Category Archives: Pet Care

Pumpkin and Your Pets

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beagle in pumpkinThe pumpkins are out. Whether for classic fall decorations, Halloween, or Thanksgiving, they’re everywhere. They come in their original form, in lattes, in pies, and in pumpkin-spiced everything. But, pumpkin isn’t just for décor and favorite fall treats. Your pets can enjoy some, too.

Pumpkin for pets comes in the form of natural, non-sweetened, canned pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, and some cooked varieties. Some pet foods, treats, and treatments also include it. It can be beneficial for:

Digestion: Pumpkin has lots of natural fiber that is safe for your pets. All natural, canned pumpkin that has no extra sugars, spices, etc., is a common way to treat mild digestive trouble, such as diarrhea. There is some available in most pet stores and pet sections of your local grocery store. Even if their aren’t showing signs of digestive trouble, a little dab of pumpkin from time-to-time with their food can help keep them regular.

Healthy Weight: Even if you’re feeding your pet a good diet full of protein and vitamins, you may need a little more to help them keep their weight under control. Pumpkin is full of fiber and low on calories. Replacing just a little of their food with some pumpkin may help them lose a little extra weight without leaving them unsatisfied. They generally like the taste, too.

Additionally, it has antioxidants that are believed to help maintain a healthy urinary tract, plus plenty of vitamins and minerals that may help fight disease and promote a healthy fur coat. Take a look at your pet store or talk to your vet about healthy pumpkin options for your pet. Not all versions of the treat are right for all pets, and some may simply not like it. If you want to supplement your dog or cat’s diet with something that provides similar benefits as pumpkin, ask us at Pet Vet Hospitals what else you can use. Otherwise, you and your pet can both enjoy some pumpkin together this fall.

Leash Laws: Know Pet Ownership Laws

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dog-237187_1280Pets are available everywhere; they’re up for adoption, for purchase, and for free. We’re so accustomed to being able to simply go pick up a pet and take it home, and do little else, that it’s easy to forget there are laws and regulations out there for pet owners. It is unfortunate that it’s so easy to have a pet without obeying these rules, because they exist for many reasons—in particular, to protect pets, their owners, and others.

State-by-State, City-by-City

Pet ownership laws vary everywhere. All states have their ordinances, and cities might have some additional stipulations. Of course, ultimately, any federal regulations supersede a state’s decision. These ordinances cover a wide variety of potential safety and health risks, and their preventions, such as:

  • Consistent, mandatory vaccinations.
  • Rabid animals, or animals with other diseases that are potentially dangerous for humans.
  • Animals off-leash.
  • Animal bites and attacks.
  • Pet licenses.
  • The number of pets owned.

How to Know Pet Ownership Laws

These issues often do not come up until an incident occurs, and so it is easy to let the details of following licensing, vaccinations, and other ordinances slide; sometimes people forget, and sometimes they believe that nothing will happen to them or their pet.

It is not worth the risk.

The best thing to do is to research your state and local pet ownership laws well before getting a pet. It is very easy in the current information age; just go online to your state and city’s official websites. Then, once you know all your pet ownership laws, do not wait to apply the rules to your pet and life:

  • Get your pet licensed if necessary.
  • Microchip them.
  • Begin and maintain all vaccinations.
  • Save for medical expenses, and consider pet insurance.
  • Make a habit of all other regulations for daily care (keeping the dog on a leash, picking up after pets, etc.).

If you live in the Houston area, we can advise you a great deal on the local laws regarding pet care. Bring your pet in for vaccinations and more, and let us help you remain a law-abiding pet owner.

Saying Goodbye to a Pet

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cat, cats, petsIt’s something that no pet owner wants to imagine, but will eventually have to face: saying goodbye to a pet. Because it is an unfortunate fact of life, it’s important to be prepared for it. There are steps that owners must take and difficult decisions that they must make when a pet passes on.

