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Is Your Pet Getting Enough Sleep?

By | Pet Care | No Comments

You know that your cat spends a lot of time sleeping. You have heard the phrase, “let sleeping dogs lie.” Pets need sleep just like us, but in most cases, they need more. Regular sleep is an important part of your pet’s health. So, how can you make sure that your pet is getting enough sleep?

Understanding Your Pet’s Sleep Patterns

cat-and-dog-775116_1920On average, dogs need ten or more hours of sleep. The amount can vary from dog to dog, and things like age can be important factors, too. The important thing to know is that a lot of sleep is important for your dog, and you shouldn’t disrupt that sleep cycle, just like you shouldn’t disrupt your own.

Cats will sleep even longer, even near 20 hours per day. Despite this being true, sleeping for a cat is not the same as for a human. When cats sleep, they’re still somewhat alert, which is why you see them react suddenly to noises you didn’t hear, even when they’re supposedly asleep. Even though your housecat doesn’t hunt like his wild relatives, his genetics still dictate that he needs more sleep.

Help Your Pet Get Enough Sleep

How do you know your pet isn’t sleeping well? It’s not always easy to be sure, but there are a few signs. If your pet is disoriented, or has difficulty performing normal tasks, sleep might be a problem. This would be particularly true if you notice your pet waking often, or snoring loudly, which is a sign of breathing trouble.

The tips to help your pet sleep well are much like what you might do for yourself if you had trouble sleeping. Start by trying these natural sleep remedies if you suspect your pet isn’t sleeping enough:

Exercise Before Bedtime and Before Eating: Physical exhaustion is often a great way to help sleep. Your pet needs exercise to stay healthy, so try scheduling that exercise at the right times. After eating, most pets relax, ready to nap. Try walking your dog, or playing with him, or using toys with your cat just before feeding time. It may help sleep come easier. The same can be said if you get exercise near bedtime, but not too close; you don’t want to rile them up.

Keep to a Schedule: If you change a schedule too much, your dog’s entire day could be disrupted, which could affect sleep. Your pets know your routine, and they rely on it to maintain theirs. Whatever the routine, do your best to stick to it so that they know when it’s time to sleep and have less trouble with it.

Make a More Comfortable Space: there are all sorts of dog and cat beds. How does your pet sleep? Curled up, or stretched out? Consider some new bedding (have a look at this Tuck.com post on dog beds). Ask what vets recommend for pets and their sleeping positions. Your pet should feel safe, too; too much noise in an uncomfortable space will disrupt sleep. Make sure your pet seems content in his or her spot.

You can try edible sleep aids, but always speak to a vet beforehand. If you’re concerned about your pet’s sleeping habits, bring him into Pet Vet Hospitals today. We will help with any related health problems.

Teaching Your Children to Take Care of a Pet

By | Pet Care | No Comments

All parents expect it, and some fear it—the day their children start asking for a pet. Ultimately, most parents will agree that the primary concern is whether or not a child will prove capable of handling the responsibility. No matter how many promises a child makes, a parent can never be entirely certain. Of course, some pet-loving parents don’t mind covering the extra responsibility, should a child get a pet and not handle the responsibility well. In any situation, there are things a parent can do to help the child prepare, and to guide them through the process of caring for a pet.

Practice

Adorable little girl feeding small kitten with kitten milk from the bottleMake a deal; if your children still want a pet, but you need proof of responsibility, tell them they can have one if they successfully care for something simple for a time. Plants can be good practice, or anything that requires regular, daily care. Then, if that goes well, try something like a goldfish. As long as you make it clear that the rule is they can only have a pet if you’re satisfied with their practice, it shouldn’t be too hard to refuse them a pet if they are clearly not ready.

Pet sitting makes great practice, too. Though a young child may not be able to pet sit for an official service, you can always ask your friends, family, and neighbors whom you trust, and who trust you. Start by joining your children for the first few visits. Then, if they show promise, let them take care of the job on their own.

Helping Out

Of course, if you, as a pet lover, don’t mind that your children may need more help with the chores of caring for a pet, then you can try a different approach. You could make a schedule for all of you. Plan turns for each, including yourself, and share the responsibility. Sometimes, all they need to learn the responsibility is to see you engaged in it, or get your support in the efforts.

We love animals, and want all children to learn that love and care, too. Bring your new pets and your children to us, and we’ll happily care for your animal’s health and offer any advice you may want on learning to care for it at home.

The Pros and Cons of Pets in Hospitals and Nursing Homes

By | Pet Care | No Comments

It is becoming more and more common for nursing homes and medical care facilities to allow pet visitations. Studies have shown that patients benefit from the comfort an animal can provide; showing affection to these animals has been known to help people lower blood pressure, and the endorphins associated with the pleasure of animal companionship can reduce some pain symptoms. In nursing homes, live-in pets are sometimes permitted, though visitations are more common. In addition to health benefits, loneliness and psychological concerns have been known to improve when residents have the comfort of pets. Even with all these potential benefits, however, there are both pros and cons of pets in hospitals and nursing homes.

