Four Things You Might Do to Show Your Pet You Love Them That Can Actually Harm Them

Posted by on Apr 4, 2016 in Blog, Pets & Animals | Comments Off on Four Things You Might Do to Show Your Pet You Love Them That Can Actually Harm Them

There’s no doubt that you love your pets. The thing is, there are some day-to-day things you might be doing that are actually harmful for your pet’s well-being. Here are four things you might be doing out of love, but can actually harm your pet. 1. Avoiding the Regular Vet Visits Because Your Pet Dislikes It If you have an overly anxious dog or a nervous cat, the last thing you might want to put them through is regular checkups to the vet. It really isn’t a good idea to wait until something is wrong to bring your pet to the vet. Many times, other illnesses can be caught ahead of time, and regular checkups will provide a baseline for your pet’s overall physique when they are healthy. In the long run, the small discomfort your pet has getting to a veterinarian, such as Oakton Animal Hospital, is outweighed by the need for regular vet visits. 2. Giving Your Pet Treats and People Food While you might want to show your pet love through extra treats and food, this can be an unhealthy habit that can lead to obesity. It is important that your pet’s diet is consistent and recommended by your vet. Refrain from giving your pet people food, scraps, and treats that aren’t healthy or bought from your vet’s office. Find healthy treat alternatives or reward your pet with affection instead. 3. Overstimulation With Other Pets and People While you might want your pet to be the life of the party, this might be unfair to both dogs and cats. Make sure cats have a hideout when guests come over and let them be social only if they feel like it. If your dog is shy or gets overly anxious around other people and pets, work on this slowly and don’t force it. Don’t cause your pet emotional distress, which can lead to long term anxiety issues. 4. Letting Your Pet Have Too Much Freedom Your dog might be great at minding you and usually stays in the yard. The thing is, it is never a good idea to let your dog off of their leash or out of fenced areas unless it’s in a designated area like the beach or a dog park. Cats are shown to live longer and be healthier if they enjoy a lifestyle indoors. If your cat is used to the great outdoors, be sure to get them a collar and try to monitor their time outside. While there might be things your pet will beg for or will enjoy in the short term, it is important as their owner that you show some tough love. Only you can make sure that your pet lives a safe, healthy lifestyle. Pets thrive on consistency and feeling safe, so be sure that their needs are...

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Scaredy Cat? Helping Your Cat Face It’s Cat Boarding Fears

Posted by on Feb 22, 2016 in Blog, Pets & Animals | Comments Off on Scaredy Cat? Helping Your Cat Face It’s Cat Boarding Fears

When you make plans to go on vacation, you might be concerned about how well your cat will do with strangers. While a lot of cats are timid, if you find that your cat is afraid of everyone, including even you, your cat may need to be taught how to not be so easily frightened. Look For Warning Signs The most common signs a cat is frightened are that it hides frequently, remains entirely still and releases urine or stool in places other than the litter box. To help your cat calm down, you will need to isolate its fear triggers. The next time your cat appears very afraid, pay attention to people around the cat, loud sounds the cat might hear or anything that is happening to your cat, such as the fact that you placed your cat inside a carrier. Socialize Your Cat The best way to prevent your cat from being easily afraid is to socialize it to be around people when it is very young. The more time your cat spends as a kitten with other people, the less afraid it will be. However, if your cat is no longer a kitten, there are still some ways to change your cat’s behavior. Change Your Cat’s Associations If your cat is scared of specific situations, such as entering a cat carrier, you will need to determine whether it is the carrier itself or what your cat associates the carrier with. For example, if you almost always use the carrier to take your cat to the vet, place your cat in the carrier for a short period and then give your cat a treat afterward. When your cat no longer associates the carrier with the vet, he or she will be less afraid of the carrier. Eliminate Loud Noises When your cat is afraid of loud noises, it is best to find a way to minimize the number of loud noises in your home. This will reduce your cat’s overall stress level, which will make your cat less likely to be afraid when you take it to a kennel. Create Positive Associations With Strangers It is very difficult to get a cat to not be afraid of strangers. You may be able to reduce your cat’s fear by encouraging visitors to play with your cat or give it treats. When your cat begins to associate visitors with positive experiences, your cat may be more open to the employees at the cat kennel. Fortunately, since many cats are afraid, cat boarding center employees are usually experienced with this manner and know how to manage cats that are afraid of...

