As 2015 comes to an end, we excitedly and confidently start talking about our New Year’s resolution list. As we compare lists with family, friends and coworkers, we see that it’s usually the same list for all: diet, exercise, volunteer, read books, more family time, getting your dental and health checkups done, traveling more………and the list goes on. Does your list include your furry companions? Here are some must -do resolutions to check off for Spot and Kitty. Start your New Year with a bang!
Diet: Yep- after the holidays………and summer……..sigh……….the whole year of eating and enjoying time with family and friends, some pounds got put on. Spot and Kitty may have that issue also. Portion control is critical for us humans and our pets. Consequences to over eating are alarming, especially for those breeds that are weight sensitive (i.e Pugs, French Bulldogs, Doxies, Chihuahuas, Labs, etc.). The food you give your pet comes with guidelines for how much to feed. However, these are general guidelines. If you are not certain and you see your pet may have packed on a few pounds, talk with your veterinarian. Don’t forget to tell your vet about the treats you give your pets as well. Some treats can carry a lot of unnecessary calories, but again it’s how many you give to your pet that may be the issue.
Exercise: Regularly exercising your pet is just as important as exercise for you. Health benefits range widely, but include helping hip joints, reducing digestive problems, and keeping your dog and cat at a healthy weight, decreases the likelihood of developing other health problems. Exercise also helps control behavioral issues. Pets that are not given outlets for energy may develop destructive habits like chewing, scratching, or digging, be hyperactive, jump on people or start raiding your garbage bins. By doing daily activities with your pet you can prevent these behaviors from starting and keep your home a happier one. As you hit the gym (hint), your K9 friend can go to a doggy daycare! Playing, running, chasing other friends and toys is the perfect exercise regimen for your pet! A lot of daycares separate the small dogs from the medium to larger dogs. This is a perfect exercise schedule if you can’t or don’t have the time when you get home. Some daycares have half day or full day. Check your local doggy daycares.
Visiting your Dr: Time flies by and before you know you realize that you haven’t had your teeth cleaned in over……….1- 2 years!? Dental hygiene is an important part of our health. So, wouldn’t it be for your pets too? Good oral health in the New Year cannot be stressed enough. Without routine care, your pet could suffer from increasingly serious stages of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats. The good news is it’s simple and easy to prevent! PAH has several Wellness Plans to choose from. One of them is a dental plan that offers amazing savings! Money savings for you and a happy healthy pet! Can’t get any better than that! If your pet is not happy with a toothbrush in its mouth, you can try dental chews, pet specific oral rinses, or speak with your doctor for other alternative brushing options!
If you haven’t had a physical in a while, add that to your check list. Same goes for your pet. Your pet can’t tell you when he is not well. Twice yearly physical exams are recommended for your pet. If you are not getting reminders from your veterinarian, give them a call to ensure your pet is up to date on vaccines, dental exams, heartworm preventatives, intestinal parasite exams, just to name a few. Here at PAH, we keep our clients up to date with their pet’s preventative care by mailing out reminder cards! Our clients can also log onto our website, www.pacificanimalhospital.com and log onto PetSites. Pet parents stay informed about their pet’s health, request appointments and much more!
Overall Maintenance: As we love getting haircuts or treat ourselves to a Mani/Pedi, your pets would love it too! Their coats are important and should be kept clean and tangle free. Regular brushing is essential for your pet. Keeping their nails nice and trimmed is also important. Over grown nails is a big no-no for our pets. If nails are left long, pets will start to have trouble walking. Some nails can grow back into their paw which is quite painful and can start an infection. Grooming maintenance is important for our pets in general. Their skin should be free of fleas, ticks, debris, etc. Your groomer will be able to keep you updated on your pets overall grooming maintenance. Grooming services is now available at PAH! Whether it’s a bath and brush, lite trim or full haircut, we got you covered.
Out with the old and in with the new! If you have moved or changed your phone number, make sure to update your new information with the Microchip carrier you chose. If your pet is lost and the information is outdated, it may be difficult to get you and your pet reunited. Start the New Year off by contacting your pet’s microchip company to update their information. If you are a PAH client, give us a call and we can give you any information you need.
We think check lists are great! Don’t let your resolution list be just for the first week of January. He!He! We want to make sure you receive our reminder cards in the mail and get up to date phone calls and/or emails. Keeping you informed is our responsibility and important for you and your furry ones! Please give us a call if you have moved, got a new phone number or got a new e-mail address. Here at Pacific Animal Hospital, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts, for making 2015 a memorable one! Thank you for allowing us to care for your fur babies! Working together in 2016 will be rewarding for all of us. No matter what you choose for your New Year’s resolution, we hope that you and your pets have a fabulous New Year!
Many would argue that the holidays are a perfect time to get a pet because everyone is off work and the kids are home from school so they can bond with the new family member. However, the holidays also have stress and lots of activity. For a successful adoption experience for both you and your new pet, be sure to make your new pet’s comfort and security a high priority. When adopting a pet during the holidays, it’s important to remember that your new pet is adjusting and stressed by the changes. Take special care to keep your new pet in a quiet safe place if you are having lots of guests, a party or unusual activity.
Dogs and cats need consistency and an adjustment period. Holidays are usually a hectic time and you may also have a lot of decorations, presents, and food around that can be harmful to your new best friend. However, if you have time to devote to helping your new pet adjust to your home, then adopting a new pet during the holidays may work for you.
