Category Archives: Pet Health

February Is Responsible Pet Owners Month

February is the perfect month to show your pet a little extra love—not only is Valentine’s Day just around the corner, but it’s also Responsible Pet Owners Month. Take some time to review these great suggestions from the AVMA on how to be a responsible pet parent. Click here to read more.

❤️ Thinking of welcoming a new pet? Select a pet that fits your lifestyle.
❤️ Remember that your pet needs exercise and mental stimulation.
❤️ Be sure your pet receives preventative health care.
❤️ Clean up after your pet.
❤️ Check that your pet has proper, up-to-date identification.
❤️ Obey local ordinances that pertain to your pet.
❤️ Have an evacuation plan in place in case of an emergency.

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What Is the Difference Between a Pet Seizure and Syncope?

Did you know there is a difference between a pet seizure and syncope? No pet owner wants to think of a pet suffering a collapse, but basic knowledge of the two terms will be helpful. Take a look at some information from PetMD—and consult your veterinarian if your pet has a seizure-like event.

Pet seizure
A pet suffering a seizure may fall on its side, salivate excessively, become stiff, chomp its jaw, or make paddling motions; see PetMD for other symptoms. Before a seizure, a pet may appear worried or frightened; after a seizure, a pet may be confused and disoriented. Pet seizures have several potential causes, including blood and organ issues, genetic abnormalities, tumors, toxin exposure, and trauma.

If you suspect your pet is having a seizure, take the following steps recommended by PetMD: Stay away from your pet’s mouth and head, and don’t attempt to hold him down; he may unintentionally bite. If possible, remove any nearby objects that could injure your pet. Keep track of when and how long the seizure lasts so that you can relay this information to the veterinarian. Seek medical attention immediately if the seizures occur in clusters or if the seizure lasts more than a few minutes.

A veterinarian will likely conduct a physical exam and recommend lab work; he or she may prescribe medication to control the seizures. Remember not to abruptly discontinue any epilepsy medication.

Pet syncope
Syncope is the clinical term for fainting. Typically, syncope causes only a temporary loss of consciousness, but it’s a good idea to consult your vet to determine any underlying conditions.

Syncope is commonly caused by a lack of nutrients and oxygen due to interrupted blood flow to the brain. Potential causes include excitement, emotional stress, low glucose, heart disease, or certain drugs. Again, a veterinarian’s diagnosis is important.

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September Is Animal Pain Awareness Month

Undoubtedly, your pet has come up with all kinds of ways to “tell” you when he’s hungry or needs attention—but how does he express pain? September is Animal Pain Awareness Month, and it’s a great time to review some of the signs that your pet may be in pain. Remember to spread the knowledge, and to always consult your veterinarian if you notice these symptoms. He or she can recommend the best treatment options.

The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management has compiled a list of common signs that your pet may be in pain. We’ve listed a few below. View the full list here.

Some common signs of pain in dogs:

  • Decreased social interaction
  • Whimpering
  • Howling or growling
  • Aggression
  • Refusal to move
  • Decreased appetite

Some common signs of pain in cats:

  • Reduced activity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hiding
  • Lack of agility
  • Stops grooming
  • Weight loss

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Back-to-School Pet Safety Tips

Are you caught up in the chaos of buying school supplies, planning new schedules, and tackling to-do lists? Keep in mind that this time of year can be a big change for your pet too. Keep your pet safe and healthy during back-to-school time with these suggestions from the ASPCA and PetMD.

1. Keep backpacks out of pets’ reach
If possible, designate an area for children to place their backpacks that is out of the way of pets. Keep school supplies such as pencils, glue sticks, markers, and scissors away from those curious four-legged furballs. Other potential hazards include batteries and medications.

2. Likewise, stash those lunch bags
Remember to keep non-human food away from pets. Don’t let your pet sniff his way into a lunchbox containing grapes, raisins, chocolate, or gum (click here for the ASPCA’s full list of people-only food).

3. Gradually increase your separation time
Slowly let your pet acclimate to more “alone” time, rather than suddenly changing his schedule and leaving him without his buddies for an entire school day. Keep your departure and return low-key, and teach children to do the same. If you remain calm, there’s a better chance your pet will too.

4. Reduce stress and boredom by providing mental stimulation
Leave a safe, sturdy puzzle toy with your dog to keep his mind active. Toys that allow your pet to chew and lick can provide stress relief.

5. Don’t neglect your pet when you are home
Fit in aerobic exercise for your dog or play with your cat each day, preferably before you leave. It’s a great time for you to bond together; plus, if he’s tired, it can help him relax while you’re away. If mornings are too hectic, make sure your pet has some evening exercise to relieve pent-up energy.

6. Consult a veterinarian if needed
If your pet’s separation anxiety is severe, don’t punish your pet. Talk to your veterinarian to determine possible underlying causes and treatment options.

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It’s National Specially-Abled Pets Day!

A special-needs pet is one with a physical disability, a chronic injury, or emotional/behavioral issues. Today, we celebrate special-needs pets and encourage animal lovers with plenty of compassion, time, and energy to consider adopting one. Here are a few points to ponder from Vetstreet:

1. First, research.
If there’s a special-needs pet that has captured your heart, be sure to research its issues thoroughly beforehand so you understand the care that is required. Talk to veterinarians, specialists, and owners of similar special-needs pets so that you can make the best choice for both of you, instead of a spur-of-the-moment decision.

2. Consider the financial commitment.
Be sure that you have the financial resources to properly care for a special-needs pet. Again, research the expenses associated with your prospective pet’s condition, including food, grooming, medical care, and special equipment.

