News & Events

It's National Pet Dental Health Month!

Feb 7 2018

5 Tips for a Healthier Dog Smile!

Dogs have 42 smile generators. Keeping those 42 teeth strong, healthy, and happy is essential to preventing illness, pain, and may extend longevity. Each February, U.S. veterinarians celebrate National Pet Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the dangers of oral diseases such as gingivitis, tooth abscesses, and mouth tumors. While I’ll be the first to admit it’s not a thrilling party theme, it is an incredibly important topic that directly affects every dog’s quality of life. To get this party started, I’d like to share five of my top tips for a healthier dog smile!

1. Daily brushing
The foundation of a good oral care regimen for your dog is daily brushing. It can seem like a lot to brush your pet’s teeth daily, but it’s my professional obligation to remind you why it’s important. Daily brushing removes the biofilm and plaque created by mouth bacteria and helps avoid most oral diseases. That’s why we spend two to three minutes twice a day brushing our own pearly whites; we fear the dentist’s drill and the threat of root canals (well, at least I do). Once you train your pooch to sit still for a couple of minutes while you clean his teeth, you’ll discover how fast and easy it is. Here are my 7 simple steps to teaching your dog to tolerate the toothbrush: 

  • Start by touching and rubbing the face, lips and muzzle. Do this for a few days prior to moving to the next step.
  • Next, rub the teeth and gums with your fingers for a few days.
  • Begin rubbing and brushing your pet’s face and lips with a veterinarian-approved toothbrush.
  • Let your pet “taste test” pet-safe toothpaste on the toothbrush.
  • Gently brush the front teeth by lifting the lips.
  • Slowly work your way to the back teeth over several sessions. Concentrate on the outside of the teeth.
  • Make it fun! Reward your pet with praise and a crunchy veggie treat after each session.

2. Beyond the brush 
No matter what, some pet parents simply can’t brush their dog’s teeth. If you fall into that category, think beyond the brush. Daily oral swishes and rinses, chew treats containing anti-plaque ingredients, and specialized teeth-cleaning diets are easy options. Be honest with your veterinarian if you struggle to clean your dog’s teeth; ask for alternatives to tooth brushing. I almost always find another technique the pet parent can use. Are these substitutes as good as brushing? Of course not. But they’re infinitely better than no oral care, and some work nearly as well. 

3. Monthly mouth check
In addition to daily oral care, mark your calendar for a monthly peek inside your pet’s mouth. Look for reddened or puffy gums, cracked or broken teeth, and unusual color changes, growths or swellings. Any bleeding, pus, or discharges from teeth and gums should be reported to your veterinarian immediately. While you’re checking the teeth, be sure to feel the throat for swollen lymph nodes, the eyes for cloudiness or changes in coloration, and the tummy for tenderness or masses. Identifying subtle changes early can help prevent significant diseases later.   

4. Yearly vet check
No discussion of oral health would be complete without mentioning the importance of annual veterinary checkups. Your veterinarian will carefully examine your pet’s oral cavity for any problems difficult to notice at home. Oral health may impact your dog’s entire body: infection in the mouth is reported to cause infection in the heart, kidneys, and elsewhere. A complete annual exam with basic bloodwork and complete urinalysis for adult dogs is what I recommend. The exam should be every 6 to 12 months for older canines as this can help with early disease diagnosis and optimize outcomes.  

5. Veterinary dental cleaning    
There’s no substitute for regular dental cleanings by your veterinarian. Every one to three years, your pet will likely need to have his teeth professionally cleaned. In addition to producing a sparkling smile, the most important work occurs out of sight, beneath your dog’s gum line. Your veterinarian will carefully clean every tooth surface and remove plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach recesses below the gums and between teeth. Unchecked and uncleaned, pathogenic bacteria will eventually cause significant gum recession, resulting in oral pain and tooth loss. Tooth abscesses have been linked to heart valve infections and other serious medical conditions. The next time your veterinarian recommends a dental cleaning, remember the procedure is much more than cleaning teeth; it’s about preventing disease. 

There are many, many reasons to keep your dog’s smile healthy. Good health begins in the mouth. A healthy smile suggests a healthy pet. Try these five tips and ask your veterinarian for five more. Together we can help our pets live the longest, highest quality of life possible. Keep brushing and keep smiling!      

