9 Easy New Year’s Resolutions to Commit to Your Pet’s Health!

Skip the diet and put away the swear jaw--we have a bunch of New Year’s resolutions you can keep. And you’ll want to keep them because they’ll keep your pet healthy! That’s right. If you’re ready to commit, re-commit, or increase your commitment, we have some easy ways to improve your pet’s health.

1. Keep Your Pet’s Vaccinations Current

Vaccines are like armor for your pet, protecting her from the inside out. They prevent deadly diseases and keep you and your family safe as well. Are your pets’ immunizations up-to-date? Give us a call, and we can check.

Be sure your pet is safe from

  • Rabies
  • Parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Parainfluenza
  • Hepatitis
  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
  • Calicivirus
  • Panleukopenia

2. Ditch the Treadmill & Commit to Cardio with Your Pet

Exercise can keep your pet’s heart healthy, keep her in shape, and provide her with mental stimulation. Playing and exercising with your pet also increases the bond between you.

And this one is easy.

Feathers, bells, catnip! Play with your cat twice a day for ten to fifteen minutes.

Enjoy some fresh air and take your dog on a walk or two per day. You can also help your dog get her cardio in with fetch or tug. The dog park can also help your pup burn some energy and stay fit.

3. Prevent Fleas & Ticks from Bugging Your Best Buddy

Lyme disease from ticks is serious. And fleas will cause your dog or cat to itch, itch, itch. But the itching isn’t the only problem fleas and ticks cause. Fleas spread intestinal worms. And ticks can be infected with a wide range of diseases.

Luckily, all it takes is a prescription to keep your pet safe from these pests this year.

4. Don’t Let Heartworms Shorten Your Pet’s Life

If your pet isn’t on heartworm prevention, she should be. Heartworms are spread through mosquito bites and can cause heart failure by clogging your pet’s arteries and heart valves.

How hard is this one? Make an appointment, and we’ll help you decide on a heartworm prevention that will work for your pup.

5. Put Your Pet on a Diet that Supports a Healthy Life

There had to be a diet resolution, right? Good thing there are not buffets for pets. When your pet eats a healthy, nutritious diet, she’ll feel great, improve her coat, and enjoy a healthy life.

Unsure of which food can help your pet slim down, support healthy aging, or assist your pet with allergies? Don’t get lost on the internet--we can make the process of choosing the right food simple.

6. Get in the Groove of Grooming

Grooming isn’t just about looking great--Grooming can help support your pet’s wellness. Some benefits of grooming are apparent, like preventing mats, keeping nails trim, and freshening up your pet’s coat. Other benefits of grooming go below the surface. Grooming gives us an opportunity for a check for lumps, bumps, scrapes, cuts, and other skin issues.

7. Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Spaying or neutering your dog, cat, rabbit, or other pet will improve her health. Female pets live longer lives with better health.

Spaying helps prevent breast tumors, uterine infections, and other forms of cancer.

Neutering your dog or cat prevents prostate problems and some forms of cancer.

And there are a wide range of behavioral benefits from having your pet altered. Altered pets don’t escape as often. They also don’t spray or mark nearly as frequently.

8. Dental Health: A Reason to Smile

One of the best ways to commit to your pet’s health this year is to bring your pet in for regular cleanings. Pets with good dental hygiene live longer and enjoy a better quality of life.

9. Come in for an Annual Exam

Most importantly, make an appointment for your pet’s annual exam. When we have the opportunity to examine your pet, we can diagnose any ailments and begin treatment if there are any problems. Exams allow us to monitor your pet’s weight and overall health.

Don’t wait for your pet to get sick to bring her by. Give us a call and commit to keeping your pet living a long and healthy life.

 

Photo Credit: Pexels

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Understanding the Risks, Symptoms, and Treatments of Pet Diabetes

More and more pets suffer from diabetes each day. Trends suggest this disease will continue to increase year and year. While many pet parents look for signs that their dog or cat isn’t feeling well, diabetes tends to go unnoticed. When left undiagnosed and untreated, diabetes can become life threatening.

Why We’re Concerned About Pet Diabetes and Why You Should Be Too

As studies related to pet diabetes come out, we become more worried about our four-legged patients. Studies show that cases of diabetes have increased by 80% in dogs and 18% in cats over the past few years. This number is expected to climb 5.5% over the next few years. It’s estimated that 1 in every 300 dogs and 1 in every 230 cats will develop diabetes.

