Newsletter

The entire team at Loyal Companions Pet Cremation & Memorial is pleased to provide you with an online newsletter, which we update on a regular basis with interesting, educational articles to help you and your family in your time of need.

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Current Newsletter Topics

November is National Pet Diabetes Month

November is National Pet Diabetes Month, but with more than 50 percent of the nation’s cats and dogs overweight or obese, raising awareness of the common endocrine disease has been extended to pets – rather than just their human caretakers. It is estimated that one in every 200 cats may be affected by diabetes, being the most common endocrine condition found in felines. The numbers for dogs are similar and only expected to increase.

Diabetes results when a pet’s body doesn’t produce enough insulin (Type I DM) or doesn’t process it properly (Type II DM). When your pet eats, carbohydrates found in his or her food are converted into simple sugars, one of which is glucose. Glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestines and travels to cells throughout the body. Inside cells, insulin typically helps turn the glucose into fuel. However, when there isn’t enough insulin, glucose can’t even enter the cells to be converted into energy and instead just builds up in the bloodstream.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats and Dogs:

• Lethargy
• Excessive thirst
• Frequent urination
• Always hungry, yet maintains or loses weight
• Thinning, dry and dull coats in cats
• Cloudy eyes in dogs


At-risk pets include:

• Those with genetic predispositions
• Those with other insulin-related disorders
• Those who are obese and/or physically inactive
• Dogs who are between 4- to 14-years-old
• Unspayed/intact female dogs are twice as likely to suffer from diabetes
• Dog breeds with greater risk for development: Cocker spaniels, dachshunds, Doberman Pinschers, German shepherds, golden retrievers, Labradors, Pomeranians, terriers and Toy Poodles

Although diabetes can’t be cured, it can be managed so that symptoms are reduced or eliminated entirely. Your veterinarian will decide which treatment options are best for your pet. Often, changes in diet and lifestyle, combined with or without daily insulin injections, can help your pet live a happy, healthy, active life.

If you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms in your pet and suspect he or she may have diabetes, contact your veterinarian today. Veterinarians are the only professionals who can accurately diagnose your pet and provide proper health management. Diabetes can affect a pet differently over time, even if your pet has experienced a long period of stability. The sooner your pet is diagnosed, the better, and the less likely you'll incur the cost of an expensive emergency visit for diabetic complications.

Advantages Of Spays and Neuters

Spaying or neutering pets is a common procedure, and most pet owners have probably had some experience with having the procedure done on animals they have owned.

Aside from the inconvenience of heat cycles and/or roaming tom cats, there are medical benefits associated to having your pet spayed or neutered. The direct health benefits of spaying or neutering are significant for the pet. If female pets are spayed before their first heat cycle, the risk of developing mammary tumors (breast cancer) is significantly reduced. Spaying female pets eliminates the risk of pyometra, an infection of the uterus. This disease can be very serious, even fatal, in female pets. Male pets can also benefit. Neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate disease.

Spaying or neutering can indirectly help prolong a pet's life as well. When pets are spayed or neutered, their tendencies to roam or fight are greatly reduced. This prevents the pets from getting lost, stolen, hit by cars, or contracting a contagious disease.



Cats that fight are at risk of contracting a serious disease called feline leukemia. This disease, which affects the immune system of the cat, can be passed from feline to feline through saliva or blood. Cats also run the risk of contracting feline immune deficiency virus when they fight. This disease is very similar to human HIV. It can lie dormant in the cat for quite a while, and when activated, can cause the cat's immune system to function improperly.

Spaying or neutering dogs can help keep them under control. Dogs that have not been spayed or neutered are more likely to wander away from home. While running loose, they have a chance of being hit by a car, getting lost, stolen or taken to the animal shelter.

Even though spays and neuters are considered routine surgery, there is nothing routine about any abdominal surgery performed under general anesthesia. Most veterinarians consider spays and neuters to be major surgery, especially when spaying older animals that have had several heat cycles or have had litters.

