Beat the Heat

Frying eggs on the sidewalk?  Here are some ways to help you and your pets enjoy the sun without melting!

  • It’s all about the water!  Play in the sprinkler, bust out the wading pool, or take a dip in the lake.  Always make sure your pet is supervised and rinse him/her off with clean water after swimming.
  • Enjoy a frozen treat.  Check out special doggy confections like Frosty Paws, make a giant popsicle by freezing treats or toys into a huge ice cube, or head to your local ice cream joint- many have items on the menu for dogs.
  • Pack a picnic.  Put together some of (both of your) favorite treats and find a shady spot to enjoy.  Don’t forget a bowl and fresh water for your pet.
  • Outsmart the sun.  Head out for a walk or visit the dog park before the sun fully comes up or at twilight during the coolest parts of the day.

It may be hot out there, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the great outdoors! If you have any questions, please give us a call!

Common 4th of July Dangers for Pets

While you are enjoying fireworks, barbeques, good friends, and fun times this holiday, don’t forget to be on the lookout for the following potential hazards for your pets:

  • Neighbors & friends – Keep a close eye on your pets if you take them to parties or have people over.  Just because you realize that bratwurst might cause digestive upset for your pet doesn’t mean your neighbor does.  Also, unfamiliar visitors and crowds can make it easy for frightened or curious pets to slip out the door.  Make sure that your pet has a “safe” quiet place to retreat to and be sure it is wearing identification with current contact information.
  • Not-so-pet friendly treats – Do your best to keep your pet on its normal diet.  Extra treats and fatty food can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea at minimum, and could even result in more severe digestive problems like pancreatitis.  Some “people” treats such as alcohol, onions, chocolate, and grapes or raisins could even result in death.
  • Fireworks and other hazards – Obviously fireworks and other direct flames can be dangerous to pets.  Be sure to keep them secured and out of the way when such activities are occurring.  But did you think about the loud noises a fireworks display may cause?  Scared pets may hide or worse, try to run from the noise.  If your pet has severe anxiety related to fireworks, talk to your veterinarian about potentially using a sedative to help get them through the holiday.

For those of you who are dealing with fireworks anxiety, be sure to enter our sister hospital’s Thunder Shirt sweepstakes!

 

How prepared are you?

Disasters strike when we least expect them.  We never think it will happen to us, yet every year tornados, fires, hurricanes, and floods strike locations all over the United States.  If something like this were to affect your family, are you ready?  It is National Pet Preparedness Month, and it’s the perfect time to ask yourself the following:

  • Where would you go? Do you have a list of facilities or locations that you could take shelter at?  Where would your pets go?  Try to make a list of pet-friendly hotels, boarding facilities, or homes that would take your pet in case of an emergency.
  • What would you bring? Everyone should have an emergency preparedness kit.  Be sure to include your pets.  Keep a carrier, leash and collar, food, water, and bowls in a designated location.  Don’t forget any medications and a copy of your pet’s medical records.
  • Could your pet find you if you became separated? Keep identification tags and microchip registration information current so that your pet can find its way home should you have to part.

We all hope that we’ll never have to deal with an emergency like this, but it does happen. Being prepared will give you peace of mind, and is the best way to ensure you and your loved ones will make it through as safely as possible.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

 

Hold your hounds! Leash etiquette for your pooch.

Dog Pulling at LeashWe have all experienced it:  You are minding your own business, walking your dog quietly when a friendly, over-excited (or not-so-friendly, borderline aggressive) dog pulling an owner at the end of a leash comes barreling into your personal space.

Worst case scenario, your dog is not so thrilled at the sight of the other dog, or the other dog is not as thrilled as its owner perceives and chaos ensues.  Best case scenario, one or both dogs, although friendly, develop bad habits regarding interactions with other humans and dogs.  Keep the following cardinal rules of leash etiquette in mind when taking your dog in public:

  1. Not all dogs are friendly.  Even if your dog is, be sure to give other pets plenty of “personal” space unless you ask the owner’s permission to approach.
  2. Not all people like all dogs.  Another dog walker may be terrified of your dog.  Don’t allow your pet to jump on or rush at others.
  3. Consider ditching the flexi-lead.  While it’s convenient to let your dog roam, it is impossible to maintain control of your pet while on a flexi-lead.  They are also much less sturdy and more likely to break in times of need.
  4. If you do use a flexi-lead, keep it locked at 6 feet when other people or dogs are around.
  5. Train your pup!  Exuberant, friendly dogs and cautious, fearful dogs alike benefit from training sessions.

