Heatstroke and Hydration: Hot Tips for the Hotter Seasons
Written by: Larissa Shoop (RVT), Brittany Burgess(RVT)

It’s important to think about the welfare of our furry pets as the temperature rises during the hotter seasons. Animals, especially dogs and cats, are at great risk for dehydration and heatstroke. When animals are exposed to extreme heat without getting enough water or cooling, this happens. In order to avoid these circumstances, it’s critical to:

  • Provide plenty of fresh water: Make sure your pets have access to clean, cool water all day long. To promote frequent hydration, install a few water bowls in various locations throughout your house or yard and bring water bottles and bowls for dogs during your walks.
  • Create a cool environment by giving your pets access to covered patios or other shaded areas where they can get out of the sun. To keep the inside temperature comfortable, use fans or air conditioning.
  • Limit outdoor activities and exercise to cooler times of the day, such as early morning or late evening, to avoid intensive activity during the hottest periods of the day. Have shorter walks and give plenty of time to relax in the shade.
  • Never leave pets in parked cars; even with the windows cracked, inside temperatures can quickly increase to dangerously hot levels. A pet left alone in a car can suffer a severe case of heat stroke or perhaps pass away.
  • Be mindful of hot surfaces: Sand, asphalt, and pavement can get extremely hot and burn your pet’s paws. To avoid burns, walk your pets on grassy areas or cover their feet with booties.
  • Keep an eye out for signs of heatstroke in pets, which can manifest as heavy panting, lethargy, drooling, vomiting, and collapse. If you think your pet may be suffering from heatstroke, relocate them to a cooler location right away, give them some water and call a vet.

We can protect our pets from heatstroke and dehydration by adopting these precautions. It’s important to keep in mind that we are responsible for safeguarding their well-being. By taking a little extra care, we can help ensure that they remain comfortable and healthy throughout the hotter months.

Caring for Your Pet’s Joint Health: Enhancing Their Quality of Life
Written by: Larissa Shoop (RVT), Brittany Burgess(RVT)

We love our animal friends and work hard to give them the finest care possible as pet owners. However, just like people, dogs and cats can experience joint pain that interferes with their normal activities and saps their once boundless energy. Let’s examine the significance of joint care and mobility in animal care. Understanding the underlying causes of joint pain and taking preventative action can help to reduce discomfort and enhance our pets’ general wellbeing.

We believe that by educating people on this issue can help motivate pet owners to act and help their cherished pets. We can improve their comfort and pleasure by working together.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways we can help our loved ones move through their environment with as little discomfort as possible. Consider making the following alterations at home:

  • Extra padding for their beds: Providing additional cushioning for their sleeping area can help alleviate pressure on their joints and provide enhanced support.
  • Manage their weight: Obesity can exacerbate joint issues. Maintain a healthy weight for your loved ones through portion control and a balanced diet. Consult your veterinarian for guidance on appropriate feeding practices.
  • Installing ramps: If your dog/cat struggles with stairs or has difficulty reaching their usual hangout spots, installing ramps can make it easier for them to move around without putting excessive strain on their joints.
  • Maintaining paw hygiene: Regularly clipping nails and trimming the fur on their paw pads can improve traction and stability while walking.
  • Raising food and water bowls: Elevating their bowls to an appropriate height reduces the need for them to bend down, easing strain on their joints during mealtime.

It is essential to visit your neighborhood veterinary clinic and talk with your veterinarian in addition to these modifications you can make at home. They can provide tailored advice, such as dietary suggestions and recommended medication to enhance joint health. To improve comfort and mobility for your furry family member, they might also suggest specialized harnesses or aids.

Mobility and joint care should be given top priority because they greatly enhance our pets’ quality of life. Joint pain can be managed at home and their general wellbeing can be enhanced by consulting a professional veterinarian. 

Don’t wait to take action; give your loved one the chance to live a happier, more active life and a day free of pain. Your pet companion will appreciate it.

Parasites and What You Can Do About Them: Protecting Your Pets and Yourself
Written by: Larissa Shoop (RVT), Brittany Burgess(RVT)

As pet owners, we all want our furry friends to lead healthy and happy lives. However, there is an often-overlooked aspect of pet care that deserves our attention: parasites. These tiny organisms can pose serious risks not only to our pets but also to us. Let’s see why parasites matter, how they can be transmitted, and what steps we can take to protect our beloved animals and ourselves.

Our dogs and cats can acquire parasites from various sources, both indoors and outdoors. Whether it’s insects making their way inside, other pets carrying parasites from the environment, or contact with contaminated areas, the possibilities are numerous. Parasites can be transferred to us through physical contact, such as petting, giving kisses, handling feces, or even touching grass where infected feces have been present.

