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How We Can Make Life Even #BetterWithPets

#BetterWithPets 2015 Summit

Now more than ever, our dogs and cats are family. But our love for pets doesn’t automatically make us great pet parents. We have so much to learn from pet health experts, which is why we were thrilled when Tripawds was chosen to attend the 2015 Nestlé Purina Better with Pets Summit in New York City!

Disclaimer Nestlé Purina covered the cost of our one-day trip to the Big Apple and this follow-up coverage of #BetterWithPets. We are being compensated for creating awareness about the awesome things we learned at Summit, but we only share information relevant to you and this community. Nestlé Purina is not responsible for the content of this article.

We Can Make Life Even #BetterWithPets

What a thrill to hop on a plane and attend the Summit last week! Not only was it a pawesome opportunity to meet one of Tripawds’ first feline members, Jill the Cancer Fighting Tripawd Kitty and her mom Erica . . .

#BetterWithPets 2015 Summit

But more importantly it was the first chance we’ve ever had to meet some of world’s brightest stars in pet health – all in one place!

Exploring the Emotional Health of Pets

As non-vets, we just don’t get access to so many vet experts in one room. See, without a “DVM” after our names, we can’t attend most veterinary conferences. The Summit was an incredible chance to ask our biggest pet health questions to pet health superstars, like the one and only Dr. Marty Becker, pictured bottom right.

#BetterWithPets 2015 Summit

The Nestlé Purina crew corralled these experts into the Brooklyn Expo Center to discuss their latest findings with pet communities like Tripawds. Of course every summit needs a theme and this one was right up our alley – the emotional wellness of pets and people who love them.

#BetterWithPets 2015 Summit

For an entire day we explored questions like:

  • How has the role of pets changed in our lives?
  • What kinds of environments create healthy, emotionally balanced pets?
  • How can we interact with pets in ways that make them feel encouraged and safe?

As Tripawd parents, we know you understand the importance of pets’ quality of life. But there’s still so much to learn about how to create it. For instance, did you know that:

  • Animals can see fluorescent lighting, and they hate it.
  • One of the biggest stressors of pets is . . . us!

Over a dozen experts helped us dig deeper into the emotional health of pets, a relatively new field of study led by nutritionists, behaviorists, trainers and veterinarians.

Dr. Becker did a fantastic job moderating our favorite panel “Stress, Our Pets and Us.” In this exciting session we learned the newest ways to manage our pets’ stress by creating pleasing, calming environments and interactions at home and beyond.

Next week we’ll share what we learned about creating a better recovery experience for post-op Tripawds.

#BetterWithPets 2015 Summit

We also got helpful insight on feline behavior from experts like Dr. Sandra Lyn, who studies the feeding behavior of cats and dogs and what it can tell their owners. Dr. Lyn is an animal behaviorist and director of the Nestlé Purina Global R&D Feeding Behavior Research Program.

Other vet superstars include Dr. Ilana Reisner, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist who studies canine aggression and child safety, and Dr. Tony Buffington, an Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine and a board-certified veterinary nutritionist too!

#BetterWithPets 2015 Summit

And as if the day couldn’t get any better, we had lunch with keynote speaker Dr. Arleigh Reynolds, a senior research scientist for Nestlé Purina who lives in Salcha Alaska. As a veterinary nutritionist and world champion musher he studies the impacts of nutrition on performance in sled dogs.

Even cooler, we learned that he has a two year-old Tripawd Blue Heeler named “Odin”!

#BetterWithPets 2015 Summit

AND, because Dr. Reynolds knows a lot about cancer nutrition for pets undergoing chemotherapy, he enthusiastically agreed to be our special guest on Tripawd Talk Radio!

One of the unexpected tearjerk moments of the day was learning about a sled dog program Dr. Reynolds is involved with. It’s called The Frank Attla Youth & Dog Care Program and it’s changed lives all over Alaska by pairing at-risk youth with working dogs in rural Alaska communities. Check out this short video about it:

You might be as surprised as we were to learn that Nestlé Purina devotes a huge amount of money to groups working to advance pet health and wellness. The company announced at the Summit that they’re donating $50,000 to Dr. Reynolds’ Frank Attla program!

We are impressed by the pawsitive impact Nestlé Purina makes on all animals’ lives, not just those who eat their food every day.

#BetterWithPets 2015 Summit

As Jayne Vitale, Program Director for the North Shore Animal League America said that day,

“Purina is investing in the future of pets and people…it’s not just about buying that bag of dog food, it’s about that lifestyle…that will enhance your life cognitively, physically and spiritually.”

Stay tuned for a closer look at some great pet health tips we learned at the Summit! Meanwhile, hop over to the Better With Pets interactive website to explore the emotional wellness of your pet.


How to Get Affordable, Awesome Veterinary Care for Your Tripawd

Whether your dog or cat might have cancer, or you want another opinion about a complex orthopedic issue, a veterinary teaching hospital is an excellent next step toward getting a clear diagnosis and treatment plan at an affordable price.

Why Vet School Hospitals Are Awesome

Wyatt visits Colorado State Vet Hospital

Being a patient in an educational environment means that your dog or cat (or horse, cow, etc!) will be cared for by some of the brightest veterinarians and enthusiastic, open-minded vet students who have access to cutting-edge technology that’s out of reach for most private practice clinics.

Veterinary teaching hospitals also have their own on-site pathology labs; test results are returned in hours instead of days, which means you don’t waste valuable time worrying and waiting for a diagnosis.

In addition, many schools have community practice clinics that offer general care at greatly reduced prices.

As a plus, the prices charged at veterinary teaching hospitals for everything from medications to surgery are generally lower than those found in private practice settings because these public institutions are motivated by research instead of profit.

Wyatt loves the Aggies at Texas A&M Vet School

About the only disadvantage to taking your animal to a veterinary teaching hospital is they sometimes lack the kind of personalized attention that you would get at a private practice. Vet schools are busy places, with rotating students and interns working on your case at all times. Still, we’ve found that it’s a small sacrifice compared to all of the benefits.

Do your homework to find the best veterinary teaching hospital for your needs. Like anything, some are better than others depending on what level of care your animal needs and what area of specialty the school invests in. Here’s a directory of veterinary colleges around the world, some with on-site hospitals and some that have affiliations with nearby clinics. Good luck!

Veterinary Colleges and Teaching Hospitals Accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
List courtesy of the AVMA

Read more.

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