All posts by James

Tips on Traveling By Air With Your Pet

Traveling with a pet can be tricky. It’s all the more complicated if you’re traveling by air! You may have even heard horror stories of pets getting put on the wrong plane, or being injured or worse during flights. If you decide to transport your companion via an airline, there are a few tips to follow to make sure things go as smoothly as possible. Learn more below:

Visit the Vet

Before you even book a flight, it’s important to make sure your pet is ready for flying. First things first—have your pet examined by your veterinarian to ensure they’re in full health, and have essential vaccinations and pest-control medicines updated if necessary. Secondly, get your pet properly identified if they aren’t already. A microchip is recommended, as it is the most secure form of identification.

Generally speaking, it’s not advised to put senior pets, pets with disabilities or injuries, or pets with compromised immune systems on flights. The stress of flying may simply be too much for these pets, and it’s just not worth the risk!

Check Airline Policies

It’s very important to check the policies of the airline you’re flying with to see what their regulations are in regard to pets. Plenty of airlines don’t allow pets at all, and even those that do may have strict guidelines and restrictions based on size, breed, and more. Some pets are allowed in the cabin with the human passengers (“carry-on” pets), while some must be transported alongside checked baggage under the cabin. Certain airlines have procedures in place—and even specialized teams in some cases—to safely transport pets, while others do not. Do your research before choosing an airline!

Choose Flights Wisely

Whenever possible, don’t choose flights scheduled for the peak of summer or the coldest months of winter. Extreme temperatures won’t treat your pet kindly while flying, especially if they must be transported in the baggage area of the aircraft. It’s also best to book a direct flight with no layovers, helping to minimize the chance of a lost pet.

Check Your Destination

Remember to check your destination—whether it’s a hotel, rented house or apartment, or a family member or friend’s home—to make sure it’s pet-friendly. You don’t want to arrive at your destination only to find out that your pet isn’t welcome!

For more tips on air travel with pets, contact your vet’s office.

Chattiest Cat Breeds

Does your kitty reply when you talk to her? Or does Fluffy only speak up when she wants dinner or attention? Some of our feline pals are quite the little chatterboxes! While every cat is unique, breed does play a large role in kitty personality traits, such as vocalizations and energy levels. Read on as a vet lists some of the most talkative cat breeds.

Siamese

Siamese cats are very outspoken, if you please. They will happily tell their humans about everything from the moth in the living room to the dust bunny under the couch to the squirrel in the yard. These lovable, friendly furballs have unique meows that sound very much like the cries of a human baby.

Maine Coon

The Maine Coon is another talkative kitty. Fluffy, lovable, and playful, the Maine Coon often communicates with adorable chirps and squeaks. They also aren’t shy about expressing their opinions vocally. (Note: their close cousin, the Norwegian Forest Cat, is also very chatty.)

Burmese

Smart, friendly, and affectionate, the Burmese is a furry, four-legged bundle of purrs. These charming felines love to cuddle with their humans. They are also quite chatty, and often happily answer back when spoken to.

Oriental Cat

Frisky and athletic, the Oriental cat has large ears and a penchant for supervising his human buddies closely. These inquisitive felines get very attached to their people, and like to tell them about, well, pretty much everything.

Sphynx

These hairless kitties have won some very dedicated fans in recent years, and with good reason: they’re extremely loving and friendly. They’re also quite talkative!

Bengal

Bengals are best known for their beautifully patterned coats, but they have several other traits that make them unique. Unlike most kitties, they don’t mind water, and can often be found cheerfully playing with their water bowls. Bengals are definitely not shy about speaking their minds!

Peterbald

Another hairless breed, the Peterbald is known for being very vocal. These kitties are master cuddlers who love to play, but hate being left alone.

Turkish Van

Rounding out our list is the beautiful Turkish van, who can be distinguished by her white coat and fluffy brown and/or orange tail. Like the Bengal, they love water, and aren’t known for keeping their opinions to themselves.

Please contact us, your pet hospital, for your kitty’s veterinary care needs. We’re dedicated to offering great care!

Cold-Weather Clothing for Your Dog

When the temperatures drop and snow and ice start to appear outside, it’s important to keep your dog’s well-being in mind. For many dogs, winter clothing can help them stay comfortable throughout the cold season! Learn more about cold-weather clothing for dogs in this article from your veterinary professional.

Does My Dog Need Winter Clothing?

Many dogs will benefit from a layer of clothing in the wintertime, especially when they head outdoors. For dogs with thin or short coats of fur, a coat can help keep the body warm, and boots will help protect the sensitive paw pads from cold surfaces, dangerous road salt, and ice-melt products. Outer layers are also a good choice for senior dogs with more fragile immune systems, and they’re absolutely essential for hairless breeds like the Chinese Crested and the Mexican Hairless.

