Holistic Pet Care

By Cate Burnette

A General Overview of the 4 Most Common Alternative Vet Therapies

More and more pet parents are searching for alternative forms of therapy when it comes to the veterinary treatment of the animals. The term “holistic” pet care – when related to veterinary tactics – generally refers to trying to be as minimally intrusive as possible when it comes to treating various ailments within a pet.

The primary advantages holistic veterinarians hope to convey is that through less intervention involving technology or medicine, the more effective and cost-friendly this type of technique will be toward comforting an animal and its family during a time of illness and stress.

 

Types of Holistic Veterinary Medicine

There are a number of differing alternative therapies available for sick pets. We will go over 4 of the more common treatments here, although your holistic vet may offer other therapies that he or she feels will be more effective for your individual animal.

 

  • Acupuncture: Veterinary acupuncture is a holdover from Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) that has been practiced on animals for thousands of years. Originally performed on military horses, the demand for modern veterinary acupuncture for use on companion animals has steadily increased over the last 20 years. Used mainly for functional problems involving pain, paralysis and non-infectious inflammation, vet acupuncture can treat patients with arthritis, hip dysplasia, feline asthma, non-infectious diarrhea, and lick granulomas (hot spots).Veterinarians in this country are trained, certified and governed by the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture and approved by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) for the management of pain in cats and dogs.

 

  • Massage Therapy: Massage therapy for animals is a touch technique that causes the pet’s body to release endorphins, a natural body product that relieves pain and lowers stress levels. Used on both companion animals and horses, therapists claim that massage can increase the circulation improving joint flexibility and muscle tone, help eliminate toxins and wastes from the body, improve the condition of skin, gums, coat and teeth, and positively affect the behavior of nervous, aggressive or anxious animals.The National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure & Massage (NBCAAM) was founded in 2008 to establish and uphold professional standards for animal acupressure and massage practitioners. Pet massage therapists do not have to be licensed veterinarians, but they must pass national core competency examinations to be certified in this country. Your veterinarian or the NVCAAM can help your find a certified pet message therapist in your area.

 

  • Nutrition and Dietary Changes: Just as in human medicine, veterinary nutritionists use common foods and nutrients to prevent and treat diseases in our pets. They teach pet parents how to read pet food labels to find optimal products, how to make homemade meals for sick and ailing animals, which vitamins and minerals will combat certain chronic disorders and which foods are hazardous to a patient’s health.Obese pets, animals with chronic kidney and cardiac disease, cancer patients, animals with arthritis and hip dysplasia, intestinal disorders and skin conditions can all be helped often with just a simple change in diet or nutritional plan.To find a qualified veterinary nutritionist, consult with your vet or visit the website of their governing body, the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition.  

 

  • Chiropractic Care: Veterinary chiropractors are licensed veterinarians who have undergone post-graduate animal chiropractic training and been certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association.Vet chiropractors manually manipulate the neuro-musculo-skeletal systems of pets in an effort to treat animals with stiffness, tension, pain and even organ dysfunction. As an alternative to regular veterinary care, animal chiropractic adjustment can promote optimal function of the nerves, muscles and tissues supporting the joints, resulting in improved movement, stance and flexibility. Vet chiropractors claim that this alignment promotes increased agility, endurance, and overall performance for sport animals. Broader benefits include superior immune function, healthier metabolism and a vibrant nervous system, facilitating your companion animal’s natural ability to heal.

 

Official Guidelines

The American Veterinary Medical Association officially describes alternative veterinary practices as “Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine (CAVM).” While the AVMA has recognized these types of therapeutic methods for usage, they have still implemented various guidelines that call for appropriate evaluation of each alternative procedure, insisting that programs dedicated to promoting CAVM practices need to demonstrate “a substantial body of scientific knowledge.”