Euthanasia

Pets owners must decide for themselves if euthanasia is right for their pets. It is an incredibly difficult decision to make, but if a pet is suffering at the end of its life, and the vet has determined that quality of life is simply too low, or there is some other medical reason that the animal must be put down, euthanasia is a humane option. It’s gentle, painless, and allows a person to be there for the pet at the very end. The vet will give the family all the time they need, and then administer a sedative so the pet will sleep. After that, the medication will be administered, and the animal will rest in peace.

Natural Passing at Home

If a pet parent wants the animal to pass in the comfort of home, a vet can advise on the best way to go about that so the pet is as comfortable as possible. There is also the terrible possibility of an animal passing suddenly at home. When these things happen, there are several possible steps.

First, it is important be aware of any regulations regarding animal remains in a city or neighborhood. For safety reasons, there may be regulations regarding burial, cremation, and removal. If the animal dies suddenly, the owner may want a necropsy (an animal autopsy) to find the cause prior to cremation or burial. If the pet will be cremated or taken elsewhere for other memorial arrangements, it is important to keep the animal’s body cool, and to not wait long before moving it.

They are part of the family and saying goodbye to a pet can be incredibly difficult. If your pet is approaching the end of his or her life with you, you can be assured that we at Pet Vet Hospitals will treat you and your pet with all the love and respect possible.

Fall for Pets

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Fall is coming swiftly. The leaves will be changing colors, the weather cooling, and people will become more and more eager for pumpkin spice lattes—pumpkin spice everything, in fact—Halloween, Thanksgiving, and all that follows. Your pets will be happy to join you in the fun. There are fall-themed treats for them, and some of them might even let you dress them in costumes.

As you enjoy all that fall has to offer, remember to play it safe with your pets, as well. Fall brings about some changes that could be harmful to your pet, and ruin the fun.

Depositphotos_54192935_s-2015Leaf Piles

Running and jumping through leaves seems fun, and there are plenty of classic—or cliché—images of people and their pets doing it. Remember, however, that there are a few dangers associated with this. Piles of leaves, especially those which have been sitting for some time, are gardens for bacteria and mold. If your dog gets into these growths, they could become sick.

Mushrooms and Other Plants

With the new weather comes decaying plants. Many environments become breeding grounds for mushrooms, which can make the curious, hungry dog or cat ill. Other seasonal plants are potentially toxic, such as the chrysanthemum.

Rodenticides

The cooler weather drives rodents and other pests into homes, and many people ward them off with rodenticides. While this is normal practice, it should be done very carefully; these toxins are bad for pets, too. They can potentially be fatal, so always place them in areas that are very difficult for pets to reach, even by accident.

Precautions don’t mean the end of fun. Continue enjoying the fall as you play it safe with your pets. If you need some help with your pets’ health along the way, come see us at Pet Vet Hospitals. We’re here for you throughout the seasons.

Back-to-School: Pets and Separation Anxiety

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Summer has been fun, and now it’s time to go back to school. Students and teachers alike, of all ages, have begun classes. This also means that many pets have been left at home while their owners are away, and some may take this change rather hard because they’ve become accustomed to having a family member around.

Separation anxiety can come in many forms. And, even if you pet has never shown signs before, any significant change may stir some anxiety.

labrador-380800_1920Your dog, for instance, might:

  • Bark and howl.
  • Pace and run.
  • Tear and chew at furniture, and other things.
  • Dig into trash and other places.
  • Urinate and defecate in the house.

Cats may do the same or similar when they’re upset by an owner’s absence, in addition to:

  • Scratching at furniture and other things.
  • Urinating to mark territory.
  • Climbing and knocking items off of shelves, and counters.

The best thing to do is prepare your pet well before the semester begins. Let your pet grow accustomed to your absence by leaving for brief periods of time. Over time, work toward the schedule you will have once classes start.

If your pet is already showing signs of separation anxiety, try some natural remedies. Go for long walks to exhaust your dog and play with your cat for a while every day. Make some extra time in general to spend with your pets to make them feel safe and loved. Leave plenty of distractions for them in the form of safe toys and treats.