It’s important to note that some breeds are, in fact, built for the cold, harsh conditions of winter. The Siberian Husky and the Saint Bernard are just two examples; these dogs may actually become dangerously overheated if forced to wear extra clothing!

What Kind of Clothing Should I Get My Dog?

Jackets, coats, and parkas are best for dogs who frequently venture outdoors, especially when it’s snowing. Sweaters may hold moisture when they get wet, making a dog very uncomfortable and potentially even contributing to deadly hypothermia—it’s best to have your dog wear a sweater indoors, then switch to a coat when it’s time to head out. Boots are a good idea for most dogs, except those who have evolved to grow heavy fur on the paws to help protect the paw pads.

How Do I Get the Fit Right?

Jackets, sweaters, parkas, snowsuits, boots, and other winter clothing may come in small, medium, or large sizes, or garments may be designated with a weight range to suit particular sizes of dogs. Choose the closest fit that is applicable to your pet—you don’t want to dress your dog in clothing that’s too tight or too loose, as either scenario can make a dog uncomfortable and anxious. Do your best to choose garments that fit your dog snugly, but still allow plenty of movement with no restriction. If you’re handy with a needle and thread, you can even customize your pooch’s clothing for a perfect fit!

Wondering what type of winter clothing will best suit your dog? Call your vet’s office today!

Cats and Toxoplasmosis

Have you ever heard that handling litterboxes is dangerous for pregnant women? It’s true that everyone, especially pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems, should take precautions against toxoplasmosis, which can be transmitted by cats. A local vet discusses toxoplasmosis below.

What Is Toxoplasmosis?

First, it’s important to understand that not all cats have toxoplasmosis. Cats can contract it by eating rodents, birds, or other small animals infected by the parasite Toxoplasma. The parasite can then be transmitted through cats’ feces for up to three weeks after infection. Cat feces containing the Toxoplasma parasite can pose serious risks to unborn children.

Toxoplasmosis can also be contracted from raw food, sand, or garden soil that has been contaminated by the Toxoplasma parasite.

Prevention

Washing your hands thoroughly will greatly reduce the risk of contracting toxoplasmosis. Wash your hands after handling the litterbox. Follow food safety guidelines for proper cooking and handling of raw meat and fresh produce. Wear gloves when gardening, and wash your hands afterwards.

Ideally, pregnant women should avoid changing litterboxes. If that’s not possible, the CDC recommends pregnant women wear disposable gloves while changing cat litter and wash hands thoroughly immediately afterwards. Cat litter should be changed daily since the Toxoplasma parasite only becomes infectious one to five days after it’s shed in feces. Keep your cat indoors to reduce its exposure to parasite-carrying animals. For any questions about your health and toxoplasmosis, consult your healthcare provider.

Don’t Give Fluffy Away

There’s no need to give up your cat if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant! Kitties are not only wonderful and loving pets; they may actually be beneficial to children. Our feline pals soothe kids in troubled times, provide children with unconditional love, and make great playmates and cuddle buddies! Some studies show that having pets can even boost kids’ immune systems.

Do you have questions about your cat’s health or care? Contact us, your vet clinic, today!

5 Health Benefits of Owning Pets

Pets provide years of unconditional love, loyalty, and companionship. Did you know that owning a pet can also improve your personal health? There are multiple ways that pets are good for us, both physically and mentally! Learn more below from your veterinarian.

Lowered Stress Levels

Did you know that people who own pets tend to be less stressed than those who don’t? This may be because of pets’ unique capacity for constant, unwavering companionship—the value of having a loving companion to come home to on a daily basis should not be underestimated! A gentle nudge or loving bark from your animal companion can make all the difference during a difficult day.

Great Exercise

For many, owning a pet means that they’re getting regular exercise. This is especially true for dog owners, although some cats can go for walks outdoors as well. (Always be sure to use a specialized feline harness and leash!) Walking and playing with your pet doesn’t just keep your animal friend fit—it helps you burn calories and stay physically active on a regular basis.

Improved Heart Health

Studies have demonstrated that pet owners tend to have better heart health than those who don’t own an animal companion. This is likely due to a combination of the above factors of lowered stress and regular exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even list lowered blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels as some of the health benefits of owning a pet! Plus, people who have already suffered a heart attack tend to live longer if they own a pet, compared to heart-attack survivors who don’t own pets.

Better Mood

Let’s face it: playing or relaxing with a furry friend simply tends to put you in a better mood. Spending time with animal companions can lead to the release of serotonin and dopamine, chemicals in the brain that cause feelings of pleasure. Our pets can quite literally put us in a better frame of mind!

Increased Socialization

People who own pets tend to be less lonely—not just because they have an animal companion by their side, but because of the opportunities that pet ownership provides to meet and talk with other people. Pets can be particularly helpful for extremely shy individuals or for those who live alone.