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Caring For Your Dog’s Grooming Needs

Posted by on Jan 25, 2016 in Blog, Pets & Animals | Comments Off on Caring For Your Dog’s Grooming Needs

If you have a dog, it’s your responsibility to make sure that all of their needs are met. Not only does this include taking them in for regular veterinarian checkups and ensuring they are up-to-date on vaccinations, feeding them, watering them, exercising them and keeping them warm and safe, but it also includes making sure they are properly groomed. For some dogs, pet grooming is crucial to their health and well-being; it prevents tangles in the fur, problems with their ears and other issues. This article will educate you on the different areas of concern with regards to grooming your dog. Caring for their nails Unless your dog spends a lot of time outside where they run on pavement or spend their time digging in the dirt, they will need your help keeping their nails trimmed. You can buy different styles of dog nail clippers, some allow you to put the nail into the guide and others allow you to gently grind the nail down. When you trim a dog’s nails, you need to be sure you don’t go down to the quick; this is the part of the nail that contains blood and nerves. To avoid this, you should only take the tip off. You should make sure you have a special powder with you that helps stop the bleeding if you do take a nail down too far. You can purchase this powder from the vet, at a pet store or at a pet supply store. Caring for their ears You want to make sure you keep an eye on your dog’s ears, especially if they have ears that flop over. When you look in your dog’s ears, they should be clean. If they have what looks like coffee grounds in their ears, they may have ear mites. If your dog has a foul smell to their ears then this can also indicate ear mites or it can also suggest an ear infection. To clean your dog’s ears you want to take a cotton ball and apply a small amount of ear cleaning solution to it. Reach down in their ears and gently rub upward, so you don’t push dirt further down into their canal. If you notice any problems with their ears or they have been scratching them or shaking their head then you should have them examined by their veterinarian to rule out ear problems, such as mites, infection or the possibility of something being down them. Caring for their fur If your dog has short fur, then bathing and weekly brushing should be fine. If they have long fur, they require more work. Along with regular bathing and possibly daily brushing, they may also need to have their fur shaved so it doesn’t get out of control. Shaving a dog is tedious and time consuming. It also requires some knowledge regarding following the proper technique for that breed. You may want some areas to be longer than others. You also need to be careful you don’t shave them too closely or you can give them razor burn on their sensitive skin. Taking your dog into a professional groomer endures they are getting the right cut for their breed. Also, some dogs will fight against being shaved and professional groomers know how to work around...

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How to Keep Your Dog From Making Your Cat Sick and Vice Versa

Posted by on Dec 19, 2015 in Blog, Pets & Animals | Comments Off on How to Keep Your Dog From Making Your Cat Sick and Vice Versa

Cats and dogs are susceptible to diseases, parasites, and infections from a variety of sources, like wild animals, fleas, and other animals of their own species. However, you might be surprised to know that dogs and cats can transfer some illnesses between their species, so it’s important to make sure to protect both of your pets from each other. This guide will explain what diseases you may not have known can spread between both cats and dogs, and what you can do to protect them. Haemobartonellosis Haemobartonellosis is a form of parasitic blood infection that can hurt cats and dogs. This disease is caused by a form of fungi, which can be spread by fleas or ticks. The disease can be fatal, if left untreated, and may cause severe anemia, a lack of appetite, and fever in animals. Once a cat or dog is infected, they are unlikely to be able to beat the illness on their own and need medical treatment, which usually includes antibiotics and blood transfusions. Unfortunately, this disease is easily transmitted by bites from pests, which will gladly jump from your cat to your dog, and vice versa. If you don’t use a flea or tick repellent, or use a brand that fleas have mutated to resist, all it takes is one bite to spread this disease between your two pets. Even if your cat doesn’t go outside, a quick walk outdoors with your dog could potentially infect it, and bring home the pest to spread the disease to your cat, as well. Talk to your veterinarian about choosing a prescription anti-flea and tick medication that is effective for both your pets. Make sure to prevent your cat and dog from fighting, as well, since the disease can potentially be transferred from an infected pet to a healthy pet via bodily fluids and bites. Kennel Cough If you have a dog, you’ve probably heard of kennel cough; this upper respiratory viral infection can spread rapidly through dog kennels, hence the name. However, cats are susceptible to the illness, too. Kennel cough is caused by bordetella, a form of bacteria. A bordetella infection causes the same symptoms in cats and dogs: lethargy, fever, sneezing, and coughing. If you notice one of your pets having these symptoms, you should keep them away from your other pet(s) and take them to a veterinarian immediately. Thankfully, there’s a vaccination that can protect cats and dogs from bordetella. Having all of your pets vaccinated against this bacteria will help them to live happier and healthier lives together. Cats and dogs may not have much in common, but they do share certain illnesses and parasites. Talk to your vet about taking preventative measures to keep your dog and cat safe from getting each other sick. If you’re looking for more specialized help, consider looking into clinics that focus on a certain pet, such as Cat Care...

