All posts by James

4 Ways That Great Nutrition Benefits Your Pet

Everyone knows that nutrition is important for any animal companion. When your pet receives the right combination of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and water on a daily basis, they stay healthy—it’s that simple. But what specifically does good nutrition do for our pets? How does it benefit them? Let’s take a closer look at some of the important benefits of nutrition for your pet.

Skin and Fur Health

Did you know that a pet with a smooth, shiny coat of fur is probably in good health? A pet’s coat is one of the best indicators of their nutrition! Fatty acids play a big role here, specifically omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. When a pet receives these nutrients in the right amounts through their food, the skin stays healthy and moisturized. Fatty acids also provide anti-inflammatory properties, which can help your pet be less itchy. That leads to a coat with a smooth, healthy sheen and minimal shedding.

Disease Prevention

Another reason that nutrition is so important for your animal friend is because it helps prevent dangerous diseases. Vitamins and minerals, in particular, are the nutrients that keep your pet from coming down with diseases like distemper, parvovirus, leukemia, and many more. Vitamins reduce damage to the body’s cells, while minerals keep cells functioning normally. It’s important that your pet’s food supplies him or her with the proper vitamins and minerals.

Keep in mind that vaccination is also essential for helping your pet to avoid disease. Talk to your veterinarian right away if your pet needs vaccines or booster shots.

Body Condition

Your pet’s general body condition is another thing that’s affected heavily by nutrition. If a pet doesn’t receive enough protein, they won’t be able to build or maintain strong, healthy muscles. Protein is also essential for repairing damaged cells, making new cells, and building hair, skin, and other body tissues. That’s why your pet’s food should always include a good protein source, like chicken or beef.

Digestive Health

None of the nutrients listed above would do any good if your pet’s body wasn’t able to digest and absorb them. That’s where carbohydrates come in—they provide fiber that helps with digestion and elimination. They’re essential for allowing your dog’s body to use the nutrients received through food and eliminate the waste that’s left behind.

To learn more about your pet’s nutrition, call your vet’s office. We’re here for you!

Dog Training Mistakes

January is National Train Your Dog Month! Of course, Fido’s education is important all year long. Training is really what makes the difference between your pooch being a ‘Good dog’ and being, well, a bit unruly. Here, a vet lists some common dog training mistakes.

Inconsistency

There are many schools of thought when it comes to dog training. You can opt to go with clicker training, or stick to more basic options. Each method has its own pros and cons. However, switching tactics halfway through Fido’s petucation may do more harm than good. Consistency is also important when it comes to teaching vocal commands. Man’s Best Friend is smart, but he won’t understand different ways of saying the same thing. If you say Sit one day and the next day tell your furry pal to Sit down now, you may just confuse your cute pet.

Poor Curriculum

We know, tricks like Shake Paw and Roll Over are super adorable. However, you’ll want to start with the basics, like Sit, Stay, Come, Heel, and Lay Down. Work on these key commands one at a time. Don’t move on until your four-legged student has mastered each one. (It’s worth noting that it’s usually easiest to start with Sit, as it’s so easy for dogs to pick up.)

Long Classes

Our canine pals don’t really have very long attention spans, except of course when they’re watching you cook bacon. Fido may lose interest if his classes are too long. Keep puppy training sessions short and sweet. About 15-20 minutes at a time is good.

Negative Reinforcement

Never punish your furry friend for messing up, or not picking something up quickly enough. Dogs all learn at their own paces. It’s also important to understand that Fido doesn’t really have a good grasp on punishment. He may not know why you’re angry, which can make him anxious. It can also cause him to form a negative association with training. That’s the last thing you want!

Stopping

Training is often more of a journey than a destination. Once your canine buddy has mastered the basics, try working with him in a busy area, like a park. Or, move on to more advanced commands. You may find that Fido really enjoys learning new things!

Please call us, your local vet clinic, for all of your pup’s veterinary care needs. We’re always happy to help!

