Do You Have a Pet Emergency Plan?

September 28th, 2011

September has been emergency preparedness month, and it is the perfect time to be sure you and your pets are taken care of in case of an emergency. From fires to floods to tornadoes, none of us are immune from unfortunate events. Here are some pet-specific tips to be sure your animals are in good shape in the event of an emergency:

  • All pets should have at least one form of identification. Personalized collars and tags are great for these purposes, however microchips offer a more reliable means of identifying your pet. Be sure that tags and microchip registration have your current contact information.
  • Get a rescue alert sticker for your front door that tells firefighters and other rescue teams how many pets you have and what kinds. This should also list your veterinarian’s information.
  • Arrange a safe place for your pets. Ideally you should have a local shelter, boarding facility, or neighbor willing to take your pets in as well as somewhere out of the area lined up in case your area is evacuated.
  • Put together an emergency supply and evacuation kit for your pets. This should include a first-aid kit, a small supply of fresh pet food, kitty litter and pans, food and water dishes, an extra collar and leash, bottled water, and any medications your pet might need. Each pet should also have a sturdy carrier. It is also nice to have photocopies of your pets medical records, blankets, flashlights, soap, and garbage bags.

Plan! Know what areas of your house are safe in certain situations. Have all of your emergency supplies in a logical location. Designate caregivers for your pet in advance in case you are unable to care for them temporarily or permanently. A little thought goes a long way when trying to keep your furry family members safe.

 

Is Your Pet Allergic?

September 19th, 2011

If you can name it, your pet can be allergic to it. The most common allergies in dogs and cats include reaction to fleas, various foods, and airborne allergens like pollens, dust, and mold. How do you know if your pet might be suffering from allergies, though?  The following is a list of some of the more common animal allergy symptoms.

  • Itching is by far the most common sign of allergies in animals.
  • Over-grooming and/or hairloss are also common.
  • Recurring skin and/or ear infections are also seen frequently.
  • Unlike humans, pets rarely show respiratory signs of an allergic reaction.

If you think your pet might have an allergy, we can help you to come up with a treatment plan to best address the problem. Unfortunately there is no cure for allergies, and they often require lifelong treatment to manage the symptoms. We may suggest a combination of multiple medications in order to offer your pet some relief. Hypoallergenic food trials or allergy testing may also be suggested. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help!

 

Adjusting to a New Pet

September 3rd, 2011

You have finally done it. After months of research and careful planning, you are driving home with a new family member. But now that you have taken the plunge, where do you go from here?

First of all, before you bring your new “baby” home, you need to be sure that your home is pet-proofed.  Make sure any potentially toxic items are put where an animal cannot get to them. Don’t forget, pets have teeth as well, so things like electrical cords can be very dangerous. Baby gates can make keeping your new addition corralled easier.

Remember that this is probably as stressful a time for your new pet as it is for you. Do not overwhelm it. Make sure time to acclimate to new surroundings is allowed before introducing him or her to other pets or the family next door.  Give your new dog or cat some private time as well.

Try to get into a routine so your pet can be comfortable in knowing what to expect.  Meal times, play times, and potty times should fall around the same time.

Lastly, make sure to take your new pet to visit your veterinarian within a few days after bringing it home.  This will allow you to establish a relationship between your pet and vet and give you a chance to ask questions and address concerns.

Congratulations and good luck with your new little bundle of joy!

 

Looking Good!

August 28th, 2011

 

Now that it’s almost time for back-to-school, make sure Fido doesn’t feel left out. Give him some extra attention and make him look sharp for the first day of school, even if he doesn’t get to attend.

  • Ears: Examine the inside of your pet’s ears frequently to catch symptoms of a problem such as pain, discharge, or redness early on.  Your veterinarian can show you how to gently clean the insides of the ears and recommend a good cleanser.
  • Eyes:  Gently cleaning the corners of the eyes with a damp cloth can prevent buildup.  Products may be recommended for animals with tear-staining.  Also, be sure long hair on the face is not irritating the eyes- if so it may be time for a professional trim.
  • Teeth: Many of our pets have dental problems.  The best way to ward these off is by brushing their teeth regularly.  Veterinary toothpastes and brushes are available- never use human toothpaste!  Your vet can demonstrate how to take care of your pet’s pearly whites.
  • Nails: Too-long nails can cause un-natural stresses on the foot, break or snag, and even grow into the paw pads.  Animals require frequent trimmings to keep their feet healthy.  Trim with clippers made for animals and avoid cutting too much and cutting the blood vessel in the nail.
  • Coat: Depending on your pet’s hair, this may require minimal attention to daily care.  Brushing helps to prevent mats and spreads out natural coat oils.  It can even minimize hairballs.  Most animals require brushing at least once a week, but longer haired critters may need to be brushed daily.

