Back to School! How do changes in routines affect pets?

Back to School

It’s almost that time again where the kids are heading back to school, leaving the house empty all day. But that’s not completely true if you have a furry little friend at home who is going to be waiting for someone to return. When the back to school seasons comes around, you need to be thinking about how this change in routine is going to affect your pets.

You may notice that when you leave your pet alone, he or she may start to cry, chew things other than their toys or even try to escape the house. It is possible that your pet just needs to be trained a little more. However this behavior may also indicate distress, especially if your pet starts acting this way as you are preparing to leave the house. This may indicate that your pet is suffering from separation anxiety.

Signs Of A Problem

Some of the common symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs will include:

  • Urinating/defecating
  • Barking/howling
  • Chewing of furniture 
  • Digging 
  • Trying to escape the house

They may target points in the houses like doors or windows and jump for them when they are left alone or when they think you are preparing to leave.

It is likely that during the summer stretch as well as for holidays throughout the year that your kids have been home for a large portion of the day with your pet and they have become used to this routine. Once it’s time for your kids to go back to school, this can trigger an emotional reaction in your pet, leading to separation anxiety. You need to keep this in mind when your kids are heading off to school. Separation anxiety in pets can be a serious problems but there are ways to help your pet so that they are not in so much distress.

What Should You Do?

The first thing that you should do if you notice any of these signs is to take your pet to come see us at Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic so that they can receive a check-up and the best possible veterinary care. This is so you can rule out any physical medical conditions, such as a urine infection, and make sure that your dog is healthy. If our veterinarians do not find any physical problem with your dog you should then make sure that it is not the result of boredom in the dog, scent marking or just general destructive chewing.

If there is no physical problem found by our veterinary team and none of the other reasons apply, it may be worth looking into consulting a veterinary behaviorist. A veterinary behaviorist is trained to help people who have problems with separation anxiety in pets. This type of veterinary care will help you by training your dog using methods such as desensitization and counterconditioning the dog into being left alone. These methods are used to make the process of leaving the dog alone less intense and make sure the dog is happy and relaxed when left alone. This way, you can ensure that your pet is not in distress every time you leave them alone in the house.

If you have concerns about separation anxiety in your pet, please do not hesitate to reach out to us via phone, 715-463-2536, or our website.

Photo Credit: alkir / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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Benefits of Grooming Your Dog

Benefits of Grooming Your Dog

Grooming your dog is about more than making him look more attractive. While that’s an obvious benefit, regular grooming offers many health benefits as well. For starters, it reduces the grease level in your dog’s fur. When grease builds up too much, it blocks pores and can cause your dog to develop cysts. Brushing his coat often also helps to improve the proper circulation of blood.

Many dogs shed, leaving loose hair all over the house and their own bodies. Unfortunately, the loose hair can also cause your dog to develop mats. This pulls the skin down and can cause significant skin problems. When mats develop between your dog’s paw pads, it makes it difficult for her to walk comfortably because of the accumulation of grease and dirt.

Although your dog might protest your grooming efforts initially, he will come to accept it if you’re persistent and offer lots of praise. He will also enjoy the extra attention from you. This is just one way that you can deepen the bond you have with your dog.

Tools for Home Grooming

You will naturally complete some grooming tasks more than others. For example, you might brush your dog daily and clip her nails once a month. We encourage you to establish a schedule for grooming to encourage your dog to get used to it and to keep these items in a central location:

  • Coarse metal comb
  • Ear and eye wipes
  • Fine comb
  • Non-slip rubber mat
  • Shampoo made especially for his breed
  • Soft slicker brush

You can bathe smaller breed dogs with shampoo and a damp washcloth, but larger breeds will need to go in the bathtub or you can use a hose outside. This bathing process loosens your dog’s fur and makes it easier to comb. We recommend purchasing a grooming comb based on whether your dog has coarse, curly, straight, or thick fur.

Trimming the nails is the most challenging part of home grooming for many dog owners. In fact, some skip this task altogether and schedule an appointment with our grooming salon instead.

You will need to use a hypo-allergenic wipe to clean your dog’s ears and eyes. This is better than using a Q-tip for the ears because you may push dirt and wax further into his ear canal. Dogs typically don’t require ear drops unless they have a diagnosed infection.

If you don’t have the grooming supplies you need at home, check out the skin and coat category in our online store. You can even set up automated shipments so you never run out.