6 Essential Supplies for a New Kitten

Are you about to bring a kitten into your home? Congratulations on your new addition! It’s important that you make sure your little furball has everything she needs to stay happy and healthy as she gets acclimated to her new surroundings. Here are six essential supplies for a new kitten:

Litter Box

Every cat needs a litter box in which to do their business every day. Make sure your kitten’s box is large enough so that she can easily get in and out, and place it in an easily accessible but quiet, out-of-the-way location where your cat can use it without being disturbed. Clean the litter box on a daily basis to keep things fresh.

Food and Water Bowls

Since some kittens are allergic to plastic, it’s best to choose bowls made of another material, like stainless steel. Try to pick bowls that don’t tip over easily, as your rambunctious kitten may barrel right into them. Wash the food and water bowls on a regular basis so that bacteria can’t build up on them.

Carrier

At some point, your cat will need to be transported, whether it’s to the vet’s office or to the groomer’s. Choose a carrier that is large enough for your kitten to sit and comfortably turn around in, and make sure that the door fastens securely so that Kitty can’t escape.

Scratching Post

It’s always best to start training a kitten to use a scratching post early on. That way, they grow up using it and consider it a normal part of life by the time they’re an adult. Play with your kitten near the post whenever you can, encouraging her to use it. With luck, she’ll get the hint and continue using the post whenever she feels the need to scratch!

Bed

While you’ll find that your kitten will sleep almost anywhere, it can’t hurt to get her a simple bed to start out with. Place it in a quiet area of the house where your kitten can go to relax, and try lining it with a comfortable fabric or pillow to further entice your feline friend.

Toys

Of course, you’ll want to provide your new addition with plenty of fun toys to play with. Always choose safe toys that are made specifically for cats!

Does your kitten need her first veterinary exam? Make an appointment at the office today—we’re always here to help.

Caring for a Toy Breed Dog

Do you have a pint-sized pup? Small dogs are adorable! Many toy breeds were initially bred as companion animals, so they tend to be very affectionate and cuddly. However, Fido does have some specific care needs. A vet discusses small dog care below.

General Health

Obesity is often a problem with toy breeds, simply because it’s so easy to overfeed them. They’re also prone to hypoglycemia, which is a dangerous drop in blood sugar. Ask your vet for more information. It’s also important to keep up with veterinary care. Those regular appointments are a great chance to get specific advice on Fido’s care!

Clothing

Little dogs get cold very quickly. In colder regions, snow is a serious hazard to them, as it can be over their heads so easily. Get Fido a winter jacket, and limit his outdoor time when it’s chilly.

Aging

Small breeds typically have longer lifespans than big dogs. They also age more slowly. Fido may not enter his golden years until age 10 or even older!

Gear

When shopping for your dog, always choose products that were specifically made for small dogs. Your pet could hurt himself on things made for bigger pooches! Also, toy breeds can easily get choked or jerked around when wearing collars. Get Fido a harness instead.

Injuries

Small dogs are very fragile. Fido could get hurt just by jumping out of your arms! Also, make sure not to step on the little guy. Be very careful when carrying your pup, and use a travel carrier if you take him out and about. If you have children, supervise pet playtime carefully. It’s very easy for a youngster to accidentally injure a tiny dog. We also recommend getting pet stairs, so your furry buddy doesn’t fall off the bed.

Outdoor Area

Do you have a yard for your dog to play in? That’s great! Be sure to use fencing that’s the right size. Otherwise, Fido could slip right through. Also, don’t leave your pet outdoors without supervision, especially after dark. Small dogs can make very tempting prey for many wild animals!

Petiquette

We love seeing pets get pampered! However, you shouldn’t coddle Fido too much. Teach your pooch basic commands, like Sit and Stay, and don’t let him nip at people or other dogs.

Do you have questions about toy breed care? Contact us, your vet clinic!

