Now You Know | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Now You Know

Pot, psych meds and other weird stuff you've been wondering about dogs and cats

You got the cat/dog from a shelter or a designer breeder, or maybe even from someone who was looking for a "farm" where they could dispose of their pet. Now that you have that pet, things are going pretty smooth. You feed them, water them and maybe even let them in your bed as a snuggle buddy.

You have the basics down—but even with all your experience as the loving human of a loving pet, you still have questions. That's where this feature comes in: answering some of the questions you may find yourself wondering during the Dog Days of Summer.

So what's with...

Pet Psych Meds

You probably know someone with a crazy Chihuahua whose human has had to resort to puppy Prozac to handle the little maniac’s behavior. ‘Sup with that? Turns out, Prozac is used for both dogs and cats—and no, you shouldn’t take your pet’s dose when times get tough.

“A lot of the meds for cats are for inappropriate urination, so they want to be protective or start marking their territory,” says local veterinarian, Dr. Byron Maas of Bend Veterinary Clinic. “We use Prozac for that, to help with taking away the psychological desire for them to obsessively mark their territory in their house. So a lot of times they’ll do it because of a new animal in their house or something happening in the neighborhood.”

For dogs, it’s a little different. “For dogs we use it for separation anxiety, so for a dog where when you leave during the day they just tear up the house and go completely nuts,” Maas says.

It occurred to us that people may actually try to take their pets’ meds—and it turns out, they do.

“It actually goes both ways,” says Maas. “It mostly goes for the controlled drugs. I had a situation where people were taking their animal’s pain meds, and so we definitely do have to worry about that but not so much with Prozac, but pain meds for sure.” To cut down on the possibility of a human abusing a pet’s meds, there’s a federal registry tracking system that allows vets to register their narcotic prescriptions under the human’s—and pet’s—name.

Putting Sunscreen on your Pet 

Next up in the moves to anthropomorphize your pet: Putting sunscreen on your dog! It sounds funny, but pet experts say it can spare some pets some serious discomfort.

“Animals that typically have long hair, people will give them a summer haircut or shave them down pretty short so they feel comfortable, and consequently those dogs are exposed to sun whereas they never would have been before,” says Maas. “There’s several different conditions that are made worse with exposure to sun. With that, they’ll have a rawness or pinkness on the nose. Another one is animals with really white fur have less melanin and less pigment that they’ll produce. White fur and a combination of blue eyes are dogs that have more sensitivity to sun, just like with humans.”

Tawna Storey, owner of Bendy Dog in downtown Bend, carries a spray-type sunscreen geared toward animals.

“You can use it on all kind of animals, like horses, and it’s pretty simple to use,” Storey says. “Just spray liberally around the entire body and avoid eyes and be careful around the muzzle. Most of the places you’re going to apply it make it pretty hard to lick it off. The only reason that it would be able to come off is if you have another dog that licks it off. To get around it you just apply, apply, apply.”

Dr. Maas, meanwhile, recommends the cream-type sunscreen.

“Something that’s not oily,” he says. “Especially with cats, if they feel that it’s oily they’ll want to get it off. Most of the time you don’t have to worry about it getting near their nose or mouths, but always check the label. The other thing we see a lot is cataracts in the eyes from prolonged sun exposure. And there’s not much we can do about that, except tell people to be careful of how long they have their animals exposed to sun, and try to go out in the mornings or evenings when it’s not so bright.”

Another option: Those sweet “doggles” that you can find in pet stores. Cool factor, on point.

Hot Dog Paws

Been to Summerfest or any other big outdoor event in Bend lately, and seen your dog doing what looks like a happy dance? Maybe it’s a happy dance—or maybe it’s the fact that your dog’s paws—in addition to its skin—are on fire.

“Just like with people, getting sunburned is something that’s uncomfortable and you want to avoid, but people mostly just don’t think about it with their dogs. It’s the same issue with hot paws,” says Storey of Bendy Dog. If it’s hot outside and you wouldn’t walk around without shoes, your dog shouldn’t, either.

“The hot asphalt situation is a huge problem, so trying to stay on dirt or grass is much better,” says Maas. “You can condition their feet by building up tolerance to certain kind of heat. So if you build it up little by little it can be pretty successful. The animals we worry about are the ones that are inside all the time and all of a sudden you take them out when it’s 100 degrees out and it’ll burn their feet. The other thing you can do is give them little athletic socks or something to cushion them from the hot asphalt, so booties are great too.

“The only issue is people who just put the booties on for long periods of time because the dogs have to be conditioned to those too, otherwise they can get pretty uncomfortable.”

Where to start?

“Ruffwear is my favorite product because they put so much research into it and know exactly what they’re doing,” says Storey.

Did my dog actually get neutered?

You took your dog to the vet to get neutered, but not long after, you notice he looks like he’s rocking a package on the back end again. So what’s up with that?

Maas says: “Most of the neutering is done with castration tools—so you remove the testicles is the standard way of doing it. So people oftentimes call us up after getting their dog neutered, saying ‘Hey it looks like there’s still testicles there,’ and that’s actually part of the urinary tract. They can sometimes get a little swelling there, and people often confuse that for testicles.”

So don’t worry. Your dog’s not makin’ babies anytime soon.

Can I get my dog baked?

Trust us, your dog doesn’t suffer from the type of FOMO that happens when you’re walking by someone’s dorm room and clouds of smoke come billowing from under the door. He or she doesn’t necessarily wanna get baked with you and your tie-dyed buddies, but may want to partake for other reasons, with other products.

“Dogs don’t do well with THC, but they do do well with CBD,” Dr. Mass of Bend Veterinary Clinic says. “A lot of veterinarians recommend CBD or CBD compounds, and you can actually get that over the counter, but the THC is definitely an issue. People will often make some brownies or some butter and dogs will get a hold of it and eat a whole plate and they’ll get a massive dose of THC—so be cautious with recreational or medicinal cannabis. There is some toxicity risk with animals that you have to be careful with. But we do prescribe CBD here, some for anxiety and some for pain or motion control.”

Bottom line? Talk to your vet if you’re looking to test out some CBD (another active compound in cannabis products, also used for anxiety in humans) for your pet.

Intern Shilo Grayson contributed to this report.

About The Author

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. While the pandemic reduced "hobbies" to "aspirations," you can mostly find her raising chickens, walking dogs, riding all the bikes and attempting to turn a high desert scrap of land into a permaculture oasis. (Progress: slow.)
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