Category Archives: Pet Care

Seasonal Allergies, Part I: Spring and Your Dog

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Are you struggling with itchy, watery eyes and sneezing? You aren’t the only one; just as humans struggle with Spring allergies, so do dogs, and yours may need some extra attention, too.

Your dog’s allergies will come in different forms. Like you, dogs can have respiratory problems. They may sneeze, have watery noses and eyes, a cough, and develop infections just like people. Dogs can be negatively affected by pollens and other outdoor allergens, particularly since they often have their noses in almost everything. They may also show increased redness in their eyes and on their skin.

More often, dogs suffer from skin-related allergies, or allergic dermatitis. They’re skin will be inflamed and irritated, and they’ll scratch noticeably more than normal. They may scratch with their feet, their teeth, or they may start rubbing on the carpet and other things excessively, desperate to put an end to the itchiness. If the itch is left untreated, it could result in worse symptoms, such as bald patches, sores, tender skin, and more.

Ear itchiness is another common allergy-related problem for dogs. If your dog is focusing a lot of scratches on the ears, shaking her or his head, or appears to be losing hair in the area, she or he may have ear allergies. The ear canals become inflamed as a response to allergens and can get infected, which leads to discharge and other unpleasant symptoms.

It’s important to watch your dog carefully for these signs and treat them as quickly as you would if they were yours. Seasonal allergies can turn into long-term problems if left untreated, so it is important to see your vet as soon as possible. While medication is important, your vet may also want to try and find the primary cause of the allergy and provide treatment that prevents issues from reoccurring.

If your dog is clearly as miserable as you this spring, visit the drugstore for yourself, and the vet for your dog. Contact us at Pet Vet Animal Hospitals today for help with your dog’s seasonal allergies.

3 Signs that Your Pet May Have Allergies

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dog, dogs, allergies, petsDid you know that pets can have allergies, too? While they may not show it with a runny, stuffed nose, allergies can be just as uncomfortable to animals as humans. Here are some signs that your pet may have allergies and need professional veterinary care.

  1. Itchy, Red Eyes
    If your pet’s eyes are red and he or she is constantly attempting to itch them, allergies may be the cause. Runny eyes are also another sign of allergies in pets.
  2. Diarrhea and Vomiting
    It might not just be a flu bug! If your pet has certain allergies to food, the end result may be diarrhea and vomiting.
  3. Swollen Paws
    If your pet has swollen paws or he or she is constantly chewing them, these may be signs of allergies. Just like humans, pets can become itchy and irritated, too.

Luckily, many allergies can be identified in pets and taken care of over time. Contact Pet Vet Animal Hospitals to learn more about your pet’s potential allergies and treatment options. Our veterinarians can help your pet live a more comfortable life, without itching or irritation.

How to Remove a Tick from Your Pet

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cat-71494_1280Ticks are an unfortunate risk of owning a pet, and these insects can pose a threat to animals of all types. Furthermore, they may carry disease, which heightens the need to protect household pets from them. In the event that you spot a tick on one of your furry friends, here is a step-by-step guide to removing it from its body.

Contact Pet Vet Animal Hospitals

Our trained staff can help you assess the situation before you perform at-home care on your pet. In some cases, you may want to address the removal process with a veterinary professional in-person.

Gather your materials.

Ideally, the Humane Society of the United States recommends having a pair of gloves on hand, as well as an antiseptic. This is in addition to a pair of tweezers or commercial tick remover.

Tweezers: Grasp the tick as close to your pet’s skin as possible.

Try to avoid pinching your pet’s skin in the process. Pull outward in a straight, steady motion, removing the entire tick.

Commercial tick remover: Gently press the remover against your pet’s skin near the tick.

Slide the notch of the remover under the tick, and continue sliding it until the tick is caught in the small end of the notch. Afterward, the tick should be housed in the bowl end of the remover.

Clean the tools and area.

An antiseptic can be used to clean your pet’s skin and the tool you used to remove the tick.

Ticks can be difficult to handle, but you can prevent them from becoming a problem in your household by using tick and flea protection on your pets. To learn more about these products, contact Pet Vet Animal Hospitals. Our professional staff can give you the information you need to keep ticks and fleas away from your animals.

Your Pet’s New Year Resolutions

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As you ponder your goals for the New Year, don’t forget to include ways to enhance the bond between you and your beloved pet. We’re sure, if your dog or cat could talk, he or she would gladly share some wonderful ideas for you to spend time together. However, since we know dogs and cats can’t talk (at least like humans), consider these three suggestions for your pet’s New Year resolutions:

new-years-day-1090770_1280Take more walks. If you don’t know the benefits of walking your dog, believe us when we tell you there are many for their health, their behavior, and their happiness. (Read more here.) For cats, carve out more time for exercise, like playing with their favorite toy, to get the same benefits that dogs experience with a walk.   

