1. Get creative with your pet's water supply!
Make sure to have at least three places in your home where your pet can drink water if it’s hot outside. A cat water fountain was a big hit with one of my cats who liked to swat at the moving water. It was a double win because she had fun and ended up drinking more water! For dogs try adding some ice cubes into their water bowl for some ice bobbing fun that doubles as a cool water source.
2. Make frozen pet treats!
You can find the best recipes for pet treats online with ingredients such as peanut butter, pumpkin, and yogurt. Always make sure the human foods you give your pets are vet approved, and don’t overdo the treats. Overweight pets can suffer the effects of heat more than fit ones.
3. Protect your pet's paws!
Hot sidewalks and streets can burn your pet’s sensitive paws. Take care to protect their feet with booties if the temperatures are soaring. Try this fun and easy dog bootie DIY— it works for cats too if you make them smaller! Also, how adorable are cats with tiny mittens on?
4. Give your pet a break from the heat!
Provide plenty of shade and maybe even a swimming pool for you dogs to play in and cool off.
5.Heat Stroke: Know the Signs
Heat stroke is a very real danger for our animals. Knowing how to spot the signs is important for any pet parent.Always keep a close eye out for any of the following:
Help two cats with one stone or adoption!
Two cats with one stone? That sounds weird, but it's true. Each year 3.2 million cats are waiting in shelters to be adopted. 70% of them are eventually euthanized. Only 80% are healthy and treatable. Even if you rescue a cat from down the block, you're still contributing to the control of stray cat population. This indirectly benefits animal care organizations, since they won't have to rescue that one, making way for another cat.
Adopt to improve your life:
Cats can transmit calming energy, making you less prone to strokes and heart attacks. Their purring is therapeutic, man! Relieve stress and anxiety. Having a feline roommate also comes with bonus health benefits, such as lower risk of heart disease and bone and muscle healing. It's often said that cats tend to be independent and low-maintenance pets.
Prepare for trouble now make it double!
In honor of Adopt-A-Cat Month, some shelters have special offers or waive adoption fees for the month of June. Bringing a pair of cats home will make the transition to a new home a lot smoother. Many animal shelters will recommend a pair of bonded cats for you to take home. These cats have formed a strong bond and will be able to maintain that friendship in their new furever home. The best way to bond with a kitten is to have a furry playmate to play with. Unsure of where to get your new fur friend? Check out a list of local shelters at the end of this blog.
Bringing your new Fur-Friends home!
Cats see no color or age when they choose their hooman, so why should either be a criterion for us? Black and older cats are statistically the least likely to get adopted. Follow this mini checklist to make sure you think of everything when choosing your next best friend.
Step 1: Gather the essentials
Step 3: Cat-proof your houseMake sure to store away any fragile or valuable items so as to avoid the tears later on. There should also be no exposed wires or cables laying around that your cat could bite on. Even items such as hair ties, rubber bands, and plastic grocery bags could wreak mayhem. Stash away, purrlease!
Step 4: Introducing your new cat to other pets/humansAs mentioned above, your new kitty is probably overwhelmed right now. It’s best to remind other family members (especially children) to maintain a calm energy. Let the new cat sniff around and explore the room. Try not to pick up or handle it too much. I know, I know. You can’t wait to grab and squeeze that cutie, but give it some space. If you have other pets, separate them from the new kitty and keep them in nearby rooms so they can sniff each other through the door.
Adoption during a Quarantine?!
Animal shelters are seeing a shortage of adoptable pets. More people are choosing to cat-dopt or to not rehome their cats as they have more time to take care of them. Animal organizations need our support during these difficult times. Animal organizations need our support during these difficult times. While they are considered essential businesses, shelters are finding it hard to remain operational due to a lack of foot traffic, food, and kitty supplies. So, consider helping out by donating supplies, your time, or adopting a “pandemic cat” this June! Just know that you might be put on a waiting list.
Right meow is the purrfect time to bring a (new) kitty into your life! Not only will you be supporting your local animal rescue services, but you’ll be contributing to the control of stray cats. Unable to meowdopt? No worries! Donations are always welcome at our local cat rescues to assist in veterinary care, food, bedding, enrichment, and more! In honor of Adopt A Cat Month make a donation to any of the local shelters such as Feline Ranch, WILD, The Humane Shelter, Animal Control, PAWS (in Jacksonville), or the APL.
Comment below with your pet's story!
your pet. When your pet arrives for the dental cleaning we will perform a blood work up prior to anesthesia as a screening for the anesthesia to ensure your pet’s overall health prior to the dental. Our veterinarians also perform a pre-procedure physical exam as well.
