Dog Walking Places

Top Places to Walk Your Dog in Plano

Plano, TX, is about 20 miles north of Dallas and is considered part of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metropolitan Area.  Despite the largely flat prairie area, for which Plano is named, there are a multitude of trees and several beautiful parks around the city.  A Google survey lists residents’ favorite places to enjoy nature. Lace up your sneakers, grab your dog’s leash, and get ready to enjoy these top 5 places to walk your dog.

Dog Walking Places

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

6701 W. Parker Road (at Arbor Vista Dr), Plano, TX

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AHNP is a 200-acre park on the western side of Plano.  It features three distinct eco-regions: 1) Blackland Prairie, 2) Riparian Forest, and 3) Upland Forest.  The entire area is pet-friendly with paved and unpaved walking trails, as well as water areas, so your dog can enjoy a little splash in the creeks on hot days.

Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve

5901 Los Rios Blvd., Plano, TX

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Plano’s largest park is 800 acres and voted fourth among TripAdvisor’s things to see while in Plano. The park boasts 3.5 miles of concrete trails and 5 miles of soft surface trails located along Rowlett Creek. Nature trails are open from sunrise to sunset daily.

Bob Woodruff Park

2601 San Gabriel Dr, Plano, TX 75074

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Bob Woodruff Park is connected to the Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve by bicycle trails.  The combined, uninterrupted area makes this space larger than NYC’s Central Park (840 acres). Located east of the city, this park contains one of the oldest trees in the area, estimated to be over 200 years old.

Russell Creek Park

3500 McDermott Rd, Plano, TX 75025

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Russell Creek is a large community park with a small lake and 3.5 miles of paved trails for hiking and biking.

Spring Creek Nature Area

N Plano Rd, Richardson, TX 75082

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A scant distance south of Plano, is the 51-acre Spring Creek Nature Area.  The park has a multi-use trail, hardwood forest, and a pedestrian bridge over winding Spring Creek, The trail links with Galatyn Woodland Preserve (8 acres).

No matter where you and your furbaby walk, remember to be a good steward and clean up after your pet.  Help keep the park clean and litter free so you, your pet, and your fellow nature lovers can always enjoy these natural spaces.

Don’t have time to get to a park?  The trusted professionals at VIP Pet Services in Plano are happy to help!  With over 16 years serving the entire Plano area, you know your pet is in good hands and will be treated with the same care and attention you give.

Golden lab on kitchen floor

Can Dogs Eat Bread at Thanksgiving?

Can Dogs Eat Bread at Thanksgiving?

Safe Foods to Feed Your Pets During the Holidays

As holiday feasting begins, there is no doubt our dogs will want to join in. Who can resist the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven and the feelings of love as everyone gathers around the table? Not us, and certainly not our pets.

While small bites of unbuttered bread are completely safe for our pets, the yeast in raw dough can be a digestive problem. There are several holiday foods that are unhealthy (or dangerous) for dogs, even though they may beg for them. But you won’t feel so bad about saying no if you have some tempting treats to offer instead.

Here is a quick list of foods your dog should avoid this holiday season, followed by some yummy alternatives that will have him joining in the celebration with you:

Avoid Feeding the Following Foods to Your Dog

  1. Raw bread dough (the yeast can cause dangerous bloating)
  2. Fat and trimmings from meats (this rich food can cause digestive issues)
  3. Grapes (even small amounts can be fatally toxic)
  4. Bones – especially cooked bones (can splinter and cause lacerations of the intestines)
  5. Nuts – particularly Macadamia nuts and some walnuts (can cause toxic poisoning)
  6. Unfermented dairy products such as milk or ice cream (the lactose can cause abdominal pain)
  7. Onions – contain an ingredient called thiosulphate that is highly toxic to both dogs and cats.

Safe Foods for Your Dog

  1. Cooked turkey (remove the skin)
  2. Sweet potatoes (slice thinly and bake at 250 degrees for 3 hours for a crunchy treat!)
  3. Cooked green beans (tasty and full of vitamins and fiber)
  4. Cooked eggs (for a special holiday breakfast)
  5. Plain yogurt – if your dog seems to tolerate it well (the probiotics can strengthen the immune system)

Our schedules fill up quickly during the holidays, especially Thanksgiving!

Whether you are going out of town or entertaining guests, book your VIP sitter now to make sure your pet is cozy and cared for throughout the holiday.

Schedule your Thanksgiving service by November 12th to take advantage of our early bird special for $10 off!

Your booking must include at least 4 standard or premium visits.

(Cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions.)

Welsh corgi pembroke puppy on its owners hands

How Long Can You Leave A Puppy Alone

Written by Niki Clark

Puppies! You cannot say that without smiling. Getting a puppy can be great, but it does come with a couple challenges, and for those who work outside of the home, arranging your schedule can be a challenge. There is the chewing phase, the endless amount of energy, and oh yea, the potty training.

Every new pet owner has a list of questions running through their mind. We will cover the 3 main ones here:

    • Exercise and Stimulation
    • Food
  • Potty Breaks

First, let’s define the age range for a puppy. This is anywhere between 3 months and 2 years. The younger they are, the more they need to play, socialize, have stimulation, go out for a potty break, stretch their legs, and have interaction. This doesn’t mean you need to leave work every hour to rush home and make sure your puppy hasn’t destroyed the couch cushions, you just need to be a bit more strategic in your planning. VIP Pet Services offers a great puppy service for just this instance, as well as many other options that would best fit your situation.

