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Traveling With Your Pet

Being a beloved part of our family means that our pets sometimes travel with us when we go on long journeys. As a general rule, cats typically dislike traveling and are almost always better off staying at home in their own environment. On the other hand, dogs are generally more amenable to traveling, but there are still a number of considerations to make to ensure that the journey is both safe and comfortable for your pet.


Traveling by Car

The most important thing to remember when traveling by car is to ensure that your pet is not free to roam around the vehicle. Not only could this be distracting for the driver, but your pet will not be protected in the event of a crash. You may have seen dog seat belts being sold in some pet stores and whilst they have been approved for sale, there is no reliable evidence proving them to be effective in accidents. Instead, you should secure your pet in a crate that is big enough for your pet to change position if they become uncomfortable and that has been tethered to the car by a seatbelt or other secure method.

  • Do not put animals in the front passenger seat of your vehicle. If the airbag deploys, there is a chance that your pet could be seriously injured.

  • Do not ever leave your pet alone in the car. Animal thieves frequent parking lots and service stations, looking for unattended pets to steal. Also, leaving an animal alone in a warm car can be fatal. On a day where the outside temperature is 85F, the temperature inside your vehicle can reach 120F in just 10 minutes, putting your pet at serious risk.

  • Do not allow your pet to stick his head outside a moving vehicle. Doing so risks injury or sickness by fast-moving air forcing itself into your pet's lungs.

  • Never transport your pet in the back of an open pick-up truck.

  • Make plenty of bathroom breaks. This will also allow your pet to stretch their legs and have a drink.

  • As a general rule, if you wouldn’t allow your child to do it, do not allow your pet to do it either!


Picking your Perfect Puppy

With the World Canine Organization recognizing over 300 different breeds of dogs across the globe, it can be extremely difficult to know which is right for you and your lifestyle. When deciding to bring a puppy into your home, you are making a commitment to at least ten years of love, care, and attention, which is why selecting the right dog for you is absolutely crucial.

With this in mind, we have put together this article to look at the physical and behavioral characteristics of a few popular breeds.
 

American Bulldog

Height (males): 22-28 inches Weight (males): 70-120lbs
Height (females): 20-26 inches Weight (females): 60-100lbs
Life expectancy: up to 16 years

Physical characteristics: Muscular, powerful and sturdy animals that are also surprisingly athletic. With strong jaws and muzzles, they can often look ‘mean’. The tail is low set and is thick at the base and tapers to a point. The coat is short and smooth and comes in an array of colors.

Temperament: American bulldogs make extremely loyal pets that display strong protective instincts towards their families. Highly alert and great with children, they are sociable animals that need to know their place in the family hierarchy. As a firm pack leader, good socialization from a young age and obedience training will make them easier to handle.


Exercise: They are relatively inactive when indoors, but need at least an average-sized yard and a long daily walk.

Health: This breed is prone to hip dysplasia.
 

Alaskan Mamalute

Height (males): 24-26 inches Weight (males): 80-95lbs
Height (females): 22-24 inches Weight (females): 70-85lbs
Life expectancy: 12-16 years

Physical characteristics: The largest of the arctic dogs, the Alaskan Mamalute is a well-built animal that strongly resembles a wolf. It has a plumed tail, large thick feet with tough pads and a dense, coarse coat up to three inches in length. While the coat can come in an array of colors, the muzzle and legs are almost always white.

Temperament: These dogs are sociable, loyal and bright. They are better suited to older children and love to please their human family. However, because they are so friendly, they are more likely to welcome intruders than scare them and therefore do not make very good guard dogs! However, they do have strong prey instincts and should not be around smaller animals. Strong leadership, obedience training, and proper socialization are critical as without them, they can become destructive.

Exercise: Alaskan Mamalutes are very active and love the outdoors, so they are best suited to homes with large yards and an owner who can commit to long daily walks. High fences with buried bases are a must as they like to try and roam. Since they often struggle with hot climates, they will need less exercise and plenty of cool water and shade during warmer times of the year.

Health: This breed is prone to hip dysplasia, bloating, and dwarfism.
 