This disease comes with an emotional and monetary cost. Treatment and insulin for pet diabetes costs the average pet parents $50-$150 per month.

What You Should Know About Pet Diabetes?

Obesity and excess weight is the leading cause of pet obesity. Other pets have a genetic predisposition to develop diabetes. The pituitary system and adrenal system can also increase the likelihood of your pet developing diabetes.

What Exactly is Pet Diabetes?

In some ways, our pets’ systems are similar to ours. The ways they process calories into energy by transforming it into sugar is one of those ways. When your pet cannot transform and use glucose correctly, the result is diabetes.

Glucose powers the body. It’s a form of sugar that feeds the body’s cells with energy. When your pet eats, her body transforms her dinner into glucose through the pancreas. The bloodstream then absorbs the glucose and delivers it throughout her body using insulin.

Insulin moves the glucose around and distributes a safe amount of sugar to your pet’s cells. When your pet lacks insulin, the glucose doesn’t get distributed and, in a way, piles up in the bloodstream instead of making it to her cells for energy to digest, move, and think. With excess glucose piling up, her body will begin to dispose of it through urine.

The body will then turn to muscles and fat for energy. The inability to properly deliver glucose to cells causes an energy deficiency, resulting in sluggishness, feeling ill, and problems functioning.

What Pets Are Most At-Risk for Diabetes?

A pet can develop diabetes at any time in her life, but most pets are more at risk when they reach middle-aged. Some cats breeds tend to have a higher predisposition to diabetes.

These include

  • Maine Coons
  • Siamese
  • Burmese

For cats, this means once they’re 6 years or older.

For dogs, they’re more likely to become diabetic after the age of 4. The breed most often diagnosed with diabetes include

  • Golden retrievers
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Labs

Overweight pets are more likely to be diabetic.

Symptoms of Pet Diabetes

Some of the signs your pet may have a glucose deficiency and should be brought in for diagnosis include

  • Increased thirst and water intake
  • Increased urination
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • The decline in coat quality
  • Tiredness, lethargy or fatigue
  • Cloudy eyes

Pet Diabetes: Prevention and Treatment

Don’t let your pet become one of the cats, dogs, one other pets that will develop diabetes this year. And if you suspect your pet may have diabetes, bring her in for diagnosis and begin treatment. 

How Can You Help Your Prevent Your Pet from Becoming Diabetic? 

We always encourage prevention when it comes to your pet’s health. So, what can you do to help prevent pet diabetes?

1. Have your pet spayed. The hormone cycle of an unspayed pet can increase the chances of diabetes

2. Make an Appointment for Your Pet’s Annual ExamL Bloodwork can give us a window into your pet’s health to prevent her from developing diabetes. We can also let you know if she’s at a safe weight.

3. Keep your pet active and on a healthy diet: High protein diets and regular exercise keep your pet in good shape preventing a wide range of problems, including diabetes. Add some fresh veggies and fruits to your pet’s diet. From pumpkin to green beans, the fiber will prevent blood sugar spikes.

Treatment for Pet Diabetes

When diabetes isn’t treated, it can cause ketoacidosis, a serious liver dysfunction. It can also cause issues with the other organs including her brain and kidneys. 

We can diagnosis diabetes through simple bloodwork and a urine test. Then we can prescribe treatment.

Most treatment for pet diabetes includes insulin injections. Insulin helps your pet’s body get the energy it needs from the bloodstream. We assess your pet to determine her insulin needs to help her manage her blood sugar and a feeding schedule with a tailored diet.

We also recommend a high-fiber diet for diabetic dogs with daily exercise. For diabetic cats, high-protein and low carbs can help. We also suggest playing with your cat several times per day.

Don’t Let Diabetes Do a Number on Your Pet’s Health

With early diagnosis, proper management, and treatment, some cases of pet diabetes can be reversed. And for pets that don’t fall into that category, they can still have long, joy-filled lives with proper management.

Don’t let your pet’s diabetes go undiagnosed. Make an appointment for an annual exam. We want your pet to stay healthy, strong, and filled with energy.

 

Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

 

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5 Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress for Your Pet

Reindeer hooves dancing on the roof, a man in a red suit shimmying down the chimney, laughter, music, the ringing of doorbells, and the noise of new toys: it’s no wonder some pets struggle with stress during the holiday season. Between all the strange smells, sounds, and people, it can be tough for nervous pets to cope with the hustle and bustle this time of year.