 

As the official AVMA guidelines state, these recommendations include:

  • “Veterinarians should ensure that they have the requisite skills and knowledge for any treatment modality they may consider using.
  • Diagnosis should be based on sound, accepted principles of veterinary medicine.
  • Proven treatment methods should be discussed with the owner or authorized agent when presenting the treatment options available. Recommendations for effective and safe care should be based on available scientific knowledge and the medical judgment of the veterinarian.
  • Owner consent should be obtained prior to initiating any treatment, including CAVM.
  • Medical records should meet statutory requirements. Information should be clear and complete. Records should contain documentation of client communications and owner consent.
  • Veterinarians should be aware that animal nutritional supplements and botanicals typically are not subject to pre-marketing evaluation by the FDA for purity, safety, or efficacy and may contain active pharmacologic agents or unknown
    substances.
  • If a human health hazard is anticipated in the course of a disease or as a result of therapy, it should be made known to the client.”

According to a recent article in the Dallas Morning News, in Texas, holistic therapies must either be offered or approved by your TVMA-licensed veterinarian.

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catebCate Burnette is a semi-retired registered veterinary technician with clinical experience in small and large animal medicine. With 30-plus years of journalism experience, she went back to school after 9/11 to work with her first love: animals. The pet parent of four cats, three dogs and one ex-racehorse, Cate is a certified rescue volunteer with the American Humane Association’s Red Star Emergency Services and served with the group in New Orleans doing animal search and rescue after Hurricane Katrina. She is also a horse safety and horse management expert, and has volunteered with US Pony Clubs as a district commissioner and horse management judge.

Massage Therapy for Your Pets

By Cate Burnette

 

A Holistic Treatment You Can Share With Your Pets

Just as it has in human medicine, the practice of less invasive and more holistic approaches to the care and treatment of animals is gaining in popularity. Consultations for nutritional help, physical therapy, acupuncture and massage therapy are becoming more routine in both equine and companion animal veterinary medicine.

Pet massage therapy is in the forefront of treatments that pet parents can easily continue at home while maintaining ongoing contact with the veterinarian on regular health issues of our furry companions.

 

What IS animal massage therapy and how can it help my pet?

Massage therapy is the therapeutic application of hands-on deep tissue techniques to the voluntary muscle system – those muscles that all animals, including humans, use for movement.

 

Massage has been shown to:

…increase muscular circulation and help eliminate toxins and waste from the body.

…improve joint flexibility and muscle tone, which can be very beneficial to older animals and those with active lives
    such as performance animals. Massage is very popular with agility dogs and sport horses.

…promote healing and increase the range of motion in all dogs, horses and some cats.

…reduce muscle spasms and soreness and relieve tension.

…correct the condition of the skin, coat, gums and teeth because of increased blood circulation.

…enable atrophying muscles to work the way they are supposed to.

…reduce recovery time from soft tissue injuries.

…relieve the pain and discomfort associated with such joint conditions as hip dysplasia and arthritis.

Additionally, pet massage helps calm nervous and anxious animals through the act of being kindly and consistently touched, allows these pets to trust their human counterparts, helps a shy or submissive animal feel more confident and secure and, on the other side, can relax an aggressive or dominant animal.

 

Can I do this at home?

Because of the health-promoting qualities of massage, as well as its restorative properties, knowledgeable owners and trainers are incorporating this therapy as an integral part of their dogs’ and horses’ total and continuous health care program.

The therapy is certainly transferable – by virtue of its generally universal effectiveness and similarity of technique – to other companion animals, such as cats and ferrets, but we urge that you contact a veterinarian or professional animal massage therapist before trying these techniques on your own.

There are a number of animal massage demonstrations on YouTube that you can watch for guidance, including one by noted British dog trainer Victoria Stilwell.

 

What are some precautions with massage therapy for animals?

As noted above, if your animal is acting injured or ill, you should consult with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis to make sure massage therapy is appropriate and beneficial, not detrimental to veterinary treatment, and/or contraindicative with any prescribed medications.

Furthermore, never massage an animal that has low blood pressure, a fever, any type of poisoning, severe tissue trauma, severe debilitation, is in shock, has heat stroke, indicates symptoms of a limb or hindquarters having a circulatory problem due to thrombosis (blood clots), or an injury or illness not diagnosed by a vet.