Bichon Frise

Height (males): 9-12 inches Weight (males): 7-12lbs
Height (females): 9-11 inches Weight (females): 7-10lbs
Life expectancy: around 15 years

Physical characteristics: A small and sturdy dog, the Bichon Frise has a short muzzle and dropped ears covered in hair. It has a thick tail that is carried over the back and a double coat of up to four inches in length that is usually a shade of white, cream, apricot or grey.

Temperament: These extremely sociable animals make ideal companions as they adore human company and love to please their owners. They are excellent with all ages of humans as well as other dogs and are affectionate and intelligent. As with all small dogs, there is a risk of developing small dog syndrome where the animal feels that he is the pack leader to his humans. This can cause them to develop a number of behavioral problems, so be sure to assert yourself firmly as the pack leader in order to prevent small dog syndrome from setting in.

Exercise: The Bichon Frise can happily live in an apartment provided they are given regular exercise through daily walks and play.

Health: This breed can be sensitive to flea bites, and is prone to cataracts, skin and ear ailments, epilepsy, and dislocated kneecaps.
 

Boston Terrier

Height: 15-17 inches Weight: 10-25lbs
Life expectancy: approximately 15 years

Physical characteristics: Compact, square-bodied dogs with good muscle tone and erect ears, the Boston Terrier is a handsome animal. The legs are quite wide set, the tail is short, and the coat is short and fine.

Temperament: These are intelligent creatures that are easy to train and are affectionate with their family. They are good with people of all ages and love socializing. They are also at risk of developing small dog syndrome, so proper authority and obedience training is necessary to ensure that they know their place.

Exercise: Boston Terriers are suited to apartments as well as houses with yards, so long as they get regular walks and play.

Health: Their prominent eyes can be prone to injury, as well as a multitude of eye-related health problems, including glaucoma, ulcers, and cataracts. Deafness, tumors, and breathing difficulties when exercising or dealing with hot weather are also concerns.


How to Help Your Pet Get More Exercise

Regular exercise is just as important for pets as it is for humans. Not only does it help with weight control, but it also keeps their joints supple and their heart healthy.

Regular exercise benefits for pets include:

  • Reduction in undesirable behaviors including chewing, barking, jumping up, and being predatory.

  • Maintaining your pet's weight.

  • Helping your dog to unwind and sleep better at night.

  • Keeping your dog healthy and mobile.

  • Reduction in constipation and digestive problems.

  • Building a rapport with your pet and gaining their trust.
     

In recent years humans have adopted a more sedentary lifestyle, and our pets are following suit. However, in order for our pets to live a long, happy and healthy life, you need to ensure that activity is worked into their daily routine. Here is our guide to helping your pet get more exercise.
 

Exercise for Dogs

Until the start of the 20th-century, dogs were primarily bred to work in a range of areas such as military, farming, search and rescue, and sensory support. Whilst some dogs still do work, the majority of them are now couch potatoes where they are provided with more than enough food and water. And since they spend the majority of their time in a confined space, their naturally active tendencies are fading as they become lazier.

Dogs who do not have enough exercise can exhibit some undesirable behaviors including:

  • Destructive: chewing, scratching and digging

  • Hyperactive: extreme excitability, jumping up, etc

  • Play biting / rough play: your dog may nip you regularly when playing

  • Investigative tendencies: this can include garbage raiding

  • Predatory: your pet may get very territorial

  • Vocalization: increased barking, whining, and other attention-seeking sounds
     

Many people believe that having access to a garden or yard counts as exercise, but unless you have the equivalent of a football field outside, then it is not enough. Also, your dog doesn’t want to exercise alone. Interaction with him is the key to getting him moving.

It doesn’t have to mean running for miles either. As long as your dog is moving and his heart rate is increasing, it counts as exercise!

However, before you start your pet off on a regular exercise routine, there are a few things that you should take into consideration.
 

  • A dog's exercise needs vary depending on their breed and size.

  • Sustained jogging or running can be problematic for larger dogs as they
    are naturally more likely to suffer from cruciate ligament injuries such as
    hip dysplasia or arthritis.

  • Sustained jogging or running is also not recommended for dogs under 18
    months of age as their bones haven’t finished growing.

  • Brachycephalic breeds (those with short or flat noses) can struggle with
    their breathing during vigorous exercise, particularly if the temperatures
    are warm.


