He combed through veterinary journals, spoke with experts and surveyed more than 400 people to come up with his list.
Price: About $100 for a six-month supply for a 20- to 40-pound dog.
Comfortis (spinosad) is an FDA-approved chewable, beef-flavored tablet that kills fleas and prevents flea infestations on dogs. The tablets are fast-acting, starting to kill fleas within 30 minutes and provide protection that lasts a full month. Comfortis is safe to use around children and other pets (because it's given orally, there's no need to separate pets while the product is absorbed) and doesn't stain carpeting, furniture or clothing.
The product is effective even when dogs are bathed or go swimming frequently because it is administered orally, works systemically and doesn't wash off. Comfortis is ideal flea protection for pets in areas with massive flea-control challenges, such as in the Gulf Coast states, where it has already become the No. 1 flea-control product.
Price: $60 to $70, depending on test
Researchers at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine have developed genetic tests to determine a dog's sensitivity to certain drugs or whether the pet has genetic heart mutations that put a dog at greater risk for certain heart conditions. Both tests require a simple mouth swab (using a soft brush to swish the inside of the dog's lips for 20 to 30 seconds using the same pressure you would brushing your teeth). Using the dog's DNA from the swab, the laboratory can test for problem genes.
The first test from the College of Veterinary Medicine's Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Lab can determine whether a popular parasite-control product or other commonly used drugs are dangerous for a dog before a veterinarian or pet-owner uses them. Specifically, they test for the MDR1 gene for multidrug sensitivity in herding breeds.
Some of the breeds most commonly affected by this mutation and these drugs include the Australian Shepherd, Collie, Long-Haired Whippet and Silken Windhound. Dogs with this condition can become critically ill or die from the use of common parasite-control products, antibiotics, sedatives and pain medications.
The second test is from the College of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Cardiac Genetics Lab and tests for genetic heart mutations in Doberman, Boxer dogs and Maine Coon and Ragdoll cats. They test Dobermans for Dilated Cardiomyopathy Mutation (DCM), Boxers for Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cadiomyopathy Mutation (ARVC) and Maine Coon and Ragdoll cats for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
Knowing whether your pet has the mutation can help you take steps to mitigate the condition or be aware of the age of onset and know what to expect and do.
Price: Available through veterinarians only
The Hill's Prescription Diet Therapeutic Weight Reduction Program, available through veterinarians only, is designed to provide a robust team approach to weight-loss for overweight, obese or obesity-prone dogs. The easy-to-use program combines pre-measured portions of clinically proven Hill's Prescription Diet r/d Canine Weight Loss-Low Calorie Dry brand pet food and low-calorie biscuits.