Traveling With Your Pet
Our pets are a beloved part of our family and sometimes this means that they have to travel with us when we undertake long journeys. As a general rule cats seriously dislike traveling and are almost always better off at home in their own environment. Dogs are 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 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. 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 has been tethered to the car by a seatbelt or other secure method. Ensure that crate is big enough for your pet to change position if they become uncomfortable.
Do not put animals in the front passenger seat of your vehicle. If the airbag deploys then 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 pets’ 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 then do not allow your pet to do it either!
We are constantly being told that obesity levels are increasing and we should act now to ensure our long term health. However, this problem does not just affect humans. A shocking statistic from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention states that an estimated 54% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese.
(Source: Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 2015)
Just like humans, pets who are overweight are at increased risk of a number of health problems including but not limited to:
Cranial cruciate ligament injury
Decreased life expectancy by up to 2.5 years
Heart and respiratory disease
High blood pressure
Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
Varying forms of cancer
Recognizing an Ill Pet
Just like humans, pets can have days where they feel a little lethargic and under the weather, but it is the natural instinct of an animal to try and disguise any signs of illness. They do this in the wild as showing weakness leaves them vulnerable to predators and open to attack. Unfortunately, this can make it tricky to determine if your pet is feeling a little unwell or if they are suffering from a more serious illness.
There are a number of symptoms and changes in your pets’ appearance, behavior and physical condition that you can look out for. These include but are not limited to:
Abnormal vocal noises
Bloating of the abdomen
Blood in the stools or urine
Decreased energy or activity levels
Diarrhea and/or vomiting
Discharge from the nose or eyes
Excessive scratching or licking of the body
Foul odor from ears, mouth or skin
Increased shedding or bald patches
Lumps or tumors
Reluctance to use stairs
Straining or an inability to pass urine or stools
Any of the above symptoms should be checked out by a veterinarian within 24/48 hours.
Symptoms that require immediate veterinary treatment include:
Bloated or hardened abdomen
Excessive vomiting or diarrhea
Inability to stand up or urinate
Whilst a sick pet may require inpatient treatment in care in your veterinary surgery for days or even weeks, you will need to continue providing them with care and compassion to aid their recovery when they come home. This can include administering medication, supporting physical rehabilitation, emotional care, and fulfilling any special dietary requirements.
Flea Prevention and Care
Saving Your Pet from an Itchy Problem: Fleas
Every parent to a furry pet knows how much of a nuisance fleas can be. At best your pets become itchy and skittish, at worst they become miserable and lethargic. And just like ticks, fleas can be a vector for disease for your pets, or even for you! Fleas can be partly responsible for roundworms or flatworms, and can be responsible for infections including typhus, spotted fever, cat-scratch fever, or more rarely, the plague.
So what can we do? The best first step is prevention, but if that fails, there are ways to spot the beginnings of a flea infestation as well as ways to stop it in its tracks.
Preventing an infestation
Stop an infestation before it can start! When winter turns to spring, and the weather starts to get warm, don't wait until you can notice fleas on your pets or their playmates. You'll have a much happier home if you follow these easy steps:
Keep your home clean. Vacuum your house regularly, especially if you have deep pile rugs, and make sure your pet's favorite spaces are regularly cleaned/washed, aired out, and preferably getting plenty of sunlight.
Clean yards fend off more than ticks. Keeping a clean yard, including mowed lawns and trimmed foliage, will drastically reduce the potential population of fleas in your outdoors. Keeping any trash, especially foods, carefully sealed for disposal will help keep away other animals that are likely to harbor fleas
Use flea treatments. There's a number of options for flea treatments available based on the type of pet and their age, including spot-on treatments and flea collars. Always read the instructions carefully to avoid harming your cat instead of helping them. And of course, always feel free to come in and talk to our staff about what treatments are best for your pet.
Consider professional pest control. This option isn't always in a pet owner's budget, and it should always be considered carefully to ensure the best health for your pets, plants, and fish. This can also help prevent other potentially nasty bugs from biting you and your animals, including mosquitoes.