Ideally, you should always consult with your veterinarian before beginning an exercise regimen with your pet.
 

What sort of exercise can I do with my dog?

Almost all dogs will benefit from at least one half-hour long walk per day which would, ideally, occur at the same time every day. This helps your pet get into a routine and is beneficial for helping your dog know what time of day he will get to empty his bladder/bowels.

If your dog is sociable, you should look into a local agility group or class. These can be quite competitive and intense, but they provide a great workout for your pet and are a good way for you to make new friends too. Also, some of the activities that your pet will do are good for developing new skills. Your veterinarian should be able to advise you on how to find your nearest group.

Getting your pet active doesn't have to be complicated. For example, you can’t beat a game of fetch! Simple, effective and you don’t need to go too far. You can even play it indoors if the weather is poor, given that you have enough space.

If you live near a lake, river or beach, then take your dog swimming. It is a particularly good exercise for dogs with arthritis as it is gentle on their joints. If your dog is reluctant to get into the water, start by encouraging him to chase a ball or toy into the shallows.

Play hide and seek. It is just as important for your pet to exercise their brain as well as their body. Hide and seek is a light physical activity that stimulates your pet's cognitive abilities.

REMEMBER: never let your dog off of his leash is you are not confident that he will return to you when called.


Equine: Lameness Evaluation

Lameness is one of the most prevalent problems presented to equine veterinarians. The term is used to describe an abnormal gait or stance due to the animal feeling pain or experiencing a restriction in the normal range of movement caused by underlying mechanical or neurological problems. The pain or restriction can originate from any part of the body such as the hoof, the leg or neck. The degree of severity can vary from a mild change in gait to completely preventing the horse from using or bearing weight on the affected limb. Unfortunately, lameness is the primary reason that older horses are put down.
 

Why might my horse be lame?

There are many reasons why a horse can become lame,
but some of the most common reasons include:

  • Abscesses or bruises in the hoof

  • Back and neck problems

  • Degenerative joint diseases

  • Fractures

  • Laminitis – inflammation of the soft tissue structures which attach the pedal bone to the hoof wall

  • Ligament injuries

  • Tendon damage


Best flea treatments for dogs and cats

As a pet owner, you know that unfortunately, fleas are an extremely common and annoying occurrence. You probably also know how important it is to treat your dogs and cats for worms and fleas on a regular basis. However, with 95% of flea and egg larvae living in your environment rather than on your pet, it is equally, if not more important, to treat your home too, otherwise, the infestation will return time and time again.
 

How do I know if my pet has fleas?

It is not uncommon to be able to spot fleas jumping on and off of your pet’s body, but they are very small and very fast. They are flat-bodied, dark brown or black in color (unless they are full of blood in which case they can be a lighter color) and are usually less than an eighth of an inch big. Typical behavioral symptoms that your pet might display include restlessness and chewing, scratching or licking certain parts of their body more often than usual. If you suspect that your pet has fleas, you can check their skin and coat for signs of the fleas themselves or for ‘flea dirt’ which looks like regular dirt but is actually flea feces. If you aren’t sure if it is actual dirt rather than flea dirt, put some on a paper towel and add water. If it is flea dirt, then it will turn a reddish-brown color as it will contain blood that the flea has ingested and then excreted.
 

Finding the right treatment

With so many different flea treatments available on the market, finding the right one can be tricky which is why we have put together this list of some of the best and most effective flea treatments for dogs and cats to get you started. However, discovering which products will work best for you and your pets may require some trial and error.
 

Frontline® Flea Spray for Dogs and Cats

Frontline® sprays do not contain the potentially toxic insecticides found in many pet store sprays and is a one-stop-shop for any household that has both cats and dogs. It is also safe to use if you have kittens or puppies on your property and is water-resistant, so it is still effective even if you like in an area with high rainfall.
 

Frontline® Plus for Dogs and Cats

A topical version of Frontline®, this formula will repel fleas and other pests at all life stages for a full 30 days. This helps to prevent re-infestation and keeps your home clear of fleas for a month at a time. Like other Frontline® products, it is free of potentially harmful insecticides and is water-resistant.


How to Bath your Cat and Survive Scratch-Free!

