Fido and Fireworks don’t mix!

posted on June 28, 2018 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

It’s the 4th of July again, and that means increased risks for our pets.  According to the ASPCA, nearly 1 in 5 pets go missing after being scared by loud noises such as fireworks.  PetAmberAlert.com notes that 30% more pets become lost between July 4-6th than any other time of the year.  Here are some tips to make the celebrations safe for everyone!

  1. Travel safely:  If you are taking a road trip with your pet, get your pet used to carrier/crates, and seat belts/harnesses in advance.  Do not leave your pet alone in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked.
  2. Stay cool:  Dogs and cats can’t sweat, but panting can cause them to get dehydrated.  Pets can get overheated quicker, so make sure there is access to plenty of fresh water and shade.  Check asphalt with your hand before going for walks to ensure it’s not too hot, and take walks near dawn/dusk to avoid mid day heat.
  3. Avoid human foods:  Barbecues and parties will often present many tempting foods to your pet.  Some human foods are not safe for consumption-alcohol, chocolate, onion, garlic, grapes, raisins, and the sugar substitute xylitol are all toxic to pets.  Some foods can cause inflammation of the GI tract and pancreas, especially fatty foods.  Other foods can pose a GI obstruction risk-fruit pits and corn cobs are two more notable examples.
  4. Keep windows secured:  Often during the summer months we have our windows open to let in the fresh air.  Make sure screens are in place and secured to avoid falls and escapes.
  5. Check harnesses, leashes, and collars:  Longer daylight hours and warmer weather often means longer walks and more outside time.  Make sure collars and harnesses fit to prevent escape.  Make sure ID tags and microchip information are current.
  6. Keep your pets at home:  Most pets get overwhelmed at parties and firework shows, so despite how well behaved they are or how much they love people, safe at home may be the best place for them during the festivities.
  7. If you’re hosting the party, keep an eye on exits.  With multiple people going in and out, pets can get lost in the chaos.  Think about putting pets in crates or a separate room, as they will keep them safely confined as well as give them a quiet place to feel safe.  Pet sitters or boarding facilities are another option.

Overall we hope you and your pet have a safe and happy 4th of July!

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Making moving managable

posted on May 01, 2018 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

As I’m writing this blog, I find myself in the middle of packing up my house and moving to a new one with two dogs who are wondering what is going on.  Here are some tips to help make moving less stressful for your pets!

First off, have an overnight kit for your pet-this should contain food, litter, toys and grooming supplies to last through the first few days of unpacking.  Despite your best effort to label boxes, there is always a chance you won’t find your pet boxes for the first little bit and having this kit will make things less stressful.

As a second part to this, pack your pet’s stuff later in the process.  They will be stressed to see boxes and furniture moving and disappearing from their house.  Leaving their toys, bowls, and beds alone as long as possible will help them retain some semblance of normalcy.  On a similar note, your pet’s items should be some of the first items unloaded to help them feel more at home in the new place.

Keep your pets out of the action.  Prepare a quiet room away from the bulk of the moving noise.  You can also opt to board your pet for the day(s) so they are out of the way.  Pets also are at risk for getting loose with doors opening and closing and people coming and going, so having them secured in a room or crate will prevent this.

Update records as soon as possible. This includes getting your pets licensed in the new city if required, updating tags, microchip information, and potentially finding a new veterinarian.  Get your records from your vet before moving and make sure pets are up to date and all prescriptions are filled prior to the move so things don’t slip through the crack.

When traveling with pets, make sure to check laws-health certificates, specific titers, and/or vaccines may be required when crossing state lines, and international travel has even more regulations.  Some cities have ordinances on which pets or breeds are allowed, or how many pets are allowed at any residence.  Apartments and condos may also have rules on which pets are allowed.  Some places may even require permits for certain animals.

Also, when traveling with pets, be sure to check with the hotels if they allow pets/how many pets/sizes of pets allowed, etc.  Some hotels only have a few rooms that are pet friendly, so booking ahead may be required.  Other hotels require pets be kept in crates or otherwise confined.