 

Certification of Professional Pet Massage Therapists

When seeking massage therapy for your dog, cat or horse, first ask your veterinarian for a recommendation. Many equine and small animal vets now have qualified massage therapists either on staff or on call that can work with you and your animal to provide whatever treatment is needed.

A professional, qualified therapist will have taken classes and studied the appropriate techniques in both the lecture and hands-on format. Many therapists will have interned under holistic vets or other therapists while learning.

Look for a massage therapist certified by the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure & Massage. This national organization, founded in 2008, develops standardized national certification examinations in order to establish and uphold professional standards for acupressure and massage practitioners. The NBCAAM examinations for Equine Massage, Equine Acupressure, Canine Massage and Canine Acupressure are entirely based on the Scope of Practice for each discipline.

The minimum standard for sitting for the NCEAAM is documented proof of attendance at a school or schools of either animal massage or animal acupressure resulting in an accumulated course of study equaling a minimum of 200 hours.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Natural remedies and alternative therapies can complement traditional veterinary or medical care. If your pet is sick, injured, on medication, or you have any other concerns, we recommend that you can check with your veterinarian prior to offering any remedy or massage therapy. Be aware that your vet or medical professional may advise you to not use the natural/holistic/alternative remedy or therapy. Do your homework and explore your options. If your pet is seriously ill or has a life-threatening condition, please always seek proper veterinary care.

 

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catebCate Burnette is a semi-retired registered veterinary technician with clinical experience in small and large animal medicine. With 30-plus years of journalism experience, she went back to school after 9/11 to work with her first love: animals. The pet parent of four cats, three dogs and one ex-racehorse, Cate is a certified rescue volunteer with the American Humane Association’s Red Star Emergency Services and served with the group in New Orleans doing animal search and rescue after Hurricane Katrina. She is also a horse safety and horse management expert, and has volunteered with US Pony Clubs as a district commissioner and horse management judge.

 

Celebrate International Cat Day on August 8th

 

 

In a world filled with furry pups, our feline friends often go unnoticed. However, on August 8th cats get their day in the spotlight as International Cat Day is celebrated across the nation!

 

Back in 2002, a group of animal lovers known as the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) created International Cat Day as a way to bring awareness to and provide information about the wonderfully wacky (and lazy) world of cats.  

 

This celebration confirms that dogs aren’t the only best friends of humans; a kitty can make an equally fun, entertaining and loyal (albeit lazy) pet. Felines provide their owners with unconditional love, companionship and oodles of entertainment (think funny cat videos).  

 

Cat lovers everywhere can celebrate this fantastic feline frenzy in a variety of ways.  Here are a few ideas to get you inspired:

  1. Give your kitty a brushing to remove excess hair (this may help with hairballs later).
  2. Take funny pictures of your cat in costume and share them!
  3. Treat your feline pal to a special meal, a new bed, or some distracting toys that they can chase around the house.  Maybe fill a favorite toy with a bit of naughty catnip and watch the elegant slinky fun ensue.
  4. Get your kitty a shiny new collar with a fancy name tag – even if you can’t take them for a walk, they will appreciate the thought.

 

At VIP pets, we would love to see how you and your pet celebrate International Cat Day – share your favorite furry cat photos with us by tagging us at @vippetslove.  

 

Shelters and Fosters

What is the Difference between Shelters and Fosters?

 

For many unwanted and displaced animals, an animal shelter can mean the difference between life and death. Animal shelters are typically funded by local government and offer a safe reprieve for rescued strays. However, a shelter isn’t the only viable option for an unwanted pet. Shelters often have limited space and rely on the kindness of animal lovers who wish to provide a foster environment for homeless creatures.

 

Like shelters, fosters provide a haven for animals, offering food and time to heal before being placed up for adoption. Unlike shelters, fosters are self-funded and partner with the local shelters to provide care for an animal. This partnership frees up space at the shelter for additional animals in need.