We all know that most cats like water as much as we like receiving a letter from the IRS! While they may spend hours grooming themselves to perfection, there are some circumstances where it may be necessary to perform a thorough cleaning of your feline friend which usually makes bathing them unavoidable.

Cats can find being bathed extremely stressful which makes them far more likely to become defensive or even aggressive, causing them to hiss, raise their fur and even lash out at you. However, with some preparation and patience, you can bathe your cat and survive scratch-free. The secret to this involves not so much a bath, but a shower instead!
 

Get Organized

Just like bathing a baby; bathing a cat requires everything that you need to be within arm’s reach.

You should have:

  • A shower or bath with a handheld showerhead.

  • Several towels to clean her off and help her dry.

  • Specialty cat shampoo and conditioner which is available from most pet stores. Additionally, your veterinarian will be able to tell you if there is a particular type that would be best for your feline friend. Just remember, you should never use human shampoo or conditioner as is has a different PH level to the sort suitable for cats and could damage your pet’s hair or skin.
     

Pre-bathing Prep

Before you begin, you should brush your cat to remove any knots or tangles, particularly if she is a long-haired breed. Set the water temperature to warm and have it running through the showerhead at a medium level spray.


How to Help Your Pet Get More Exercise

Regular exercise is just as important for pets as it is for humans. Not only does it help with weight control, but it also keeps their joints supple and their heart healthy.

Regular exercise benefits for pets include:

  • Reduction in undesirable behaviors including chewing, barking, jumping up, and being predatory.

  • Maintaining your pet's weight.

  • Helping your dog to unwind and sleep better at night.

  • Keeping your dog healthy and mobile.

  • Reduction in constipation and digestive problems.

  • Building a rapport with your pet and gaining their trust.
     

In recent years humans have adopted a more sedentary lifestyle, and our pets are following suit. However, in order for our pets to live a long, happy and healthy life, you need to ensure that activity is worked into their daily routine. Here is our guide to helping your pet get more exercise.
 

Exercise for Dogs

Until the start of the 20th-century, dogs were primarily bred to work in a range of areas such as military, farming, search and rescue, and sensory support. Whilst some dogs still do work, the majority of them are now couch potatoes where they are provided with more than enough food and water. And since they spend the majority of their time in a confined space, their naturally active tendencies are fading as they become lazier.

Dogs who do not have enough exercise can exhibit some undesirable behaviors including:

  • Destructive: chewing, scratching and digging

  • Hyperactive: extreme excitability, jumping up, etc

  • Play biting / rough play: your dog may nip you regularly when playing

  • Investigative tendencies: this can include garbage raiding

  • Predatory: your pet may get very territorial

  • Vocalization: increased barking, whining, and other attention-seeking sounds
     

Many people believe that having access to a garden or yard counts as exercise, but unless you have the equivalent of a football field outside, then it is not enough. Also, your dog doesn’t want to exercise alone. Interaction with him is the key to getting him moving.

It doesn’t have to mean running for miles either. As long as your dog is moving and his heart rate is increasing, it counts as exercise!

However, before you start your pet off on a regular exercise routine, there are a few things that you should take into consideration.
 

  • A dog's exercise needs vary depending on their breed and size.

  • Sustained jogging or running can be problematic for larger dogs as they
    are naturally more likely to suffer from cruciate ligament injuries such as
    hip dysplasia or arthritis.

  • Sustained jogging or running is also not recommended for dogs under 18
    months of age as their bones haven’t finished growing.

  • Brachycephalic breeds (those with short or flat noses) can struggle with
    their breathing during vigorous exercise, particularly if the temperatures
    are warm.


Ideally, you should always consult with your veterinarian before beginning an exercise regimen with your pet.
 

What sort of exercise can I do with my dog?

Almost all dogs will benefit from at least one half-hour long walk per day which would, ideally, occur at the same time every day. This helps your pet get into a routine and is beneficial for helping your dog know what time of day he will get to empty his bladder/bowels.

If your dog is sociable, you should look into a local agility group or class. These can be quite competitive and intense, but they provide a great workout for your pet and are a good way for you to make new friends too. Also, some of the activities that your pet will do are good for developing new skills. Your veterinarian should be able to advise you on how to find your nearest group.

