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Pet Safety for this Fourth of July

You have probably heard of the town in Italy that switched to silent firework shows to help the town’s pets better cope with the booms and blast of traditional fireworks. But did you know there aren’t really “silent fireworks?” Until they invent truly silent firework shows there are other steps you can take to keep your fur family safe and calm this year while you enjoy hotdogs, sparklers, and other holiday favorites. From beer to bugs, the Fourth of July has a long list of stresses and dangers that pet parents can watch for to keep tails wagging and kitties purring. As you celebrate your patriotic love of America, you can take these measures to keep your patriotic pups, cats, and other pets safe.

Here are some of the most common questions regarding the Fourth of July and pet dangers. We tried to answer some questions you may have and suggest ways you can help keep your pet safe this Independence Day!

1. Should I Bring My Dog Along for the Celebration?

Between crowds, noise, and handouts, it’s best to let your best buddy try to relax at home. The Fourth of July can be quite stressful and any means to keep your dog’s routine the same can help reduce your pup’s anxiety.

2. How Do I Help Keep My Canine Companion Comfortable During the Firework Shows?

Mutt earmuffs for noise protection don’t quite cut it. While there are products on the market for noise protection for pups, we find very few dogs are willing to keep them on. So, how can you keep your pup calm, cool, and collected while fireworks blast near and far?

Try playing your dog or cat some relaxing music. If your dog takes medication for noise anxiety (like thunderstorms), be sure to medicate her before the shows begins. If you’re having guests over, a nervous dog may be better off crated in a quiet room away from the excitement.

3. How Do I Keep My Pet Safe During the Excitement of the Holiday?

If you’re having guests over, be sure to prepare them with your pet-friendly policies before they arrive. These should include:

  • Don’t leave any doors leading out open: The Fourth of July is the busiest time of year for shelters. They receive more cats and dogs July 5th than any other time of the year. The blasts of fireworks confuse and can disorient pets making them more vulnerable to becoming lost. Closing the door also reduces noise inside.
  • This is also a great time of year to double check that your pet’s microchip is up to date or having your pet microchipped if you haven’t done it yet. Make sure your pet’s ID is also current.
  • Human food can cause pets to have upset stomachs and lead to potential poisoning. Keep pet treats handy for guests and let them know how many you feel comfortable letting your pet have.
  • Do not leave used or unused fireworks, lighter fluid, glow sticks/jewelry, or citronella products within reach of your pets. The same is true if you’re grilling: be very careful if hot food falls on the ground that your dog doesn’t gobble it up. Always keep an eye on your dog or cat to make sure they don’t accidentally bump into the grill as well.
  • Don’t let your dog or cat drink alcoholic beverages. This can result in your dog or cat becoming intoxicated and in some cases lead to coma or death.
  • Sunscreen and bug sprays are made for people—let’s keep it that way. While we would suggest using zinc-free, dog-friendly sunblock to keep your dog’s adorable nose from getting sunburned, products made for humans can get your dog sick since their immediate response will probably be to lick it off.

After the celebrations slow to a few stray fireworks in the distance, survey your yard for any remnants of fireworks or other things you don’t want your pet to play with or eat. Kids drop food and there may be wrappers here and there. Keep this in mind when you walk your dog the next day, too.

4. Know Your Pet and When to Ask for Help

Sometimes precautionary measures are just not enough, and the noise and bustle of the holiday is too much for our four-legged companions to handle. Give us a call - there are a variety of medications and remedies that can help in easing this extra stress on your pet. We’re happy to help.

Happy Fourth of July from our clinic and staff!

 

 

Image credit: Pixabay

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Make the Most of this Summer with Our Summer Safety Tips

Summer is the best season to be a dog! The sunshine and great weather lead to endless possibilities of fun outdoor activities. From doggie paddling on a beach summer vacation to leaping through the woods, summer is dog-gone fun!

As a dog owner, you probably have some summer activities prepared. If not, you might still have a few summertime ideas in mind for your next adventure. Help your dog start her summer off on the right paw and keep her safe with some of our summer safety tips.

1. Be mindful of the temperature: keep your dog hydrated and limit her time in the midday sun.

When the temperature rises, you want your dog to have fun in the sun. Most importantly, you don’t want your dog to feel the heat.

To keep your dog cool this summer:

  • Always have cool, clean water available for her to drink. This includes in the backyard or if you plan on going on a hike or road trip, always bring a water dish and fresh water.
  • Don’t leave your dog in the car during the heat of the day, even with the windows rolled down.
  • Know the signs of heat stroke and be prepared to bring her in if you think she’s experiencing heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
  • Test the temperature of the sidewalk or road before you walk your dog. Place your hand down. If it’s too hot for you to hold your hand on for less than 10 seconds, don’t let your dog walk on it. She might burn her paw pads.
  • Avoid the risk of heat stroke or paw pad burns by walking your dog in the morning and evening.
  • Use zinc-free sunblock on your dog’s nose before spending time outside. If your dog has fine fur, you may want to rub some into her back, too.

2. Take some precautions before letting your dog doggie paddle this summer.

Not all dogs know how to swim and others aren’t physically cut out to be the next Michael Phelps. If you have a Pug, Boston Terrier, Frenchie, or Bulldog, you will want to suit your pup up with a life vest.

Take your time and teach your dog to swim. Go slowly and enter the water with her. Never throw your dog into a pool, from a boat or dock. This is traumatizing to your pup and can lead to a fear of water.

And if you’re considering taking your pup fishing, don’t leave fishing hooks or lures lying around, and use caution when you cast.