Contact us if you’d like some recommendations for local trainers.

 

Scary Halloween Hazards for Your Pet

Bulldog in Halloween costumeGhost and goblins aren’t the only hazards for Max and Mittens this Halloween.  Keep an eye out for these top Halloween pet dangers:

Chocolate

This common Halloween treat is not for your pet.  Chocolate, especially in the form of dark or baking chocolate, can be toxic.

Artificial sweeteners

Beware of baked goods or candies sweetened with xylitol.  Just a small amount of this artificial sweetener could be deadly.

Halloween plants

Traditional Halloween decorations like pumpkins and corn are not toxic, but ingestion could cause digestive upset or an obstruction.

Wires and electrical cords

Decorating for the holidays often leads to cords in places where they are not normally.  Be sure all these are out of the reach of curious teeth and that your pet cannot become tangled in them.

Candles

If you choose to light up your Jack O’Lantern with a candle, keep it out of the way of mischievous cats and dogs to prevent burns.

Costumes

If you choose to dress up your pet, be sure that its costume fits well and does not obstruct vision, hearing, or breathing.  A costumed pet should always be supervised so that it does not become tangled in the costume or chew off pieces.

If you do get your pet into a costume, we’d love to see it! Share your pictures in our Pet Gallery or on our Facebook page.

Trick or treaters

When opening your door to hand out candy, be sure your pets are secure in the house.  Stressful activity and an open door can lead to lost pets very quickly.

Decorations

Be sure that tempting decorations like tinsel, ribbons, and other potentially ingestible items are kept out of reach from curious pets.

If you think that your pet may have gotten into something that he shouldn’t have, please don’t hesitate to call us.

Dog Days of Summer

We want to make sure you keep your pets safe during these hot, hot months. Please watch out for the following summer hazards:

  • Heat stroke: It may be the most obvious hazard, but don’t forget that pets can overheat and even die from high temperatures. Never leave an animal in a car, even for a short period. Make sure your pet always has access to shade and fresh water.
  • The sun: It may sound like a good idea to shave down your golden retriever, but your pet’s coat provides insulation from the heat and limits sun exposure which can result in sunburn.
  • Heartworms: Mosquitoes transmit heartworms, which are just what they sound like- worms that grow in the heart. Not a good thing. Keep your pet on heartworm prevention as recommended by your vet.
  • Fleas: These nasty little buggers are at their peak during the warm months of the year. Preventatives prescribed by your vet are very effective at keeping fleas at bay.
  • Parties: Fido may want to crash the neighborhood block party, but be sure you limit his consumption of extra treats that may make him sick.  Alcohol is also a big danger as well as garbage cans full of tasty treats like leftover bones.

Summer can be a fun time for your pet, but there are many dangers as well.  Keeping yourself informed and aware of potential risks can help to make sure your summer is a breeze.

 

Bringing Home a New Pet

You have finally done it.  After months of research and careful planning, you are driving home with a new family member.  But now that you have taken the plunge, where do you go from here?

First of all, before you bring your new “baby” home, you need to be sure that your home is pet-proofed.  Make sure any potentially toxic items are put where an animal cannot get to them.  Don’t forget, pets have teeth as well, so things like electrical cords can be very dangerous.  Baby gates can make keeping your new addition corralled easier.

Remember that this is probably as stressful a time for your new pet as it is for you.  Do not overwhelm it.  Make sure time to acclimate to new surroundings is allowed before introducing him or her to other pets or the family next door.  Give your new dog or cat some private time as well.

Try to get into a routine so your pet can be comfortable in knowing what to expect.  Meal times, play times, and potty times should fall around the same time.

Lastly, make sure to take your new pet to visit your veterinarian within a few days after bringing it home.  This will allow you to establish a relationship between your pet and vet and give you a chance to ask questions and address concerns.

Congratulations and good luck with your new little bundle of joy!