Want to know more about the many wonderful ways pets can improve your health? Contact your vet clinic today!

Taking Good Care of Your Cat’s Skin

Skin problems are relatively common among our feline friends. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to keep your cat’s skin in good shape throughout your pet’s life. That means a pristine coat of fur and a happy, healthy pet! Here are five quick tips for taking good care of your cat’s skin:

Weekly Inspection

Sit down with your cat about once a week to give her coat and skin a thorough inspection. Run your hands through Fluffy’s coat and take note of any bumps, abrasions, bald patches, scratches, or anything else that seems abnormal. If you think you’ve found something that warrants a professional check-up, call your vet’s office right away.

Quality Diet

One of the simplest and most effective ways to keep your cat’s skin healthy is by feeding her a high-quality diet that is well-suited for her age. A balanced, nutritionally complete food choice will provide your cat with all of the necessary nutrients to keep the skin—not to mention other body systems—healthy. Consult your veterinarian if you would like a recommendation on a great diet choice.

Dietary Supplements

For some cats, dietary supplements can help the skin and fur stay healthy and moisturized. Omega-3 fatty acids, certain oils, and other products may be used. As a general rule, don’t give your cat a dietary supplement without approval from your veterinarian.

Brushing

Although your cat is an excellent self-groomer, it doesn’t hurt to give them a little help. Running a brush through your cat’s fur on a regular basis is a great way to help keep the skin healthy—brushing removes grime and dirt from underneath the coat, and it helps to spread your cat’s natural skin oils through the fur to give it a healthy shine. Plus, brushing reduces the amount of hair that your cat ingests while grooming herself; this means fewer unsightly hairballs for you to clean up!

Bathing

Cats typically don’t need bathed very often, but the occasional bath is a great way to make sure that Fluffy’s skin and coat stay clean. Always make sure to use a shampoo formulated specifically for cats, as human shampoos or shampoos made for other animals may irritate your cat’s skin. Ask your vet for advice on how frequently you should bathe your cat.

Would you like more insight into your cat’s skin health or grooming needs? Give us a call today!

5 Reasons Your Dog May Be Barking

Is your canine buddy on the talkative side? Just like people, dogs all have their own personalities. Some pooches are usually quiet, and only bark to let you know there’s someone at the door. Others will speak up about, well, pretty much everything, from the moth in the kitchen to the neighbor trimming his yard. Why does Fido talk so much? A vet offers a few possible reasons below.

Loneliness

Dogs are very sociable, and are happiest when they are with their ‘pack.’ If Fido spends a lot of time by himself, he may be lonely. It’s also possible that your furry buddy is trying to let you know where he is. When you leave your canine friend home alone, try turning a TV or radio on for him. The sound of voices and music may soothe him.

Boredom

Boredom is another possible reason for Fido to speak up. Dogs are very intelligent, and will get uneasy and restless with nothing to do. Provide your four-legged buddy with lots of fun toys, and make sure he is getting enough exercise and playtime.

Curiosity

Dogs often bark when they are curious about something. If your furry friend is usually quiet, but suddenly has become quite talkative, he may be excited or curious about something. It may be the squirrel next door, the neighbor’s new lawn ornament, or a stray cat. Curious barking isn’t always a bad thing: pups also bark when something is wrong, such as a fire or intruder.

Discomfort

Our canine friends also bark to indicate that they are distressed or uncomfortable. Fido may bark if he is hot, cold, or in pain. He may also speak up if he’s confined to a kennel or specific room. Make sure your pooch is comfortable, getting good food and regular veterinary care, and not spending too much time in a crate or on a run. Keeping up with your dog’s grooming and parasite control is also important.

Genetics

Some breeds are simply more talkative than others. Your furry pal may simply be chatty by nature!

Tips

Never punish Fido for speaking: this may only make matters worse. That said, you can teach your pet not to bark as much. Ask your vet or a professional trainer for more information.

Please contact us, your pet hospital, anytime. We’re happy to help!

Choosing a Pet Sitter

Are you considering hiring a pet sitter to look after your animal companion while you’re away from home? There are many great reasons to hire a sitter—your pet will be able to remain in comfortable, familiar surrounds until you’re back home, and a sitter can even take care of grooming appointments or veterinary visits while you’re away. Since you’re giving a sitter access to not only your pet, but your home as well, it’s important to choose someone you’re comfortable with! Use these tips to do just that:

Referrals

One of the best ways to find a pet sitter that you’re happy with is to ask for referrals. Talk to your family members, friends, neighbors, or coworkers to see if they’ve had good experiences with a particular pet sitter that they would recommend to you. It’s also a great idea to ask your veterinarian—they may know of a great pet-sitting service in your area. Lastly, checking online reviews is a good way of getting a feel for a particular sitter.