Get more love (in their way). Whether or not you realize it yet, your dog or cat has certain ways they like to be loved, as well as other they loathe. Watch your pets for cues on how to best give them the affection they desire, and keep them from being stressed due to unwanted attention. Should he or she approach for petting, take the time to do it. After all, it’s moments like these our pets live for.

Be healthier. You want your pet to be around as long as possible, so give their bodies the proper nourishment they need to do that. If you’re unsure how your pet’s current food stacks up, talk to the team at Pet Vet Animal Hospitals for feedback and recommendations.

As loving pet owners, these are three great resolutions to help our dogs and cats be happier and healthier. Let’s help them come true – not only for them but for own benefit, too.

Happy New Year! We look forward to seeing you and your furry friends in 2016.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving – A New Pet!

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child-1007806_1280Imagine an adorable puppy or kitten tucked under the tree on Christmas morning and the faces that light up upon finding that precious gift. Makes you smile, right?

Now, imagine that same adorable puppy or kitten whimpering or meowing at 3:00 a.m. night after night as he or she tries to adjust to her new life… Do you have the patience for this?

There’s no doubt about it; a new puppy or kitten can bring so much joy and love to a home. However, it’s important that your decision to adopt or purchase a new pet be well thought and takes into consideration the following questions:

  1. Can you deal with the interrupted nights and adjustments to your routine?
  2. Do you have the room for a new pet in your home and life?
  3. Is someone home at a reasonable hour every day to ensure the new pet gets food, exercise, and love?
  4. Can you persist in what may be lengthy or difficult potty and obedience training?
  5. Do you have the time and resources necessary to ensure your pet’s health?

If you answered “yes” to these critical questions, let Pet Vet Animal Hospitals be the first to congratulate you on the new addition to your family! Please be sure to get your new puppy or kitten, or even grown dog or cat, in for their first visit with us. There are several critical things we need to do to form the basis for their longest, healthiest life possible. Learn what you can expect on our website, and then grab a gift certificate to ensure your new pet gets there ASAP.

(Gift certificates make a great last minute gift or stocking stuffer for a new pet or even an existing patient!)

We look forward to seeing your new furry friend (and you)!

Holiday Hazards for Your Pet

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The holidays are upon us, and it’s time to get festive. While you pull out your decorations and make plans to celebrate, please keep your dog’s or cat’s safety and health front of mind, and beware of these holiday hazards for your pet:

Plants. Certain plants are synonymous with Christmas, like mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias. Though you may believe the latter to be poisonous, know that poinsettias only pose a minimal threat. On the other hand, definitely steer clear of mistletoe and holly because they can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and much more serious issues.

pets-962215_1280Foods and drinks. Forgo the urge to share your holiday meal with your pet, as human foods and drinks can wreak havoc on their bodies. Common holiday culprits include chocolate, bones found in turkey and ham, and alcohol, among others. Depending on what’s ingested, problems like vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death can occur, so stick to their regular diet and err on the side of caution.

Christmas tree. As soon as the Christmas tree is up, our four-legged friends are curious. Dogs love to sniff and chew, and cats love to climb. Help shield them from danger by securing the tree (to keep it from falling) and by using safe, shatter-proof ornaments in areas within their reach. For real trees, avoid fertilizer, and don’t allow pets to drink standing water in order to minimize risk of vomiting and diarrhea.

Lighting. Many pets love to chew on electrical cords, especially those that are new to the home, but this practice is a bad idea year round for many reasons. However, no one expects you to go without lighting on your tree or around your house, so keep an eye on your dogs and cats and unplug the lights when you’re not home.

In closing, know that if you’re introducing something new to your pet’s living space and it doesn’t fall on this list, it’s not necessarily okay. Contact our team at Pet Vet Animal Hospitals for the lowdown on the item in question, and help your pet to have a merry and safe holiday season.

Three Tips to Help Prevent Pet Cancer

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The last thing any of us want for our pets is for them to be sick, especially with cancer or another disease. Though keeping them from getting ill isn’t entirely possible, there are some steps we can take as responsible dog and cat owners to help prevent pet cancer and other diseases. Take note of these three tips:

  1. labrador-380800_1920Feed them good. Be mindful of what’s in your pet’s food, as many contain unnecessary fillers and empty calories. Do your homework and talk with your Pet Vet Animal Hospitals’ veterinarian to understand what nutrients your dog or cat needs in his or her diet.
  2. Watch their weight. Obesity breeds disease, so follow feeding recommendations as provided on your canned or bagged food, with your treats, or from your veterinarian. Also, skip the table scraps and instead exercise your dog with a walk or your cat with a toy.
  3. Try to be chemical free. It’s pretty impossible for your pet to live chemical free. However, try to use safe cleaners, prohibit cigarette smoke, know if plants are poisonous, and keep your pet away from chemicals when you can.