New Gadgets for Your Pet

We’re living in an age of technological marvels. It seems like almost every day there are new products and gadgets released. What about our furry friends? It seems that Fluffy and Fido both have fans in the technical sectors, as some really cool gadgets have been made just for them. A vet lists some of them below.

GPS Trackers

Man’s Best Friend loves exploring, and won’t hesitate to slip away for some doggy shenanigans. Some breeds, like huskies, are notorious for running off. Luckily, you can now get your pup a doggy GPS tracker. Some of these will alert you when your adventurous pet crosses a specific boundary, such as the edge of your yard.

Laser Pointers

Fluffy and Fido are both obsessed with chasing that little red dot. Now there are gadgets that allow you to play with your dog or cat remotely, by controlling a laser pointer with your smartphone. You can also speak to your pet through these gadgets. Some even allow you to dispense treats!

Microchip Feeders

Another way to spoil your furry buddy is with a microchip feeder. This feeder will only open when the pet wearing a specific collar tag comes into range. This is great for people with pets that steal each other’s food!

Interactive Toys

Dogs and cats love to jump and chase after things. There are now toys that move with your four-legged friend, making playtime both more fun and more challenging.

Laptop Scratching Pad

Does your kitty have a habit of walking across your keyboard? Give your pet her own ‘computer’ by getting her a laptop scratching pad.

Interactive Ball Launchers

You may have heard of mechanical ball launchers, which are definitely one of Fido’s favorite modern toys. The interactive ball launcher is a bit different in that it will shoot a mini-tennis ball from one of several holes. Your pup will never know which direction the ball will be launched in, which makes it extra fun for him.

Remote-Controlled Mouse

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Your feline friend may not be able to resist ‘hunting’ a robotic mouse. Of course, Fluffy is a bit old-fashioned, and will never outgrow her love for cardboard boxes or paper grocery bags.

Is your dog or cat due for an exam, vaccines, or parasite control? Please contact us, your vet clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs.

Acetaminophen Poisoning and Your Pet

Acetaminophen is an extremely common pain reliever and can easily be obtained over the counter. It’s probably in your home right now! Acetaminophen can be toxic to our animal companions, so it’s important to be aware of the danger so that you can take quick action in a worst-case scenario.

In this article from your local veterinarian, you’ll find out why acetaminophen poisoning occurs, what it looks like, and how to deal with it and prevent the problem in the first place.

How Does Acetaminophen Poisoning Occur?

Generally, pets are poisoned by acetaminophen in two ways: by gaining access to a medication that contains it and ingesting that medication, or by being unintentionally overdosed when an owner gives their pet acetaminophen in an attempt to help relieve pain.

Dogs are more commonly diagnosed with acetaminophen poisoning than cats, but our feline friends are at risk nonetheless. The smaller the pet, the greater the danger, since the amount of acetaminophen ingested reaches toxic levels faster in a smaller animal.

What Are The Symptoms?

The symptoms of acetaminophen poisoning will usually manifest in a pet a few hours after ingestion. Symptoms include rapid or labored breathing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, swelling around the face, neck, or limbs, discolored gums, dark urine, jaundice, and—if treatment isn’t started quickly—coma or death.

What Do I Do if My Pet Ingests Acetaminophen?

If you know or even suspect that your pet has ingested a medication containing acetaminophen, take them to the nearest veterinary emergency room as soon as possible. The earlier treatment is started, the better chance your pet has of making a full recovery.

Possible steps that a veterinary team might take to treat a pet suffering from acetaminophen poisoning include induced vomiting, flushing of the stomach, and the administration of activated charcoal to absorb the remaining toxin in the stomach. In severe cases, blood transfusions might be needed. Intravenous fluid therapy may also be necessary to keep your pet hydrated and maintain their electrolyte levels. After recovery, an extended hospital stay might be needed to assess your pet’s progress.

How Can I Prevent Poisoning?