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Preparing Your Dog For A Stay In A Boarding Facility

Posted by on Dec 1, 2015 in Blog, Pets & Animals | Comments Off on Preparing Your Dog For A Stay In A Boarding Facility

If you are aware of a trip you need to take in the future, and you are not able to bring along your dog, you may have considered bringing them to a boarding facility while you are away. If your dog has never encountered this situation in the past, taking steps in advance to prepare them for the endeavor will help them adjust better. Here are some steps you can take to prepare your pooch for their own getaway in a boarding facility. Meet Other Pets If your dog is not used to the company of other dogs, getting them accustomed to socializing will be a huge help. Call some of your friends with dogs to meet you for a dog play date at a park. Bring along plenty of dog toys and treats and allow your dog to frolic with some new friends. Walk your dog down different streets in your hometown so they may come into contact with some outdoor dogs to bark at as they pass. Seeing several dogs and people in their travels will get them ready for the busyness at the boarding facility. Book A Grooming Session In pet boarding facilities, there are grooming services available to help pamper pets as they are staying. Consider bringing your dog to a groomer for a few shampoo, nail clipping, and brushing sessions before your trip. This will get them accustomed to having other people touching them. It will also allow them to relax a bit. They will be less apt to put up a fuss at the boarding facility if they had previous experience with grooming. Enroll In Obedience Classes Many boarding facilities offer obedience classes on the premises. Enroll your pet in these classes before they are to go to the facility for their extended stay. This will get them used to the commands the workers use in the facility. They may also have contact with some of the trainers while they are staying, adding some familiarity into the mix. Bring Comforts Along As you are preparing your pet for their stay, reward them with a specific treat or toy when they obey at home. Bring along a box of these treats and the toy when you drop your pet at the facility. Ask the staff to use these items regularly to give your dog a bit of comfort while you are away. If they have a favorite bed or blanket, bring this to the pet boarding facility as well. They will feel better knowing a piece of home has come along for the trip. For more itps, contact a company like Hickman Creek...

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Is An English Mastiff The Right Dog For You?

Posted by on Oct 28, 2015 in Blog, Pets & Animals | Comments Off on Is An English Mastiff The Right Dog For You?

English Mastiffs are big dogs, often with big personalities to match! They’re the largest breed of dog in existence when it comes to body mass (although Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds can be taller). There are some special things that you should consider before you decide to add one to your family. 1.) They drool, snore, fart, have selective hearing, and get lonely easily. Mastiffs of any variety are independent thinkers. Because they’re descended from war-dogs used by the Romans, an independent mind was a valuable trait. That independent streak, however, can translate to stubbornness. If you want a dog that is excited about obeying your every command, English Mastiff’s probably aren’t for you. They also aren’t good for a household that can’t tolerate a certain amount of mess. Those stately jowls that give them such a distinctive face also create a lot of drool and cause snoring that can be heard from several rooms away. They’re also known to suffer from digestive issues which lead to gas that’s noxious.  Their gastrointestinal problems can actually be very dangerous. Bloat, a type of gastric distress caused by an accumulation of gas in the stomach, is the second most common cause of death for Mastiffs. To avoid bloat, mastiff owners are advised to feed their dogs small meals, at least twice a day, rather than one large meal like you can many other breeds. If you suspect bloat, you need to get your mastiff to a veterinarian immediately. Death from bloat can occur within mere hours. They’re also not good dogs if you mind having a sleepy, 200 lb. lap dog. They don’t really demand much of your attention, but they do demand your presence. English Mastiffs will follow you around, lean up against you, lay on your feet, and climb into your lap (if you let them). They won’t respond well to being left alone all the time. That loneliness can make them destructive and a dog that size can destroy a lot, very quickly. 2. They’re gentle, loving, protective, and easy to live with. English Mastiffs are generally considered gentle giants. Despite being descended from war-dogs, they dislike conflict and will even step between family members who are arguing to try to stop the problem. They are instinctive guard dogs, but they don’t tend to go on the attack. They’re more likely to corner a would-be thief using their impressive bark and formidable bulk, rather than bite. Their great size tends to make them somewhat lazy, which is actually okay. Another common health problem among for the breed is hip dysplasia, which can be very painful. English Mastiff puppies should actually be discouraged from jumping and running up and down steps so that they don’t injure themselves during periods of rapid growth. You also have to watch their weight, so that they don’t gain too much weight, too fast. Work closely with your veterinarian to monitor your puppy’s weight and growth and to watch for early signs of hip problems. Because they’re happiest just being in your presence and don’t require a lot of individual attention, they can be very easy dogs to live with, especially if you want a constant companion who is happy to just hang out without making many demands. If you dislike walking and playing fetch with your...