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

 

Ticks, Dogs and Winter Weather

Jan 23 2018

Ticks, Dogs and Winter Weather: The Danger is Still Here

dog playing in snow

Did you know that ticks are not just a spring and summer problem? You might be surprised to learn that ticks can be found year round, and not just in warmer climates. A 2010 study from the Journal of Clinical Investigation showed that some infected ticks have actually developed a type of anti-freeze glycoprotein to survive the cold. Unfortunately, this means that just because winter has arrived, dog parents cannot let their guard down when it comes to ticks. 

Why should winter ticks concern you?
Ticks are found throughout the United States and can spread diseases like Lyme diseaseEhrlichiosisRocky Mountain Spotted FeverAnaplasmosis, Tularemia and Babesia. Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses are a significant source of morbidity in people and dogs — in particular, Lyme disease; the CDC says it has been reported in almost every state as of 2013,and its prevalence is increasing in the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest according to a Parasites & Vectors report found here. Check with your veterinarian about the risk of Lyme disease in your area and click here to view the prevalence maps for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

Signs and symptoms of tick-borne illness
The signs and symptoms of tick-borne illnesses depend on the particular illness. For example, Lyme disease symptoms may include:

Many other tick-borne illnesses have no signs or take months for symptoms to develop. Since many of these illnesses either have subtle signs and symptoms, or mimic other diseases, screening for tick-borne illnesses is a vital component of a dog’s annual exam. If your dog has been exposed to ticks, speak with your veterinarian about screening tests and prevention rather than waiting for symptoms to develop. Click here for potential symptoms of more tick-borne diseases.

Treatment of tick-borne disease
Treatment varies depending on the type of tick-borne illness. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borelia burgdorferi and is treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics. Other tick borne illnesses caused by different pathogens require different antibiotics.

Diagnosis of tick-borne disease
Since many affected animals may not show signs of disease, or may take months to develop symptoms, screening tests are a vital component of a dog’s annual exam. These tests screen for the most common tick-borne illnesses, such as Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis.

How to protect your dogs from winter ticks
Speak with your veterinarian to find out if ticks are a year round problem in your area and if she recommends your pet be vaccinated for Lyme disease. 

Consider these three tips to help protect your dogs from tick borne illnesses:

  • When your dog goes outside, make it a habit to check him thoroughly for ticks! If you find a tick, remove it immediately.  
  • Since many tick-borne illnesses have no signs or symptoms early on, do screening tests annually. They allow your veterinarian to identify illnesses early so that she can initiate treatment right away. Learn more about the importance of annual testing here.
  • Utilize tick preventives year round if you live in an area where ticks are a year round problem.

While spring and summer are the most dangerous times when it comes to ticks, it’s important to remember that these creepy critters can be found year round depending on the weather in your area. By keeping your dogs on tick preventatives, screening for tick-borne illnesses yearly, and checking for ticks, you are doing everything you can to keep your dogs safe from ticks.

Click here to learn more about parasite protection.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Related symptoms: 
Reviewed on: 
Thursday, January 22, 2015

 

 

BRRR It's cold outside!

Dec 29 2017

Two dogs snuggling under a blanket

Despite the popular misconception, fur alone is not enough to protect dogs from the elements. The fact is that, much like people, dogs have varying degrees of tolerance when it comes to temperature extremes. Even the hardiest breeds are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite. Dr. Jason Nicholas from thepreventivevet.com warns, “With hypothermia we worry about depressed temperatures affecting the normal function of the central nervous system (brain), as well as the pet’s ability to effectively circulate blood and breath. It’s this impaired ability to circulate blood (and thus deliver heat to the periphery of the body), as well as other factors, that can contribute to the development of frostbite. Pets can die from hypothermia and those that suffer from frostbite will deal with pain and may lose affected body parts.” Luckily, hypothermia and frostbite can be easy to avoid by taking a few precautions:

Talk to your vet about cold weather protection
Some medical conditions will worsen when it gets colder out, “one of the main ones would be arthritis,” according to Dr. Jason Nicholas. Arthritis might worsen in the cold months “because of the direct effect of the cold [which can cause] increased stiffness, and because the cold frequently brings icy/slippery streets and sidewalks.” Before it gets to be wintertime your dog should have a checkup. Having your dog checked by a veterinarian can help ensure that problems don’t worsen when the temperature drops. This visit is also your best opportunity to ask your veterinarian about winter care.