Qualifications

It’s important that you meet your potential pet sitter before your travels; get to know them, and allow them to get to know your pet. Ask about the sitter’s qualifications—has he or she cared for your type of pet before? Have they completed training in pet behavior or medical care? You may feel much more comfortable hiring a sitter with special qualifications in pet first-aid or emergency care. Don’t be afraid to ask the sitter for a list of references that you can contact to find out about past sitting experiences.

You can also take this time to explain to the sitter any special needs or preferences your pet may have. You’ll also want to outline how many visits the sitter will be making per day, and what visits will include (walks, grooming, etc.). Finally, a discussion of service fees should be had to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Communication

Don’t forget to determine how and when your pet sitter will communicate with you while you’re away on your travels. Many pet sitters will be happy to call you every day, or send you photos or videos of your pet so that you can make sure they’re doing well. Steps like these go a long way toward putting pet owners’ minds at ease!

For more advice on pet sitters, contact your vet’s office.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion in Cats

As you may have noticed, cats are very, very good at getting comfortable. However, while Fluffy can certainly manage to sleep in some very awkward positions, she isn’t quite as good at cooling herself off. In fact, hot weather can be very dangerous to our feline buddies! Fluffy has a fur coat on, and really doesn’t have any effective ways to cool herself down if she overheats. Read on as a local vet lists some signs of heat exhaustion in cats.

Restlessness

One early sign of overheating in kitties is restlessness. If Fluffy is pacing, or keeps moving from spot to spot, she may be getting too hot.

Panting

Panting is definitely a sign that your furry pal is uncomfortably hot. Panting doesn’t cool cats off the way it does dogs, so kitties rarely pant unless they are overheating.

Sweaty Paws

Did you know that cats only sweat through their paw pads? If your kitty’s paws are sweaty, she may be dangerously hot.

Drooling

Drooling is another red flag to watch for. Most cats don’t drool much, if at all, unless they are too hot.

Excessive Grooming

Another thing Fluffy may do to try and cool herself off is groom herself excessively. If your furry buddy seems to be obsessively grooming herself on a hot day, she may be overheating.

Stumbling

Cats with heat exhaustion often lose their coordination. Fluffy may stumble or stagger as she walks.

Shallow Breathing

Shallow breathing is another red flag, and is definitely something to take very seriously.

Lethargy

We know, cats love doing as little as possible. However, if your feline pal seems lethargic, she may be sick from the heat.

Unusual Vocalizations

Cats are all unique, and some have some very unusual voices. What you want to watch for are vocalizations that are abnormal for your pet. If Fluffy is meowing more or less than usual, or if her voice sounds raspy or cracked, the heat may be too much for her.

If you see any of these symptoms in your kitty, take immediate steps to cool Fluffy off. You can give her some water, wrap her in a cool towel, or hold her in front of an open freezer. Call your vet for further instructions as you are doing this.

Please contact us, your pet hospital, with any questions about cat care. We’re here to help!

Meet The AKC’s Newest Breed: The Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen

Have you heard of the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen? The answer to that question may very well be no. This isn’t surprising: there are actually only about 400 in the US, and likely a similar number in Canada. These cute pups were recently added to the ranks of the AKC’s officially recognized breeds. Joining the Hound Group, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen—or GBGV for short—was recognized January 1, 2018, along with another adorable pooch, the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje. There are now 192 recognized breeds … and we love them all! Read on as a local vet discusses the GBGV.

History

Originally bred in France to hunt rabbits and hares, the GBGV is known for having both speed and stamina. These scenthounds actually can be traced back to the 16th century, and are the ancestors of the Griffon Vendeen, which looks quite similar.

Temperament

These fluffy pooches are known for being smart, sociable, and laid back. They are great with kids, and tend to easily make friends with other pets. In fact, they get lonely without companions, and are generally happier with friendly, furry playmates than they are as only pets. Playful and lighthearted, the GBGV does need proper training from puppyhood, as otherwise they can get bossy.

Exercise

Active and courageous, the GBGV is definitely not a couch potato: they need quite a bit of exercise, even into their senior years. They tend to get very, very interested in following scents. A good leash and/or a fenced yard is a must with these guys: otherwise, they are apt to follow their noses right into mischief! This doesn’t mean that the GBGV won’t thrive in an apartment, however. They typically do just fine with proper exercise.

Appearance and Grooming

The GBGV isn’t a particularly large dog: they weigh about 40-45 pounds, on average. They have a rough but straight coat that looks tousled . . . almost like the doggy equivalent of ‘beach waves.’ They do need regular brushing, however, as otherwise they’ll get quite matted. These pretty pups are typically white with yellow, orange, black, brown, or grey accents. It’s worth noting that their claws grow very quickly, so they need regular pawdicures. Good ear care is also important. Ask your vet for more information.

Do you have questions about caring for a Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen? Call us, your pet hospital, anytime!