Health and Wellness

Old man with dogThe primary concern for pets in facilities like these is health protocol. While the practice of allowing animals is increasingly common, health and safety changes are not always made to avoid possible health risks. It’s commonplace for dogs and cats, and some small animals like birds and rabbits to be brought into these care facilities. There are also less common animals, like reptiles. All of these pets can carry diseases that may wreak havoc on people with weak immune systems.

Hospitals are more likely to have strict guidelines to protect against the diseases and infections pets can carry. Nursing homes rules are often not as strict. Most have policies that designate animals must have an appropriate caregiver and all vaccinations, and no recently-ill animals may be admitted. However, being prepared means having hygiene preparation, procedures for injuries and related illnesses, and staff trained to deal with animals. These preparations are often missing.

Why Have the Risk?

The growing interest in having animals in nursing homes and other care facilities is a direct result of the growing belief that animals aid in mental and emotional support. Positive interactions between humans and animals make people feel good at the very least. For an ill person, a lonely person, or someone struggling with some combination of the two, a good relationship with a pet may provide comfort, and may even impact health. While the notion that happiness and hope can help a person get better, or live longer, isn’t scientific, many doctors and scientists agree that the power of the human mind and will may make a significant differences in how well a patient recovers. That is why the risk of having pets in hospitals and nursing homes seems worth it to many.

If you’re thinking of bringing your pet to a nursing home, or a health facility, first, make sure it’s allowed. Look into any health-related regulations. If there aren’t any and you’re concerned, you might consider suggesting some changes politely. And, of course, make sure your pet is in the best health and general condition. Bring him or her to us at Pet Vet Hospitals.

Helping a Heartbroken Pet

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Losing a person in your life is heartbreaking, so much so that the feeling defies description for many. Losing a pet is also incredibly hard. If you have more than one pet and the two have lived together for many years, and particularly if they’re close, you might find yourself faced with more than human grief. Animals are sentient; they can grieve, too. That is why a book like Where the Red Fern Grows breaks so many hearts; we can all imagine the pain of losing beloved animals, and it’s made even worse when the animals left behind can’t survive the grief. Helping a heartbroken pet doesn’t necessarily mean ignoring your own pain. Rather, the two of you can come through it together.

Spend More Time with Your Pet

Depositphotos_12962486_m-2015Sometimes, the best way we can deal with loss is to keep busy. This can be true for your grieving pet, too. If your pet shows signs of what could be grief like noticeable lethargy, start with a visit to the vet. Make sure that nothing is physically wrong. When you’re there, talk to the vet about the recent death. He or she may have some recommendations, too.

Then, start by spending more time with your pet. It could be the perfect antidote to grief for both of you. While it may not work wonders immediately, making more time to go for walks, play with toys, and even cuddling could work wonders. It could serve to distract you, and to remind you both, in your own ways, that life goes on. Exercise releases endorphins, which is also great for the depression that can sometimes accompany grief. As for the extra downtime spent together, it’s comforting; it helps remind you both that, though your loved one is gone, you’re not alone.

Consider Adoption

Adopting a new pet may not be an option for you when you’re grieving; it may simply be too soon. However, if you do find yourself open and willing, it could be what you and your pet need to move on. You don’t want to do it without considerable thought and preparation; do what you can to make sure that your current pet won’t react badly.

Grief is a difficult thing for both you and your pet. You can get through it together. Anytime you’re concerned about your pet’s well-being, bring him to us at Pet Vet Hospitals. We can help.

In the News: Cannabis for Pets?

By | Pet Care | No Comments

sick ill dogCannabis—marijuana—is still the subject of very heated debates. Despite the resistance and opinions of many, the substance is legal, both medically and for recreation, in some states, and even more are considering making it so. Legal medicinal cannabis isn’t always something that is smoked; it is taken in oil and pill form, too. It is most often used as a milder treatment than other available medications for things like pain and anxiety. Since there are doctors and patients who insist cannabis works so well, and does so safely and naturally, of course there are those looking into the possibilities of cannabis for pets.

Cannabis Oil for Pets

Cannabis oil is the form of treatment that some veterinarians are recommending for dogs. The oil is made from the marijuana plants via extraction. According to vets who recommend and prescribe legal cannabis for treatment, this oil can treat pain, anxiety, seizures, stress, and more. In all these cases, the oil is meant to relieve the pain and calm the body. These vets argue that, unlike other prescription medications, marijuana doesn’t pose the same risks of kidney and liver damage, and doesn’t cause the same level of sedation.

