Keep Pet Safety in Mind When Celebrating This New Year's Eve

Celebrating New Years Eve
It doesn’t seem possible that we will turn the calendar from 2017 to 2018 in a matter of days. Whether you celebrate on New Year’s Eve or not, it’s important to take precautions if you have a pet. You could spend the evening reading a book and your dog or cat could still become anxious by the next-door neighbor lighting off fireworks. 
Like all holidays, New Year’s Eve is confusing from a pet’s point of view. It’s noisy, there’s strangers in the house, and there’s all these curious things like party hats, confetti, and noisemakers. We hope the following tips will help the furry members of your household have a safe and happy new year.
Don’t Let Your Pet Be a Party Animal
Even shy dogs and cats are bound to feel curious about what’s going on if you host a party on December 31. However, the best place for pets is far away from the party crowd in a bedroom or other room where you can close the door. Preferably, it won’t have windows that your pet can look out and become even more anxious by what might be going on outside. Be sure to stock the room with her favorite toys, bedding material, regular food, and enough water to get through the evening comfortably.
Loud and Unexpected Noises Can Heighten Your Pet’s Anxiety
While you and your guests might enjoy blowing and swinging noisemakers before and after midnight, these sounds can cause your pet extreme anxiety. The same is true of fireworks. Since you can’t control whether other people light them off, keeping your pet in another room with soft, relaxing music playing is your best bet. Just be sure to peak in often to offer comfort and praise your dog or cat for good behavior. 
Giving Alcohol to Pets is Not a Joke
People sometimes act in unexpected ways after having a bit to drink and may find it amusing to give beer, wine, or another type of alcoholic beverage to your dog or cat. However, this isn’t funny at all. Alcohol is toxic to pets, even in small doses. If you think this could happen at your party, let your guests know that you won’t tolerate it. You should also keep all alcoholic beverages out of your pet’s reach.
Make Sure Your Pet Has Proper Identification
Anxious or overly excited pets may still find a way to run out of the house while your attention is elsewhere on New Year’s Eve. At Grantsburg Animal Hospital and Wild River Veterinary Clinic, we recommend that you get a microchip for your dog or cat if you don’t already have one. It’s good to have a tag and collar, but they can come loose or stuck on a fence. When your pet has a microchip, anyone who finds him can take him to the nearest animal shelter or veterinary clinic. The staff will scan your pet, discover the microchip, and obtain your contact information.
The staff at both of our clinics wish you and your pet a happy and healthy 2018. Thank you for allowing us to serve you in 2017.

Photo Credit: master1305 / Getty Images


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How to Choose the Best Toys for Your Cat This Holiday Season

It that gift-buying time of year again. If you share your home with one or more cats, you may be wondering what would make a good holiday gift. After all, cats require toys to keep their minds sharp, their weight down, and boredom at bay. At Grantsburg Animal Hospital and Wild River Veterinary Clinic, we urge you to consider safety before anything else. Many cat toys have small parts that can present a choking hazard. Specific things to look for include buttons, strings, sewn-on eyes, feathers, toyss with unsecured batteries, and small toys that your cat could try to swallow.


Toys that you choose for your cat should be large enough to fit into her mouth but nothing that she could swallow. You have probably also noticed that your cat can feel just as entertained by batting around common household items. However, you shouldn’t allow her access to pipe cleaners, small caps, hair ties, rubber bands, sewing supplies, buttons, flowers and plants, or batteries.


The Best Types of Toys for Cats
Today’s domesticated feline may not resemble his ancestors who had to hunt for their prey, but he still carries this instinct with him. You can help foster it by purchasing cat toys that allow him to chase and stalk. Fishing pole types of toys that you wave in front of your cat are ideal for this purpose as is a laser pointer. Cats tend to show more interest in toys that continually move rather than ones that you throw for them to chase on their own. If you buy toy mice, consider tying a string to one and pulling it across the floor for your cat to chase.
A treat dispenser is another good idea, especially if you have a cat who loves treats but hates exercise. By placing the treats inside of the toy, it forces your cat to chase it before it releases the treats for her to eat. Additionally, consider toys that your cat can use alone when you’re gone at work during the day. These could include small balls, toy mice, and food puzzles.
Check Your Cat’s Toys Often for Safety
You will need to keep some toys out of your cat’s reach while you’re not home, such as fishing pole toys. These are great fun for the two of you to play together, but your cat could swallow strings, feathers, or other embellishments when no one is home to supervise. You should also hide battery-operated toys or anything with small parts when your cat is home alone. Lastly, we encourage you to go through your cat’s toys regularly and throw away any broken items. 
Order Fun and Safe Cat Toys from Our Online Store
Skip the crowds this holiday season and order cat toys directly from our online store. We guarantee the safety and quality, and you enjoy fast home delivery and stress-free shopping. 
The staff at both of our clinics wish you the happiest of holidays!