Veterinarians and humane societies advise pet owners to have their pets spayed or neutered. The medical advantages have been proven. Complications resulting from these procedures are rare and pets recover from surgery very quickly. Often the day after surgery, animals are bright and alert, sometimes seeming as if nothing had ever happened.

The cost of the procedure varies depending upon the species, sex, size and age of the pet.

10 Common Questions Asked after the Loss of a Pet

The loss of a cherished animal companion can cause extreme sadness, intense guilt and a whirlwind of other emotions. Often, you will seek answers to questions that may not be black and white. Below, you will find some of the most common questions pet owners ask of themselves while grieving the death of a pet.



1. When is the right time to euthanize a pet?

Your veterinarian will make a recommendation based on your pet's physical condition and long-term outlook. You, however, have the unique insight into your pet's daily quality of life. By evaluating your pet's health honestly, you will be able to work with your veterinarian to come to the most humane decision for your individual pet. The decision to euthanize will never be easy, but is often the final act of love you can provide a pet who is suffering.


2. Should I stay with my pet during euthanasia?

This is a completely personal decision that you will need to make. Many pet owners want to be there for their pets and witness it so they can see it happened peacefully and without pain. This can be traumatic, but not witnessing the death may make it harder to accept that the pet is really gone. Also, you want to gauge your own emotional strength- if you have an uncontrolled outpouring of emotions before your pet passes, it may be upsetting for him or her to witness. Euthanasia can sometimes be performed at home. Discuss your options with your veterinarian beforehand.


3. I've heard of the stages of grief, but what are they?

The grieving process is often illustrated by five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Typically, you will move through them progressively, but everyone grieves in different ways. You'll know you're beginning to heal when you're thinking more rationally and more often of the good times you shared with your pet rather than of the "what-ifs" and the guilt.


4. How can I cope with my feelings?

Having someone to share your feelings with will help you not have to keep them locked up inside. Don't deny how you feel or simply put on a brave face. You must acknowledge your feelings to work through them. Some of your thoughts may be misguided and as time passes you will be able to realize this. Do whatever works best for you as a means of emotional expression – go somewhere secluded and scream, cry, talk, write, paint, create a memorial, or find a new activity to fill the time you previously would've spent with your pet.


5. Should I just get over it?

It is common to hear the phrase "it was just a pet" when others find your emotions to be too extreme or too long-lasting. These people aren't aware that the death of a pet creates the same emotional response as the loss of a human friend or family member. Grieving is natural and thousands of pet owners can attest to that.


6. Who can I talk to?

Share your feelings with family or friends who have pets. Reminisce about your pet. Or, speak with your veterinarian or local humane association to identify pet loss counselors or support groups. Hospitals and churches also often have resources for grief support.


7. Should I do burial, cremation, or disposal?

This is another decision which should be based on your personal wishes. It can be easiest to have a clinic dispose of your pet's remains (often for a fee), but many prefer something more formal. Based on your living situation, a burial at home may be a good choice. However, both burial and cremation depend on your personal or religious values, finances and future plans. Your veterinarian or an online search will provide options available in your area.


8. What should I tell my children?

Be honest with your children and provide as much information as they seek in a way that matches their age and maturity level. Saying their pet was "put to sleep" is not advised, as they may begin to fear bedtime. Allow your children to grieve in their own ways and be open about your own emotions around them rather than teaching them to keep it all inside.


9. Will my other pets get depressed?

Your other pets may notice a change in the household. Based on their relationship, some may search for their companion, eat less and seem to be grieving. Giving your surviving pets extra love and attention during this time will be beneficial not only to them, but to you as well.


10. Should I get a new pet right away?

Generally, it is best to allow yourself time to work through your grief and loss before introducing a new pet into your home and life. A new pet is a unique individual, not a replacement. Try to avoid getting one that looks the same or naming it the same as your deceased pet, and don't expect it to behave exactly the same either. Getting a new pet too soon may lead to resentment or feelings of disloyalty because you still want your old pet back.

