Pet Safety Tips for the Thanksgiving Holiday

Tips for the Thanksgiving Holiday20v1 

 

It will soon be time to sit down for a Thanksgiving feast with your loved ones. While you’re enjoying good food and good company, don’t forget to keep an eye on your dog or cat. With so many extra people in the house and a disruption of the daily routine, your pet could easily get lost or get into things that could harm him. To prevent this, it’s best to assign one person to pet duty before company arrives or prior to arriving at your host’s home. This person should ensure that the front door remains closed except when new guests arrive. As they do, it’s especially important to supervise the pet closely.
 

Assess Your Pet’s Ability to Interact with New People
Thanksgiving Day brings several generations together, from the very young to the very old. If your dog or cat isn’t accustomed to small children trying to pet her or pick her up, it could be a disaster waiting to happen. You also don’t want an overly excited 100-pound dog knocking down an elderly relative. If you have any concerns at all, it’s best to err on the side of caution by placing your pet in a kennel or a room with a closed door until everyone has gone home.

A Word About Thanksgiving Treats
It’s never a good idea to feed a pet human food right from the dinner table as this teaches him poor manners. If you want to share a treat with your dog or cat, make sure it isn’t toxic first. A small amount of boneless turkey without any added seasonings should be fine as long as it’s not undercooked. However, you should avoid grapes, raisins, avocados, sages, bread dough, and cake batter altogether.

 
All of these foods can cause severe abdominal distress for your pet, which may quickly escalate into an emergency. It’s also important to make sure that no one drops any type of food wrapper on the floor, such as aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Your pet could be so enticed by the smell that she ends up eating the wrapper instead. Likewise, make sure the garbage can is in a secure place where your pet can’t reach it.
 

Post Emergency Phone Numbers in Advance
In spite of your best planning, your pet may still get into something harmful amidst the noise and confusion of a major holiday. Since it’s hard to think clearly in a crisis, make sure that you post the telephone number for the Pet Poison Helpline and our after-hours emergency answering service in an easily accessible place. 

The Pet Poison Helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-855-764-7661. Our after-hours telephone number is 1-800-924-0588 and is answered by a live person. If Dr. Palmquist is unavailable, our service will give you contact information for another local provider. Grantsburg Animal Hospital will be closed for Thanksgiving and wishes you a happy holiday.

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Your Graying Pet: How to Provide the Best Care to Your Older Companion

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Companion animals are living longer than ever, thanks to improvements in veterinary technology and healthier diets. With more resources available to them, owners are more educated about pet care as well. Even so, caring for an aging pet can be challenging. Grantsburg Animal Hospital and Wild River Veterinary Clinic recommend bi-annual preventive care starting at age seven.
 
The common belief that pets age seven years for every one human year isn’t entirely correct. Dogs and cats actually age the fastest during their first year of life. A one-year-old pet is equivalent to a 20-year-old human. After the first birthday, the rate is approximately four years for every human year. Because of their rapid aging, it isn’t always easy to detect new health issues in your pet. Bringing her in for a bi-annual preventive care exam allows Dr. Palmquist to diagnose common age-related problems early.
 
Decline of Mental Functioning in Older Pets
One in three companion animals over age 10 has decreased mental functioning. By the time a pet reaches the geriatric stage at age 15, this goes up to 50 percent. While you can’t see what your pet thinks and remembers, you are likely to notice changes in behavior. Your dog who has been housebroken for years starts eliminating indoors or your usually docile cat becomes more aggressive. Because this can be confusing and upsetting for pet owners, they tend to react by punishing the dog or cat.

Your pet doesn’t understand why you’re punishing him and may react by avoiding you. This damages your bond. If you notice a marked change in his behavior, we encourage you to schedule a senior wellness exam as soon as possible.

Common Health Problems in Older Dogs and Cats
Some health conditions are especially common in older pets, regardless of breed. Some of the most prevalent issues for older companion animals include: 

  • Arthritis: Stiff joints, especially in the hips, can make it difficult for your pet to get around the house. 
  • Cancer: It may seem like more animals you know have cancer, but this is largely due to pets living longer lives. The incidence of all types of cancer increases in dogs and cats over age 10. 
  • Diabetes: This often goes hand in hand with obesity and can be managed well with some lifestyle changes. 
  • Dental disease: This is a widespread problem among pets of all ages, but it becomes especially problematic for older pets. Many already struggle with lack of appetite and may give up on eating when it becomes painful or difficult. 
  • Heart disease: Cardiomyopathy, which is degeneration of the heart muscles, is particularly common in the senior pet population.
 