 

A foster environment typically involves a person or family who volunteers to care for an animal in their home for a short or definite period, whereas a shelter will often keep the animal as long as possible, or until it can be re-established with a family.  

 

Since many shelters operate predominately on donations, they rely heavily on the time and resources provided by volunteers; it’s crucial to give what you can to keep shelters in operation. Here are a few ways you can help:

 

  1. Donate – You don’t have to donate money (although cash donations are appreciated). One may donate pet supplies to include food, as well as equipment such as bowls, leashes, beds, and toys. Also, volunteers can donate their time to assist with cleaning, animal care and administrative duties.

 

  1. Fundraise. Consider holding a fundraiser at the local dog park or school to honor our furry friends and the shelters who help them.     

 

The key is to take action sooner rather than later, as thousands of homeless animals are in dire need of homes. With a bit of creativity, you can do your part to ease the homeless animal crisis.

 

Dehydration & Pets

By Cate Burnette

 

When Texas summers get as hot as they normally do, all pet parents need to watch out for our dogs and cats becoming dehydrated from a lack of body water. Dehydration occurs when the total body water is less than normal and involves loss of both water and electrolytes (minerals such as sodium, chloride and potassium).

When there is not enough body water, fluid shifts out of the body cells to compensate, leaving the cells deficient in necessary water. This leads to dehydration. The severity of the dehydration is based on the magnitude of these body water shifts. Pets normally lose fluid through breathing, panting, urinating and defecating and those fluids must be restored regularly to maintain optimum health.

 

Causes and Symptoms of Dehydration

There are a number of ways your dog or cat can become dehydrated. Your pet may not be eating or drinking enough to take in appropriate amounts of water. Dehydration can cause the loss of appetite and, in a frustrating cycle, your animal loses even more body water when she won’t eat or drink. Illnesses that cause bouts of frequent vomiting or diarrhea and/or high fevers can result in your pet becoming dehydrated. Any dog or cat that is overheated may also be suffering from dehydration.

So what are some of the symptoms that you need to watch for?

There are basically 3 levels of clinical dehydration, with the final levels being the most serious.

Beginning Signs

  • Excessive panting and warm skin
  • Dry mouth, nose and gums
  • Visibly tired, less animated
  • Sunken eyes, lack of moisture

Intermediate Signs

  • Loss of skin elasticity – If a gentle pinch of shoulder or neck skin doesn’t immediately pop back into place, your pet is probably dehydrated. As the tissue under the skin loses moisture, the skin moves back more slowly. In extreme cases, the skin doesn’t pop back at all.
  • Delayed Capillary Refill Time (CRT) – Place your thumb or index finger firmly against your pet’s gums so that they whiten. Remove your finger and count how many seconds it takes for the gums to become pink. Any time longer than 2 seconds is a sign of dehydration and/or other illness.
  • Rectal temperature greater than 105º F

Final Signs

  • Your pet is wobbly and unsteady on her feet
  • You notice hind end weakness

 

How to Prevent Dehydration

Maintaining a constant body fluid level is as important in animals as it is in humans. The Humane Society of the United States issues these tips for keeping your pet hydrated in even the warmest weather.

  • Leave several bowls of water around the house so that your cats and dogs get enough to drink.
  • If you notice your pet hasn’t had a drink in a while, start by allowing her to have a few sips of water every few minutes. Overdrinking can easily lead to nausea and vomiting and losing even more fluids that she needs.
  • After strenuous exercise, monitor the amount of water your dog drinks and don’t allow overdrinking.
  • Take a collapsible bowl and plenty of cool water with you when you’re exercising or playing outside with your pet. Allow plenty of down time (especially on hot days) and find a place for shade so your pet can cool down.
  • If your dog or cat is outside for any length of time, ensure there are bowls of clean, cool water available for drinking.

 

What can I do if I suspect my pet is dehydrated?

