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Posted by on Jan 15, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

How To Protect Your Cat Against Hairballs

Hairballs are gross — especially if you wake up to find one that’s been left on your floor — but they’re a typical part of your cat’s grooming process. As your cat cleans himself he swallows hair which collects in his stomach. This hair is usually expelled in clumps back through your cat’s mouth or mixed in with your cat’s feces. While most cats get hairballs, they can cause many serious health issues for your cat, but you can help him out by maintaining a healthy diet, making sure he is well hydrated and brushing him regularly.

Hairballs typically come out by themselves and only require cleanup on your part, but if they don’t come out properly, your cat can have a variety of internal issues.

  • If there is too much hair inside your cat’s stomach, it may not be able to fit through his digestive tract. If this happens, your cat’s intestines can become blocked, and he will need surgery.
  • If cats eat hair other than their own, such as human hair, it may not bunch up with the rest of his hair and can come out separately in a long strand.

Proper Diet

Your cat’s diet is important not just to keep him healthy, but to make sure that he can pass hairballs properly. Every cat’s needs are different, so before buying whatever cat food looks best, consult with your vet about what type of food your cat should be eating based on his breed, weight, age and similar factors.

If your cat has a hairball problem, your vet can help you find hairball control foods that are high in fiber; again, don’t try this yourself. Drastically changing your cat’s diet on a whim can cause digestion problems.

Regular Brushing

Brushing helps lessen the amount of hair your cat swallows when he cleans himself, and it usually feels pretty good too. The tricky part is if your cat doesn’t like brushing, but you might be able to slowly train him to accept it. Start by using a grooming glove, then work your way up to normal brushes in very short sessions so your cat can acclimate.

Hydration

Make sure your cat always has a source of fresh, clean water. There are a few reasons this is important: your cat can get a drink whenever he needs and stay properly hydrated, and you can also monitor his drinking habits to check on his health; sudden increases or decreases in water consumption usually mean something is wrong. Water also helps hairballs pass easier so they won’t get stuck in your cat’s throat or intestines.

If you have trouble getting your cat to drink, move his food bowl away from his water bowl; many cats don’t like it when their food is too close to their water. You can also try purchasing a pet fountain, as the running water is often more appealing to cats and can interest them in drinking more. To learn more, contact a company like Animal Clinic of Buena with any questions you have.

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Posted by on Jan 5, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Caring For Your First Pet Lizard: 4 Necessary Supplies And Accessories

Purchasing a pet lizard is, on one hand, not unlike getting a more traditional pet, such as a cat or dog. Many pet supply stores will have several different types of lizards for sale in a variety of sizes and colors. Some stores even specialize in reptiles and reptile supplies. But lizards have much different needs than other pets, and many first-time lizard owners are unfamiliar with the supplies and accessories best suited to lizards. Take a look below at four examples of supplies that will keep your lizard happy.

Habitats and Decor

A lizard will be miserable if left in a makeshift cardboard or plastic container picked up from around the house. For that reason, a terrarium should be at the top of your list when considering what supplies and accessories to purchase. Most terrariums are made of glass (for easy cleaning), are two to three feet in length, and feature a top ventilation screen that is easily removable. Most terrariums will set you back no more than $100, and additional decor such as plant replicas, plastic refuge pieces, and bags of substrate material, are very affordable.

Heating

Because lizards are cold-blooded, they require constant sources of heat. The best way to ensure that your pet lizard is warm enough at all times is to install a special heat lamp or basking bulb inside the terrarium. Some heat lamps are even designed as rocks on which the lizard can lie for hours at a time. Most lamps and bulbs can be had for around $20.

Waste Removal

Just as with any other kind of pet, removing your lizard’s waste is an unpleasant but necessary task. It can seem especially difficult if your lizard prefers to bury itself in the various substrates of the terrarium environment. Luckily, specialized waste removal tools exist that help to sift through heavier substrate material and remove odors. Pick one up at your local pet supply store for around $5. 

Food and Water

Many lizards will eat various kinds of vegetables, but prefer more substantial food such as live crickets. Crickets can be picked up by the hundreds on the cheap in sealed plastic bags at your local reptile supply store. Basic water pumps that attach to the side of any terrarium are also preferable to a small bowl of water, as the water stays fresh for a longer period of time, and does not evaporate as quickly. 

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Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Your Puppy, Vaccinations, And The Law

If you are just beginning your journey of owning a dog for the first time, you likely are full of questions. While you’re likely already knowledgeable about how to feed and bathe your canine and complete other general necessary tasks, many individuals are uncertain about vaccinations. Are vaccinations actually vital to the health of your dog, or is that overplayed by veterinarians looking to make an extra dollar? Are vaccinations voluntary, or are there any vaccines that are legally required by law? Are there any risks involved with giving a dog a vaccination, and if so, what are they? If you have asked yourself some of these questions, you are not alone. Continue reading to learn more about nature’s form of vaccination, how the law comes into play, and just how important certain vaccines can be:

The Natural Vaccine of “Passive Immunity”

When dogs are in the early stages of their lives as puppies, they receive necessary sustenance to survive from the milk of their mother. A puppy will normally continue this way (and will not eat any other form of solid food) until at least four weeks of age, but nature has instilled this need in a puppy for a more important reason than simple digestion issues.

Contained within the milk of puppy’s mother is a natural vaccine—an overabundance of antibodies and white blood cells that greatly enhance the dog’s health. Since young puppies do not have completely developed immune systems at birth, this passive immunity (the important antibodies passed on through the milk) is vital to the developing health of your dog.