[My Pet's Perfectly Healthy! Why Should I See My Veterinarian?]

Know your dog’s cold tolerance
Although all dogs are at risk in the cold weather, some are better equipped to handle it than others. Huskies and other breeds from cold climates are certainly going to be more comfortable than other dogs, such as the Italian Greyhounds, when wading through a winter wonderland. Also consider that old, young, wet dogs or dogs with thinner coats are at a greater risk of getting hypothermia and/or frostbite.

[Learn More About Your Breed]

Take shorter walks with your dogs
Winter is a great time to get closer to your pets. They want to be inside with you where it’s warm. Short, frequent walks are preferable to extended walks during this time of year. After that, it should be right back inside to clean the snow and ice from between their toes. This isn’t to say that you should stop exercising your dog when it gets cold outside. The winter is the perfect time to enter your dog into daycare so that he can burn off excess energy in a safe and social place. Don’t forget about playtime at home either. Most dogs would love to chase a plush toy through the hallways. 

[Finding the Right Dog Daycare.]

Beware poisons

Dog on a leash playing in the snow

Antifreeze is a common cold weather poison but not the only one to be aware of: road salt and rodent poisons are also used with greater frequency during this time of year. Even if you don’t use any of those products, an unsupervised pet could easily wonder into a neighbor’s yard and find them.

Dogs may also lick their paws after a walk. Every time you come inside with your dog you should dry his feet thoroughly with a towel to be sure he has not tracked in any dangerous chemicals. Also check him over for any injuries to the paws: cracks, cuts, or scrapes. These kinds of injuries can cause pain and lameness. Use pet friendly deicing products on steps, walkways and driveways.

Keep your dog on a leash
Because dogs rely heavily on a strong sense of smell to figure out where they are, they can easily be lost during winter storms. Snow covering the ground will make their surroundings less familiar. Keeping your dog on a leash at all times – especially during winter storms – can help stop your dog from becoming lost. You may also ask your veterinarian about microchipping, just in case.

[That Microchip Just Might Save Your Pet's Life!]

Try clothing layers for warmth
For small dogs in particular, sweaters are not a joke, they’re actually very important during the cold weather. Small dogs have a larger surface area for their body weight and benefit greatly not only from a warm shirt but also from booties. Former Editor-in-Chief for Pet Health Network, Jane Harrell, confirms that dog clothing is no laughing matter. “My adopted Italian Greyhound, Fiona, doesn’t love the winter cold so I bundle her up in a sweater, a winter jacket, leg warmers, a neck warmer and am looking into getting booties to help her weather the Maine winter.” If you do get booties for your dog, Dr. Nichalas urges that you make sure they’re well-fitted and have good grip to prevent causing slips and falls. 

[Dogs In Sweaters: Don't Laugh!]

Don’t leave your dog inside of a parked car
This rule is also important during the summer; a parked car can quickly amplify the affects of extreme weather. During the winter it can act as an icebox and trap cold air inside.

Groom cautiously
It’s important to walk a fine line when grooming your dog during the winter.

Taking too much hair off will mean he has less to keep him warm; leaving too much on will make brushing more difficult and could lead to matted hair. Ask your veterinarian how often he recommends grooming based on your breed of dog.

[More Grooming Tips!]

Be sure your dog has choices when it comes time to go to bed
He should have comfortable spots in both hotter and cooler regions of the house. This will allow him to move around at night if he’s uncomfortable.

Dogs should always have access to water, even when outside
Never use a metal water dish outside in cold weather because your dog’s tongue can get stuck! (Think of the flag pole when you were a kid.) You can also consider purchasing a heated water dish (normally used for feral cats) so that your dog doesn’t have to drink frigid water or be challenged to get enough to drink from a frozen water source.

Your dog will also need to eat more during the winter because it takes more energy to keep warm; however, don’t make the mistake of feeding too much. Obesity carries health concerns of its own. 

[5 Reasons Why Pet Obesity Is a Serious Problem]

[More cold weather tips]

By following these precautions and seeking advice from your veterinarian you can give your dog a safe and happy winter season. Enjoy!

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

More Thanksgiving tips for you and your pet

Nov 22 2017

 

Thanksgiving is a special holiday that brings together family and friends, but it also can carry some hazards for pets. Holiday food needs to be kept away from pets, and pet owners who travel need to either transport their pets safely or find safe accommodations for them at home. Follow these tips to keep your pets healthy and safe during the holiday.