To protect our pets and ourselves, there are several proactive steps we can take:

  • Consult your veterinarian: Regular visits to your veterinarian are crucial. Ask about monthly internal and external deworming treatments for your pets. These treatments help eliminate and prevent parasite infestations. Even during colder months, it’s important to maintain year-round protection as parasites can still pose a threat.
  • Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, especially after handling feces or coming into contact with potentially contaminated areas. This simple habit can significantly reduce the risk of transferring parasites to yourself or others.
  • Promptly remove feces: Pick up your pet’s feces immediately to prevent contamination of the environment. This responsible action not only helps protect your pet but also minimizes the risk of other animals and humans coming into contact with parasites.
  • Vigilance during outdoor activities: If your pet goes for hikes, camping, or engages in any outdoor activities, be sure to carefully inspect their fur for signs of ticks, lice or fleas. Promptly remove any you find and consult your veterinarian if you suspect an infestation.
  • Ask your veterinarian about fecal testing to determine if your loved one has internal parasites to help you determine the right course of action.

Parasites are a prevalent concern in animal care. By understanding the risk they pose and taking preventative measures, we can ensure the well-being of our pets and safeguard our own health. Regular veterinary check-ups, deworming treatments, practicing good hygiene, and staying vigilant during outdoor activities are essential steps to keep parasites at bay. Remember, a little effort on our part can go a long way in protecting our furry companions and creating a safe environment for all. 

Maintaining Gut Health in Animals: A Guide to Keeping Them Happy and Healthy
Written by: Larissa Shoop (RVT), Brittany Burgess(RVT)

Preventative Care at Home for Your Pet’s Gut Health:

The health of our pets’ gastrointestinal (GI) system is crucial for their overall well-being. Just like in humans, the gut of animals harbors a complex ecosystem of bacteria that can affect their digestive health. To promote and maintain a healthy gut in our pets consider the following:

  • Secure the environment: Ensure that garbage, food, and items that could be harmful or indigestible are not accessible to your pet.
  • Supervision at dog parks: Keep a close eye on your pet’s activities at dog parks and intervene if you suspect they have consumed something inappropriate. Contact your veterinarian if you have concerns.
  • Identify and avoid allergens: If your pet shows signs of food sensitivities or allergies, work with your veterinarian to identify and eliminate potential triggers from their diet.

Early Signs to Catch and What You Can Do Before Gut Health Issues Develop:

It is essential to be aware of early signs that may indicate developing gut health issues in your pet. By catching these signs early, you can take prompt action and prevent further complications. 

  • Monthly deworming: Consult your veterinarian about appropriate deworming protocols to protect your pet from internal and external parasites. 
  • Consider gut probiotics: Discuss with your veterinarian the potential benefits of incorporating gut probiotics into your pet’s routine. Probiotics can help maintain a balanced gut flora. 
  • When switching over to a new food, make sure to do a gradual switch, especially if they are sensitive to food changes. A gradual transition can be done over 4 weeks, week 1 would be 75% of the old food mixed with 25% of the new, week 2 would be 50/50, week three would be 25/75, then in week 4 they would be 100% on the new food. 
  • Vomiting and diarrhea: If your pet eats something they are not supposed to (garbage, rodents, table scraps) this can cause them to have diarrhea and/or vomit. As it is expected that they would have GI upset, you can monitor at home. But if it becomes frequent or persistent (Continues for more than 24 hours), it may indicate an underlying issue. 
  • For vomiting, make note of what is coming up; Is it bile or their last meal. 
  • For diarrhea, consider mixing water with their hard food to get more fluids into their body 
  • Changes in stool: Pay attention to changes in the frequency, color, consistency, or odor of your pet’s stool. 
  • Abdominal discomfort: Your pet may display signs of discomfort such as whining, restlessness, or sensitivity when their abdomen is touched. 
  • For chronic diarrhea, pumpkin can be helpful to introduce more fiber in their diet. 
  • For acute or sudden onset of diarrhea: – Fasting: if your pet is having GI upset, fasting them for 12 hours gives their system a break and a chance to calm down. Then gradually reintroduce food by offering a few kibble or a tsp of wet food once every few hours. – Home Cooked Meals: Having a bland diet, such as chicken and rice (50/50), can make things easier to digest. 

    – A diet with low fiber and fat is easier to digest

If you observe any of these signs or any other abnormal behavior in your pet, it is advisable to reach out to your veterinarian for further evaluation.