Clearly, preventing acetaminophen poisoning in the first place is your best option. Do this by keeping any and all medications out of your pet’s reach, and never give your pet a painkiller meant for humans.

Does your pet need an appointment? Call us, your local vet clinic, today!

Helping Cats and Toddlers Get Along

Do you have both a toddler and a cat? Kids and cats are a super cute combination! Kitties can form strong bonds with children. They also make great cuddle buddies and playmates. However, cats and toddlers don’t always understand each other very well, which can lead to friction. Here, a vet discusses helping cats and toddlers become friends.

Warning Signs

When it comes to kitties and toddlers, one common fear is that Fluffy will scratch or bite. Those little claws and teeth are sharp! However, toddlers can also injure cats. You’ll need to keep both parties safe from each other. We recommend supervising all interactions closely. If your cat shows any warning signs, like flattening her ears, immediately separate them.

Escape Routes

Toddlers often try to chase cats, which doesn’t always go over well with our feline friends. Offer Fluffy a spot to retreat to in every room. Cat trees are great for this! If possible, put one in every room. (Tip: fasten it to the wall, just in case your toddler tries to climb it.) Baby gates will work as well. Your kitty may also appreciate having a spot under a bed or behind a couch, or even a pet tent or tipi. Teach your child that Fluffy should be left alone when she’s in her hiding spot. Think of it as a kitty do-not-disturb signal.

Teaching Empathy

It’s never too early to start teaching children to treat animals gently, and with kindness and compassion. Many youngsters have learned the hard way that kitty tails aren’t toys! Take time to show your toddler how to properly pet cats. Use your hand to gently guide theirs. Talk to your furball softly as you are doing this, and let her sniff your child’s hand. With any luck, your feline pal will show her approval with purrs and cuddles. Don’t force Fluffy to submit, however: if she wants to get away, let her go.

Safety

One thing cats and toddlers have in common is that neither of them really know what is and isn’t safe to eat or play with. Fortunately, petproofing and childproofing are quite similar. Remove or secure potentially dangerous items, such as plastic bags, small or sharp objects, medicines, and toxic plants. Also, don’t let your child give Fluffy treats without supervision.

Please contact us, your vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!

Tips for Eco-Friendly Dog Care

We would all like to do our part to live more sustainably and make the earth a better place to be—both for ourselves and for future generations. Did you know that there are several ways to care for your dog in an eco-friendly, sustainable manner? Here are a few tips from your local veterinarian on earth-friendly dog care.

Use Sustainable Pet Products

Purchasing planet-friendly dog products isn’t difficult, and it can make a huge impact when it comes to your pet’s environmental footprint. There are plenty of options out there: biodegradable dog poop bags that won’t take up space in landfills for decades; “green” grooming products, such as shampoos and conditioners; eco-friendly cleaners and stain removers for those accidents on the rug; and toys made from recycled materials are just a few examples.

Try Eco-Friendly Food

Choose dog food packaged in recyclable or biodegradable bags, and try finding companies that are committed to reducing their carbon footprint and overall environmental impact. You can also look for foods with higher quantities of plant-based ingredients versus animal-based ingredients, since animal products generally have a much larger environmental footprint than plant-based products.

Try making your own dog treats, rather than purchasing them and contributing to plastic waste. Do some research online to find recipes for healthy homemade treats. Of course, you’ll always want to check with your veterinarian to make sure what you’re feeding Fido is safe.

The DIY Route

When it comes to dog care, there are many do-it-yourself options that save you money while proving environmentally friendly at the same time. Try making your own dog toys out of old T-shirts, or turning that stray couch cushion you were going to throw out into a dog bed. Steps like these cut down on plastic and packaging waste while reducing the impact on your wallet!

Adopt From Shelters

One of the most effective and simple ways to own a dog sustainably is to adopt them from a shelter. Getting your pup from a breeder or pet store means that you’re perpetuating the cycle of breeding, which is very unsustainable. When you adopt your dog from your local shelter, resources like food, toys, medicine, and even energy are freed up to help other animals who need them—you’re saving a life and helping the shelter to conserve its resources.