Poison Risks

Overindulging in the family feast can be unhealthy for humans, but even worse for pets: Fatty foods are hard for animals to digest. Poultry bones can damage your pet’s digestive tract. And holiday sweets can contain ingredients that are poisonous to pets.

  • Keep the feast on the table—not under it.  Eating turkey or turkey skin – sometimes even a small amount – can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis. Fatty foods are hard for animals to digest, and many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets – including onions, raisins and grapes. If you want to share a Thanksgiving treat with your pet, make or buy a treat that is made just for them.
  • No pie or other desserts for your pooch. Chocolate can be harmful for pets, even though many dogs find it tempting and will sniff it out and eat it. The artificial sweetener called xylitol – commonly used in gum and sugar-free baked goods – also can be deadly if consumed by dogs or cats.
  • Yeast dough can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.
  • Put the trash away where your pets can’t find it.  A turkey carcass sitting out on the carving table, or left in a trash container that is open or easily opened, could be deadly to your family pet. Dispose of turkey carcasses and bones – and anything used to wrap or tie the meat, such as strings, bags and packaging – in a covered, tightly secured trash bag placed in a closed trash container outdoors (or behind a closed, locked door).
  • Be careful with decorative plants. Don’t forget that some flowers and festive plants can be toxic to pets. These include amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, Sweet William, some ferns, hydrangeas and more. The ASPCA offers lists of plants that are toxic to both dogs and cats, but the safest route is simply to keep your pets away from all plants and table decorations.
  • Quick action can save lives. If you believe your pet has been poisoned or eaten something it shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency clinic immediately. You may also want to call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 888-426-4435. Signs of pet distress include: sudden changes in behavior, depression, pain, vomiting, or diarrhea. Contact your veterinarian immediately.

Precautions for Parties

If you’re hosting a party or overnight visitors, plan ahead to keep your pets safe and make the experience less stressful for everyone.

  • Visitors can upset your pets. Some pets are shy or excitable around new people or in crowds, and Thanksgiving often means many visitors at once and higher-than-usual noise and activity levels. If you know your dog or cat is nervous when people visit your home, put him/her in another room or a crate with a favorite toy. This will reduce the emotional stress on your pet and protect your guests from possible injury. If your pet is particularly upset by houseguests, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions to this common problem.
    • If any of your guests have compromised immune systems (due to pregnancy, some diseases, or medications or treatments that suppress the immune system), make sure they’re aware of the pets (especially exotic pets) in your home so they can take extra precautions to protect themselves.
    • If you have exotic pets, remember that some people are uncomfortable around them and that these pets may be more easily stressed by the festivities. Keep exotic pets safely away from the hubbub of the holiday.
  • Watch the exits. Even if your pets are comfortable around guests, make sure you watch them closely, especially when people are entering or leaving your home. While you’re welcoming hungry guests and collecting coats, a four-legged family member may make a break for it out the door and become lost.
  • Identification tags and microchips reunite families. Make sure your pet has proper identification with your current contact information – particularly a microchip with up-to-date, registered information. That way, if they do sneak out, they’re more likely to be returned to you. If your pet isn’t already microchipped, talk to your veterinarian about the benefits of this simple procedure.
  • Watch your pets around festive decorations. Special holiday displays or candles are attractive to pets as well as people. Never leave a pet alone in an area with a lit candle; it could result in a fire. And pine cones, needles and other decorations can cause intestinal blockages or even perforate an animal’s intestine if eaten.

Travel Concerns

Whether you take your pets with you or leave them behind, take these precautions to safeguard them when traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday or at any other time of the year.

Your pet needs a health certificate from your veterinarian if you’re traveling across state lines or international borders, whether by air or car. Learn the requirements for any states you will visit or pass through, and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to get the needed certificate within the timeframes required by those states.

Never leave pets alone in vehicles, even for a short time, regardless of the weather.

Pets should always be safely restrained in vehicles. This means using a secure harness or a carrier, placed in a location clear of airbags. This helps protect your pets if you brake or swerve suddenly, or get in an accident; keeps them away from potentially poisonous food or other items you are transporting; prevents them from causing dangerous distractions for the driver; and can prevent small animals from getting trapped in small spaces. Never transport your pet in the bed of a truck.

