Monthly Archives July 2016

Fear of Fireworks

The summer is full of celebrations involving fireworks especially of the 4th of July. Dogs and cats react to fireworks. Some aren’t upset by the explosions, and others can get hurt by panicking and jumping through closed windows or bolting through doors to get away from the terrifying noise and lights.

The 4th of July Day is the busiest day of the year in shelters, and that many pets get lost, injured.  You should know which clinics or emergency hospitals will be open during fireworks season, in case you need one, as this will help you avoid time delays and stress.

Signs of anxiety

The can include pacing, trembling, panting, drooling, attention-seeking, vocalizing, pawing, nuzzling, and climbing on people, hiding, and bolting. Escape attempts tend to involve hiding behind furniture, and staying in a basement or bathroom. Because the source of the noise is confusing, inside dogs may want to escape to the outside and outside dogs may be frantic to get inside.

Nervous pets tend to drink more water, so keep more available than usual. Remember these summer events usually mean hotter weather so extra water is already a good idea. Bring outside pets inside so they can’t bolt. Keep your cats securely inside and if your dog needs a potty break during the fireworks, take him outside on a leash. Make sure all your pets are wearing an ID tag or a collar that contains your phone number. Tags and collars can be lost so a microchip is even more useful in helping you find your lost pet.

Drug-Free Remedies

What can you do to keep your frightened pet safe and calm? For many frightened pets, just staying in a crate as long as they are used to one or in a safe room with a closed door is all that’s needed.

Synthetic pheromone sprays for cats and dogs are available at pet stores. These sprays imitate the properties of the natural pheromones of the lactating female that gives kittens or puppies a sense of well-being.

Some pets respond to some commercially available pressure wraps . The pressure on the body may have a calming effect.

In behavior modification controlling the intensity of the fireworks is necessary and often the most challenging part. While it often isn’t possible to expose a fearful dog to only little fireworks, controlling other factors can help. Distance from the fireworks can be less intimidating, as would be keeping the dog indoors.  Music may disguise the bursts of noise; consider loud music with a regular beat.

Classical counter conditioning can create a positive association with fireworks if the anxiety isn’t extreme. Give high-value food rewards (canned food or peanut butter), offer your pet his favorite toys or food puzzle toys, or have your pet practice his tricks with you. The goal is for him to learn that fireworks result in highly pleasant rewards. You can teach a desirable coping response. The appropriate response for a dog facing something frightening is to retreat to a safe place until the frightening thing ends. Providing a safe retreat, such as a crate or a closet, will give security and confidence, although selecting the location is up to the pet. Blankets to muffle the sound and a pheromone diffuser will provide natural motivation for the dog to seek this location. Being able to cope when the world becomes overwhelming is a life skill essential for both people and dogs!  Hiding is not a sign of a problem, if the pet quickly returns to a normal behavior when the fireworks are over.

Medication

It’s easier to prevent a fearful reaction than it is to reverse one. If your pet is nervous around loud, unexpected noises, a short-term sedative before the fireworks start may be just the ticket. Talk to your veterinarian ahead of time, so you can have something on hand to give your pet before the fireworks start. Some severely anxious pets may benefit from drugs that increase the level of serotonin. However, these drugs can take several weeks, if not more, to build up to an effective level, so this is not a quick fix. We can help you decide which products may work the best for your pet.

You have many choices of how to help your pet cope with fireworks stress.  Talk to us about what is best for your pet. Hopefully, everyone in the family will then be able enjoy the holiday!

How to Know if My Pet is in Need of a Dental Cleaning?

Your pet might need a dental if:

-Difficulty chewing or chewing only on one side of the mouth

-Bad Breath

-Tooth loss

-Bleeding from mouth or drooling

-Oral pain (pet is reluctant to let you touch the mouth area)

-Decreased appetite or weight loss

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Did You know?

Did you know that 4 out of 5 dogs over the age of 3 years have some sort of periodontal disease? It can be caused by the buildup of plaque, so it’s important to go in for regular dental checkups and cleanings.

