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Holiday Considerations for Your Pet: Seeing The Holiday Through Your Pet’s Eyes

When you see the holiday through your pet’s eyes, the big guy in the red suit may seem kind of frightening. And that’s not all - the home filled with scents of tasty but possibly unhealthy and dangerous foods, the noise of the door opening and closing as guests arrive makes their hearts race, strangers scare them, and ornaments look an awful lot like toys. Plus there’s the tree - which looks like an indoor bathroom to your dog.

The holidays bring cheers, friends, family, and our favorite holiday dishes! If you’re beginning to plan for the upcoming holiday season, keep your pet friends in mind as the excitement approaches. We’re not suggesting you add your cat or dog to Santa’s Good Boys and Good Girls list, but to make sure their holidays are happy, healthy, safe and as stress free as possible.

You don’t need to wind up with the long side of a wishbone to help keep the holiday season safe for your pet. Just consider the world through your pet’s eyes.

The Holiday Through Your Pet’s Eyes: Tips for a Festive and Safe Holiday Season

1. Who Are All These People? Guests, Noise, and a Change in Routine

When we’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner or another holiday event, it’s natural to get a little stressed out, but don’t forget that our pets don’t really understand the occasion. They do know that there’s a lot more hustle, bustle, noise, and strangers - and that you’re stressed and anxious.

To top it off, most pets feel a bit off when their routines change.

To help ease your nervous pet’s anxiety:

  • Use a pheromone spray or diffuser to help keep her calm. Feliway works well for cats and Adaptil for dogs.
  • Create a little holiday sanctuary in a quiet room away from the chaos. Include comfy blankets, calming music, and dim lighting.
  • Board pets that would be better off avoiding the stress.
  • Help your dog or cat get plenty of attention, mental stimulation, and exercise before the festivities begin.
  • Keep your schedule as normal as possible.

2. Turkey, Ham, Cranberries, and Yams! Yum: How to Handle Table Scraps

Very few pets politely decline table scraps. Additionally, those adorable puppy eyes and kitty whiskers combined with the delight of the holidays tend to convince guests that our pets need a nibble of their dinners. As you probably guessed, this isn’t the best.

Politely ask guests to gift your pet with an approved treat or just some extra lovin’. You can even cut down larger treats to help ‘cut back’ on the calories if your pet is on the portly side.

When it comes to table scraps and handouts, it’s best to just say “no.” These tasty treats can cause your pet to get sick, and the last thing you want is to clean up diarrhea, vomit, or rush your pet to the emergency vet.

3. It’s So Much Fun to Explore Guests’ Belongings! Keep Nosy Pets Out of Baggage and Other Belongings

From purses flung over chairs to toiletry bags, it’s best to have a plan for your friends’ and family’s belongings. Medication, dental products, and gum often contain xylitol (or alcohol sugar) which is toxic to pets. Just a small amount of xylitol can send your pet into diabetic shock or coma.

If you can keep purses and coats in a closet, you can keep nosy and curious pets out of trouble. Make sure to remind houseguests to keep their door closed and suitcases out of reach of your pet.

4. Fire, Fire Burning Bright! Flames Aren’t Fun for Pets

Most pets are naturally very curious about the warm glow of candles and fire. During the holidays, we see kitties with scorched noses and puppers with burnt paws.

Keep your pet safe by keeping the fireplace screen up, and make sure to keep an eye on her when your fireplace is lit. If you want to fill your home with the warm glow of candlelight, keep candles on high shelves and extinguish the flame when you leave the room. Non-flame candles make a wonderful alternative.

5. Shiny Décor and More! Don’t Let Your Pet Get Tangled in Tinsel

They’re shiny, fuzzy, and make fun noises! As you hand out the (toxic!) mistletoe, jingle bells, and ornaments, notice how similar they look to toys through the eyes of your pet.

Don’t let your pet get wrapped up in trouble.

  • Avoid edible garland like popcorn strings.
  • Pickup any ornament hangers that you don’t use.
  • Don’t allow your pet to play around the tree, especially unsupervised.
  • Keep toxic plants like mistletoe and poinsettias away from your pets.

Happy Howlidays from Us to You and Your Family!

We hope this holiday season is filled with warmth, love, and relaxation. From turkey to New Years’, peace on Earth for your pets is possible if you see the world through their eyes, plan, and prepare with plenty of time to spare.