  • Give an electrolyte (such as Gatorade®) mixed with water if your pet is showing the early signs of dehydration. While water helps in replenishing a lot of nutrients, electrolytes can do the job more quickly.
  • Animals who have gone a long time without drinking water may have a hard time holding it down. Allow your dog or cat to lick ice. She’ll rehydrate herself as the ice melts.

 

  • If your pet refuses to drink for any extended period of time, see your veterinarian immediately!

 

Veterinary Treatment of Dehydration

The veterinary care for moderately and severely dehydrated pets revolves around the administration of supplemental fluids. Typically, fluids are given either subcutaneously (SQ) under the first layer of skin or intravenously (IV) through a vein. The latter requires hospitalization and the insertion of an intravenous catheter. Your vet can determine the amount of fluids to be given and the route of administration in the best interests of your pet.

 

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catebCate Burnette is a semi-retired registered veterinary technician with clinical experience in small and large animal medicine. With 30-plus years of journalism experience, she went back to school after 9/11 to work with her first love: animals. The pet parent of four cats, three dogs and one ex-racehorse, Cate is a certified rescue volunteer with the American Humane Association’s Red Star Emergency Services and served with the group in New Orleans doing animal search and rescue after Hurricane Katrina. She is also a horse safety and horse management expert, and has volunteered with US Pony Clubs as a district commissioner and horse management judge.

 

Cuts & Scrapes On Your Pet

By Cate Burnette

Minor Injuries You Can Care For At Home

When a pet sustains an injury, concerned pet parents often have a lot of the same questions as human parents, such as, “How bad is this, really? What should I do to treat this? Is this an injury requiring immediate professional medical care, or can it be dealt with at home?” That’s why it’s good to have a little understanding of what the difference is between a major and a minor injury in your furry companion.

What is the difference between a major trauma and a minor injury?

Major traumas include bite wounds, puncture wounds, burns, scalds, snake bites of any kind, deep lacerations and broken bones. These injuries should NEVER be treated at home and your pet needs to see your local veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately. A deep cut can get infected and require stitching and even small burns or scalds can send an animal into shock. Snake bites – both poisonous and non-poisonous – can cause pain and extreme inflammation and, of course, broken bones necessitate professional care to set and lessen pain.

Minor injuries are issues like torn nails, bruises, skin scrapes, insect bites or stings (without allergic reaction), and/or minor intestinal problems such as occasional constipation or diarrhea. You can treat most of these matters at home and contact your vet if you have any concerns.

Home Treatments for Minor Injuries

As concerned pet parents, you know that your veterinarian needs to be called for traumatic wounds, ongoing illnesses and sudden, acute disease symptoms. However, for any inconsequential injuries, there are treatments you can do at home with items from your medicine cabinet and kitchen to help your pet heal quickly and pain free.  

 