If your pet becomes anxious, depressed, and stressed during the holidays, we have some tips to help reduce that holiday stress.

Why Do Pets Experience Holiday Stress?

Pets thrive on routine, regularity, and knowing what to expect. And the holidays are all about surprises, days off, and visiting with both near and distant relatives. Plus, you’re probably preparing yourself for errands, travel, setting up the guest bedroom, and cleaning from ceiling to floor. This flurry of change has a major psychological impact on some pets by disrupting their routine.

Some senior pets that have never shown signs of stress tend to develop more nervous habits as they age. When their normal is interrupted, it triggers confusion and stress related to dementia.

What Are Some Signs to Look for to Tell is Your Pet is Stressed?

While some pets make it extremely clear that they’re nervous, others are more subtle about their stress. It’s important to pay attention to your pet’s behavior and notice cues that she’s nervous, uncomfortable, or feeling anxious.

What Signs Can You Look for that Indicate Pet Stress?

Cats show stress by

  • Non-stop and over-the-top grooming
  • Hiding
  • Excess claw sharpening
  • Eliminating outside her box
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Tail flicking also shows that your cat may be irritated

Dogs demonstrate and try to cope with stress by

  • Whining
  • Hiding
  • Shivering or shaking
  • Pacing and circling
  • Drooling or panting
  • Excessive yawning

If your guest list includes kids, and it’s either been a while since your pet was around little ones or they’re just not used to kids, pay careful attention to your pet’s body language. Many kids can’t read and respond to signs like hissing or teeth-baring. Avoid letting your dog or cat get cornered by a child. When unsure of how comfortable your pet is with children, it’s best to keep them safe and sound, away from the reach of tiny hands.

5 Simple Things You Can Do to Help Your Pet Cope with Holiday Stress

1. Burn Off Some Nervous Energy with Play or an Adventure

Exercise is key to relaxation for many pets. It also provides healthy mental stimulation for your cat or dog. Play and exercise work wonders for a restless, stressed pet. Why?

When a pet becomes bored, she can find it easier to focus on the elements around her that are stressing her out.

Exercise helps your pet have a more restorative, deep sleep.

When a pet has bottled up energy, it has to be directed somewhere. With the excitement of Christmas and Hanuka, that somewhere easily becomes stress related to changes.

Fresh air has shown to do wonders for people and pets. So crack a window, go for a walk with your dog or let kitty out on the porch.

So, while you’re out and about, pick up a few new toys for your pet. You don’t have to wait for Christmas morning to let your pet unwrap a few new toys that will make holiday playtime even better!

2. Don’t Skip the Bonding Time: Quality Time with Your Pet Helps Ease Stress

When there’s so much left on your to-do list, it can be hard to justify kicking back and relaxing for a few hours. Assisting your pet in dealing with stress is a wonderful reason to take a break and cuddle up with your best friend.

Your pet needs quality bonding time with you and the rest of your family. While taking the dog for a walk or playing with the cat is part of bonding, don’t skip the downtime.

Watch a holiday movie, read a book, or just sip some hot tea while relaxing with your pet. The peace and quiet are great for both of you this time of year.

3. Try to Maintain Your Pet’s Routine

Make an appointment for Santa to come down the chimney after bedtime. Just kidding. We know that it can be difficult to schedule everything this time of year, but do your best to keep your pet’s regular routine.

  • Keep mealtime the same
  • Maintain a regular bedtime
  • Keep walks at a normal time for dogs
  • Schedule errands around when you’d normally be at work

4. Enlist Some Help From Elves, Family, or Friends

Are you hosting the holiday this year or struggling to keep up with your dog’s walks? Don’t hesitate to ask for help. You’re still an amazing pet parent if you need an extra set of hands to help walk the dog, play with the cat, or stopover and feed the puppy while you’re out for the evening.

If your pet tends to get extra stressed out, boarding is sometimes the best option. Try to find a pet sitter that can watch your dog or cat in their home. When you do this, you may find that you’re less worried about your pet and your pet is less stressed.

You can also ask a dog walker or pet sitter to stop by and play with your cat or walk your dog to help them burn off that extra energy.