If these don’t work, look into day care or professional training. It takes patience, but if significant time passes with no results, it may be time to seek the help of your vet to make certain there are no medical issues causing the separation anxiety, and to find out if there are any other options.

If you’re concerned about your pet’s reactions to your going back to school, call us at Pet Vet Hospitals and let us help.

Microchipping: The Details

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Dogs and Cats Hanging Over White BannerMicrochipping has become more common recently and it’s a very good thing; millions of pets go missing every year and the use of microchipping makes those disappearances much less likely. In fact, many shelters and rescue groups have made it mandatory and include it in adoption fees.

The Process

In this quick and easy, and not terribly painful process, the veterinarian uses a needle to insert a tiny microchip under your pet’s skin, most often between the shoulder blades, the same place where you put his topical flea treatment. This little microchip has a number and a scanner can pick up that number should your pet go missing. This procedure can be done to most pets that have the potential to be lost.

The Cost

As high-tech as this little chip is, it is not very costly. If you adopt your pet, there may be a discount, or the procedure may be included in your normal adoption fees. Some vets offer it at a discounted rate if you have it done in addition to other procedures. In some other countries, microchipping is mandatory as part of a pet’s registration, and there are even some places in the U.S. in which the law requires it.

The price is particularly reasonable considering the peace of mind that comes with it. If your pet runs away, or is taken, and even if he does not have his collar off, you’ll be able to find him. All you have to do is register the number and call, and find your lost loved one. It’s that simple, and that safe.

We offer microchipping at Pet Vet Animal Hospitals, and we highly recommend it. Bring your pet in, whether he is a new or longtime companion, and let us help keep your furry family member safe.

Save Pets: Adopt a Pet from a Rescue

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dogs people connection adoptionIf you’re a pet owner, or animal lover, you have heard people say that it’s better to adopt a homeless pet than to purchase one. While it is important to note that pets in stores and from expensive breeders need homes, too, and that it’s not their fault that they are the result of a problematic system, there are some very good, specific reasons why it is a better idea to adopt from your local shelters and rescue groups.

Value for Your Money

Money may not be a primary concern for you; you just want a happy, healthy friend. But, for many of us, cost is still a concern, and you will pay far less for a shelter pet than for one from a pet store or breeder. Some rescues and foster pets have higher costs, but that is because they go to great lengths to keep the animals in comfort while they wait for their forever homes, and they may still cost significantly less than a breeder.

But, what about value? There is no certainty that your purebred, or petstore animal will be any better or healthier than an adopted pet. In fact, some purebred pets are at greater risks for illness and birth defects because of overbreeding. Animals are put up for adoption for many reasons, and illness or defect are only a small percentage.

The Need

Rescue and shelter pets have, generally, been abandoned. Perhaps their owners moved and could not take them, could not take care of them for monetary reasons, the pet became too large, or maybe the animal was abandoned somewhere with no one around to explain why. Many, many pets sit in shelters never to be adopted. This results in overflow, lack of funding for proper care, and it is the reason why kill shelters still exist. If you adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue, you are giving a pet a second chance at life, and possibly saving its life.

Veterinarians offer common health services at reduced prices, sometimes volunteering time to keep homeless pets healthy at reasonable costs, or for free. At Pet Vet Hospitals, we encourage rescuing and adopting homeless pets. Check out our list of local shelters and non-profit organizations from which you may adopt. As soon as you adopt a pet, bring your new family member in for a check-up.

The Dangers of Hot Cars for Pets

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We all know that we shouldn’t leave our pets in cars, particularly when it’s hot. We hear it all the time, see local news reports on it. There are plenty of excuses for doing it, but they are not truly good ones. We know that it can harm them, but how much do you know about why it’s harmful?