Photo  credit: 2002lubava1981 / Getty Images

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How to Help When Your Pet Gets Anxious Before Vet Visits

You’re pressed for time already getting your dog or cat prepared for a visit to Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic. However, she is feeling stressed and doesn’t care about your schedule. Before you can reach for the cat carrier or dog leash, she’s under the bed and won’t come out. You panic as you wonder if you should reschedule or keep trying to pull an anxious pet behaving entirely out of character out from under the bed. 
Does this scene sound familiar? If so, you’re far from alone. Many pet owners avoid the vet entirely because of it, even when their pet needs urgent care. Your dog or cat intuitively senses something different is about to take place and wants no part of it. While frustrating, you can do several things to help your pet feel more comfortable about coming to see us.
How to Reduce Veterinary Anxiety for Dogs
Here are some tips to help your dog feel less reluctant about getting into the car for a veterinary visit:
  • Buy a small can of pheromone spray and spray your dog’s normal spot in the car with it. You can also spray it on his crate, leash, and harness the day before the appointment and again several hours before it. Pheromone creates a calming aroma and draws your dog towards the items containing it. 
  • Make sure that you restrain your dog in the car so she feels more secure.
  • Play calming music in the car, offer lots of praise, and keep your tone of voice calm and patient.
Easing Feline Stress Before Arriving at the Clinic
Cats are naturally suspicious of going for a ride in the car and tend to dislike the experience. These things can help:
  • Bring her carrier out two days before the appointment and place it in a spot she can easily access. Consider spraying it with pheromone also. This attracts her to it and gives her the chance to mark it with her scent and walk in and out of it. Placing a treat inside can also send the message that her carrier is nothing to fear and reduces her stress.
  • Have another person on hand the day of your cat’s appointment in case you still can’t get him in the carrier willingly. Using a carrier with a removable top is easier that trying to push him in through the front opening.
  • Spray pheromone in the car to help calm your cat during your drive to the clinic. As with dogs, remain calm and praise any amount of cooperation.
Don’t Let Your Pet Pick Up on Your Anxiety
If you have the expectation that preparing your pet for his appointment will be stressful, he will sense your stress and possibly act out because of it. That’s why staying calm yourself is so important. We’re also happy to offer additional suggestions in person if your pet continues to struggle with anxiety.
Photo Credit: Image Source / Getty Images

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Secondhand Smoke Can Have a Devastating Effect on Pets

Whether you smoke or not, you’re probably aware of all the health risks it poses. Some of these include increased risk of lung cancer, heart attack, asthma, and other types of cancers. What many people don’t stop to consider is that secondhand smoke can affect pets even more severely than it does humans. With their smaller body size and lung capacity, dogs and cats can’t process the smoke they inhale as efficiently as people do. 
With the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout coming up on November 16, now is a great time to educate others about secondhand smoke or to kick the habit yourself. According to the American Cancer Society, 40 million people in this country smoke. Sadly, that number isn’t limited to adults. The goal of the campaign is to encourage people to quit for just one day to prove to themselves they can to it. This is the first step towards a smoke-free future.
The Effect of Cigarette Smoke on Cats and Dogs
Cats who live in a home with at least one smoker are three times more likely to develop lymphoma, a cancer that originates in the body’s lymphatic system. Squamous cell carcinoma is another common cancer in cats exposed to secondhand smoke. Since cats spend a lot of time grooming themselves, they’re licking the carcinogens that settle into their fur. Cats exposed to secondhand smoke also have a greater likelihood of developing oral cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Dogs in smoking homes have a high cancer risk as well. Those with short noses have an increased risk of developing lung cancer while dogs with longer noses are more likely to develop nasal cancer. Living with passive smoke is also a leading cause of bronchitis in dogs. They’re also more likely to attempt to ingest cigarette butts from an ashtray. This can have a highly toxic effect. Please contact Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic right away if you suspect your dog swallowed a cigarette butt and you notice any of these symptoms:
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fast or slow heartbeat
  • Lack of coordination
  • Tremors
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
Make a Smoke-Free Home Part of Your Pet’s Wellness Plan
We know you love your pet and want her to have a long, happy, and healthy life. One way to achieve this is to allow her to live in a smoke-free home. If you’re struggling trying to quit smoking, click here for resources from the Centers for Disease Control. Another way to ensure your pet’s well-being is to bring her in for regular preventive care exams at one of our clinics. Not only do you receive guidance on behavior, nutrition, sleep, and other important issues, our staff can diagnose and treat health problems that would otherwise have gone undetected. 
Here’s to a healthy, smoke-free future for you and your pets!
Photo Credit: Barski / Getty Images

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