After the exam and bloodwork your pet undergoes anesthesia for the dental procedure. Anesthesia is required for all pet dental cleanings to prevent stress, discomfort, and pain for your pet. When you go to the dentist the dentist is able to explain everything to you during the procedure, so you accept the procedure and do your best to stay still. Your pet does not understand the benefits of the dental cleaning and reacts by moving, trying to escape, or possibly biting. Anesthesia makes it possible for our veterinary staff to perform the dental cleaning with minimal stress and pain for your pet. In addition it allows your pet to get the full benefit of the cleaning because your pet isn’t moving around and risking injury from the dental equipment.
During the dental procedure your pet receives a through oral exam looking for periodontal disease, broken or fractured teeth, missing teeth, abscessed or infected teeth, cysts or tumors in the mouth, palate defects (such as cleft palate), malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite, and severity of plaque. Our staff will then perform a deep cleaning of your pets teeth to include cleaning below the gum line to remove the tartar and bacteria from your pet’s teeth. The cleaning includes scaling to remove the plaque and tartar then a polishing afterwards, similar to the process for people at the dentist. If there are any infected, broken, or fractured teeth our veterinarians may extract (pull out) the affected tooth in order to prevent any future problems from occurring. Throughout the procedure our staff is monitoring your pet to ensure your pet’s safety.
Your pet is then allowed to wake up from the anesthesia in a comfortable kennel in our treatment area (to allow for close monitoring by technicians) with blankets to keep them comfortable. If you have any questions about our dental procedure feel free to contact us and ask! We are happy to help.
All pets teeth/oral health is assessed by our veterinarians yearly during their annual visits. Your pet’s oral health can affect their health in other ways as well. If your pet has oral health issues such as severe tartar and gum disease, this can actually affect their kidney, liver, and heart health as well. A healthy mouth can prevent several problems from occurring later on such as the following.
Preventing tooth loss. When the structures supporting a dog’s teeth become damaged or infected the teeth loosen and fall out. Good dental care will ensure the teeth supporting structures stay healthy and keep teeth in place.
Preventing bad breath. If a whiff of your dog’s or cat’s breath makes you want to run, it's time for some good dental care. When your pet has a healthy mouth, bad breath will be a thing of the past.
Preventing oral pain. Dental disease, especially severe dental disease, can be quite painful. Keeping your pet’s teeth and gums healthy will help prevent oral pain.
Preventing organ damage. Bacteria grows and thrives in tartar on your pet’s teeth. This causes the bad breath. However this bacteria can enter your pet’s bloodstream and spread to the heart, kidneys, and liver. This spread of bacteria can damage organs and make dogs quite sick. Good oral health to include routine dental cleanings help prevent this bacteria spread and subsequent organ damage.
Preventing worsening dental disease. By age 3, over 80 percent of dogs have some form of dental disease. Since so many dogs have dental disease by age 3 it can be difficult to prevent it from developing in the first place. However, good dental care can prevent dental disease from becoming severe and causing problems throughout the body.
Ask our veterinarians about your pet’s oral health at their next annual visit!
1. No Damp Lady’s or Tramps
If you use a garment, like a dog sweater or coat, always make sure it is dry and change it if it becomes damp. Wet clothing can actually make your pet more cold. Also make sure your pet has full range of motion in any sweater and it isn't too tight. Your pet should be able to walk, run, and jump with ease.
2. Get a Check-up
Cold weather can exacerbate chronic health issues like arthritis. Getting a check up is important for your pet’s care even for seemingly healthy pets.
3. Check Your Vehicle For Hidden Kitties!
Cats are attracted to the warmth and shelter of vehicles. Check your vehicle before starting it to help kitties out. Tapping on the hood to alert any sleeping animals can save a pet’s life.
4. MICROCHIP Your Pet and REGISTER It
Snow can affect your pet’s sense of smell and ability to find their way home. Microchipping and placing an ID tag on them can help get your pet returned to you. The only way a microchip is helpful in locating you (the owner) is if it is registered with your updated information. Any found animals can be brought to a shelter or vet clinic and they will scan the animal for a chip. The shelter or clinic can then look up the chip number to find your information and return your pet to their rightful owners.
5. Long Hair, Don’t Care
Skip the short shave grooming appointment and opt for a longer doo for your pet during the colder months. Long hair coats provide much needed warmth and protection from the harsh elements. If their fur gets unruly give them a little trim and brush out instead of the shave.
6. Protect Those Paws
Before heading outdoors protect your pet’s paws. Massage a paw protectant into/onto the pads for protection against irritating ice balls and chemicals from ice melt. Booties are a great option if your pet will tolerate them. Paw protectants can double as moisturizers for your pet too!