Celebrate Thanksgiving Safely with Your Pets

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends and indulge in delicious holiday treats. You can be sure that if your cat or dog is around for the festivities, they'll want to share some of the goodies, too. But no matter how much your pets purr, plead, whine or whimper, owners should remember that holiday treats that are tasty for people can be potentially harmful for pets.

Thanksgiving foods may look tasty to your pet, but they could be harmful.

The typical Thanksgiving spread is flush with a variety of foods, from savory fare like turkey and stuffing to sweet foods like yams and cream pies. Your pet's diet is much blander and boring, and for good reason—foods with lots of fat, dairy and spices can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets. For this reason, it's best to avoid letting Rover dine on the usual turkey day leftovers. If you must give your pet some holiday foods, stick to dishes like boiled potatoes or rice, which will not upset your pet's stomach.

Some holiday foods, however, can cause much more than an upset stomach in your pet. Garlic and onions are members of the allium family and, if eaten in large quantities, can cause hemolytic anemia, a blood disorder that causes red blood cells to burst. Raisins and grapes are also toxic to pets and have been linked to kidney failure.

Chocolate is one of the most dangerous foods that pets can eat—it's also one of the most prevalent holiday foods. Whether chocolate is found in cookies, cakes, truffles or baking squares, any amount can be dangerous. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both methylxanthines that can cause stimulation of the nervous system, increased heart rate and tremors. Signs of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate.

Chocolate is dangerous for pets

Other sweet treats, like gum and hard candies, can also make your pet ill. Sugar-free candies and gum are made with xylitol, a sugar substitute that can cause a drop in blood sugar, depression, loss of coordination and seizures in your pet. Xylitol is also linked to liver failure in dogs. Be sure to keep all candies, chocolate and other sweets out of your pet's reach. If you believe your pet may have ingested chocolate or candy, call your veterinarian immediately.

You may also be tempted to give your dog a leftover turkey bone or two once the table is cleared. However, poultry bones are small and easily breakable and can easily shatter and get caught in your pet's throat. These bones can cause damage to your pet's throat or lead to choking.

Holidays can also be as stressful for your pet as they are for you. Large gatherings of unfamiliar people may cause your dog or cat unnecessary stress and worry. If your pet does not interact well with strangers, keeping him or her in a separate room during the festivities may help keep your pet relaxed and worry-free.

During holiday gatherings, it's a good idea to keep your veterinarian's phone number handy. If your pet does get a hold of some Thanksgiving food and experiences mild vomiting or diarrhea, you can help settle their stomach by withholding food for a few hours then feeding small amounts of boiled rice and cooked hamburger. If the symptoms persist, contact your veterinarian immediately.

End-of-Life Care For Your Pet

Pet ownership comes with the knowledge that, in most cases, you will outlive your pet. This truth, however well-known, is still not an easy one to bear. Coming to terms with the fact that death is a part of life, will help you best enjoy your time together with your beloved companion. Thinking and even planning ahead will give you the time to truly cherish your last months, days and moments with your pet when the time comes to say goodbye.

The following are all things to consider as your pet progresses in age.

Senior Pet Care

As cats and dogs age more rapidly than humans, most are considered to be entering their senior years around age 7, which equates to roughly middle age for a person. Although advances in veterinary medicine are leading to longer pet life expectancy, aging will always occur and with it comes a variety of unique health concerns. Older pets can develop conditions similar to those seen in older people. These include cancer, diabetes, disease of the heart, joints/bones, kidneys/urinary tract and liver, as well as senility and weakness. Bringing your pet in for regular wellness exams with your veterinarian and developing a plan for veterinary care throughout his or her senior years will help catch and address potential problems early on.



Hospice Care & At-Home Euthanasia

Hospice care for pets is becoming more and more widely available, as is the decision to euthanize within a pet's home rather than in a clinical setting. The goal with both is to make your pet's final days and moments as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

If Your Pet Passes at Home

If a pet passes suddenly or unexpectedly at home, you can be left unsure of what to do next. Having this discussion with your veterinarian in advance will leave you more well prepared and reduce the emotional trauma you may experience. Generally, a pet's body needs to be removed from the home as soon as possible and kept in a cool spot until that time.