3. Remember the time and energy involved.
You might not be bringing home a frisky puppy that’s going to romp all over the house, but a special-needs pet still requires your time and energy. Be sure that you have the patience to handle its physical limitations or extra needs, and that everyone in your family does as well.

4. Make sure you’re up to it, physically.
Not all special-needs pets are physically demanding, but be sure you have the strength and capability to care for one that is.

As long as you’re fully prepared to welcome a special-needs pet into your home and to accept the responsibilities involved, you can enjoy a loving, caring relationship with your new furry friend!

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March Is Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month

Are you starting to get the “spring cleaning itch” but feeling a little overwhelmed at the prospect? Why not start by making sure that potentially harmful foods, medicines, and household chemicals are out of the reach of your pet? After all, spring with your pet should be a happy time!

Recommended by PetMD and the ASPCA, here are just a few steps you can take to protect your pet:

1. Keep pet medications and human medications stored separately so there’s little chance of a mix-up.

2. Take the time to read the label carefully before giving your pet medicine.

3. Keep medications locked in cabinets, rather than on the counter or table.

4. Review the ASPCA’s list of “people foods” that can be toxic to pets. Make sure these items are kept away from your pet.

5. Make sure household cleaners, paint, automotive fluids, and even cosmetic items like nail polish remover are not accessible to your pet.

6. Be aware of which plants can be dangerous to your pet, including household plants, seasonal decorations, and lawn and garden greenery.

7. Research safer insecticide alternatives. Read the labels of lawn and garden products to determine if they are toxic to pets, and follow instructions carefully. Store these products out of the reach of pets.

8. Keep pets out of garbage cans and compost bins. Ensure that your garbage can is tamper-proof and that your pet can’t open it.

9. If you must use a rodenticide, follow instructions carefully and make sure your pet cannot reach the treated area. Properly dispose of dead rodents before your pet can get to them.

10. Know the symptoms of pet poisoning. Have a plan in case of accidental poisoning, and be ready to act fast. Keep your veterinarian’s information and other emergency numbers, like a pet poison hotline, readily accessible.

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10 Ways to Comfort and Care for a Senior Pet

Is your pet in its golden years? You two have been through a lot together, and now you want to ensure that your pet is as comfortable and happy as possible. Or perhaps you’ve recently welcomed an older pet into your home – high-paw for you! The most important thing you can do for your senior pet is to schedule regular vet visits. Here are other ideas from PetMD and the AVMA.

1. Exercise

Keep your pet at a healthy weight, improve his mood, and stave off arthritis with exercise. PetMD recommends starting with walks of 10-15 minutes each, then gradually increasing the length. Keep in mind that regular, low-impact exercise is what your pet needs in his golden years, rather than strenuous activity. Consult your veterinarian if your pet has difficulty exercising.

2. Cushioned bedding

Has it been awhile since you updated your pet’s bedding? Remember that elderly pets may need extra or special bedding to cushion their achy joints. Consider an orthopedic pet bed to help soothe your pet’s aches, and make sure he can get in and out of it easily.

3. Heated bedding

While you’re on the search for new pet bedding, what about a pet bed that’s heated? A cozy, gently heated pet bed can provide therapeutic relief for achy elderly pets, or simply a warm place to nestle in during the winter. If an entirely new pet bed is not in your budget, consider a bed warmer, which is placed in the existing pet bed for toasty comfort.

4. Dental care

Take care of your pet’s chompers! If you brush your pet’s teeth regularly, keep up the good work. And if you’ve fallen behind, start with a vet exam and professional cleaning. If your pet can’t stand brushing, consider dental treats and toys.

5. High-quality diet

Feed your dog or cat healthy, nutrient-rich meals that are appropriate for his age and lifestyle. Consult your veterinarian about your pet’s dietary needs and stick to the plan, be it a low-sodium diet or one lower in calories.

6. Mental stimulation

Keep your pet’s mind sharp and prevent boredom with mental stimulation. Teach your pet new, low-impact tricks and engage him in interactive play. If he’s friendly and socialized, let him explore new places where pets are allowed. Stimulate his mind with new toys and food puzzles. Consider replacing old, hard toys with softer yet durable alternatives that are kinder to sensitive teeth and gums.

7. Physical contact

A little affection goes a long way! Boost your pet’s mood and increase the bond between pet and owner with physical contact. In addition to pats, snuggles, and belly rubs, remember to groom your pet to keep him looking and feeling his best.

8. Sweater or coat

Have you long-scoffed at dogs in clothes? Certainly, some breeds tolerate the cold better than others, and canine attire is not right for every dog. But senior pets can struggle with cold temperatures in drafty homes or during short trips outdoors. If your pet can tolerate clothing, he might be more comfortable with that extra insulating layer provided by a sweater or coat. Choose attire that’s easy to wash, and avoid itchy fabrics and ill-fitting garments; make sure your pet can move comfortably and won’t trip.

9. Easy accessibility

Find little ways to make everyday life easier on your senior pet. If she has difficulty climbing onto couches or beds (assuming she’s allowed) or into a vehicle, consider pet stairs or a pet ramp. Even something as simple as moving your cat’s litter box to an easy-to-access area can be helpful.

10. Carpeting over slippery floors

A young, acrobatic pet might rebound quickly from a slip or skid, but don’t expect the same from your senior pet. For him, a fall can be serious and reduce his quality of life. So take some precautionary measures, and add traction to slippery floors with rugs or carpeting. If this isn’t an option, consider outfitting him in non-slip dog socks that have a gripper surface on the bottom.

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, Fitness, Pet Beds, Pet Health, Pet Safety