Getting your pet active doesn't have to be complicated. For example, you can’t beat a game of fetch! Simple, effective and you don’t need to go too far. You can even play it indoors if the weather is poor, given that you have enough space.

If you live near a lake, river or beach, then take your dog swimming. It is a particularly good exercise for dogs with arthritis as it is gentle on their joints. If your dog is reluctant to get into the water, start by encouraging him to chase a ball or toy into the shallows.

Play hide and seek. It is just as important for your pet to exercise their brain as well as their body. Hide and seek is a light physical activity that stimulates your pet's cognitive abilities.

REMEMBER: never let your dog off of his leash is you are not confident that he will return to you when called.


Poison Guide: What to do if you think your pet has been poisoned

Despite how careful we try to be regarding toxic substances, there are still thousands of pets every year who unfortunately suffer from the accidental ingestion of harmful substances, many of which are household poisons. Poisoning can cause extreme health problems and even death, but these can be prevented by understanding which common household toxins may harm your pet and how to poison-proof your home. This guide will also explain some of the symptoms you should look out for and what you should do if you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance.
 

Most Common Poisons

We have taken information from the Pet Poison Helpline website to bring you information on some of the most common poisons for cats and dogs. Please be aware that these lists are in no specific order and the toxicity levels for these poisons are variable.

Top Ten most commonly reported cat poisons:

  1. Topical spot-on insecticides
  2. Household cleaners
  3. Antidepressants
  4. Lilies
  5. Insoluble oxalate plants
  6. Human and veterinary NSAIDS
  7. Cold and flu medication (e.g. Tylenol)
  8. Glow sticks
  9. ADHD/ADD medications and amphetamines
  10. Mouse and rat poison
     

Top Ten most commonly reported dog poisons:

  1. Chocolate
  2. Mouse and rat poisons
  3. Vitamins and minerals
  4. NSAIDS
  5. Cardiac medications
  6. Cold and allergy medications
  7. Antidepressants
  8. Xylitol
  9. Acetaminophen
  10. Caffeine pills


Plants that are poisonous to pets

Although there are thousands of species of plants, there are a few that are highly toxic to pets.
This list represents some of the most poisonous plants to pets.

  1. Autumn Crocus
  2. Azalea
  3. Cyclamen
  4. Kalanchoe
  5. Lilies
  6. Oleander
  7. Dieffenbachia
  8. Daffodils
  9. Lily of the Valley
  10. Sago Palm
  11. Tulips
  12. Hyacinths

Heatstroke and Your Pet

As Spring warms up into Summer and the humidity and heat start to really set in, it's good to remember that, like every other member in your family, you need to take extra care with your pet. When the weather begins to heat up, it is easier for you to become dehydrated and dangerously overheated, which can result in falling unconscious, vital organ damage, or even death. The same is true for your pets!

We tend to think of animals as hardier than humans, but the truth is, dogs and cats begin to experience heatstroke (hyperthermia, medically speaking) at the same internal body temperature as humans do — 104° F, with severe heatstroke beginning at 105° to 106° F internally. It might be more difficult for you to gauge temperature with smaller pets such as hamsters, but there's one rule of thumb to keep in mind: always watch the heat index. Meteorologists use the heat index value to determine what the temperature is once humidity is applied and it's this balance of heat and humidity that is dangerous to the health of you and your pet.

Starting when the heat index is 90° F, you need to be sure to take precautions to protect your pets. They won't be able to ask you to turn on the air conditioning or for extra water and they won't be able to tell you when they're starting to feel ill. Your pets depend on you to responsibly monitor the weather and give them what they need to stay healthy and comfortable.


General Pet Safety

Keeping your pet safe is the most important part of keeping both you and your pet happy. When you first adopt a pet or new breed of pet — or even better, before you adopt them — be sure to research the basics of your pet. When you finally select a pet, talk to the shelter staff about things you might need to worry about or watch out for. Of course, you can always stop by with your pet to discuss behaviors, concerns, or anything else.

Below we've got some general notes on basic safety tips, whether indoors or outdoors. Remember that traveling —that's more than a quick jog to the park or a ride across town for a play date— may require some extra steps based on the species of your pet. Traveling at any distance can give some pets anxiety, and there are other physical safety factors to consider. Come by and talk to us about what you may need, especially if you're about to travel abroad!


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