Lastly, when letting pets outside for the first couple of times at the new place, they should be supervised.  Small spaces in fences if present can lead to escape attempts.  Learning the new boundaries with invisible fences can take a bit of time to figure out as well.  Since your pet may be confused where “home” is in a new place, if they do escape they may not find their own way home.

Hopefully with these tips and a little planning, your move will go smoothly and your pet will settle in without any issues.  Give us a call if you have further questions or concerns.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Responsible Pet Ownership

posted on February 01, 2018 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

February is National Responsible Pet Owners Month.  Pets are a joy to own, but they are also a commitment.  Dogs and cats can live 10-20 years, and some pets such as birds can live even longer.  They depend upon us fully to care for them, but in return they give us unconditional love.

So what are some ways to be a responsible pet owner?

  •  Spay or neuter your pet.  Unfortunately in the U.S., there is an overpopulation of companion animals, with many dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, and other pets living in shelters and rescues.  Spaying and neutering helps prevent further overpopulation, and has some health benefits as well.
  • Get pets from reputable sources.  On a similar note, when looking to add to your family, consider rescues and shelters.  There are many pure bred rescues if you want a pure bred, and mixed breed animals often have the benefit of fewer health issues.
  • Go to the vet annually.  While your pet may not require yearly vaccinations, the physical examination is the most important part of your visit.  Pets are very good at hiding pain and problems, and going to the vet regularly may help catch issues earlier, when they are easier to prevent or treat.
  • Microchip or otherwise identify your pet.  Tags with phone numbers are important, and having a microchip with current information can help reunite with your pet should you get separated.  Make sure to keep microchip information current if you move or get a new phone number.
  • Go to training.  Training your dog helps strengthen your bond, and can help prevent or reduce behavior issues.  Things like agility can also give you both something active to do together.
  • Provide good nutrition.  Your pet needs a well balanced, nutritious diet to have a long, healthy life.  At the same time, don’t overfeed.  Obesity is a major issue affecting our pets and can cause multiple health issues.  Talk with your veterinarian about recommended foods and amounts.
  • Provide regular grooming.  Almost all dogs need their nails trimmed periodically, and most dogs need a bath every once in awhile.  Some pets require regular brushing to keeps tangles at bay, and some dogs need professional grooming to maintain a health coat and skin.
  • Hygiene is important as well.  Ears should be cleaned periodically.  Anal glands may need to be emptied on a regular basis.  Teeth should be brushed, ideally daily, with a pet tooth paste.  Regular veterinary dental care may be required as well.
  • Be prepared for emergencies.  Have a basic first aid kit handy; there are even some made specifically for pets.  Know that certain human medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve) are toxic to pets.  Have emergency veterinarian contact information handy.  Keep a file of copies of bloodwork and other important health information handy in case you need to see a veterinarian other than your regular vet.
  • Have pet insurance or a savings account for your pets’ health.  There are multiple options for pet health insurance that may be able to alleviate the cost burden and financial part of making decisions in an emergency.  Having a regular savings account for your pet’s yearly care, with a buffer for emergency situations is another way to handle this.
  • Provide mental and physical stimulation.  Exercise is important for our pets, helping control weight, as well as giving a release for pent up energy that could otherwise feed unwanted behavior.  Mental stimulation such as scent training, puzzle toys, and foraging for food/treats is also important for that same reason.
  • Travel safely.  Pets should be confined when in a vehicle for their own and your safety.  There are multiple seat belt and harnesses available, as well as carriers, confinement nets, or crates.
  • Pet proof your house.  Wires and cords make tempting play toys to puppies and kittens.  Plants may pose a toxic threat.  Yards may have unforeseen escape routes or dangers.  Imagine yourself at their level and educate yourself about potential toxins to keep out of their reach.
  • Clean up after your pets.  Dogs can spread disease to other pets and humans via their feces, so if they have a bowel movement in public, be sure to clean it up.  This is also just the nice, neighborly thing to do!
  • Teach children to respect animals.  Discuss with children how to ask before going up to strange animals.  Teach them to understand basic dog and cat body language cues, and teach them how to approach and pet animals appropriately.  Supervise children and pets when they are together.  Lead by example.

Overall, there are many things that play a role into being a responsible pet owner.  These are just a few examples of things that contribute to having a healthy, happy pet for many years!