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Strains And Sprains: Tips For Spotting And Treating Injury In Your Dog

Posted by on Oct 10, 2015 in Blog, Pets & Animals | Comments Off on Strains And Sprains: Tips For Spotting And Treating Injury In Your Dog

Most dogs are naturally active, spending a lot of time running, jumping and even balancing on their hind legs. All of that activity can stress your pup’s muscles out. Just like people who overextend themselves, dogs are also vulnerable to muscle strains and sprains. As a dog owner, it’s important that you understand these injuries and how to identify them. The sooner you spot the signs, the sooner your dog can get care. What is a Strain vs. a Sprain? Strains – These are injuries to the tendons that connect the bone and the muscle. These injuries often occur if your pup stretches too much, jumps or falls. These injuries frequently occur in the hip and thigh. Sprains – A sprain is an injury to the ligament that connects bones. It typically causes joint damage in areas like the knee. It’s a common injury in dogs who jump off furniture, and can even happen if your pup trips over something outside. Identifying the Injury The first key indication that your dog has a strain or sprain is often a limp. If your dog is suddenly favoring one leg, it may be an indication of an injury. You’ll want to call your veterinarian or local animal hospital right away for an evaluation. Be prepared to tell the vet a few things about the situation. What kind of behavior has you concerned? Be specific – which leg is the pup favoring? Is he or she using the leg at all? What was your dog doing when the injury happened, if you saw it? If you didn’t, provide any information that you can, such as whether the dog was outside or inside. The vet will do a physical exam, checking for warm, swollen muscles. Most vets will try to observe your dog doing normal activities, like walking, sitting and lying down. Depending on the situation, your vet may also request an X-ray, ultrasound or MRI to examine your pup’s muscles and joints. How to Help Your Dog Recover Unless the injury is severe and warrants surgery, your veterinarian will probably send you home with a set of specific instructions to help your dog’s strain or sprain heal. Easing Inflammation – An anti-inflammatory medication can help ease the inflammation and pain while your dog heals. So can the use of an ice pack. Taking it Easy – You may need to confine your pup to a crate for a couple of days to help rest the tissue that was damaged. When your dog starts to feel better, you’ll want to start gradually increasing activity levels. Start with slow, gentle walks on the leash with a brace to support the injury. Any time you see a sign of injury like those above, you should call your veterinarian. He or she can help you find the source of the pain and treat your dog to help encourage a full...

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Caring For A Senior Cat: Important Dos And Don’ts

Posted by on Sep 10, 2015 in Blog, Pets & Animals | Comments Off on Caring For A Senior Cat: Important Dos And Don’ts

Whether you’re thinking about adopting a senior cat or already have an aging kitty, the fact remains that senior cats (cats over the age of 11) need a little extra love and care to keep healthy and happy. Specifically, there are a few steps that all senior-cat owners will want to follow to make sure their cats can enjoy their golden years in the best possible environment. DO Adjust Your Cat’s Diet As cats age, they aren’t as easily able to digest their food as they were when they were kittens or even young adults. Therefore, if you’re in the habit of feeding your cat one or two large meals per day, now might be a good time to switch to feeding your cat multiple small meals each day. This will help aid in digestion and keep your kitty more comfortable throughout the day. DON’T Neglect Oral Health Gum disease and other oral problems are quite common in older cats, so you’ll want to make sure that you prioritize your senior cat’s dental care at this time. If you haven’t already been brushing your cat’s teeth, try doing so every couple of days. If your cat won’t stand to have its teeth brushed, you may need to schedule a professional teeth cleaning at your vet (your cat may need to be put under anesthesia for this). DO Schedule More Frequent Checkups When your cat is younger, you can get away with taking them in for checkups once a year or whenever they’re due for a vaccination. However, because changes in a senior cat’s health can take place very suddenly, it’s recommended that you take a senior cat in for wellness visits at least a couple times per year or more, depending on your cat’s medical history. This way, you can catch any possible health problems before they manifest into something more serious that is difficult or impossible to treat. DON’T Overlook Signs of Stress Last but not least, make sure your senior cat is in as stress-free of an environment as possible. If you have younger and more rambunctious animals in the house (such as dogs or younger cats), make sure your senior cat has a quiet, comfortable spot in the home that he or she can retreat to when things get too hectic. Reducing your senior cat’s stress levels can help your cat live a happier and healthier life. For more tips, contact a local vet, like Pet Medical...