  • Bumps, Bruises, Twists, and Sprains – Tenderness, swelling, limping and mild to moderate pain can indicate a bruise, sprain or strain of limbs and paws. Keep your pet quiet and restrict exercise by crating if necessary. If the signs continue for more than 2 or 3 days, contact your veterinarian.
  • Torn Toenails – Dogs and cats can slice up their nails in a variety of ways – everything from a too-close nail trim that nicks the quick, to running outdoors over sharp rocks. When the bleeding doesn’t stop, dip the hurt nail into a tiny amount of styptic powder, typically found on the shaving aisle found in most commercial pharmacies. If you don’t have styptic powder available, corn starch or regular baking flour will also curtail the bleeding.
  • Cuts and Scrapes – Please Note: If the injury site is swollen, bruised or bleeds excessively, you must assume your pet has sustained a bone break or sprain and you should allow your veterinarian to provide treatment and pain meds immediately. For minor cuts and scrapes with no other signs, clean the site of dirt with a cloth or towel and a non-stinging antiseptic diluted in warm water. Apply a cold compress (you can use a bag of frozen veggies) and keep it in place for a few minutes to alleviate any inflammation and pain. Place a dab of 3-in-one antibiotic ointment on the cut and bandage lightly to keep your pet from licking the area. Contact your vet for further advice and additional treatment.
  • Bug Bites or Bee Stings – Bug bites or stings typically occur around the face and head of a dog or cat. Once you notice the area, apply a cold pack to the bite to reduce swelling and itching. Look for a stinger. If one is still in the skin, use a credit card or other flat, rigid object (NOT tweezers) to scrape it out. Take your pet to the veterinarian immediately if you notice any swelling in the head or neck area that can affect breathing or if you find a stinger in the tongue or the roof of the mouth.
  • Swallowed Objects – In many cases, if your dog swallows an inappropriate object, you can take a wait-and-see approach to watch if the item passes without any trouble. However, swallowing sharp objects, such as needles or pieces of glass, extremely large objects, or any type of long item, such as string, pantyhose, or fishing line, is very dangerous because a serious bowel constriction or obstruction can result. Additionally, cats often swallow tinsel, fishing line or thread that can become wrapped around the tongue. In those cases, or if your pet shows signs of consistent vomiting, has a distended or painful abdomen, or is not having bowel movements, contact your veterinarian for immediate emergency treatment.
  • Constipation, Diarrhea, Hairballs, and Other Minor Digestive Issues – Most pets, at one time or another, experience digestive upsets that last for a few days and disappear. If these upsets are not related to other major health issues, then a dose of canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling) can do the trick. Veterinarians recommend giving 1 teaspoon per every 10 pounds of body weight either as a treat or in the normal diet one or two times a day until the issue resolves. Pumpkin is rich in a soluble plant fiber that eases the pains of both constipation and diarrhea.

 

 

If the symptoms of any injury or trauma are excessive – or continue for more than 1 or 2 days – contact your veterinarian for treatment. Remember, if your pet is sick or injured, it’s important to protect yourself and anyone else who may be caring for or handling her, so using a muzzle on dogs or a pillowcase on cats may be necessary. Even the most docile and gentle of pets can bite in response to pain or fear.

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Cate Burnette is a semi-retired registered veterinary technician with clinical experience in small and large animal medicine. With 30-plus years of journalism experience, she went back to school after 9/11 to work with her first love: animals. The pet parent of four cats, three dogs and one ex-racehorse, Cate is a certified rescue volunteer with the American Humane Association’s Red Star Emergency Services and served with the group in New Orleans doing animal search and rescue after Hurricane Katrina. She is also a horse safety and horse management expert, and has volunteered with US Pony Clubs as a district commissioner and horse management judge.

Pet Services Header Brunette Lady Hugging White Dog

Celebrate All American Pet Photo Day on July 11th!

For many pet owners, their pets are part of the family.  In fact, scientists believe that some people form such strong attachments to their pets that they gain more satisfaction from a relationship with their pets than those with humans.  Some say pets can be similar to children, and this notion could stem from pets providing the unconditional love that kids do, and which can sometimes be absent from relationships with other adults.

One thing is for sure; people enjoy taking photos of their pets. Whether you own a dog, cat, bunny, bird, reptile or a piglet, all proud pet owners can celebrate All American Pet Photo Day on July 11th. This day hallmarks a time for grateful pet owners to show off and give praise to their furry friends by sharing their pet photos.  

Some fun ideas for making the most of All American Pet Photo Day include uploading pictures of your pet doing the activities that they enjoy, such as playing ball, hanging out the park or maybe wearing a fun outfit!  You can take photos of your animals enjoying an afternoon nap, rough housing with other furry friends, talking, performing tricks, or just stealing your heart being themselves.

This special day is an excellent reason to indulge and treat your pet to something special, such as running through the sprinklers, a new toy or maybe wading in a kiddie pool filled with water.  

We love animal photos and invite you to tag VIP Pets in all of your pet photos on Instagram using @vippetslove and show us how you love your pets!

Keep it Cool with VIP and The Dog Days of Summer

 

Like humans, pets enjoy treats as a part of their balanced diet.  Some favorite pet treats include raw hide, fruits and veggies, dog biscuits or cat treats, and even ice cream that is safe for pets. Experts warn to steer clear of potentially toxic foods for dogs such as raisins, onions, grapes, chocolate or anything with caffeine.