7. Light Up the Night
Thanks to daylight savings time, many owners end up walking their pets in the dark. For this reason, it is important to invest in high-visibility reflective gear for both you and your furry friend! Lowered visibility due to darkness, rain, and snow make it essential that you’re both seen! Reflective or light up collars, leashes, and jackets for your pet and you make big differences.
You and your pet can join together in this goal. Instead of “eye-balling” your pet’s food try measuring it out based on the feeding recommendations printed on the back of your pet’s food bag. (This is based on their recommended healthy weight not always their current weight) This is also a great time to evaluate the TYPE of food your dog is eating. Is your senior adult pet eating senior tailored food? Or is your new young adult pet still eating puppy/kitten food? Ask your vet on what food type/brand is best for your furry friend.
Your dog or cat can benefit from exercising more with play, walks, or even food puzzles. For your dog there’s all kinds of puzzle games. For your cat there’s the puzzle games or you can make your feline “hunt” for their food by moving their food dish every day. These things provide mental stimulation and daily life enrichment leading to better daily behavior.
Planning a Wellness Visit
This may seem like a little thing, but scheduling a wellness visit for your pet can get them back on track for annual vaccines, or let you know how your pet is doing overall. Many diseases can be caught early with annual wellness visits. When caught early enough many of these diseases are more easily managed and controlled.
Create an Emergency Pet Plan
Set up a plan designed specifically for your pet in case of an emergency. Have an evacuation planned for your pet in case of a natural disaster. Furthermore set up a savings account or back up plan for an emergency vet visit. We always hope for the best but things happen such as acute sickness, dog fight, acute injuries, accidents that require possible major surgery, or even routine dental care can get pricey without proper planning. Have an account set aside for those unforeseen (but needed) veterinary visits.
If your pet is overweight and needs to lose a few pounds, set up a healthy weight loss plan for your pet with the help of your veterinarian. These plans can be as simple as changing your pet’s food over to a weight management food and portion controlled meals. They can include exercise routines that can help you and your pet achieve the same goals. Schedule a visit to the vet and make sure there’s no underlying health condition preventing your pet from losing weight.
Take your Pet on a Snow Outing
Take your furry friend out on a snow outing! This might be more for our canine friends than feline though. Most dogs, and some cats, love romping around in the white powdery stuff! Play catch with lightly packed snowballs, or simply play chase in the snow. This fun activity gives you and your pet bonding time as well as exercise during the long days indoors.
Give your pet some extra loves after all the huballu and guests have left.
Take your pet out for a walk or a snow outing after everyone has left and your home has quieted down. Show your pet you haven’t forgotten about them by playing with them or giving them a special puzzle toy with some extra special goodies in them. While your guests are present allow your pet to have their own quiet space to retreat to. Choose a room in your house that your pet can “hide” in away from all the excitement of the holidays. In this room allow your pet to just be. Set up a cozy area with a bed, toys, and their dog food just in case all the excitement becomes too much for your furry friend.
Have A Pet Photoshoot!
Take your pet with you on holiday pictures and to make the experience more enjoyable for your furry friend bring some treats along as well! We would love to see your pet’s holiday candids on our facebook page.
Looking for holiday stocking stuffers for your pets? Those holiday rawhides may look like enticing treat ideas, but they can cause a slew of issues for your furry friend. Rawhides are not very digestible and have a tendency to get stuck in your pet’s throat, stomach and/or intestines. Rawhides when chewed become very slippery and difficult to grasp when stuck in your pet’s throat. Avoid these issues and grab the rawhide alternative chew treats for your pets! These are highly digestible treats.
4. Holiday Plants Pretty and Dangerous!Holiday plants are a wonderful way to turn your home into a winter wonderland, but can present real dangers to your pet. Even non toxic plants can cause severe gastrointestinal upset if ingested in large quantities.
Harmful holiday plants include:
Amaryllis, Azaleas, Chrysanthemums, Holly, Ivy, Juniper, Lily, & Mistletoe.
Poinsettias are widely thought to be toxic to pets, however they are considered low in toxicity. They can still cause irritation to the mouth and stomach when ingested resulting in vomiting or diarrhea. If your pet ingests any of the listed plants contact your veterinarian immediately and let the veterinary staff know what plant your pet ate, what part of the plant, approximately how much of the plant, and how much time as passed since your pet ingested the plant.
5. Anti-Freeze and Ice Melt
Anti-freeze and rock salt are some cold weather chemicals that can be dangerous for pets. Be especially careful of anti-freeze containing ethylene glycol, as it is deadly to pets. Rock salt can cause a chain reaction of issues for pets. When pets walk on rock salt it can irritate their paws, which can lead to ingestion through licking, and can cause agitation and vomiting. Look for ice melts with a propylene glycol base. These are relatively pet-safe ways to melt ice.