When to Call and Book an Appointment with Your Vet:

Knowing when to contact your veterinarian and schedule an appointment is crucial for your pet’s well-being. While minor issues can often be managed at home, certain situations warrant professional veterinary care. Here are some situations where you should call and book an appointment with your vet:

  • Persistent or severe symptoms: If your pet is experiencing persistent or severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or other concerning symptoms, it is important to seek veterinary attention. 
  • Changes in behavior: If your pet exhibits sudden changes in behavior, such as lethargy, aggression, changes in eating patterns, or withdrawal, it may indicate an underlying health problem. 
  • Loss of appetite: If your pet refuses to eat or shows a significant decrease in appetite for more than 24 hours, it is time to consult your veterinarian. 
  • Dehydration: Signs of dehydration include dry gums, sunken eyes, lethargy, and reduced skin elasticity. Immediate veterinary care is necessary in such cases. 
  • Ingestion of toxic substances: If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, such as certain plants, chemicals, medications, or human food that is toxic to animals, contact your vet or a pet poison helpline immediately. 
  • Pre-existing conditions: If your pet has pre-existing health conditions or is on medication, it is important to regularly consult with your veterinarian to monitor their overall health. 
  • Weight loss or gain: Sudden weight loss or gain, despite no changes in diet or activity level, should be investigated.

Remember, your veterinarian is the best person to provide guidance and support for your pet’s health. Trust your instincts and do not hesitate to reach out to them when you have concerns about your pet’s gut health or overall well-being.

SEPTEMBER – The Importance of Kidney Health: Maintaining Balanced Kidney Health

Written by: Larissa Shoop (RVT), Brittany Burgess(RVT)

The well-being of our beloved pets hinges on the health of their kidneys. As pets age, the risk of kidney issues increases, making it imperative for pet owners to take proactive steps to maintain kidney health. By implementing certain practices, you can significantly contribute to our pet’s overall well-being and prevent potential kidney problems. Here are some key actions to consider:

  • Hydration is Key: Adequate water intake is vital for optimal kidney function. Ensure your pet always has access to clean and fresh water. Placing multiple water bowls around the house or investing in a pet fountain can encourage regular water consumption.
  • Balanced Diet: Providing a well-balanced diet is essential for kidney health. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the right type and amount of food for your pet’s specific needs .Factors such as age, breed, and any existing health conditions should be considered.
  • Monitor Protein Intake: While protein is essential for pets, excessive protein intake can strain the kidneys. Ensure your pet’s diet contains an appropriate amount of high-quality protein based on their individual requirements.
  • Regular Exercise: Regular physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight, which is crucial for kidney health. Engage your pet in regular exercise and playtime to support their overall well-being.
  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight is essential to alleviate unnecessary stress on the kidneys. Overweight pets are more prone to kidney problems, so monitor their weight closely.
  • Oral Health: Dental hygiene is linked to kidney health. Poor oral health can introduce harmful bacteria into the bloodstream, potentially affecting the kidneys. Regular brushing and dental check-ups are essential.
  • Avoid Toxins: Keep household toxins, such as cleaning agents, chemicals, and poisonous plants, out of your pet’s reach. Ingesting such substances can harm the kidneys and other organs.

By adopting these practices, you can promote kidney health and overall well-being in your pets. Prevention and early intervention are key to ensuring that your furry companions enjoy a high quality of life throughout their years.

Recognizing Early Signs of Kidney Issues in Pets

Vigilance and early detention are crucial when it comes to identifying kidney issues in pets. Catching problems in their initial stages can significantly improve the outcome of treatment and the overall quality of your pet’s life. Here are some key points to help you recognize early signs of kidney problems:

  • Changes in Water Consumption: If your pet is drinking more or less water than usual, consult your veterinarian. Increased water intake may indicate the need for further kidney function tests, while decreased intake might require fluid therapy to prevent dehydration.
  • Altered Urination Patterns: If your pet experiences changes in urination, such as frequent urination or difficulty, a vet visit is necessary. They can perform urinary tests and recommend treatment, which may include medications to alleviate discomfort.
  • Appetite and Weight Changes: If your pet’s appetite wanes or weight drops, consult your veterinarian. A balanced diet tailored to their needs, along with potential medications, can help address kidney issues and restore appetite.
  • Lethargy and Weakness: Address changes in energy levels by visiting the vet for dietary adjustments and medication to improve your pet’s energy and vitality.
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea: If gastrointestinal disturbances arise, consult your vet to determine the cause. They may suggest dietary modifications, medications to manage symptoms, and fluid therapy to counter dehydration.
  • Behavioral Changes: Any behavioral shifts should be discussed with your vet. Addressing kidney issues might involve medication, dietary changes, or other interventions based on the cause of the behavior change.
  • Increased Urinary Accidents: Address urinary accidents by consulting your vet. They can help determine if kidney issues or other factors are causing the accidents and recommend appropriate treatments.
  • Routine Veterinary Examinations: Regular veterinary visits are essential for early detection. If kidney problems are identified, your vet will recommend appropriate interventions based on the severity of the issue.