Share the gift of good health with your pet and bring her in for an appointment. We can help her manage holiday stress if she suffers from anxiety, and help you determine if your decor is dangerous or even toxic to your pet.

 

 

Image credit: AnatolyTiplyashin / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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Fall Pet Safety Prevention that Deserves Your Attention

Don’t let your pet “fall” into some of the most common safety hazards we see this time of year. Fall may be the most beautiful season to some, but there are unique risk factors you can prepare for. If you’re anything like most people, you breathe easier this time of year.

We want to help keep autumn a delight for you and your family with a quick reminder of some pet safety tips.

1. Mushrooms Are a Must-Avoid

As mushrooms pop up all over our backyards and walking trails, it’s important to steer clear of these less-than-fun fungi. Dogs and cats get curious about mushrooms from time to time, but they can get extremely sick or even die if they eat the wrong mushroom.

Know where mushrooms grow in your backyard and remove them. Don’t let your dog or cat play unattended anywhere near mushrooms and supervise your dog on walks.

2. Keep that Antifreeze Locked Away and Clean Up Any Drips

Antifreeze poisoning or ethylene glycol poisoning happens more than many pet parents realize. And this poison acts quickly. Within 12 hours for cats and 24 hours for dogs, a pet that laps up a little antifreeze can suffer kidney failure.

While dogs are attracted to the sweet scent of this poison, cats often walk through drips and get sick from grooming their paws after.

So, wipe up even the tiniest spills (a drip the size of a quarter can do irreparable damage to a cat or dog). Keep all antifreeze containers sealed and out of reach of your pet

3. Decor Galore! Pet-Friendly Reminder that Decorations Can Be Dangerous

Decorating for fall holidays punctuates the excitement of the season, but many everyday decorations can do damage to your pets.

Skip the edible decor. Strings of popcorn, corn cobs, and gourds can tempt dogs. And when a dog falls for these temptations, it’s not pretty. From diarrhea to surgery to remove string, it’s easier to just skip the edible decor.

And cats will be cats. Feisty felines will happily knock off glass and ceramic pumpkins, get themselves tangled in a string of lights, and even bite electric cords.

As you add spice to your home decor, keep your pets in mind and aim for safe rather than sorry.

4. Creepy Crawlies

As the mercury drops, we spend more time outdoors: raking leaves, enjoying the fall colors, and enjoying a hot cup of tea on the porch. Letting your dog out to play is great for mental and physical stimulation, just make sure you protect her from creepy crawlies.

Protect Your Pet from Fall Pests By:

  • Bagging leaves (rodents that carry fleas and ticks love leaf piles).
  • Remove debris from near the house. This will help prevent spider bites.
  • Keep your screens sealed. Bugs will try to make their way indoors as temperatures drop.
  • Keep your dog or cat on flea and tick prevention.

5. Don’t Let Your Pet Catch a Chill

While the cool autumn air feels amazing, dogs and cats can still suffer from hypothermia this time of year. Make sure your dog or cat has access to plenty of water while outside and take breaks on hikes with your pup.

If your dog or cat is enjoying the backyard, be sure to check on them frequently and bring them inside after a while. Even though our pets have coats, they need shelter to help regain their warmth. If your pet is shivering, she’s too cold.

Remember that senior pets and young pets have a tougher time regulating their body temperatures.

6. Opt for Natural Rodent Remedies

Rodenticides can kill your pets. While rats, mice, and bats don’t make the best roommates, the chemicals used to poison them can cause permanent damage or death to your pets.

Try trapping instead of poisoning. And keep those traps far from where your dog or cat will find them.

Happy Fall from Our Practice to You and Your Furry Family

Enjoy the love, memories, and unbeatable adventures that arrive with the autumn breeze with your pets. Keep your pets safe and prevent accidents before they happen. If you need to refill your pets’ flea and tick prevention prescription, give us a call.

We hope your fall is filled with friends, family, and more treats than tricks!

 

Image credit: Pexels / Jb Jorge Barreto

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Happy National Immunization Awareness Month!

August is here, bringing plenty of sunshine and joy. Do you know what else August provides pet parents? A chance to take a moment and meditate on your dog’s health. That’s right! August is National Immunization Awareness Month, or as we like to think of it: “National Protect Your Pets and Help Them Live a Long and Happy Life Month” - but that’s a bit of a mouthful!