A high percentage of older cats have kidney disease while senior dogs struggle most with vision and hearing problems. Preventive care for your senior pet is essential to maintain quality of life. If your pet over age seven has gone more than half a year without a check-up, please contact us to schedule an appointment. 

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Annual Vaccine Needed to Protect Dogs from Canine Parainfluenza

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Our staff recently learned that a dog in this area contracted canine parainfluenza, also known as dog flu. To protect your dog from this contagious upper respiratory infection, it is important to get a vaccine every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), canine parainfluenza is an avian flu that originated in horses and adapted to infect dogs. It is not possible for dogs to transmit the virus to humans.

How Dogs Pick Up the Parainfluenza Virus
Canine parainfluenza is most prevalent in dogs who spend a lot of time in shelters or kennels. However, any unvaccinated dog is at risk of acquiring it. The virus spreads when an uninfected dog has direct contact with respiratory secretions, such as droplets from sneezing or coughing, of an infected dog. Your dog could also pick up the virus through contact with a contaminated object such as a chew toy, equipment, bedding, or pet clothing. If your dog does gets the virus, you need to clean and disinfect all contaminated items and isolate her from other dogs in the community until the symptoms have passed.

Symptoms and Treatment for Canine Parainfluenza
A cough, fever, and runny nose are the most common indicators that your dog has picked up this virus. However, some dogs don’t display any symptoms while others become severely ill and go on to develop pneumonia. If you suspect a respiratory infection in your dog, please schedule an appointment with Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic right away. We will evaluate your dog and let you know if he does indeed have the disease.

Most dogs who test positive for parainfluenza can be successfully treated with medication and comfort care. It is important to keep an eye on your dog to ensure that she remains hydrated and comfortable. Your dog may require an antibiotic if she has developed a secondary bacterial infection in addition to the flu.

Prevention is Best
Just as many people get flu shots annually, dogs should get a yearly vaccine to protect them from this uncomfortable and potentially serious illness. Please contact us with any additional questions or to schedule your dog’s annual parainfluenza vaccine. 

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October is Pet Wellness Month

October is Pet Wellness Month

 

Back in 2004, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) started Pet Wellness Month along with Fort Dodge Animal Health. The purpose of the campaign, which has been held each October for the past 12 years, is to educate people on the pet aging process and the importance of preventive care exams. According to the AVMA, dogs and cats age at a rate that is five to seven times that of humans. It recommends bi-annual wellness visits for this very reason.
 
At the very least, senior pets over the age of seven should come in twice a year for a check-up. This is the time when Dr. Palmquist starts looking for age-related issues such as arthritis, diabetes, hip dysplasia, and kidney disease. Although younger pets can develop these conditions as well, they are much more prevalent in the senior population. Puppies and kittens also need to be seen more often than once a year. This is necessary to monitor their growth and get them started on a vaccine schedule.

What to Expect at Your Pet’s Preventive Care Exam
State and federal laws require dogs and cats to have certain vaccinations. For dogs, these include canine adenovirus, canine parvovirus, distemper, and rabies. Required vaccines for cats include feline calicivirus, feline panleukopenia, rabies, and rhinotracheitis. You also have the options of several optional vaccines, such as Lyme disease and feline leukemia. Dr. Palmquist considers your pet’s species, age, general health, lifestyle, and unique risk factors when recommending specific non-core vaccines. 

In addition to checking vaccine status and administering original vaccines or boosters, the preventive care exam is the ideal time to discuss protection from parasites. Preventing your pet from being infested with fleas, ticks, heartworms, or other common parasites is much better than having to treat them after the fact. We also inspect the following areas on your pet: 

Teeth, gums, jaws, and mouth to look for tooth decay, oral tumors, and other common problems 
Urinary tract to spot any infections 
Reproductive system 
The nose and eyes to look for allergy symptoms 
The condition of the coat and skin 
Legs, paws, and paw pads 
Stomach to determine any gastrointestinal problems 

This is not an all-inclusive list, but gives you a good idea of the type of head-to-tail exam you can expect at Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic. If we spot any areas of concern, we will let you know the plan of action to diagnose and treat it. We know you love your pet and want to see him or her live a long and healthy life. Our staff is happy to help you achieve that goal. 

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