Contact your vet clinic for even more great tips. We’re here to help!

Helping Your Pet Recover From Surgery

Is your pet having an operation soon? Perhaps Fluffy or Fido need to get fixed. Pets also sometimes require surgery for specific medical problems. This can be a worrying time for pet parents! Read on as a local vet discusses helping pets recover from surgery.

Follow Instructions

Your vet should provide you with written instructions for your pet’s care after surgery. Follow these guidelines to the letter, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Offer A Comfy Bed

Does your pet have a good bed? If so, wash it before you bring your pet home. If not, this is the perfect time to get one! Your four-legged pal will definitely appreciate having a clean, comfortable spot to rest and recuperate in.

Provide A Quiet Place

Just like people, pets need peace and quiet while they are recuperating. If you have other pets and/or young children, set your furry patient up in a comfy back room, so they can just rest quietly.

Don’t Encourage Play

It’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to healing and recovery. Don’t encourage your pet to run, jump, or play until your vet gives the official all-clear. Better safe than sorry!

Protect Stitches

As you may know, many of our animal companions tend to worry at their stitches, especially once they start itching. Your pet may need to wear an Elizabethan collar, also known as the Lampshade or the Cone of Shame, to keep them from chewing their stitches. Inflatable collars also work, and are generally more comfortable. Medical pet shirts are another option. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Watch For Red Flags

Keep a close eye on your furry pal, and watch for signs of infection. Some of the things to watch for are swelling, discoloration, and/or redness near the surgical site; pus; foul odors; fever; lethargy; vomiting and/or diarrhea; and anorexia. Call your vet immediately if you notice anything amiss.

No Baths

Avoid bathing your pet until he or she has completely healed. You definitely don’t want bathwater getting into a surgical site!

Love

Last but certainly not least, pay lots of attention to your furry friend. Offer lots of ear scritches and forehead kisses, and just make sure they feel loved and safe.

Do you have questions about your pet’s surgery? Please contact us, your local vet clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs.

Vehicle Safety Tips for Your Pet

According to the American Automobile Association, over 80% of dog owners drive with their pet in the car. That’s a lot of pets traveling in motor vehicles—it’s important for you to make sure your animal companion stays safe! Here are a few key vehicle safety tips for your pet:

In the Garage

There are several safety hazards to consider before you’ve even left home. Always check that your pet isn’t in the garage when you’re pulling out. Cats, in particular, like to hide under cars and can be seriously injured or worse if they become trapped under your vehicle. Never leave your car running while your pet is in the garage, as the noxious carbon monoxide fumes can do serious damage.

Heatstroke Risk

Did you know that the temperature inside a parked car on a hot day can skyrocket to well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in a half-hour? Never leave your pet inside a parked car, even on cloudy days, because the risk of heatstroke is simply too great. Cracking a window won’t do the trick, either—it’s best to simply leave your pet at home.

Short Trips

For shorter trips in the car, perhaps to the vet’s office or to a dog park, it’s important to make sure your pet is properly restrained. A pet who roams free in the car can be seriously injured in the event of an accident, or they can cause an accident themselves by interfering with the driver. Keep your pet in a carrier, or use a specialized car harness, to secure your animal friend.

Never allow your dog to put their head out of the window while you’re driving. Debris from the road could strike your dog’s face or body, potentially causing serious injury. You also run the risk of your dog falling out of the vehicle should you have to make a sharp turn or stop.

Long Trips

Thinking of taking your pet on a longer road trip? Apply the same rules above when it comes to safely restraining them. Take frequent breaks throughout your trip to allow your pet to use the bathroom and get a drink. Last but not least, check with your destination before leaving home to make sure that it’s pet-friendly.

A final tip: make sure your pet is healthy enough for travel. Set up an appointment at your vet’s office today to have your pet examined.