Of course, that does not mean that cannabis has absolutely no side effects. Though it’s considered gentle, a pet can still overdose on it if given too much. That is why it is essential that any cannabis for pets be prescribed by a vet legally, and the dosage carefully administered to exact specifications. The vet must rule out any potential negative reactions.

Details like this are why the use of cannabis for treating pets is still debated; the research determining the right amount of cannabis oil for pets has not been confirmed, yet. And, as long as the use of marijuana in general continues to be so hotly debated, its use for treating pets will not be considered the most important part of the conversation.

For now, what you can do for your pets is reach out to your veterinarian for help. Bring your pets to Pet Vet Hospital for the best possible care.

What to Do When You Know Someone Moved and Left an Abandoned Pet

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Sad, abandoned dog in the middle of the road /high contrast imagPeople sometimes leave their pets. Despite the terrible feelings we may have about giving up a pet, and any instincts some may have to place blame on those who do it, there are times when letting an animal go is the best thing for both the pet and the owner. That is why there are shelters, pet foster homes, and resources for finding potential homes. What should never happen, however, is abandonment—leaving a pet in a location with no care, and telling no one who can help that animal. If you think someone has done this, the best things you can do is to take appropriate and legal steps to helping the animal and informing authorities.

Investigate Safely and Be Sure

Never make any assumptions; if you think that a pet has been abandoned somewhere, take a look as long as it is safe and legal. Does it look like the owners may return? Is the pet in distress, or a possible threat? Make note of the circumstances so that you can proceed with all possible information.

Make the Call

If you are fairly certain that you have found an abandoned pet, there are a few steps you can take to help the animal, depending upon the situation. If this has happened at a home, or on some property, you will need to call the local animal control services. If you’re not sure who to call, call the local shelter and they will help you get in touch with the right people. Never enter someone’s residence without legal permission. Instead, file a report with the proper authorities.

If the animal has been abandoned on public property, you should still call the shelter, at least. Be extremely cautious approaching an abandoned animal; they may be aggressive, or ill. It is best to let professionals handle it, but if the animal accepts your help, you can get it to a safe place. You can always offer to foster the animal until the situation is handled, or the owners are found, etc. You might even be able to adopt the abandoned pet.

If you have an animal in your care that was left behind, come to us at Pet Vet Hospitals, too. We can help make sure your new friend is in good health and ready for a new, forever home.

Vegan Pets: Is It a Good Idea?

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Cat looking for food in refrigerator at homeVeganism has grown in a widely-accepted nutritional lifestyle. It is a long-standing part of some cultures in other countries, and now there are many more options for vegans in stores and restaurants. People choose veganism for many reasons; there are ethical vegans, those who choose veganism for health reasons, and more. Of course, despite there being more options for vegans, it’s not always easy to maintain the lifestyle. There are plenty of dilemmas vegans face, and one of them is whether or not they can, or should, feed their pets vegan diets.

Can Dogs and Cats be Vegan Pets?

This is yet another issue for which there is no definitive, or simple answer. On one side of it, there are people who argue it is a terrible idea to force vegan diets on pets. After all, they are not humans with vast dietary possibilities. Nature made them with specific needs, and those needs have always been met by eating animal protein. Cats, for example, need a diet made of mostly protein, while dogs need protein, but can consume other nutrients more. Some even argue that feeding a dog or cat a vegan diet is cruelty—forcing an animal to go against its nature simply because you choose a vegan lifestyle.

The arguments can go a completely different way, however, and largely thanks to science. Protein and other nutrients can come from many sources, and they can easily be harvested and combined to create highly-nutritious foods. This means that vegans can get what they need from sources other than animals. That is how vegan pet foods are created, too. Dogs, for instance, are closer to omnivores than carnivores. They can even have vegetables and carbs, and are likely to eat almost anything you put in front of them. Thus, with the right combination of nutrients, some argue that your dog could have a completely balanced diet with purely vegan ingredients.

What to Do?

If you’re struggling over the decision to feed your pet a vegan diet, talk to a vet whom you trust to be completely honest with you about the options. Do your research, and remember not to believe everything you read on the internet; make sure the sources of information are entirely reliable. Also, remember that just because there are vegan options for your pet, that doesn’t mean he or she will take to being a vegan pet; nature may decide on its own that a vegan diet doesn’t sit well with your pet.

Come talk to us about all your pet’s health needs at Pet Vet Hospitals.

Help Homeless Pet Owners and Their Animals

By | Pet Care | No Comments

When we are fortunate enough to have a home and a life that keeps us busy with work and play, it is easy to overlook the homeless. The same can be said about many of us as pet owners; we love our pets, feed them, shelter them, take them to the vet, and enjoy our lives with them. For the homeless, pet ownership is more complicated. While some have argued that the homeless shouldn’t own pets, others say it seems unfair that those people should be denied the comfort of a good animal, particularly when there are so many animals in need of a human to help them. Isn’t it noble for a homeless person to be willing to try and take on that responsibility, they argue?

