Posts in Category: pet safety

Independence Day Pet Safety Tips

This Fourth of July, it’s important to be prepared for all the celebrations, and not just in terms of fireworks and food. Read on to learn more about how to keep your pets safe and happy this Independence Day. 


Before the Celebration:

        Make sure your pet has proper identification! A collar with an ID tag and accurate, up-to-date contact information is very helpful in the event that your pet accidentally escapes. Another option is to consider microchipping your pet. This is helpful if your pet’s collar comes off- if someone finds them, then they can take him/her to most shelters or veterinary hospitals and find your contact information just by scanning the microchip. An extra safety measure to help prevent a possible runaway is to make sure your yard or fencing is secure so that if your pet gets anxious or afraid and decides to make a break for it, they will at least be contained on your property. Extra Tip: Don’t change their diet! It could give your pet some unexpected tummy upset or diarrhea, and if your pet has an unknown noise anxiety, it might spell trouble later in the evening.

During the Festivities:

            If you’re having a get-together or barbecue, it is good to keep your pets away from any grills or cooking areas to prevent any mishaps with hot surfaces or charcoal. The same should be done for any beverages or human food that may be around. Make sure that if you or neighbors are setting off fireworks that your dogs are indoors and/or away from any and all fireworks, sparklers, or glow sticks. The loud noises and lights can be frightening and disorienting. It’s also a good idea to ask your guests to help out in keeping an eye are your pets as well if they will be roaming around the house. If you’re going to be heading elsewhere for a celebration, make sure you pet-sitter has the information they need to care for your pet. Especially if your pet has known anxiety with loud noises or thunderstorms, your pet sitter will need to know how to best deal with that and know how best to keep your loved-one calm and happy.

After it all Dies Down:

            After all the fun, of course, comes time to clean up! Not just for you, but for your pet as well. Make sure to get any and all food and beverage trash that might be lurking around waiting for a pet to get into. When you throw things away, also make sure that the trash is completely sealed and out of reach to your pets! If you had guests over and lit fireworks, it’s very important to go through your yard or property to properly dispose of any leftover debris. Even if you didn’t personally set off fireworks, other debris might have made its way into your yard.

Contributed by:
Teresa Mundy, Boarding Technician and Social Media Coordinator

Sources Cited:
http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/fourth-july-safety-tips

https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/July-4-Safety.aspx
 

Bites and Stings: Insects of Summer

So now that the weather is getting a lot nicer, you want to go outside more, take long walks with your four-legged family members, and have all the outdoor barbecues you can have, right? But what are you going to do about all those pesky insects that try to suck, bite, and sting all the fun out of summer nights? Not only are they a nuisance for you, but they can be just as annoying, and potentially deadly for our pets, too! Read on to learn about some of the various harmful insects, and what you can to combat them and the diseases they can transfer.

 

Mosquitoes: Passing on Deadly Worms

Mosquito bites are no fun for us, but are even worse for our pets Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 1.25.53 PMbecause of something called heartworms. Heartworms are spread through mosquitoes that carry infective larvae, and are a potentially fatal issue for dogs and cats. The heartworm larvae move from the site of the mosquito bite through a host’s body until they reach the heart and lungs. Once they are mature, adult heartworms can get to be 12 inches long, and will cause a significant decrease in blood flow throughout the body. Depending on the severity of the disease, it can possibly lead to death if not taken care of early on.

Heartworm preventatives such as Heartgard, Revolution, and Sentinel are very instrumental in helping before any bite occurs, but getting a heartworm test and treatment at your local AAHA Accredited Veterinary Hospital will absolutely help if your dog or cat already has heartworms. Signs of heartworm disease can include: mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss.” These symptoms won’t necessarily show early on in dogs, and in cats they can be very subtle, or very sudden.