Talk with your veterinarian if you’re traveling by air and considering bringing your pet with you. Air travel can put pets at risk, especially short-nosed dogs. Your veterinarian is the best person to advise you regarding your own pet’s ability to travel.

Pack for your pet as well as yourself if you’re going to travel together. In addition to your pet’s food and medications, this includes bringing medical records, information to help identify your pet if it becomes lost, first aid supplies, and other items. 

Are you considering boarding your dog while you travel? Talk with your veterinarian to find out how best to protect your pet from canine flu and other contagious diseases, and to make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccines.

Food Safety

Don’t forget to protect your family and loved ones from foodborne illnesses while cooking your Thanksgiving meal. Hand washing, and safe food handling and preparation, are important to make sure your holiday is a happy one. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers tips for handling, thawing and cooking turkey, as well as saving your leftovers.

Thanksgiving Safety for your Pet!

Nov 17 2017

No automatic alt text available.

Fall-time Fun with Leaves!

Nov 6 2017

Fall is such a wonderful time of year. Apple picking, cider, corn mazes, foliage and of course – big piles of leaves! Even though dogs may be drawn to attractive leaf piles like this, it’s very important to be aware that tick season is still upon us, and ticks love to hang out in those piles of leaves. Here are some tips to keep your pet tick-free this fall:

  • Don’t let ticks cozy up. Eliminate their favorite environments, such as leaf and garden litter, where ticks can sometimes survive even into winter.
  • Check for ticks frequently.
  • Continue using tick control and repellent products, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors with your pet enjoying activities like hiking, camping, or hunting.
  • Ask your veterinarian about regular screening for tick-borne infections. (The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends screening annually for tick-borne infections.)

Fortunately, as long as you’re aware of parasites, and ready to protect your dog, leaves can be what they should be; fun! Speaking of fun, check out the cutest videos of dogs having too much fun in piles of leaves!

1. Puppy pile-jumper!
This little Australian Shepherd can’t decide if he wants to jump in the leaves, run around the leaves or chase a stick – and we can’t decide which part is the cutest!

 
 

Video from @ruxin_and_finnick.

2. Leaf digger
Adorable Boxer-Husky mix, Yeti sure seems to be searching for something! At least he looks like he’s having fun though!

Video from @attack_of_the_yeti.

3. Fun in slow-motion
Dogs playing in leaves are automatically cute, but when you put it slow-mo? It’s even better! Watch this beautiful Labrador Retriever try and catch all of the leaves at once.

Video from @danaallyse.

Want more slow-mo? Watch this amazing video of cats drinking water in slow-motion >>

4. Leaf pile, party of 3
Aren’t these three goofballs making you want to join in on the fun?

Video from @firelillycreations.

5. Tennis ball in a leaf pile
Fetch is even more fun! This dive-bombing Dalmatian will find the ball, no question!

Video from @elysemarie20.

 

 Article originally from pethealthnetwork.com 

 

Halloween Contest!

Oct 23 2017

Costume Contest! Please post a picture of your dog or cat in their Halloween costume.

Please go to our facebook page to post; www.facebook.com/PRAHvet

 2 winners- 1 free exam for a dog, and 1 free exam for a cat.

Please share our post to get the most likes for your picture.

The dog and cat with the most likes will win. We can't wait to see your pictures!!

 

Pet Halloween Safety

Oct 13 2017

 

7 Things You Can Do to Make Halloween Safer for Your Pet from the AVMA website

 
  1. members: Get client handoutDon't feed your pets Halloween candy, especially if it contains chocolate or xylitol (a common sugar substitute found in sugar-free candies and gum);
  2. Make sure your pet is properly identified (microchip, collar and ID tag) in case s/he escapes through the open door while you're distracted with trick-or-treaters;
  3. Keep lit candles and jack-o-lanterns out of reach of pets;
  4. If you plan to put a costume on your pet, make sure it fits properly and is comfortable, doesn't have any pieces that can easily be chewed off, and doesn't interfere with your pet's sight, hearing, breathing, opening its mouth, or moving. Take time to get your pet accustomed to the costume before Halloween, and never leave your pet unsupervised while he/she is wearing a costume;
  5. Keep glow sticks and glow jewelry away from your pets. Although the liquid in these products isn't likely toxic, it tastes really bad and makes pets salivate excessively and act strangely;
  6. If your pet is wary of strangers or has a tendency to bite, put him/her in another room during trick-or-treating hours or provide him/her with a safe hiding place;
  7. Keep your pet inside.