What Can You Do to Help Homeless Pet Owners and Their Pets?

dogMany pet owners, whether homeless, or generally struggling financially, are faced with the possibility of relinquishing a beloved pet because they cannot afford to support them. It’s a heartrending decision, and it’s made worse by the fact that there are so many pets out there that need a home, theirs may not be adopted by someone else who can afford to keep the animal.

You probably know how and where to make donations for the homeless. Well, there are also places where you can make donations for pet care, too. There are many programs that accept all sorts of donations for the care of both homeless people and their pets. Pets of the Homeless, for example, was created to address this precise problem. You can also talk to your local pet shelter, homeless shelter, and veterinary clinic about what local organizations accept donations.

The next time you put food in a donation bin, add some good pet food, too. Those accepting donations will know precisely what to do with your donations. And, never forget that shelters of all kinds often need volunteers. You can offer to do any service they need, including helping out with animal care.

The world is better when we help each other. At Pet Vet Animal Hospitals, we support the adoption of homeless animals. Call us and talk to us about keeping pets safe and healthy.

Having a Cat When You Have Cat Allergies

By | Cats | No Comments

Sphynx cat, 1 year old, itching in front of white backgroundYou have heard it before—someone wants to adopt a cat, but allergies stop them. Though it is a perfectly understandable reason to avoid adopting, if you really, truly want a cat, there are ways around those allergies. Not only can your allergies be treated and their sources addressed, there are cat breeds less likely to trigger them. Having a cat when you have cat allergies is possible.

Start Cleaning

Start by addressing other allergens in your home. Sometimes, your allergy symptoms are more manageable when you’re not bombarded with other allergens. So, dust and vacuum, and create a plan for continued management of all those other triggers.

Get Acquainted

Then, you need to let your immune system become used to being around cats. So, start spending more time with your friends’ cats. Or, volunteer at the local shelter. You may be surprised at how well, and how fast you adjust to having them around. You might even discover that your allergies are not as bad as you originally thought, and easily controlled.

Get Help

Of course, you need the right medication, too. If your allergies are not terrible severe, over-the-counter medication may be sufficient; there are types that are non-drowsy and won’t make you miserable. However, you should still consult your doctor about what is best for your plans to own a cat.

Find the Right One

Do your research on what cat breeds might work best for your allergies. There are some breeds that produces less, or virtually no dander at all, like the Sphynx cat. Rex breeds have fine hair that contains less dander, too.

When you finally get your allergies under control and welcome your new furry family member into your home, bring her to us at Pet Vet Hospitals. We want to help you and your cat stay healthy together.

Choosing and Training a Therapy Dog

By | Dogs | No Comments

Therapy Dog Visiting Young Female Patient In HospitalYou probably know that training a service dog requires consistent work and patience. The dog must be an appropriate breed, in excellent health, extensively trained, and more. What about a therapy dog? While people must not interfere with a service dog in training in any way so that it can learn to avoid distractions when serving its owner, therapy dogs are meant to provide comfort in times of great physical or emotional stress. Some dogs are better suited to this–more easily trained for it.

Training and Certification

The requirements for an animal to be designated as a therapy dog are more strict than people may realize; you cannot simply decide a pet is a therapy animal and have it be recognized as such, legally. Your pet must be approved with appropriate certification and registration. Both large and small breeds can make great therapy dogs.

Small Therapy Dogs

In the small dog category, the Beagle is an intelligent and friendly hound that can be easily trained to serve as support. Their strong sense of smell can even come in handy. The Welsh Corgi is also very intelligent, and it was originally bred to serve. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is also a great service dog that was bred as a calm companion. Very small dogs, like the Pomeranian, are great; but, remember that they are energetic and need to burn off that energy.

Large Therapy Dogs

When it comes to large dogs, the more calm and intelligent they are, the better. The Saint Bernard is well-known for being naturally adept at serving human owners; they’re generally big, calm, cuddling dogs. Labradors have the same qualities, though they are sometimes more energetic. Dogs known for herding sheep historically, like Border Collies and Sheepdogs, are also intelligent enough to be trained for many kinds of service.

These dogs, and many more, can be helpful not only to those who struggle physically, but those who struggle mentally, as well. People with depression, anxiety, severe mental illnesses, and more can benefit from well-trained therapy dogs. They can bring medication to an owner during an episode, trigger an alert for medical services, and be of general comfort during something like an anxiety attack.

The key to a good, and legally-approved therapy dog is excellent, professional training. It must be consistent, and the trainer experienced. Before determining what sort of dog you want or need, and using that animal for therapy, you must research the requirements to make this happen.

At Pet Vet Hospitals, we’re happy help you, too. We will be there for you and your dog, helping keep him healthy so you can rely on him for years to come.