Catching an infestation early
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, fleas find their way into our homes and onto us and our animals. Maybe it's because you live in an apartment, and they hitch a ride on your neighbor's dog. Or perhaps your selected flea treatment didn't last as long as you expected it to, or wasn't even effective at all.
No matter the reason, we've got a few tips on how to identify a flea infestation as early as possible. The earlier you identify it, the earlier you can get it under control!
Comb your pet regularly. You can monitor your pet's fur for fleas at multiple stages and check their skin for irritations, bite marks, or other signs of fleas, such as eggs or detritus (blackish-red "flea dirt"). You want to pay close attention to favored locations, such as the back of the head and around the ears, the armpits, or the rump. Remember: fleas will jump on and off of you and your pet, so finding signs of fleas is important, even if you do not find fleas themselves.
Fleas love to jump. Fleas are tiny and quick, but they usually appear in groups once the infestation has started. You'll probably be able to feel them jumping on and off of you, especially your feet and lower legs. Your pet's skin will probably also "jump," as they twitch from the movement of fleas (as opposed to being bitten).
Keep an eye on your pet's behavior. Are they scratching more than usual? Are they pulling their fur out? Do they have dermatitis? Are they biting at the same area over and over? These are all potential signs that fleas are present. Note: If this behavior is present, but you cannot find any other signs of fleas, bring your pet in to be checked by us. We can ensure there are no other health problems!
White brings fleas to light. Sometimes it can be hard to determine if the evidence you're finding is of fleas, instead of just plain dirt, especially if your pet spends a lot of time outside. Put down white paper towels when you comb your pet with the flea comb. You can check the detritus that falls off the pet onto the paper towel or is stuck on the comb to see if it's like dried blood, or if it looks like the earth around your home. Also, if you wear white socks, you'll be able to see the fleas jumping on and off of you.
Fleas don't just jump on you. In fact, individually they don't even spend most of their time on you or your pet. Check your pet's favorite places — the dog bed where they love to flop, the spot on the overstuffed chair where your cat loves to sun itself, or even the places in the house where they play the most. Fleas will leave behind similar detritus on your surroundings as they do on your pet.
Check all of your pets. If one pet is exhibiting signs of fleas, but your other pet's behavior hasn't changed and they don't scratch themselves much, that doesn't mean the fleas only want to eat one pet. There is a good likelihood you'll find evidence of fleas on both! The reason is that not all animals are allergic to flea bites.
Anemia is a concern. Be sure to keep an eye on your pets during regular care and grooming. Lethargy, weakness, and even pale gums can be signs that they're anemic, i.e., that a high number of fleas are sucking their blood. Be sure to come see us so we can get your pet well!
Picking your Perfect Puppy
With the World Canine Organization recognizing over 300 different breeds of dog 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 committing to, usually, at least ten years of love, care, and attention. So ensuring that you select 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 when they are fully matured.
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 they are also surprisingly athletic. Its strong jaws and muzzle can mean it can look ‘mean’. The tail is low set, 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. 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: The breed is prone to hip dysplasia.
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 and 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, so do not make very good guard dogs! They have strong prey instincts, so they 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 and buried fence bases are a must as they like to try and roam. They struggle with hot climates, so they will need less exercise and plenty of cool water and shade.
Health: This breed is prone to hip dysplasia, bloating, and dwarfism.
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 and 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 humans. This can cause them to develop a number of behavioral problems, so ensure that steps are taken to prevent small dog syndrome from setting in by asserting yourself firmly as the pack leader.
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 prone to cataracts, skin and ear ailments, epilepsy, and dislocated kneecaps.
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 affectionate with their family. They are good with people of all ages and love to be sociable. 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. They are sensitive to extreme changes in weather.
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 exerted 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 human beings. Not only does it help keep their weight under control, but it 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 pets’ 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 routine. Here is our guide to helping your pet get more exercise.