3. Keep her vaccinations up-to-date before heading to the dog park.

The dog park is a blast, especially during summer. There are so many tails wagging that it’s one of the best places to spend your summer mornings or evenings. Dog parks help your dog learn important social skills, but the dog park also comes with some risks.

Dog waste can spread illness. Dogs that are out of date on their vaccines can be vulnerable to getting ill or spread bacteria, getting other pups sick. Leptospirosis spreads at the dog park through urine or secondary contact with infected urine. Don’t let your dog drink standing water at the dog park or elsewhere. Give yourself peace of mind, and ask us about the vaccine that can prevent your pup from getting leptospirosis.

It’s important to remember that while you may be an amazing dog owner, others may not be as vigilant. We often hear about dogs that bring fleas and ticks home from the dog park. This puts pups at risk of tapeworms and Lyme disease. Avoid the risk of your dog collecting hitchhikers while enjoying the summer festivities. Make sure she’s protected from fleas and ticks with preventative medicine.

"The dog lives for the day, the hour, even the moment," according to Robert Falcon Scott. Help your dog make the most of each moment while keeping her safe.

This year, make memories and make the most of summer while keeping your canine companion out of trouble. If your dog is due for a checkup, don’t hesitate to call us to make an appointment. We can help you and your family make the most of summer with a healthy and happy dog.

 

Image credit: Pixabay

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Prevention and Treatment of Heartworm Disease in Dogs and Cats

Heartworm can have devastating consequences for your pet, including death. It is especially tragic when dogs and cats succumb to heartworm disease since it’s entirely preventable. Now that warm weather is finally here, your dog or cat has a much greater likelihood of acquiring heartworm just by being outside since the most common route of transmission is a bite from an infected mosquito. However, pets can pick up the heartworm parasite any time of year. This is the reason veterinarians at Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital recommend year-round heartworm protection.

 

Heartworm Prevention and Testing


Although it's more common for dogs to get heartworm disease because they make an ideal host and typically spend more time outdoors, it’s important to understand that cats get heartworm as well. Unfortunately, for our feline friends no effective heartworm treatment exists for cats who test positive.

Puppies should start preventive medication for heartworm by eight weeks old. While it isn’t necessary to test puppies that young before starting on a product, puppies over six months old do require testing. Puppies and dogs need only one simple blood test to determine the presence of heartworm. Similarly, cats should be started on a heartworm preventive once they are eight weeks old.

Common Signs of Heartworm Infestation

When dogs acquire heartworm, the parasite usually lives in the heart and the right ventricle. This produces the following types of symptoms:

·      Coughing

·      Fatigue

·      Lethargy

·      Loss of appetite

·      Vomiting

·      Weight loss

It’s also possible that your pet won’t show any indication of heartworm even when he has them. Sadly, the first indication of heartworm in some pets can be sudden collapse and death. All pets should have year-round heartworm protection, even those who never go outside. It’s too easy for mosquitoes to get into your home and infect them.

If you suspect that your dog or cat has heartworm based on these symptoms, please schedule an appointment at Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital right away. We will complete testing and discuss treatment options if results come back positive.

It’s Easier to Prevent Heartworm Than Treat It

We’re happy to let you know that we carry many heartworm prevention products in our clinic. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you would like a recommendation on the most effective product for your pet. You can schedule an appointment by calling our clinic at 763-755-3595.


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A New Year Equals New Opportunities to Be a Great Pet Owner!

A New Year Equals New Opportunities to Be a Great Pet Owner!
January 2019

Now that the calendar has officially flipped over to 2019, you may be focusing on meeting some new resolutions for the upcoming year. Perhaps one of those is to be an even greater pet owner than you already are. This is an excellent resolution, and Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital wishes to offer some tips below to help you achieve it!

Wellness Visits and Preventive Care Exams

Just as growing children and adults at various stages need regular preventive care, the same is true of our pets. Puppies and kittens will likely have several visits during their first year of life to ensure they are off to a great start and to receive both required and optional vaccinations. These appointments are also a good opportunity to discuss behavioral concerns and get started on a proactive parasite prevention plan.

Adult dogs and cats should come in for a preventive care exam at least once a year. Pets reach middle age when they are around seven years old and the senior years by age 10 (this varies by breed).  We recommend bi-annual preventive care exams starting at age seven. This gives us the chance to detect common age-related diseases as early as possible and to intervene to give your pet a more comfortable and healthy life.

Prevent Parasites All Year Long

Some pet owners assume that they can stop parasite prevention treatment during the winter months because their pets don’t go outside as much. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that people continue to use products to kill fleas, ticks, heartworm, and other highly devastating parasites all year long. We understand it can be a challenge to determine which products are most appropriate for your pet and will work with you and your pet to determine the appropriate products based on age, health and lifestyle.

Professional and At-Home Dental Care

Imagine the terrible condition your teeth would be in if you didn’t brush them daily, or even more so, for your entire life. Unfortunately, some dogs and cats do go a lifetime with no routine oral healthcare. It’s important to establish a tooth brushing routine with your pet as soon as he or she comes to live in your home. You might be surprised at how quickly your pet will come to accept it if you’re consistent, gentle, and offer plenty of praise (TREATS!) for cooperation. Just be certain to use the right size of toothbrush and proper toothpaste for your pet’s species.

Pets also benefit from an annual dental appointment that includes professional cleaning of their teeth. This is typically done under anesthesia to allow for deeper cleaning below the gumline and to ensure the pet’s cooperation with the process.

Relax and Enjoy Your Pet

Although having a pet comes with much responsibility, it is a relationship that brings great joy. In 2019, resolve to spend as much one-on-one time as possible with your pet to help deepen your bond. The rewards are priceless!

To schedule an appointment with Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital, please call 763-755-3595.

Image credit: Pixabay

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