Too many pets still die from heat exhaustion in cars because people still don’t take the warnings seriously. They may think, “It’s all exaggerated,” or, “I have the windows down and I won’t be gone long.” The risks, however, are too great to convince yourself it’s okay.

dog-237187_1280The temperature in your car rises incredibly fast. It can go from 80 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees in a matter of ten minutes, and upward from there. And, don’t be fooled by the fact that your pet is shaded by the car; the temperature can reach a level well above that outside the car, and rolling down the windows helps little, to not at all. This means that even if the temperature outside seems reasonable, the car could still become too much for your pet. This puts your pet at risk not only of heatstroke, but heart attack and dehydration, as well. Additionally, your pet could suffocate in a hot, closed car.

Even if you are merely running into a store for one single item, finding the item, a long checkout line, and other things could prevent you from returning in time. Your dog may panic and make the situation even worse. Plenty of incidents could happen to exacerbate the circumstances.

We want only the best for your pets at Pet Vet Animal Hospital. Always do what you know is right for them, and if they need care, call us and let us help you and your furry family member.

Healthy Heart: Heartworms and Your Pet

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bulldog lying down pantingWe all know that heartworms are a possibility for our pets. How much do we know, however, about what we’re trying to prevent in our pets?

Heartworms are caused by Dirofilaria immitis, a type of roundworm. These worms are spread via mosquitoes carrying the larvae. Humid, tropical areas and any outdoor time may put dogs and other pets at risk. These worms make their way through the body to the heart and lungs. The process can take time, and so symptoms may not appear until long after infection. Infections can be mild or severe, and are more likely in some states in comparison to others. This rather common problem is preventable and treatable.

There are levels of infestation. Class I is very mild and may present no symptoms, or little more than a cough, while Class II pets will cough and be sluggish. Severe cases present with sluggishness, anemia, fainting, and heart failure. If your vet thinks that heartworms might be present in your dog or pet, she will look for heart problems with an electrocardiograph. She may also test urine, perform X-rays, and more.

If a dog is infected, he will need hospitalization and treatment to kill the infection. You may also have to administer monthly treatments at home. If the worms have grown significantly, then surgery may be necessary to extract the worms.

When recovering, your pet should be inactive to prevent strain on the heart. A special diet may be necessary, too. He will need regular testing to make certain the problem is dissipating, and not recurring; re-infestation, or resistant infestation is a possibility, particularly for older dogs.

The first step to dealing with heartworms is to prevent them. Regular, monthly medication should be administered to prevent infestation from beginning. You can even purchase prevention medication that is also your regular flea prevention, all in one treatment. To find out what is best for your pet, contact us as Pet Vet Animal Hospitals today.

 

Safe this Summer with Your Pet

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Get your pet flee protection today.Summer fun is upon us. Pools are opening, children are out of school, and vacations have begun. Your pet wants to enjoy this time with you, too. So, as you play it safe with your family and friends this summer, do the same with your pet.

Keep it Cool

Heatstroke is a very real possibility. When you take your dog outside, make sure there is plenty of water nearby to help keep him cool. Don’t stay in the sun too long with him, either. If your dog has light fur and skin, some sunscreen may be a good idea, too. Talk to your vet about sunscreen for pets.

Never, ever leave your animal in a hot car, even with the windows down. Make sure your indoor pet has ways to keep cool, too. If you’re comfortable, you pet will mostly likely be, too, but watch for signs of overheating, just in case. If your pet is panting excessively, unstable, or drinking excessively, do what it takes to cool him down, or take him to the vet.

Protection

It’s important to maintain your pet’s vaccinations and medications all year ‘round, summer included. The hot months often mean time outdoors where the fleas and mosquitoes wait. These pests can make their way indoors, too. Protect all your pets from fleas, mosquitoes and heartworms, and any other prevention that your vet may recommend.

Keep your dog on a leash anywhere without fences, and with other dogs. Keep your eye on all your pets. Watch for potential predators or any accidents, such as those during swimming, that may occur.

At Pet Vet Hospitals, we want our clients happy and healthy so that they can enjoy every moment with you, their friend. Come see us and let us make certain that your pet is safe and ready for a fantastic summer with you.