Medical Vaccines and the Law

Although some vaccines are voluntary, the rabies vaccine is required by law. Since rabies is a dangerous disease that can spread between animals and even affect humans, American states have placed great importance on vaccinating your dog against the virus. Each state has different laws that govern how often the rabies vaccine must be administered, so be sure to become familiar with your state’s regulations to be as prepared as possible.

The Importance of Vaccines

While many pet owners worry about the potential side effects that a vaccine may have on their pet, the majority of side effects a pet receives (if any) are very mild. In addition to slight discomfort near the skin where the shot was administered, your dog may experience a low fever or decreased appetite for up to two days.

If you suspect that your dog may be having an allergic reaction to an administered vaccine (signified by symptoms like swelling, coughing, or ongoing vomiting), contact your veterinarian, such as at Basking Ridge Animal Hospital, for assistance.

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Posted by on Dec 5, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Safe And Unsafe Human Human Medications For Dogs

It can be agonizing to watch your dog suffer. If used properly, some medicines used by humans can help ease symptoms in dogs. If you’re a pet owner, here are some of the most common safe and unsafe types of medications for dogs.

Common Safe Drugs

  • Antihistamines—These medications are commonly used for treating problems, such as vaccine reactions, skin allergies, motion sickness and insect bites and stings.
  • Anti-nausea drugs—Use these medications for vomiting or upset stomachs. Although many of them are suitable for dogs, they shouldn’t be given to cats.
  • Motion sickness drugs—Used to prevent motion sickness, these medications work best when administered 30 to 60 minutes before your pet travels. However, they should not be used on pregnant dogs.
  • Antibiotic gels—These medications  can be used for minor cuts, but for no longer than two days. Before applying them, thoroughly cleanse your dog’s skin and only use a thin coat. Avoid gels with strong scents as dogs tend to lick their wounds.

Unsafe Medications

It’s critical that you avoid some medications that can be dangerous or cause death. Some of the most common unsafe drugs for dogs include

  • Beta-blockers—Theses medications are used to correct high blood pressure in humans. They can cause severe problems in dogs, such as skyrocketing heart rate and low blood pressure. In some cases, beta-blockers can even cause death. 
  • NSAIDs—Giving your dog NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflamatories) can result in severe problems, including kidney failure, besides kidney or stomach ulcers. 
  • Antidepressants—Although occasionally vets use antidepressants in dogs, an overdose can lead to several problems, including tremors, seizures and other issues.
  • Muscle relaxants—Common symptoms of poisoning from muscle relaxants can start as quickly as 30 minutes after they’ve been ingested. These signs include fatigue, shaking, slow heart rate, coma, and seizures.

Considerations and Warnings

  • Always consult an animal clinic before buying any type of antihistamine product. This is because some antihistamines contain ingredients, such as pseudoephedrine or acetaminophen, that are unsafe for dogs. Also, some medications have alcohol, artificial flavorings and sweeteners that are dangerous. 
  • Have separate locations for storing your human and pet medications. You don’t want to mistakenly snatch the wrong bottle. 
  • Birth control pills are typically packaged in wrappings that are attractive to dogs, so keep them out or reach. Consuming large amounts of estrogen and estradiol can result in suppressing bone marrow. 
  • Sometimes antihistamines include decongestants that can be fatal to dogs.

Again, you should always first check with your veterinarian, one like Georgetown Veterinary Hospital Inc, before administering any medication. Besides ensuring a drug is safe, you also want to be sure you’re giving your pet the correct dosage.  

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Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

6 Essential Elements Of A Reputable Dog Boarder

For most dog owners, their dog is more than just a pet. It’s part of the family. Unfortunately, there are times when you will need to go out of town and cannot take your dog with you. That’s why it is so important to make sure you think of all of these things when choosing a boarder.

Vaccinations

Just about every boarder will require proof that your pet is up to date on his or her vaccinations. This ensures that harmful illnesses are not passed between animals while boarding. While each boarding facility may differ, most require your pet to be vaccinated against rabies, bordella, and distemper. Many also require your dog to be on flea treatments to prevent an infestation at the kennel.

Medicine

If your dog requires medication, make sure your boarder is skilled in administering it. Some boarders are more of a doggie daycare, and may not have experience in administering medications such as injections.

Familiar items

The American Kennel Club suggests you bring your dog’s favorite toy or blanket. The familiar item will smell like home and help keep your dog calm and comforted while you are away.

Outdoor Play time

Your dog will no doubt get bored if he is stuck in a small cage for most of the day. Outdoor playtime not only helps combat boredom and frustration, but helps keep your dog healthy. Look for facilities with large areas for the dogs to run and play. The outdoor runs should be clean and well kept.

Individual attention

Many boarders offer the option of scheduled cuddle time with your pet. This can be especially important if you are going to be gone for an extended amount of time. Even dogs that are not normally very affectionate will benefit from individual play or attention while you are gone. This helps reduce anxiety and loneliness.

Bathing and grooming

Happy, active dogs get dirty. Make sure that your boarder will also bathe and groom your dog when necessary. Some facilities offer to groom your dog before pick-up, but dogs still need frequent brushing and regular bathing. Many full service boarders offer this as part of your dog’s stay, while others as an add-on service.

While it is possible to learn much of this information by calling the boarder or from their website, nothing beats seeing a facility like Animal House Veterinary Hospital in person. The best way to get an accurate idea of how your dog will be treated is to visit the facility unannounced. A reputable boarder shouldn’t have any problem with giving you a quick tour of the facilities so you can get a good feel for the place. By viewing the other pets and facilities, you will be able to get a good idea of how your dog will be treated while you are gone.

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