You may think this is an odd occasion to celebrate, but we hope this article will change your mind.

How often do you think about the importance of immunizations? Vaccines are the unsung heroes of your pet’s health and of modern veterinarian medicine.

Immunizations, Protecting Pets and Their People Since 1885

Did you know that we have rabies to thank for the pre-exposure immunization process doctors, pharmacists, and of course, vets use every day to save millions of lives? When a nine-year-old boy contracted rabies from an infected dog, Louis Pasteur jumped into action and gave the boy a diluted dose of the virus. After a series of 13 inoculations, the boy lived! Thank you, Louis Pasteur!

It is amazing how immunizations help the body’s immune system protect itself.

Yet More Reasons to Celebrate Immunization Today

Vaccines save lives and make our pets’ lives better. From heartworms to distemper, vaccines let our pets live long, happy lives, and give us more opportunities to make unforgettable memories with them. They keep our pets healthy and strong.

Immunizations also keep us safe from zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that can be transmitted from pets to humans.

What Would Life Be Like Without Pet Vaccinations?

Our pets have become a part of our families, and without vaccines for zoonotic diseases, we may not be able to snuggle our furry friends as closely as we do. It’s hard to even imagine how frightening it would be to not know if your dog or cat could possibly be carrying rabies or leptospirosis.

While spending quality time with our pets is important, it’s easy to forget how immunizations also improve our pets’ quality of life. Immunizations prevent illnesses that can kill dogs and cats like distemper and parvovirus.

Immunizations are Paw-sitively Astounding!

Immunizations don’t just prevent death, they prevent pain and suffering.

Let’s take a quick look at distemper as an example. Puppies receive distemper vaccines as soon as they’re old enough. Why? We don’t want our most vulnerable babies to have to suffer with or spread this serious and contagious disease.

The distemper virus attacks the nervous system which leads to repetitive and uncontrollable movements like circling and head tilting. As the virus becomes more and more serious, it causes seizures, paralysis, vomiting, and often death.

There is no cure for distemper. Luckily, we can protect dogs and puppies easily with a series of easy to administer vaccinations.

We won’t break your heart with any other sad scenarios, but it does make you thankful for modern veterinary medicine, right?

There is no doubt that vaccinations are important. They are more than just important, though. Simple vaccinations offer the best protection to help your pets live long and happy lives.

Core Vaccinations

For Dogs

  • Parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Rabies

For Cats

  • Feline panleukopenia (often called Feline distemper)
  • Feline calicivirus
  • Feline herpesvirus type I
  • Rabies

Non-Core Immunizations

For Dogs

  • Bordetella
  • Borrelia (causes Lyme disease)
  • Leptospirosis

For Cats

  • Leukemia virus
  • Bordetella
  • Chlamydophila/feline chlamydia
  • FIV

Remember that vaccinations are most effective when:

  • Administered to puppies and kittens before they are exposed to possible illness.
  • Administered at the correct intervals. Remember to avoid gaps to keep your pet protected.

Vaccines also prevent illness which is easier and less costly than treating it. They also give pet parents peace of mind knowing their pet won’t contract a contagious disease from wildlife.

Final Thoughts for Summertime Immunization

If you’re planning on enjoying some dog park fun don’t skip your pup’s canine influenza vaccine. Dog flu spreads quickly and easily. All it takes is a sneeze, sharing toys, even sharing a water bowl to spread dog flu. Dogs that get the flu remain contagious for 26 days and 25% infected with the flu show no symptoms but continue to spread the virus.

Dog flu can slow your pup down and make her feel miserable with lethargy, fever, and difficulty breathing.

Don’t Let Your Cat Catch A Nasty Illness

Cat parents are more likely to skip bringing their cats in than dog parents. In fact, only 50% of cat owners bring their feline friends into their vet each year according to the AVMA. Don’t wait for your kitty to get sick before bringing her in. We can help keep her happy and healthy with a few simple vaccinations.

So, Happy National Immunization Awareness Month! We hope that you will celebrate your pet’s good health and take a moment to check and make sure your pet’s immunizations are up-to-date. If you’re unsure, give us a call and we will gladly check our records.