Cremation & Burial Options

Cremation is a very common option for pet owners. With private/individual cremations, you are given your pet's ashes to do with as you please. Others may choose to bury a pet in their backyard or at a local pet cemetery. It is important to look into your options ahead of time because planning, however difficult, will help lessen your future pain and worry.

Grief Counseling by Phone After Losing a Pet

If you are struggling with the grief accompanying the loss of a pet or just want to talk about your feelings with someone, there are many support lines available. You can search for support groups and resources in your area or consider calling any of the following:

Provider Type Phone #
ASPCA Grief Counseling Hotline (800) GRIEF-10
Chicago Veterinry Medical Assoc. Pet Loss Support Hotline (630) 325-1600
Cornell Univ. Pet Loss Support Hotline (607) 253-3932
Iams Pet Loss Support Hotline (888) 332-7738
Michigan State Univ. Pet Loss Support Hotline (517) 432-2696
SPCA of Texas Pet Grief Counseling Support Line (214) 461-5131
Tufts Univ. Pet Loss Support Hotline (508) 839-7966
Univ. of Illinois C.A.R.E. Pet Loss Helpline (217) 244-CARE
Univ. of Tennessee Veterinary Social Work Helpline (865) 755-8839
Utah State Univ Pet Loss Support Hotline (435) 757-4540
Washington State Univ. Pet Loss Hotline (866) 266-8635

Signs You're Healing After Pet Loss

Recovering from the loss of a cherished animal companion takes time. As you move through the stages of grief you'll encounter emotions based on denial, anger, bargaining and depression. The last stage, that of acceptance, is where you will begin to truly heal.

The following are all indicators that you are beginning to show signs of healing:
• You begin to reminisce about your pet's life more than dwell on his/her death
• You don't intentionally try to avoid everyday reminders of your pet
• You are able to think more freely of the "good times"
• You aren't as emotionally distraught when thinking of your pet's death
• You have more control over your emotions
• You are acting more like yourself again – eating, sleeping, hobbies, etc.
• You are able to enjoy yourself without feeling guilty
• You no longer feel guilty for not dwelling on the death
• You don't feel like you're betraying your pet by regaining normalcy
• You are able to talk about your pet without feeling intense sadness or crying
• You are focusing more on the present and future instead of on the past

It is important to note that if a loss occurs suddenly or unexpectedly, such as from an accident, you may deny yourself the opportunity to reach a place of acceptance. Coping with grief is an entirely personal journey that can't always be outlined in fluid stages. You should, however, consider seeking professional help if you are experiencing symptoms of clinical depression and/or it has been more than two months since the death of your pet and you are still experiencing feelings of intense grief.

Did You Know? 8 Veterinary Facts

• Avian Blood Sexing- A blood test can answer the simple question, "Is it a boy or a girl?"

• Dentistry- If your pet has bad breath, drools a lot, paws at his face, or is showing a preference for soft food, he may be experiencing tooth problems.

• Deworming- All kittens and puppies should be routinely dewormed. A negative fecal sample does not necessarily indicate absence of parasites; eggs are shed intermittently.

• Endoscopy- Some foreign bodies, if detected in a timely fashion, may be removed via endoscopy, avoiding possible abdominal surgery.

• Lead/Zinc Testing- Lead and zinc toxicity is very common in birds. Symptoms may include weakness, bloody droppings, regurgitation, seizures or other strange behavior.

• Psittacosis Testing- Birds can harbor a disease called Psittacosis, which is contagious to humans, especially if the person is immunosuppressed.

• Rabbit Spay- If not spayed, 90 percent of female rabbits will develop uterine cancer. We highly recommend spaying your rabbit.

• Urinary Obstructions- Male cats that appear unable to urinate should be seen immediately. They may have a urinary blockage, which if left untreated can be fatal.