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2 Veterinary Services For Your Dog You Don’t Want To MIss Out On

Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in Blog, Pets & Animals | Comments Off on 2 Veterinary Services For Your Dog You Don’t Want To MIss Out On

If you have a dog, then chances are that you have needed to take them to a vet at one point or another for vaccines. However, there are two services that they could greatly benefit from that you might not be aware of.  Microchips Modern technology has allowed for the development of a very useful tool in identifying animals: the microchip. Most pet and livestock owners would suffer greatly if their animals were to be lost, so they have a veterinarian, like Montgomery Animal Hospital, implant the animals with a small device. These devices don’t work like GPS units, so you can’t track down a lost animal with them. They function more like barcodes and can be read by a special scanner that every vet is likely to have. The idea is that if someone finds your lost dog, they can bring it to a vet who can use the microchip to determine the owner in order to notify them. It is common for tags or collars to state that the animal is fitted with a microchip so that the finder of said animal can bring it to a vet in order for it to be returned to its proper owner  Installing a microchip in your dog is generally a painless process. The vet will grab loose skin and insert the chip with a needle. The most common implant location is the back of the neck, which is hard for the animal to reach. Ultimately, this prevents your pet from accidentally dislodging the implant. Dental Exams Many people neglect the dental health of their pets, even if they don’t do it on purpose. Just like humans, animals can experience quite a bit of pain and discomfort as a result of tooth decay or other dental problems. It is a good idea to get a dental checkup for your dog every once in a while–and not just to keep their teeth clean. In dogs, dental problems can lead to severe problems with the kidneys and heart, among other things. However, if you are uncomfortable with getting a dental exam from a professional, there are still quite a few options for handling your pets dental care at home. There are many specialized chew toys that can clean teeth as they are gnawed on. There are also unique toothbrushes and rinses (similar to human mouthwash) that can be used on your pet. You should be able to find such dental care items at your average pet care...

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Feline Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in Blog, Pets & Animals | Comments Off on Feline Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

There are a number of “human” diseases that can manifest themselves in cats and dogs as well. Among these diseases is diabetes, a disease that causes too much sugar to be present in the bloodstream, wreaking havoc throughout the body if not properly controlled. What Causes Feline Diabetes? The elderly and obese feline populations have higher odds of developing diabetes, though there are young and normal weight felines that develop it as well. Just like in humans, there are a number of reasons felines may be diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes creates improper insulin production (Type II) or no insulin production at all (Type I). This causes for this can include genetics, the side effects of certain medications, or pancreatic disease. While the cause may not be known for all cats suffering from diabetes, the symptoms exhibited in those with the disease are fairly universal among the feline population. What Symptoms Indicate Diabetes? While diabetes can be dangerous for your feline if left undiagnosed and untreated, the symptoms of diabetes in your cat are fairly easy to detect. One of the most common symptoms to watch for is an increase in water consumption. If your cat seems to be hovering around their water dish more than usual, this can be a sign of diabetes. Other common symptoms include urination in unusual spots, change in appetite and/or weight loss, lethargy, and sweet-smelling breath. Cats can be good at hiding their pain or discomfort, so it’s important to keep tabs on their usual habits so you can more easily detect changes. If your cat exhibits even one of the symptoms listed above, a veterinarian appointment is highly recommended. What to Do if You Suspect Your Cat Has Diabetes The first step, of course, is proper examination, diagnosis, and treatment by your feline’s veterinarian. Under the care of a vet, diabetes in cats is fairly easy to control. Some cats do well on a modified diet, while others may need some extra help with shots of insulin throughout the day. Disease management will include checking blood sugars periodically, especially after meal times, modification of meal plans until the right one is found, and regular vet visits to monitor the progression of the disease. Feline diabetes is not a death sentence. With the proper monitoring and veterinarian and at-home treatment, your cat can live a long, healthy, and happy life. If you suspect feline diabetes, or to learn more about the condition, contact a professional veterinarian, like those at Earlysville Animal...

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