Exercise for Dogs
Until the start of the 20 th century dogs were primarily bred to work in a range of areas, for example 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 food and water and spend the majority of their time in a confined space. Their naturally active tendencies are fading and they are becoming lazy.
Dogs who do not have enough exercise can exhibit some undesirable behavior 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 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. Your dog will also 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 then 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.
Dogs 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
Ideally you should always consult with your veterinarian before beginning any regular exercise 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. Ideally try and take him at the same time every day. This helps your pet to get into a routine and is also beneficial for helping your dog know what time of day he will get to empty his bladder/bowels.
If your dog is sociable then 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. Some of the activities that your pet will do are good for developing new skills too. Your veterinarian should be able to advise you how to find your nearest group.
You can’t beat a game of fetch. Simple, effective and you don’t need to go too far. If the weather is poor then you can even play it indoors if you have enough space.
If you live near a lake, river or beach then take your dog swimming. It is 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 pets 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
Sadly thousands of pets every year suffer from the accidental ingestion of harmful substances, many of them 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 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
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:
2. Mouse and rat poisons
3. Vitamins and minerals
5. Cardiac medications
6. Cold and allergy medications
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
9. Lily of the Valley
10. Sago Palm
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
Laminitis – inflammation of the soft tissue structures which attach the pedal bone to the hoof wall
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!
Picking Your Perfect Cat
If you have decided that a cat is a right pet for you, then you may think that the decision-making process is complete, but in fact, you are still at the very beginning. Cats, like humans, are all very different and selecting one to suit your needs and lifestyle is vitally important as it will require the commitment of your love, care, and attention for upwards of 10 years. Here is our guide to helping you pick your perfect cat.
Kitten or adult cat?
Many people instinctively choose kittens over adult cats, and this is largely due to their childlike cuteness, curiosity, and playful behavior. However, they may not realize that they need a great deal of supervision, patience, attention, and training. Leave unsupervised kittens in your sitting room for any period of time and you could be faced with a surprising level of destruction! It is also difficult to know exactly what personality they may develop once they outgrow their kitten traits. She may become a docile companion, or she may continue to be a mischievous and energetic ball of fur.
It is also important to remember that if you are bringing a kitten into a home with very young children, you will need to provide an added amount of supervision. This is because your child may be exhibiting the same curiosity and mischievous behavior as your kittens and will be unlikely to give them the gentle touch that they require.
By comparison, older cats may have outgrown some of that initial cuteness, but the typical behaviors that they exhibit after around the age of one will be a reliable indicator of their regular temperament.
Short vs long hair
Responsible pet owners always make sure that their pets are well-groomed, and in the case of longer hair animals, this can prove to be a considerable commitment. Long fur will need to be brushed at least once per day to prevent matting and so if you opt for a long-haired, cat then you will need to ensure that you have sufficient time to dedicate to daily grooming.
Not all cats like bring groomed and if your cat doesn’t then you may have to enlist the services of a professional groomer. However, if your cat is one that loves to be pampered then she will come running as soon as she sees her brush!
Personality and pure breed vs mixed breed
While pure breed cats tend to conform to what is known as a ‘breed standard,’ meaning that you can predict their expected physical and behavioral characteristics based on breed type, each animal is still unique. Many people believe that purchasing a pure breed will not only guarantee its temperament, but will also ensure it has good health, but sadly this is not the case. Many pure breed animals suffer from genetic health problems due to inter-breeding.
It is also possible to estimate the physical and behavioral traits of mixed breed cats based on the combination of breeds used to create it. For example, combining two short-haired, highly active breeds will be extremely likely to produce another short-haired highly active cat.
As we have said, whether pure or mixed breed, each cat is unique and will require handling to suit their personality. Some are sedentary, some are active, some love to be stroked and handled, and others will only come to you for petting when it suits them. If you are looking for a companion cat, then you would ideally be looking for a sedentary and tactile cat, whereas if you are looking for a cat to play with children, then you should aim for an active breed.