Fleas & Ticks: All it Takes is One Bite

Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 1.25.04 PMFleas: These tiny brown bugs like to hide in cooler, shady areas like shrubs, trees, and under leaves. Despite not having wings, fleas can jump up to two feet high; so when your dog walks by, that’s when they will hop on, latch in, and start feeding on blood. The danger of fleas is that they can bring about tapeworms, skin infections, and other serious diseases. Combating fleas is as easy as using monthly preventatives such as Frontline or Nexgard, avoiding tall grassy/shady areas when walking, using a flea comb, and washing your pet’s bedding often.

Ticks: Ticks also like to hang out Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 1.25.16 PMin shady, wooded areas, waiting for an unwary host to attach to. Once they are attached, ticks feed on blood (including you), which means they can directly transmit deadly diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and babesiosis from just one bite! You can help deter tick bites by also using monthly preventatives, avoiding tall grassy/shady areas when walking, and whenever you are done with your walk make sure to check your dog (and yourself) for any little bumps because it might be a tick!

Bees & Wasps: More than a Sting!

Bee and wasps are a bit easier to avoid because they usually have visible nests and in general they’re the most noticeable bug. If you’ve got a curious pet then you should keep an eye out. Most stings tend to occur on the face or nose because that’s how our pets investigate. They may even get stung in the mouth or throat if they end up catching the bug; and those stings can be dangerous because the poison from the sting can    cScreen Shot 2016-05-14 at 1.24.47 PMause the throat to swell. Other severe reactions to look out for include weakness, difficulty breathing and excessive swelling at the sting site. If you see any of these signs you need to go to your veterinarian ASAP. Most of these severe reactions occur with multiple stings, but always give your veterinarian a call and make sure to monitor the reaction to make sure it does not worsen. All cases will be different, so always consult your veterinarian before administering any medication or remedy, such as a weak water/baking soda mixture or an ice pack.

Tips to Decrease Insect Exposure

  • Ask your veterinarian about monthly Flea/Tick preventatives like oral doses, liquid, and collars.

  • Close screened windows/doors when inside so flying bugs don’t come inside.

  • Use bug repellent on yourself, and only pet-safe repellent on your furry friends.

Cited Sources:

American Heartworm Society
ASPCA: Fleas and Ticks
Hill’s Pet

Contributed by:
Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 1.47.26 PMTeresa Mundy
Boarding Team Member
Social Media Coordinator

Busting Myths with Nutritional Truths

With so many pet food options on the market today, it’s easy to get mixed up in all the labels and articles about what is healthy vs unhealthy, best vs worst, organic vs natural.. etc. It’s a lot to take in, even for a seasoned pet owner.  And every day new things products added and old recipes get upgraded; your go-to brand becomes “new and improved!” and you ask yourself, “what was wrong before?!” Well, in today’s blog brought to us by Royal Canin, we’re giving you the basics of what you need to know about what you’re feeding your pets- regardless of which brand you love, and busting any myths about nutrients that you may have heard or seen.

shutterstock_37727902By-products provide valuable nutrients for your pet:

AAFCO confirms that by-products are suitable for animal food and may include clean internal organs such as liver, lungs, and heart
By-products are a valuable source of energy, vitamins and minerals

Grains provide valuable nutrients for your pet:

Grains such as corn and wheat are excellent sources of quality protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber
Many grains are highly digestible sources of protein
Excluding the rare dog with a true allergy, there is no evidence to support claims that grains  cause health problems
Many “grain free” diets substitute potato or tapioca (for the grains), which contribute fewer nutrients than grains

Wheat gluten provides a valuable source of protein for your pet:

Wheat gluten is more than 80% protein, highly digestible and has an amino acid profile similar to other proteins

Chicken Meal is an excellent source of protein for your pet:

Chicken meal consists of dehydrated and defatted chicken and provides a very digestible source of concentrated protein

Flax seeds contain a precursor to EPA and DHA:

Flax seeds do NOT actually contain EPA or DHA, but instead contain a precursor from which your dog must
manufacture EPA and DHA itself
This manufacturing or conversion process is not efficient.
Most veterinary research supporting benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in the support of the skin, joint, kidney and heart
has been done evaluating EPA and DHA (Found only in certain marine plants and fish)

Organic:

Does NOT refer to quality of the raw material or final ingredient; It’s a description of process (under which plants/animals are grown/raised).
There are NO scientific data to back up the “claim” that organic is healthier for pets.
Organic diets frequently use flax seed instead of marine plants and fish as source of fatty acids.