Remember that each pet is unique, and their symptoms can vary. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to consult your veterinarian promptly. Early intervention can make a significant difference in managing kidney issues and ensuring a higher quality of life.

Recognizing Signs to Seek Veterinary Care for Kidney Issues in Pets

Being attuned to your pet’s behavior and health is essential to providing them with the best possible care. There are specific signs that indicate it’s time to seek veterinary attention for potential kidney issues. Here are the key indicators that you should not ignore:

  • Severe Vomiting or Diarrhea: Persistent and severe vomiting or diarrhea can lead to dehydration, which can exacerbate kidney problems. If your pet is experiencing these symptoms, consult a veterinarian.
  • Struggling to Urinate: Difficulty or discomfort while urinating can indicate urinary tract complications related to kidney function. Seek prompt veterinary care to prevent further complications.
  • Unexplained Weight Loss: Significant and unexplained weight loss can signal kidney issues or other underlying health problems. A veterinarian can assess the situation and recommend appropriate measures.
  • Noticeable Changes in appetite: If your pet suddenly loses interest in food or displays a significant decrease in appetite, it could be a sign of kidney problems. Consulting a vet is crucial to determine the underlying cause.
  • Excessive Thirst and Urination: A sudden increase in thirst and urination can be indicative of kidney issues. These changes should be evaluated by a veterinarian to rule out any potential problems.
  • Lethargy and Weakness: Uncharacteristic lethargy, weakness, or a lack of energy may point to kidney problems. Your vet can perform tests to identify the cause and recommend appropriate treatment.
  • Changes in Behavior or Mental State: If your pet becomes unusually restless, disoriented, or displays altered behavior, it could be a sign of advanced kidney issues that require professional attention.
  • Foul Breath: An unpleasant odor from your pet’s breath could indicate oral health issues that might impact kidney function. A vet can assess the situation and recommend treatment.

Remember that early intervention can make a significant difference in managing kidney issues and preserving your pet’s well-being. If you notice any of these signs or have concerns about your pet’s health, don’t hesitate to reach out to a qualified veterinarian for professional guidance and care.

OCTOBER – Understanding and Addressing Anxiety in Dogs: A Guide for Pet Owners

Written by: Larissa Shoop (RVT), Brittany Burgess(RVT) 

Anxiety is not limited to humans; our beloved dogs can also experience this challenging condition. Just like us, they may exhibit signs of fear and distress, often in anticipation of something they perceive as painful or frightening.

Addressing Anxiety:

  • Avoiding triggers: If you know of specific triggers that cause anxiety in your pet, try to minimize exposure to them whenever possible. Additionally, gradually desensitizing your pet to these triggers through a positive and gradual exposure plan can help rescue their anxiety response over time.
  • Making stressful situations enjoyable: For situations that cannot be avoided, such as vet visits, try to associate them with positive experiences. Bring treats or toys to create a positive association and help your dog/cat feel more at ease.
  • Noise management: During thunderstorms or fireworks, providing background noise, such as turning on the TV or playing soft music, can help distract your dog/cat and drown out the anxiety-inducing sounds.
  • Calming aids: Various products, such as thundershirts (pressure wraps), pheromone diffusers (Feliway for cats, Adaptil for dogs), and even medication prescribed by your veterinarian, can help calm anxious dogs/cats in certain situations.
  • Early socialization: Enrolling puppies and kittens in socialization classes at a young age is highly beneficial. These classes expose them to different people, environments, and noises, helping them develop confidence and prevent anxiety later in life.

Remember, every dog/cat is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. If you’re concerned about your pet’s anxiety levels, consult with your veterinarian. They can provide personalized recommendations, including behavior modification techniques or medication if necessary.

By addressing anxiety in our dogs and cats, we can create a happier, more relaxed environment for them and strengthen our bond as pet owners.

Keys to Supervising Dogs and Kids

There are an estimated 800,000 Americans seeking medical attention for dog bites each year, with over half of these injuries to children ages 5-9. The problem is not lack of supervision. The problem is no one has taught parents what they should be watching for.

Intervene when any of these things are happening.

Courtesy of: Robin Bennett