6. Holiday Foods
Leave leftovers for yourself and not your pet! Fatty, spicy, and no-no human foods such as chocolates or bones should be kept away from your pet. These foods may seem like a special treat for your pet, but can cause some costly consequences such as gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), or blockages that require emergency surgery to correct. Skip the vet bill and give your pet their own approved treats this holiday season.
7. Christmas Trees
Even Christmas trees can pose a danger to pets. Falling trees can cause injuries to pets. Cats like to use the new bark texture as scratching posts or like to climb up the tree causing trees to topple over. Secure your tree by tying the top/sides of the tree off onto a hook on an adjacent wall or ceiling. Even ingestion of the water in live tree bases (with and without additives) or ingestion of evergreen needles can cause gastrointestinal issues for cats and dogs. Evergreen needles can get stuck in your pets stomach or intestines requiring emergency surgery to remove. Avoid this by keeping pets out of the tree water basin and keeping fallen needles picked up.
What can you do to help your pet have a fresh and healthy mouth? First of all, ask questions when you go to the vet clinic. Most veterinarians include an oral exam as part of their physical exam of your pet. They will assess halitosis (bad breath), tooth mobility, tartar and plaque accumulation, as well as problems such as broken teeth, root exposure, and gingivitis. Obviously, it is impossible to explain to our pets why the vet is looking around in their mouth, so it is very helpful if you can desensitize them to oral exams at home.
So, let’s talk about how to desensitize our pets for oral exams. This is most easily accomplished with younger pets, but can be done with all ages. The more you have your hands on and around their face, the more they get used to it and realize it is not a scary thing. You can lift their lips to get a better view of their teeth, and then offer a small treat, positive words and petting as a reward. You can desensitize them to touch by using your finger or a plain toothbrush and gently run it across the surface of the teeth. Again, offer praise and petting as rewards. Your dog or cat will begin to look forward to this interaction because they get your undivided attention!
Finally, let’s delve into the topic of to brush or not to brush! I think it’s safe to say that a good 95% of us do not brush our pet’s teeth on a daily or even weekly basis. It’s one more thing to add to the to-do list and generally it’s not going to be their favorite activity (unless you’ve worked with them like we discussed earlier). That being said, brushing truly can change the course of your pet’s life if started BEFORE dental disease takes hold. There have been a lot of studies on dental products, toothpastes, gels, solutions for the water, and products to promote chewing. Those specifics are best discussed one on one with your veterinarian. To keep things simple, the best thing you can do is to just get started. Get a plain human toothbrush, add some water (you can even flavor it with a little chicken broth to ensure a positive experience), and do some gentle back and forth motions across the surface of the teeth.
Dental health is very important to the overall longevity of your dogs and cats. Please call us at 217-529-4499 if you would like to schedule a visit to discuss oral disease or have your dog or cat's teeth checked over. February is national dental health month, there's no better time to have it done!
Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.
Valentine’s Day bring lots of fun for kids and adults, but with the fun it brings one of the most hazardous times of the year for our dogs and cats. Over 98% of the calls to the Animal Poison Control Hotline in mid-February are about chocolate ingestion by dogs!
The kind of chocolate and the amount are what is important if your pet consumes candy or baked goods. If you have the packaging, keep that because it will give your veterinarian the most information possible when trying to calculate toxicity levels based on ingredients. Bitter chocolate and dark chocolate are the worst offenders for our pets. It is really important to keep your Valentine’s candy up and away from your dogs and cats. Thoroughly check your kids backpacks too, that’s a common location that dogs have easy access to! Baked goods, chocolate covered nuts, treats, and coffee beans are also sources of chocolate for our furry friends.
There are a wide range of signs that can be seen after a cat or dog ingests chocolate. These range from vomiting and diarrhea, agitation, thirst, lethargy, racing heart rate, heart arrhythmias, hyperactivity, seizures, tremors and sometimes even death.
If you believe that your pet has ingested chocolate, please call your veterinarian immediately. It will be important to know what exactly they consumed or how much. There are several types of treatments that can be administered based on the toxicity risk. If consumption has occurred recently, inducing vomiting can sometimes be done to reduce the amount of chocolate in the body. Giving activated charcoal helps bind up the substance in the stomach so less is digested. Anti-vomiting medication, hospitalization and IV fluids are sometimes needed in extreme cases. Your veterinarian will be able to help you determine the best route of treatment based on your pet’s situation.
Valentine’s Day is a lot of fun; don’t let this topic scare you! Candy and chocolate are tempting for us and for our pets, but as long as you are careful about where you keep the treats, everything should be ok. If you have questions or concerns about your pets consuming chocolate, please call us at 217-529-4499. Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.