 

 

 

Listen to our Animal Tracks podcast "Halloween Pet Safety Tips" for more advice on ensuring your pet’s health and safety this Halloween. In addition, our Halloween safety video shown below is available on the AVMA's YouTube channel.

10 Great Reasons to Adopt a Cat from a Shelter

Oct 2 2017

adopted cat plays with toy

If you’re considering bringing a feline companion into your home, and wondering where to look, an animal shelter is a great option. There are so many reasons to adopt from a shelter, but here are 10 of my favorites. 

1. You’ll save more than one life by adopting a cat
According to the ASPCA, 3.2 million cats can be found in shelters every year and of these, about 860,000 are euthanized annually. Adopting a cat not only helps one of these many animals, looking for a home, but also opens a space for shelters and rescue groups to take in another cat.

2. It makes good financial sense to adopt a cat 
For a relatively low fee, you’ll take home a cat that is already spayed or neutered, up-to-date on vaccines and microchipped. Many shelters and rescues will also include extras in the adoption fee such as a cat collar, a bag of food or pet insurance.

3. The personality of an adopted cat is known
Cats in many shelters interact with their caretakers and volunteers every day, and these people really get to know their personalities. Particularly with adult cats, you can find a companion with the type of temperament you’re looking for. You could find a playful, active cat or a calmer feline who prefers cuddling and a quieter environment.

4. It’s good for your mental health to adopt a cat
According to Research Gate, owning a cat, or any pet you adopt from a shelter, has been shown to have positive effects on humans’ ability to cope with stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness1. Taking a cat home from a shelter can improve your sense of happiness and general well-being.

5. Adopting a cat is great for your heart! 
A recent study found that owning a cat may lead to a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease and stroke2. This is an important finding considering the AHA/ASA says, “Stroke is the number 3 cause of death in women and number 4 cause of death in men.

6. Cats improve children’s resistance to asthma
According to Clinical & Experimental Allergy, research has found that early exposure to a cat in the home can actually reduce infants’ sensitization to the allergens cats produce3. As a result, kids have a reduced chance of developing allergic diseases.

7. There’s a wide variety of cats to adopt 
You can find any type of cat you want at a shelter, from kittens to seniors, short-haired to long-haired, all sizes and colors. In fact, if you’re looking for a specific breed, such as a Siamese, you can contact cat-specific rescue groups to find your new friend.

8. A cat can make your other pets happy
If you have another cat, or a cat-friendly dog, bringing another cat home from a shelter can help reduce feelings of loneliness during the day when you’re out. Of course, you will want to ask the shelter to help you “cat test” your dog, and if you have a cat, expect a period of adjustment before the new and current cats feel comfortable together.

9. Cats are perfect for apartment dwellers 
If you live in an apartment, condo or other small space, a cat can be an excellent companion because cats don’t require lots of room or daily walks like a dog. Cats are generally low maintenance and if you provide them with toys (like cat trees and window rests for enrichment), they make wonderful roommates.

10. Cats are excellent senior companions
Cats, particularly older, calmer cats, can provide loving companionship to older adults. They’re easy to care for, and you can find one at a shelter that matches your lifestyle with some helpful advice from the shelter staff and volunteers.

These are just 10 reasons– there are many more! To adopt a cat, you can visit Petfinder and Adopt-a-Pet to find cats in shelters and rescues near you. Your veterinary office or local pet stores can also provide referrals to rescue groups and many hold cat adoptions themselves.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Resources

  1. Wells, Deborah. The Effects of Animals on Human Health and Well-Being. (2009). Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 65, No. 3, 2009, pp. 523--543.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/249390276_The_Effects_of_Animal...
  2. Ogechi, I., Snook, K., Davis, B.M. et al. High Blood Press Cardiovasc Prev (2016) 23: 245. doi:10.1007/s40292-016-0156-1
  3. Hesselmar B, Aberg N, Aberg B, Eriksson B, Bjorksten B. (1999) Does early exposure to cat or dog protect against later allergy development? Clinical and Experimental Allergy, Vol 29, 611-617. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10231320

 

Pet Health Tips for Autumn

Sep 26 2017

Our Top Pet Health Tips for Autumn

Keep your furry friends healthy and happy this fall!
Dog Checkups & Preventive Care

Woman with her dog during the fall season

Ahhh, Fall! This time of year means football, crisp air, colorful foliage and even, depending on where you live, a little bit of snow. It’s a great time to get outside with your pet; for a dog, there’s nothing like a romp in the leaves, while for cats, midday sunbeams have never felt better as the days get shorter and the nights get colder. When it comes to keeping your pet healthy and helping him enjoy fall to the fullest, there are some things to keep in mind. Read on for our top fall pet tips.