 

 

Image Credit: Pixabay

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Keep Your Pet Cool and Safe This Summer

Summer is here! Whether you have a hairless Sphynx or a hairy Husky, the heat this time of year can be dangerous for pets. Whatever the breed or size of your kitty or canine, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to keeping your pet safe and comfy as the mercury rises.

Dogs and Cats Don’t Sweat

While you may be drenched from head to toe in perspiration, your furry friends release heat and regulate their temperature differently. This means you have to help keep them cool.

How Do Dogs and Cats Keep Cool Without Sweat?

There are some facts you should know about how they regulate their body temperatures.

  • If you’ve seen your dog belly flop into your kitchen tile after a midday walk, your dog is using one tactic for body temperature regulation: transferring his or her heat onto a cool surface. This is also a common practice of cats.
  • Dogs and cats use convection to cool themselves. How? Pups often do this by wading into cool water or standing right in front of a fan or A/C vent. This pulls heat away from their bodies and into the water or air.
  • Panting. Both dogs and cats pant to cool themselves. As their saliva evaporates off their tongues, their body heat lowers. 
  • Shedding is a longer-term reaction to heat. By letting go of their undercoat, dogs and cats can cool off.

Common Myths About Dogs and Body Heat

  • Myth: Shaving your dog will keep them cooler. If your pet has a double or triple coat, always ask if it’s a good idea to shave them. A close shave often results in sunburn more than better heat adaptation.
  • Myth: Dogs sweat from their paws to cool themselves. While it’s true dogs do sweat from their paws, this is more often to gain traction and protect their paws than keep their bodies cool. Those pads have too little surface area to truly cool them off. Cooling down is done more so through panting.
  • Myth: Cracking the window is enough to keep a pet cool in the car. Temperatures can rise rapidly in a car, even with the windows cracked. It is never a good idea to leave your dog in the car.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Pet from Summer Heat?

There are ways you can help your dog or cat beat the summer heat and stay safe in the sun! Here are some of our top tips for keeping your pet cooler than a cucumber:

  1. Water, water, everywhere! Make sure your pets have access to cool, fresh water outdoors and indoors. Bring a travel bowl on walks and keep a full bowl wherever your pet may be hanging out. Check outside water dishes and refill them with cool water when the water is warm, try to keep the dish in the shade and don’t use metal bowl for food and water outside - they can get too hot for your dog or cat!
  2. Change your pet’s walk time to the early morning or evening. This especially applies to highly active play time and walks. 
  3. Don’t let your pet stand on hot asphalt too long and beware of astroturf. Asphalt can be 40 to 60 degrees hotter than the air and astroturf can be 40 to 70 degrees hotter. One rule we suggest is testing the temperature of the surface by placing your hand on it. If it’s too hot for you to hold your hand on for 10 seconds, it’s too hot for your pet to walk on.
  4. Provide backyard shade. If your pet is going to relax outside, make sure they have some refuge from the sun. An umbrella or patio cover are perfect and make sure they have a cool place to lie down. If you can make a shady area over a spot your dog can dig in, that’s even better. Shade and some cool ground will make your canine companion more comfortable. 
  5. Heatstroke can be fatal and cause permanent damage. Make sure to know the signs of heatstroke and how to respond.

Heatstroke in Dogs and Cats

Dogs and cats experience heat differently than we do. Because their bodies respond to heat differently, they can more rapidly slip into heat exhaustion or heatstroke. These occur when your pets’ body temperatures rises and they cannot release enough heat to cool themselves down to a safe temperature. Heatstroke is always an emergency!

Some common signs of heatstroke include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Pale or flaring red gums
  • A bright red tongue
  • Strained breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle tremors
  • Excessive drooling
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizure or falling over
  • Lack of urination
  • Confusion
  • Coma

How to respond if you suspect your pet is experiencing heatstroke:

  1. Immediately find a cooler environment for your pet.
  2. Douse your pet in cool (not ice cold) water and place a fan in front of them.
  3. Call us as quickly as possible. Pets suffering from heatstroke may need IV fluids, and oxygen.

Dogs with brachycephaly (short snouts) have a higher likelihood of heat exhaustion or heatstroke. So, if you have a Pug, Frenchie, Bulldog, or another flat-faced beauty, be very careful when it comes to summer heat.

We hope you have a wonderful summer!

 

Image credit: Pixabay

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