Professional Grooming is Also Important

Regular professional appointments help to complement the care you give your dog at home. Our groomers will let you know about specific concerns and can also work with you go achieve better cooperation from your dog when it comes to home grooming. Please don’t hesitate to contact us in Grantsburg, Wisconsin at 715-463-2536 or Pine City, Minnesota at 320-629-7474 if you have additional questions.

Photo Credit: Chalabala / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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Safety Notice: Why It's Important to Get Your Pet's Medications Through a Licensed Veterinarian

Safety Notice

Back in 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an official warning for pet owners to exercise caution when ordering veterinary medication from an online pharmacy. That is because it had received multiple complaints about some online businesses dispensing medication for animals without the necessary qualifications to do so. This resulted in pet owners receiving expired drugs, counterfeit drugs, the wrong dose, medication for the wrong species of pet, and several other complaints. One way that online veterinary companies attracted customers was by claiming they could receive medication for their pet without a prescription.

Federal Law Requires Veterinarians to Examine a Pet Personally Before Writing a Prescription

Although the FDA requires all veterinarians to personally examine an animal before writing a prescription and dispensing medication, some online pharmacies have found a way around this requirement. The people who own these websites often have no training in veterinary medicine at all. Because of this, they ask the pet owner to complete a health history form and claim they will evaluate the animal that way. This might offer a false sense of security for pet owners, but the illegal online pharmacy owners usually don’t even read these forms. That is what causes so many dispensing errors in the first place.

Another typical complaint received by the FDA is that these online pharmacies send non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or heartworm medications without the benefit of a prescription. This is crucial since animals taking an NSAID or receiving heartworm treatment require careful monitoring from an actual veterinarian. Additionally, a veterinarian needs to obtain a blood sample from an animal before starting him on either of these medications.

Keep Your Pet Safe and Get Your Prescriptions from Us

When you bring your sick or injured pet to Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic, a veterinarian will personally examine her and hand you a prescription for medication if she needs it. You can then get the prescription filled by us. Should you need refills or maintenance medication, you can obtain them from our licensed online store MyVetStoreOnline. We offer manufacturer-guaranteed products for pain management, preventive care and several other categories.

In addition to FDA approval, all medications we offer in our online store come with a quality guarantee from the manufacturer. Ordering from an unlicensed online veterinary pharmacy may save money upfront, but the risk to your pet’s health is too great a cost to pay. Feel free to contact us if you have additional questions about how we write prescriptions or dispense medication at either of our hospitals.

Photo Credit: Tatomm / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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Preparing Your Pets for the 4th of July

Preparing Your Pets for the 4th of July

Most people look forward to the 4th of July holiday. There’s parades to see, carnivals to attend, time off work, and frequent displays of colorful fireworks. However, dogs and cats don’t understand the reason for the disruption in their regular schedule or why they’re hearing loud noises from fireworks so often. Some pets develop severe anxiety because of it. Dealing with the anxiety caused by fireworks can be especially challenging because you can’t control whether other people or groups choose to light them off. You can only try to make fireworks season more comfortable for your pet.

Independence Day Safety and Comfort Tips for Pet Owners

The loud noise caused by fireworks doesn’t seem to bother some pets. It might startle them for a second, but then they return to what they were doing before the loud boom. Other dogs and cats, especially those already prone to anxiety, will run away from the sound to find a place to hide. If your pet is like this, you might not see her until after the fireworks are over. Some other behaviors your pet might display that indicate anxiety include whimpering, trembling, growling from dogs, or hissing from cats. If your pet responds in this manner, try these tips:

  • Play soothing music as loud as you can to drown out the sound of fireworks
  • Plug in a Feliway or Adaptil diffuser for cats or place a thundershirt on a dog
  • Make sure that your pet has plenty of accessible places to hide if desired
  • Consider placing your pet in a separate room with food and comfort items until the fireworks end
  • Do your best to distract your pet by talking to him or playing a game

For fireworks events in the community, plan to leave your dog at home if you attend. The noises will startle her and cause her to act in unpredictable ways, including possibly running away. Her barking and whining could also be an annoyance for other people trying to watch the fireworks display.

If you’re traveling or hosting people for the Independence Day holiday, try to keep your pet’s schedule as normal as possible. Continue feeding him the same food and ask that others don’t feed your pet anything. Although they may mean well with sharing a treat, the major shift in diet could cause stomach upset and other health issues for your pet.

Let Us Know if You Need More Help with Your Pet’s Anxiety

Some pets are so prone to anxiety due to fireworks that none of these tips will help them for long. They will also react poorly to thunder and other loud and unexpected noises. Please don’t hesitate to contact Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic if you need additional help managing your pet’s anxiety this summer.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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