#1. Watch out for ticks in fall
Just because fall is here doesn’t mean that ticks aren’t still lurking. In fact, according to the University of Rhode Island, many species of ticks are active even into the winter and can survive the first frost. Here are some tips to keep your pet tick-free this fall:

  • Don’t let ticks cozy up. Eliminate their favorite environments, such as leaf and garden litter, where ticks can sometimes survive even into winter.
  • Check for ticks frequently.
  • Continue using tick control and repellent products, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors with your pet enjoying activities like hiking, camping, or hunting.
  • Ask your veterinarian about regular screening for tick-borne infections. (The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends screening annually for tick-borne infections.)

Rat poison

#2. Beware rat poison and other rodenticides
Fall is the time of year when mice, rats, and other rodents start to scurry for warmth. And where do they find it? You guessed it – your home!

Be careful when it comes to mouse traps and rodenticides like rat and mouse poison. Nobody wants an infestation of mice, but many poisons that are currently on the market can be very harmful to dogs and cats. Direct ingestion can be deadly.  Make sure you talk to your veterinarian about methods of pest control that are safe for your pets.

Even if you don’t have a rodent problem or choose to deal with mice and rats humanely using live traps, you never know what methods your neighbors are using. The carcasses of rodents that have been killed by rodenticides can also be dangerous, so if you see the telltale tail dangling from your pet’s mouth, make sure he drops it and keep an eye on him, and if you think your pet has eaten any of the rodent, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Mushroom

#3. There is a fungus amongus!
In some regions of the country, fall is just as wet as spring. That means that more mushrooms dot backyards and forest floors. While most mushrooms are perfectly safe, there’s a small percentage that are highly toxic to our furry friends (and to us!). Check out this handy guide from the ASPCA to stay informed about toxic mushrooms, and if you think your pet has gobbled up a toxic mushroom, contact the ASCPA Animal Poison Control Center immediately!

#4. Feed your pet right
It’s getting colder out there, and cool temperatures mean more energy is needed to stay warm. You’ll probably need to feed your pet a bit more food – food generates body heat, so pets who spend a lot of time exercising outdoors need to eat more than in the summer. However, don’t start dishing out more food just yet – make sure you talk to your veterinarian first, as every pet’s needs are different. 

Chocolate

 

#5. Watch out for antifreeze toxicity
In preparing for the winter months ahead, people tend to use fall to winterize their cars. This often involves changing fluids such as antifreeze, which can be deadly for pets. Consider this: one to two teaspoons of the stuff can kill a 10-pound dog! Less can kill a 10-pound cat.1

Part of the problem is ethylene glycol, a substance in antifreeze that has a sickly-sweet smell that entices pets to lap it up. That’s why it’s important to clean up spills immediately and make sure your pets steer clear of the garage while you’re working on your vehicle. 

#6. Beware chocolate and hearty foods 
The fall and winter parallel our holiday seasons, when we ramp up our intake of hearty, heavy foods and sweets. It’s important to make sure your pets don’t get into any foods that can make them sick; for dogs, this means chocolate, grapes, and raisins are off limits because they are toxic.

Just because some foods aren’t technically considered toxic to pets doesn’t mean they’re safe. Rich, high-fat foods can cause stomach problems such as diarrhea and gastroenteritis and even more serious conditions like pancreatitis. Also, think about small food items that can be choking hazards, like turkey bones around Thanksgiving.  Talk to your veterinarian to make sure you know what’s safe and what’s not.  

#7. Be careful with decorations
Holidays mean decorations! But be careful about leaving irregularly shaped objects and trinkets around the house. While you might like to get into the seasonal spirit, dogs and cats do too – in the form of sampling, say, decorative gourds or other fall props. Eating strange objects can be dangerous and lead to foreign body obstruction. 

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.