Caring for your pet’s teeth can prevent other health problems, saving you tons of money over the long term!

Your dog and cat are very good at hiding pain – you might never know that your pet has a serious dental problem until it’s very advanced. This is yet another reason it’s important to take your pet in for regular dental checkups.

Dental disease can actually lead to problems with your pet’s organs, such as the kidneys, heart, and liver.

A pet with healthy teeth equals a pet with better breath!

 

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease starts when bacteria forms plaque that sticks to the outer surface of the teeth. Following plaque formation, minerals in the saliva harden the plaque to form into dental calculus otherwise known as tartar. The plaque and tartar spread under the gums and cause gingivitis — inflammation of the gums. Once under the gums, the supporting tissues that surround the tooth become damaged.  The result of this effect is loss of the tooth or usually multiple teeth. This cycle of events is known as periodontitis.

 

How often should I have my cat or dog’s teeth cleaned?

Most veterinarians recommend dental cleanings once per year for dogs and cats. However, some breeds may require more frequent professional cleanings. Your veterinarian will run pre-operative bloodwork to make sure your pet is healthy enough to undergo the anesthesia necessary for the procedure. While modern anesthesia is considered very safe, this is a precautionary measure to minimize any risks.

During the cleaning, the veterinary team will monitor your pet’s vital signs to ensure that they are normal. These vitals include respiration rate, heart rate, blood oxygen levels and body temperature.

Your pet’s teeth will be cleaned and polished with professional equipment that smooths the tooth surface, removes tartar and plaque and polishes the teeth. Antibiotics and/or pain medications may be prescribed depending on the extent of disease at the time of cleaning. Once the dental cleaning is complete, your pet will be carefully brought out of anesthesia. Your veterinarian will ensure that your pet has recovered properly before releasing him or her to go home.

 

What can I do at home?

Daily brushing can help remove food particles from between your pet’s teeth. You can use a finger brush or a child’s toothbrush. You should us pet toothpaste, which comes in flavors such as chicken, seafood, and malt. Avoid human toothpaste.

There are also dental treats that can help keep tartar to a minimum as well as dental diets. The diets tend to have larger kibbles to provide abrasive action against the tooth surface when chewed. Or they may contain ingredients that help prevent tartar mineralization. Ask your veterinarian which are appropriate for your pet.

Flea Control

Where Did These Fleas Come from?

Fleas can come from anywhere; you could have carried the fleas home to your pet(s). Stray dogs, cats, raccoons, and opossums are the biggest carriers of fleas in your yard. If any wild animal has crossed your yard, flea eggs could have been dropped.

The Flea Lifecycle:                                                                                                        

“There are four life stages of a flea”

  • The Egg– The adult female flea can lay up to 40 eggs daily. The eggs are laid on the pet where they fall off to hatch in the environment.
  • The Larvae- Larvae are like little caterpillars crawling around eating on the flea dirt in their area. At a certain age and size, a molt occurs. There are three stages of molt after the third stage it is capable of spinning a cocoon and pupating. (Depending on the environment conditions it can be as short as 9 days)
  • The Pupae- Once they have spun cocoons the are nearly invincible. The cocoon is sticky and readily picks up dust and dirt. Inside the cocoon the pupa is turning into the flea that we are familiar with. (they are especially protected under the carpet) A pupa can lay dormant in its cocoon for several months, and even up to a year waiting for the right time to emerge.
  • The Adult Flea- The adult flea will now wait until it detects a nearby animal. Once they come out of there cocoon they are hungry and eager to find food.

What can I do?

Vacuum once to twice weekly.

Shampoo all carpets with soap and hot water.

Wash any bedding or blankets your pets lay with in hot soapy water.

Keeping your pet on a monthly flea preventive can prevent a flea infestation. Talk to your veterinarian about what would work best for you and your pet.

“If one pet has fleas, all pets in the household have fleas weather they can be seen or not. Flea control involves treating ALL pets in the home.”