxic to cats and dogs.  Remember they will lick their feet.


If you have questions about paw care for your pet please contact Dr. Norette L Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at

Beware: Essential Oils can be very Harmful to Your Pets!

January 3, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 5:15 pm

Pet Talk

Beware: Essential Oils can be very Harmful to Your Pets!

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


Many of you probably received essential oils for Chistmas.  They are certain points you need to know about them if you have animals in your home.

I found this wonderful article by Natural News on essential oils and your pet.  As Aromatherapy is becoming more widely accepted in the mainstream, more people are using essential oils at home. Unfortunately, as some people are finding out, this is not always having a positive affect on the animals in their lives.


There have been many reports of animals harmed, even dying, from essential oils. Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia, has received a bad rap lately, most likely stemming from the fact that it is so widely available. Well meaning owners have used this oil to treat dermatological afflictions such as bites and scratches, only to end up at the veterinarian’s office with an animal exhibiting signs of toxicity, such as ataxia, in-coordination, weakness, tremors, vomiting or depression.


Misinformation is an enormous problem in this area as well. As an increasing amount of people turn to a more natural approach at life, companies are jumping to cash in. Thousands of products include essential oils in their ingredients; pet products are no different. The average person, unaware of the dangers, can easily think these products would be completely safe when in fact they are not.


Pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides), for instance, is widely used as flea control. This oil is a known abortifacient in humans, and considered a toxin to the liver and the kidneys. Not exactly a strong selling point, although it is very good at keeping fleas at bay!


Many products for cats also contain essential oils. Unfortunately for the cats, many cat owners are unaware that by using these products, they can slowly cause toxins to build up in the feline’s system, causing a slow onset of organ failure. A cat’s liver cannot process toxins as a human’s or even a dog’s can, and the chemical constituents of the oils, such as terpenes, phenols, and ketones, are no exception. The effects of these can be immediate in showing up, or can take years.


Birds are well known for being sensitive to scents and particles in the air, and essential oils are no different. Gillian Willis, a toxicologist in Vancouver, has seen many cases of avian poisoning, including a well-meaning cockatiel owner who, upon seeing an abrasion on her bird’s foot, applied a drop of Tea Tree oil. The bird became depressed and even with veterinary intervention, died within 24 hours of respiratory failure. Even diffusing oils around a bird can produce dire consequences.


Not All Is Lost


While this may all seem daunting to an animal lover who also enjoys the benefits of aromatics, all is certainly not lost. A little knowledge can go a long way while incorporating essential oils in and around your animals.


Choosing Essential Oils:


Purity can be an issue when it comes to essential oils (EO’s). For example, it takes approximately one hundred pounds of plant material to produce one pound of Lavender Lavandula angustifolia. Due to the expense, many essential oils are diluted in other substances. These can range from carrier oils, such as Jojoba, to synthetic fragrance, even chemicals. When you are choosing essential oils to use therapeutically for yourself and your pets, you want only the purest available. To determine this, there are a few key things to look for:


* EO’s should not be oily or leave a greasy residue.


* Packaging should include the common name (Lavender), the Latin binomial (Lavandula angustifolia), the country of origin, the method of distillation, the part of the plant used, lot number, amount of oil in bottle, contact information of the company, how the plant was grown, and the words “100% pure essential oil” or the ingredients, if in a carrier or blend.


* Price usually dictates quality.


* Not all bottles of the same size yet of different oils should be priced the same. In other words, if they carry 50 different types of oils, yet every 5ml bottle is $7.40, there is something wrong, and you can guarantee these oils have been adulterated in some way.


Using Quality Oils in Homes With Pets:


Once you have your essential oils and are satisfied with the quality, the task then becomes using them correctly. While they can be very therapeutic and helpful, they can also do harm. Remember, just because a product is natural, does not mean it is safe.


There are some essential oils that should never be used for animals: Anise, Clove Leaf/Bud, Garlic, Horseradish, Juniper, Thyme, Wintergreen, or Yarrow, to name a few.


Some that can be used include: Cedarwood Atlas, Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Lavender, Myrrh, Ravensare, Rose, and Valerian (note that these lists are not exhaustive and further research from the pet owner should be done).


For dogs, essential oils can be used in a variety of ways, from bathing to calming the nerves through diffusion. Some points to remember:


* Dogs cannot tell you what is or is not working. As such, you must closely watch their reactions. Excessive scratching, sniffing, nervousness or whining are all signs to watch for.


* Always dilute the oils. A common acceptable dilution is 25% of the adult human formula.


* Giving essential oils internally is not generally recommended.


* Do not use any oils on medium-large breed puppies under 8 weeks, and small or toy breeds under 10 weeks. Hydrosols are a much better choice.


* Gradually introduce the oils.


* What is good for a large dog is not good for a small dog. Size matters, and less is definitely more when working with oils, for animals or humans.


* Sick, frail, older, or pregnant dogs have special considerations, just as in humans. Do not administer the same dose to them as you would to a healthy animal of the same size.


* Never use oils near the eyes, mouth, nose, or genital area.


Felines are especially sensitive, as previously mentioned. Even dispersing oils in the air or using them for cleaning agents around the house can be detrimental. Make sure that the cat has a way to go into another room, with fresh air to ‘escape’. Oils should never be used topically because of their liver’s inability to process them. Hydrosols, also known as hydrolats or floral water, are a much safer option with many of the same benefits. For smaller animals, such as hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits, hydrosols are also the best option, at a 50% dilution of what is used for felines.


Birds should never be exposed to oils, whether topically or in the air due to their extreme sensitivity. Hydrosols can be used, but in very minute amounts, much like in homeopathic remedies.


Fish cannot tolerate oils or floral waters. The oils, not being water-soluble, would end up sticking to the fish, causing a host of problems, up to and many times, including death. Hydrosols each have their own pH levels, and have the possibility of wreaking havoc on the pH levels within the tank, also causing harm to the fish.


An animal lover’s best bet would be to educate themselves about the oils they paln to use around their home . One must be cautioned about searching the internet, however, as misinformation is everywhere. Be sure to check the credentials of the writer before following the advice of any site. There are a few good books on the subject, one of my favorites, and the reference for this article, is Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell.


Remember, with a little love and research, aromatherapy can be highly beneficial to humans and animals alike!

If you have questions about essential oils and pets please contact dr. Norette L. Underwood of Best Friends Vet Mobile Service and Trumann Animal Clinic at


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