The key is to maintain your pet’s body in the most healthy state possible, so that they are not only kept from what hurts them but have the strength they need to fight whatever comes their way. Be sure to also make annual appointments with your Pet Vet Animal Hospital location, as our vets can check your pet’s health and offer additional tips to help prevent pet cancer for your particular breed.

Show Your Pet Thanks this Thanksgiving

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There’s so much to be thankful for this time of year, and for us pet owners, our pets rank high up on the list. However, with the holidays comes hustle and bustle that may cause us to place less focus on our pets’ needs. You can still show them thanks with little effort this Thanksgiving when you do these three things:

  1. cat-and-dog-775116_1920Keep it as routine as possible. Pets thrive on routine, and while you may need to rework your schedule to accommodate the day’s festivities, try to make sure you get in the things they enjoy on a daily basis – like exercise, play, and scratches, even if you have to shorten the time spent on each.
  2. Be mindful of their personalities. Some pets prefer to be surrounded by as many people as possible, while others would rather flee to a corner or under a bed as soon as the doorbell rings. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, make sure your cat or dog is where he or she wants to be.
  3. Plan for travel. If you’re traveling for the holiday and will be away from your pet, make sure he or she is well taken care of. If you can, have someone come over to care for your cat, rather than simply leaving a huge bowl of dry food for him or her to gobble up. This can help manage their weight and stress.

Lastly, we do love our pets like family, but that doesn’t mean they should partake in the family Thanksgiving meal. Avoid the desire to give them table scraps, and instead, give them a cat or dog treat or additional scratches. They’re sure to feel special either way.

On behalf of the Pet Vet Animal Hospitals team, Happy Thanksgiving!

Pet Diabetes: What You Need to Know

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With this month observed for pet diabetes awareness, your friends at Pet Vet Animal Hospitals want to help educate you on this growing disease in cats and dogs. Here are five key points to know about pet diabetes:

  1. Like diabetes in humans, pet diabetes is caused when there’s too much glucose (or sugar) in our dog’s or cat’s bloodstream.
  2. Also, like diabetes in humans, there are two types in our pets: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. The majority of dogs with diabetes have type 1, while most cats have type 2 diabetes.
  3. There is no known cause for type 1 diabetes, though it’s widely believed to be related to genetics. However, type 2 diabetes is a result of pet obesity and may be a combination of excessive weight and other factors.
  4. Your best line of defense in preventing pet diabetes is to keep your cat or dog at a healthy weight. This means feeding them the right foods in appropriate amounts and helping them get exercise.
  5. Symptoms of pet diabetes include an increase in water consumption; an increase in food with no weight gain; and increased urination.

Should you suspect pet diabetes in your cat or dog, don’t delay in making an appointment with your veterinarian. He or she will perform a physical examination and run tests to get to the root of your pet’s problem.

If Pet Vet Animal Hospitals can help, please do not hesitate to contact us or to visit one of our four locations in the Houston area.

Three Tips for Caring for Your Senior Dog

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Oh, how we pet owners love, love, love our senior dogs. Whether they’ve been with us all of their life (and what feels like all of ours) or they’re a new addition to our home, a senior dog is loyal and loving. And though they may seem to need little care, the fact is that a senior dog requires more care than its younger model.

Help your senior dog to be with you as long as he or she can when you do the following:

Feed healthy foods. You may want to show your senior dog love by feeding whatever table scrap he or she desires, but that’s not a wise decision. Instead, feed them nutritious food as recommended by your veterinarian because dogs need different or more nutrients as they age. After all, what you put into a body is what you get out of it.

Keep them appropriately active. Exercise is key to keeping your dog healthy. It helps them avoid becoming overweight, which can wreck havoc on their bones and joints and also cause disease. On the flip side, you’ll also want to monitor how much exercise your dog is getting to ensure he or she doesn’t overdo it.

Get them to the vet. Not only should you schedule regular check-ups for your senior dog to have his or her health assessed, you should also stay on top of dental cleanings, which help keep bacteria out of the bloodstream and prevent disease. Your dog’s well-being becomes even more critical with age.

Lastly, give your senior dog as much attention as possible. In doing so, you’ll be able to notice any changes in his or her long-engrained behavior, which could signal a health issue. Even if all is status quo, you’ll both enjoy the time together that neither one of you will ever forget.