Raw:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states raw meat diets for animals are not “consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks particularly when such products are brought into the home and/or used to feed domestic pets.
The FDA has not seen any objective evidence to suggest that raw meat diets are better than other kinds of diets.

Human-grade & Holistic:

Not defined by AAFCO and therefore cannot be accurately used to describe a pet food.

We hope with this nutrition myth-busting, that you can go out with more food knowledge and insight than you had. Our pets are a big part of our families, and we take care of them like they were our own children. Part of that care includes feeding them the best food to keep them active, healthy, and happy.

Pet Safety on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day… a time of love letters, boxes of chocolate, giant teddy bears, and… a sick pet?! It only takes one moment to turn a great day into a disaster, but we’d like to help you avoid that altogether with some quick and easy to remember Valentine’s Day Pet Safety Tips! While you’re celebrating with your better half and showing them how much you care, make sure to show your pets how much you care for them, too. Follow these easy tips and tricks to make sure everyone feels the love this Valentine’s Day.

Valentine HazardHeart Shaped Box Full of Trouble

             Chocolate is a year round hazard to pets, but on Valentine’s Day there always seems to be a lot more of it floating around. While sweet and delicious to us, chocolate contains stimulants called methylxanthines that, if ingested by your pets, will negatively affect their neurological, gastrointestinal, and cardiac function by causing vomiting, hyperactivity, seizures, diarrhea, and an atypically increased heart rate. Milk chocolate and white chocolate are higher in fats which can lead to life-threatening pancreas inflammation, while dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate have some of the highest levels of methylxanthines because of the high cacao percentage.

Don’t Break my Candy Heart

            If you’re planning on getting your loved one gum, candies, or other sweet treats, make sure that they stay far from the reach of your pets!  Candy is never recommended for consumption by our four-legged friends, but it is especially an issue when those sweets contain xylitol. This sugar substitute is very dangerous and potentially fatal to pets. If ingested, xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (a sudden drop in blood sugar), which can cause your pet to suffer from seizures, depression, and loss of coordination.

Flowers Aren’t a Cat’s Best Friend

            Flowers and bouquets of all sorts are everywhere during Valentine’s Day. While not all flowers are toxic to pets, Lilies in particular are toxic to cats. They can cause kidney failure, lethargy, diarrhea, or vomiting. If you are unsure of what flowers are toxic or non-toxic- reference this handy ASPCA plant guide. Another flower that should be mentioned is the Rose. The flower itself isn’t toxic, but the spiny thorns pose a big threat. If ingested, bitten, or stepped on they can cause major infections if they break the skin.

You Got Me a What?!

            Much like on Christmas, birthdays, and other gift-giving occasions, Valentine’s Day seems like the perfect day to surprise your loved one with that dog or cat they’ve always wanted. This can be an amazing experience- for the animal and your loved one, but make sure you are both prepared for what the idea of owning a pet means. Animals are a lifelong commitment that take time, patience, money, and attention. If you do decide to get a pet for someone, drop some subtle hints beforehand and make sure that they would be fully prepared and capable of taking care of a pet. An alternative to the “surprise, take care of this animal!” is to find out if your local shelter offers gift certificates; then you can go with your better half to the shelter and pick out a pet together!

Quick Tips:

  • If you’re getting cozy by the fireplace, make sure your pet is cozy away from any flames!
  • After you’re done opening gifts, make sure you properly dispose of all bows, wrapping
    paper, ribbons, balloons and tape. Fun to look at, but not fun to ingest!

Extra: Show animals how much you love them, too!

Additional Resources:

 

Contributed by:
Teresa Mundy
Boarding Assistant & Social Media Coordinator

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