Some shelters may discourage adoption during the holidays because pets may be given as gifts. The only time adopting a pet as a gift would be acceptable is if you are the parents and you have decided to surprise your kids; or if yourelderly parents have been talking about getting a certain type of pet. The bond between an animal and a person is a personal one. Choosing your own pet helps develop that bond from the start. If you feel that a friend or family would like a pet, some shelters have gift certificates so that the person who wants to adopt, can choose their own pet! It’s a win-win for everyone involved. Every animal is a wonderful gift and deserves to be cherished as a beloved family member.
Pets are a lifelong commitment and everyone in the family should have input on your new family member. Of course, no matter what time of year you adopt a furry family member, preparation is key. So before you head off to your local adoption fair, ask yourself and family members these questions:
Do you have time?
Although the holidays are busy, it can actually be a good time to adopt since your family may be spending more time at home. Take a close look at your schedule and be honest about whether you are able make special accommodations to welcome a new pet.
Have you done your research?
It can be easy to fall for that cute little puppy you see online, but is it really the right fit for your family? Think about your family’s lifestyle (active, homebodies, etc.) and then make an informed decision about the age, size and breed of pet that would be best.
Do you have realistic expectations?
Sure, the kids may the ones begging for a new kitten and promising they’ll be totally responsible for their care. But don’t be fooled! At the end of the day, the adults are ultimately fully responsible for that fuzzy little face.
Are you ready for the commitment?
Remember, pets are for life, not just for Christmas. Dogs can live 10 – 15 years, and cats even longer. Make sure you’re ready to devote the next decade or so to your furry family member.
Finally, if you decide that your schedule doesn’t allow you to bring home a pet during the holidays, why not take a different approach that might be even more fun? Wrap up supplies like leashes, collars and bowls and put them under the tree for the kids. After the presents are opened, spend time getting your home ready and having family discussions about the pet you wish to adopt. Then, head to the shelter after the holidays to pick out your next best friend! Pacific Animal Hospital is proud to offer free SPCA exams and also to newly adopted pets from private shelters in North County San Diego! The joy of adopting a pet, young or old, large or small, meowing or barking, is always be a blessing!
As the weather gets colder, it is important to take special precautions to keep our pets safe and healthy. In many areas, winter is a season of bitter cold and numbing wetness. Make sure your pets stay safe and warm by following these simple guidelines:
Keep pets indoors
The best prescription for winter’s woes is to keep your pets inside with you and your family. Your K9 companion may need to be taken out frequently for walks and exercise but kept inside the rest of the time. Don’t leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops. During walks, short-haired dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater. No matter what the temperature is, wind-chill can threaten a pet’s life. Pets are sensitive to severe cold and are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage. Living in California one has yet to experience cold temperature like the East Coast. However, if you take your companion out for a walk early in the morning where the temperature drops under 55 degrees, it may affect your pet. Our pets are not used to the sudden changes in weather. Smaller pets such as Chihuahuas, Doxies, Pugs, etc. do not fare well in cold weather. Sweaters and booties will keep them warm and paws will be kept clean and dry when taking them out for a walk. Living in beautiful San Diego, the temperature in the early mornings and evenings can be quite cold!
Take precautions if your pet spends a lot of time outside
Our pets are often happiest and healthiest when kept indoors most of the time. If for some reason your dog is outdoors much of the day, he or she must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. Most important, check your pets bedding and keep it clean for your pet.
Keep your pet at a healthy weight throughout the winter. Some pet owners feel that a little extra weight gives their pet some extra protection from the cold, but the health risks associated with that extra weight isn’t worth it. Watch your pet’s body condition and keep them in the healthy range. Outdoor pets will require more calories in the winter to generate enough body heat and energy to keep them warm. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s nutritional needs during cold weather.
Protect paws from salt
The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates his/her mouth. For those of you that take your pets to the mountains during snow season, this is important to know. Booties would be ideal for your pets. Cracked irritated paw pads during a day trip is painful. If you are walking about in the towns of Julian, Big Bear or Mammoth with your pet (s), be aware that business owners may use chemicals to clear out snow in front of their business. Please make sure once you are indoors to check and clean your pet’s paws.
Your pet will be spending more time inside during the cold winter, so it’s a good time to make sure your house is properly pet-proofed. Use space heaters with caution around pets, because they can burn your pet or they can be knocked over, potentially starting a fire. Check your furnace before the cold weather sets in to make sure it’s working efficiently, and install carbon monoxide detectors to keep your entire family safe from harm. If you have a pet bird, make sure its cage is away from drafts.
Avoid antifreeze poisoning
Antifreeze is a deadly poison that has a sweet taste that may attract animals. Wipe up spills and keep antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach. Level of toxicity: Severe to fatal for dogs and cats.
Common signs to watch for:
Excessive thirst or urination
Acute kidney failure
If you think your pet has been exposed to antifreeze, take your pet to your veterinarian immediately. Time is critical.
Know the limits: Just like people, pet’s cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather, and make changes accordingly.
Has your pet had his/her preventive care exam (wellness exam) yet? Cold weather may worsen some medical conditions such as arthritis. Your pet should be examined by your veterinarian to make sure she/he is ready and is healthy as possible for cold weather! So please bundle up your fur babies, and bring them inside out from the cold! Baby it’s cold outside!