5. Create a Guest ‘No-Go Zone’ for Your Pet

A pet Zen-den is a great way to keep your pet at home and provide some solace from the commotion.

Prepare a room that is just for your pet and put a sign up informing guests that your beloved pet is relaxing on the other side of the door.

To make the room extra comfy and calm, play relaxing music and create a nest of blankets, pillows, and comfort items like toys. Dim the lights and close the curtains so your pet won’t see guests arriving. Adding a few treat puzzles or toys can help occupy your pet if they become bored.

For even more Zen, sprinkle some catnip around or try Adaptil or Feliway.

Be Merry and Reduce Your Pet’s Stress

We want your holiday to be as merry as possible for you and your fuzzy family! Give your pet the gift of relaxation with these simple strategies.

If you’re struggling with help your pet cope, they may need extra assistance with a prescription tailored to their needs (especially if your pet is fearful when it comes to fireworks for New Years). Give us a jingle and make an appointment. We would love to make your holidays better by helping your pet de-stress before Santa arrives.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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Winning Winter Safety Tips for Pet Parents!

Does your dog or cat love to play in the snow? Winter wonderland walks here in Grantsburg and Pine City are unbeatable. The snow blanketing branches, icicles sparkling, and picturesque Christmas lights give our area a unique beauty during winter. And out pets just make these scenes a little more special!

We want you to make the most of winter with your pet while keeping her safe. Enjoy the beauty of our surrounding areas and keep these safety tips in mind.

Limit Length of Outdoor Activities to Avoid Hypothermia

Our dogs and cats have winter coats that can help them handle the cold, but their fur is not enough to keep them warm enough at all times. This means your pet is not immune to hypothermia.

When your pet’s coat gets wet it loses its ability to insulate your pet. If the snow is getting slushy and you notice your pet’s coat is damp, bring her inside so they can warm up.

When walking your dog, watch for signs of hypothermia. The most obvious symptoms include

  • Shivering
  • Lethargy
  • Shaking and trembling
  • A drop in body temperature
  • Lowered heart rate
  • Disorientation
  • Trouble walking
  • Strained breathing
  • Dilated pupils

Avoid Using Rodent Poisons

Pets have a tendency to be attracted to the same bait rodents are drawn to. Dogs and cats can also hunt and consume rodents that have ingested poison. These poisons are meant to kill and they can kill or seriously injure your pet.

To skip the possibility of accidentally poisoning your pet (or a neighbor’s) opt for alternative methods to control rodents.

Ice Melts Can Damage Paws

Unless your dog or cat wears shoes, she’s at risk of injuring her paws if she walks on ice melts and deicers. Most ice-melts are made from salts and calcium chloride. These both damage and irritate pets’ paws and cause digestive irritation if your pet licks them off her paws. Some of the crystals are sharp and can bruise or cut paws.

Be sure to avoid walking your dog where ice melts have been sprinkled. And rinse then wipe your dog or cat’s paws after she’s been outside.

Antifreeze Is Fatal for Pets

Cats and dogs both die each year from consuming antifreeze. Don’t let your pet become one of them. Always keep antifreeze out of reach the cap tightly secured. If you’re adding antifreeze to your car, clean up any drips or spills afterward. It only takes a teaspoon for a cat to become ill and even die from antifreeze and just a tablespoon or a little more for a dog to get sick.

Avoid Ice on Walks

One danger some pet parents forget about is the strain and possible injury pets suffer after slipping, tripping, or falling on ice. Have you ever fallen while ice skating? It hurts and bruises. The same is true when your dog stumbles on ice.

When a pet’s leg slips out from under her, it can also strain her muscles and joints. Pets even tear ligaments and tendons from slipping on ice.

Snow can also hide fallen branches that make your pet go flying.

Keep your dog on-leash during walks to keep her from tumbling over hidden dangers and avoid icy areas.

Never let your cat or dog walk on a frozen pond or lake since they can fall through.

Visibility on Walks is a Must

As our days shrink, be sure you, your dog or cat can be easily seen. Use a reflective vest on your dog or a break-away reflective collar on your cat to make them easier for drivers to see. You can also wear bright colors to help you be seen on walks.

Safely Enjoy Our Beautiful Town This Winter with Your Pet

We hope you enjoy this winter wonderland we call “home” with your pet! All it takes is a bit of precaution, preparation, and awareness to keep your pet safe and maximize your joy this winter. Give us a call.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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