 

Summertime Sizzle

August 18th, 2011

Keep your pets safe during these hot, hot months.  Watch out for the following summer hazards:

  • Heat stroke: It’s not just for people! Pets, too, can overheat and even die from high temperatures. Never leave an animal in a car, even for a short period. Make sure your pet always has access to shade and fresh water.
  • Sunburn: It may sound like a good idea to shave down your golden retriever, but your pet’s coat provides insulation from the heat and limits sun exposure which can result in sunburn.
  • Heartworms: Mosquitoes are everywhere this time of year and can transmit heartworms, which are just what they sound like- worms that grow in the heart. Not a good thing. Keep your pet on heartworm prevention as recommended by your vet.
  • Fleas: These nasty little buggers are at their peak during the warm months of the year.  Preventatives prescribed by your vet are very effective at keeping fleas at bay.
  • Parties: Fido may want to crash the neighborhood block party, but be sure you limit his consumption of extra treats that may make him sick.  Alcohol is also a big danger as well as garbage cans full of tasty treats like leftover bones.

It’s wonderful to be outside with your pet, but summertime can bring health risks if you’re not careful. Keeping yourself informed and aware of potential dangers can help to make sure your summer is a breeze.

 

Itchy Pets

August 11th, 2011

 

Every once in a while pets need to scratch, but sometimes the scratching never seems to end. Why so itchy? Here are a few common causes for itchy pets:

  • Irritation: That shampoo you bathed Spot with or the lavender scented detergent that you washed Daisy’s bed in may smell great to you, but for some pets these things can be very irritating. You are often best off to use fragrance-free products and gentle shampoos.
  • Allergies: Pets can be allergic to anything that people can, and most of the time their allergies rear their ugly head as itchiness. Food, grass, dust, even cat dander can cause your pet to be itchy.  If you suspect your pet may have an allergy, consult with your veterinarian for the best was to relieve the symptoms.
  • Bugs! Fleas are the most common offenders, but other organisms like mites can also cause your pet to scratch.
  • Skin infections: Infections can happen for a variety of reasons, but most skin infections are especially irritating. Often medications are needed to get rid of infection and make your pet comfortable.

If your pet is scratching, it might be time for a check-up. Call 513-961-1110 to schedule an appointment or visit our website for more information.

 

Fleas and Ticks, Oh My!

July 20th, 2011

 

Lions and tigers and bears aren’t the scariest things lurking outdoors for your pets!  Did you know that flea allergies are the number one cause of skin disease in dogs and cats?  And that they can transmit blood parasites and tapeworms?   Have you heard that ticks carry nasty diseases such as Lyme disease?  Have no fear, though!  A little education goes a long way in protecting Fido and Fluffy from these creepy crawly parasites.  For instance, while fleas and ticks are most common during the warmer months of the year, they are a risk throughout.  Also, did you realize that even dogs and cats that stay indoors can be a breeding ground for fleas?  Keeping your pet on year-round preventative can stop an infestation before it starts.  There are a variety of products on the market to protect your pet, which can make it difficult to know which to use.  Your veterinarian can help you to sort through the vast options and select the best product to meet your individual needs.  So follow the yellow brick road to see the wizard, er, your veterinarian to get your pet protected today!

Visit Plum Street Pet Clinic for more information and to schedule an appointment for your pet today.

Summer Fitness for You and Your Pet

July 10th, 2011

 

Are you and Fido striving for the perfect bikini body this summer?  Follow these tips to ensure a safe experience for you both!

  • Stay hydrated!  You both should have plenty of fresh water available to keep your body functioning at its peak.  Many pet retailers sell portable dog bowls so you don’t have to share a water bottle.
  • Make sure your pet can keep up with you.  Pets that are not used to heavy activity are going to experience even more difficulties in the heat.  Very young or old dogs may have a harder time in hot weather.  Also, certain breeds with short noses such as Boxers, Boston terriers, Pugs, and Bulldogs are prone to overheating due to their anatomy despite their fitness level.
  • Swimming can be a fun activity but be sure to allow your dog to participate in a safe manner.  Not all dogs are natural swimmers.  They should be supervised at all times when in the water.  If you allow your dog in your swimming pool, teach him where the steps are.  A dog’s natural instinct is to try to get out of the nearest edge, which is usually not the way out.  Never allow your dog to swim in areas where you would not swim.  Pool water and lake/pond water can be irritating to the skin and can cause skin and/or ear infections.   Dogs should be rinsed with clean water and ears cleaned after every swim.

Visit Plum Street Pet Clinic for answers to all your pet care questions.

 

Keeping Your Pets Cool

June 30th, 2011

 

As the heat waves begin to roll in this summer, use the following tips to keep your pets cool and well hydrated:

  • Make sure your pet has access to shade and fresh, cool water at all times.  Be aware that older or arthritic pets may not be able to easily move into the shade.
  • Consider purchasing a children’s wading pool for you and your dog to beat the heat!  Keep the water fresh to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and bacteria from flourishing.
  • Keep your dog wet- dogs don’t really sweat, so providing a wet coat and a cool breeze from a fan can offer some relief.
  • Don’t leave home without water for your pet- dogs lose a lot of water via panting and will need to drink frequently to keep hydrated.
  • Never leave your pet in the car, even for a short period of time. Dogs and cats can become rapidly overheated in this situation, resulting in serious illness or even death.

Visit Plum Street Pet Clinic today for answers to your questions about positive pet care.