 

You can find store-made treats at your local pet or grocery store, or you can make some on your own. For example, check out the DIY Recipe for homemade doggy ice cream.  This easy and safe recipe includes all the ingredients that dogs love such as peanut butter, bananas and yoghurt.  Just freeze and serve for a refreshing treat on a warm summer’s day.  What a terrific way to end a long walk or a day at the dog park!

 

Here at VIP Pets, we love your pets as much as summertime, and would like to see how you stay cool this summer! We are running a fun-filled program where pet owners can allow their dedicated sitter to give their precious pets some Frosty Paws ice cream! Participating sitters will purchase and dole out the frosty delicacies, and take a photo or video to memorialize the unique summer experience. Throughout the summer we will post pics and videos of all of our pets and caring sitters.    

 

This program is a wonderful way to treat your pet and provide an enjoyable summer luxury for the ones we love.  Feel free to use Hashtag #dogdaysofsummer and send us your photos and videos showing how you and your pet are keeping it cool when the weather heats up!

 

Enjoying 4th of July with your Precious Pets

Summertime is a wonderful time of year when we can celebrate with family and friends, frolicking in the sprinklers, enjoying barbecue and picnic foods and relishing the holidays that fall during the warmth of the season.  One of the most popular holidays is the 4th of July, but this can be a scary and dangerous time for our pets.

The Pet Amber Alert blog reports that national statistics show an increase of shelter use and missing pets between the days of July 4-6th.  When the neighborhood is outdoors enjoying the fun and loud fireworks, pets indoors can become overwhelmed, and the likelihood of them running away and becoming lost is greater.

Fireworks and food can be fun for humans, but not necessarily for pets.  Here are just a few things you can do to keep your pet safe during this Independence Day:

Serve Goodness. Although it’s tempting to offer your pet a special barbecue nugget, the safest thing for their sensitive systems is to keep pets on their regular diets during the holiday season. You can find more out about people food that can be harmful to pets by checking out a handy publication by the ASPCA.

Dim the Flame. Matches and fireworks can be scary, and dangerous to your pets.  Any exposure to fireworks has the potential for an injury involving burns and trauma for your pet. Also, fireworks are made with substances that are toxic to pets, not to mention that loud noises can cause pets to run off seeking the solace of a quiet space. Keep your pet indoors while the fireworks are outside.

The 4th of July can be great fun for everyone including your pets.  With a bit of preparation and caution, you and your pets can enjoy a fun-filled Independence Day.   

 

Preventing Sunburn for Your Pets

There’s something about a sunny day that inspires us to get outside and into the sunshine. For domestic animals, the sunlight does more than encourage a long walk or an opportunity for a long, peaceful catnap. When outside, however, the ultra-violet rays from the sun can be dangerous for dogs and cats, because just like humans, they run the risk of sunburn.  Some people think that because our pets have furry coats, they are protected from the sun’s harmful rays, but this simply isn’t true.

Similar to humans, dogs and cats have certain areas that are vulnerable to sunburn. Some of the most susceptible areas for pet sunburn include the nose, around the eyes, on the front and back of the ears, underneath the paws, and the underside of the belly.  

How can you tell if your pet is sunburned? First, you may observe redness around the area in question.   Also, the nose, belly, ears or eye areas are tender to the touch.  Finally, you may notice dry or cracked skin, and if severe enough, you may even see hair loss on the affected area.  If your pet gets sunburned, you can apply Aloe Vera gel to cool and soothe the area.  

Prolonged exposure to the sun will negatively impact any living creature. Over time, serious sunburns can cause painful skin conditions such as sores and abscesses, which could lead to infections or skin cancer.

You can protect your pet from sunburn by applying an over-the-counter sunscreen or visiting your veterinary clinic for prescribed sunscreen made just for animals.  Just like you would your family, keep your pet’s time in the sunshine limited, seek shade and apply sunscreen, especially after a dip in the water.