Jill Rappaport

Ask the Vet: Tips for shedding, nail clipping and more

June 17, 2013 at 9:42 AM ET

Video: TODAY animal advocate Jill Rappaport and Dr. Brett Levitzke answer common pet questions, including how to trim your dog’s nails and how to know if shedding is abnormal.


It's time for another installment of Ask the Vet!

As a mother of five rescue dogs, I have encountered issues just maintaining their health and well-being. I basically had to become a sort of "at home" vet without the degree.

The key is knowing when you need to see your vet, and when you can handle and diagnose certain situations on your own -- and save some money in the process. It's imperative to know the difference.

In this segment, Dr. Brett Levitzke or, as I like to call him, "Brett the vet," will look at three more issues with me that every pet owner will experience at one point or another -- or quite often. First, we'll learn about shedding: what to do to control it, how do reduce it and what products work best to minimize it.

Next, fatty tumors. Just the word "tumor" tends to send a shiver down our spines, but these tumors are most often benign. Most animals will get them once they hit middle age, at about 7 years old and up. Even so, it's possible they could turn cancerous, so you need to know what to look for on your pet, and how to check them to determine if they could be dangerous.

Finally, nail clipping. Every pet owner needs to stay on top of this, because if your pet's nails are too long it can cause lameness, and even infection. I always took my dogs to the vet to get them clipped during their regular check-ups, but I now do it myself at home with clippers I bought at my local pet store. Do not try this at home on your pet until your vet teaches you how to do it safely. You can clip your pet's nails too short, which could cause bleeding and a possible infection.

A happy, healthy pet should be our number one objective!

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