Exercise and Stimulation

Puppies are full of energy. They absolutely must get plenty of activity and interaction. When left alone or in a crate for too long, destruction can happen. This is where the one hour per month rule can help. For example, if your puppy is 4 months old, he can be left alone for 4 hours. You want to make sure your puppy is getting plenty of exercise. Hiring a dog walker is a great idea for your new puppy and it allows more time in your schedule. Dogs also need mental stimulation. There are some great dog toys on the market that help keep your pup occupied. KONGs are widely popular especially filled with their favorite treats mixed with peanut butter. Other suggestions are Nylabones or ropes

Food and Nutrition

Growing pups are hungry pups. The American Kennel Club has created a great feeding guideline to help determine the right amount and how many times you need to be feeding your puppy. The main thing to remember is that puppies require special formulated food for puppies and more of it throughout the day, so you need to make proper arrangements to make sure he is getting his proper nutrition. However, with frequent meals, comes frequent potty breaks.

Potty Breaks

The favorite topic when discussing puppies. How many times does a puppy need to go potty? This is where the one hour per month rule comes in handy again. It is also a good time to start a routine, especially for younger puppies. A common practice is to take your puppy out right after a meal and praise them when they go. This is where VIP Pet Services can step in to help with drop-in visits for those quick potty breaks. 

 

Whatever your pet care need is, VIP Pet Services is here to help in any way we can. We are true animal lovers and thoroughly love what we do. Contact us today!

Dog outside in leaves

Fall Time Safety for your Pets

We love fall! But…

Here’s a few quick things to be aware of to keep your pet out of trouble as things turn cooler and wetter.

Mushrooms

Wetter fall weather can lead to more fungus in your backyard or favorite outdoor places. Make sure you can identify toxic mushrooms to keep your entire family safe.

Rat poison/rodenticides

Rats and other rodents like to come in out of the cold too – right into your home(!) If you notice these unwelcome house guests, consider using pet-friendly pest control – this link has a lot of great ideas you can use.

Fleas and Ticks!

Fleas and ticks are still around in spite of the cooler weather, so continue with your pet’s prevention routine until it really gets chilly.

Darkness

Shorter days mean your pet is out and about more in the darkness. Use reflective collars and/or apparel to make him more visible and safe.

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Dogs playing in the park

The Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth for Dogs: Natural Flea Treatment and More!

What is Diatomaceous Earth for Dogs?

Bag of Diatomaceous Earth for DogsDiatomaceous earth, often abbreviated as DE. It is a fine grayish-white powder that comes from the long-dead remains of diatoms, a type of algae. DE is mostly made up of silica, a very hard mineral, and it has a very coarse texture and absorbent properties.

Diatomaceous earth has been used as pest control for thousands of years. These days, you can purchase it for many different purposes. You can even get food-grade DE that is safe for human or pet consumption. Why would you want to eat DE, and what else can you do with it? Read on to find out!

Diatomaceous Earth for Flea Control

If you haven’t had to deal with fleas, consider yourself lucky. These blood-sucking parasites are happy to hop on your dog and hitch a ride into your home. Once they’re inside, they’ll lay thousands of microscopic eggs all over, and we mean all over! Your dog will be itchy, you’ll be itchy, and you’ll have to spend hours of time cleaning your home. Not to mention, you’ll have to bathe your dog, wash their bedding, and constantly monitor them for signs of a new outbreak of fleas. (Can you tell we’ve had to deal with this before?)

A Back-Up for Preventatives

Unfortunately, using a preventative doesn’t always prevent fleas. Across the nation, more fleas are reportedly becoming resistant to preventative treatments. Even if you keep up with the monthly dose, there’s still a chance that your dog or cat could get fleas. Skipping a dose or giving too small of a dose can keep your preventative medicine from working.

A Natural, Drug-Free Flea Treatment

Many people aren’t comfortable with using traditional preventatives (like oral or topical drugs and flea collars). We get it—you want to keep your pet and your family healthy, and the ingredients in these products are controversial. After all, they can kill fleas—can they harm your dog, too? Some pet owners have reported side effects that can be quite alarming. We don’t have the authority to comment on the safety of these medications, but we totally get that many people don’t want to use them.

No matter what camp you’re in—whether you want a backup for your regular flea preventative or you want to skip the flea medicine entirely—DE is here for you!

How to Use DE for Fleas

DE can kill fleas thanks to its microscopically-sharp edges. It won’t hurt you because the sharp edges are so tiny, but for an insect, it’s like Natural Flea Treatment and Morecrawling over broken glass. It will pierce their outer shell and kill them in a matter of hours or days. There are a few ways to use DE for fleas:

  • Externally after potential flea exposure:

Just sprinkle it on your pet’s coat and thoroughly brush it through all their fur before a walk, hike, or other potential flea exposure. You’ll have to do this every time they go outside in a flea-ridden area and apply the DE before they come inside.

Note: Be careful when applying it around your dog’s nose, eyes, and mouth. Make sure it’s not drying out or irritating your pup’s skin—if your dog already has dry skin, don’t use it externally too often.

  • In your yard/garden:

If you know there are fleas in your yard, sprinkling DE in the soil can kill the fleas and their larvae. Also kills ticks, earwigs, and other bugs! It’s non-toxic to your pets, so you won’t have to worry when they nibble on the grass or roll in the dirt.

  • In your home, in case of an infestation:

Apply it to bedding and carpeting, leave it for at least 3 days, then vacuum it up. It does take 3+ days to work, but it will kill the larvae and adult fleas, breaking the life cycle and making your home flea-free!

Note: several sources recommend using a shop vac to vacuum up the remaining DE, since its sharp edges can be damaging to regular vacuum cleaners over time.

Diatomaceous Earth for Internal Parasites

While there isn’t much hard evidence out there, DE may be able to treat internal parasites. Those who use DE for deworming say that it can help eliminate several types of parasites. It can work for internal parasites in the same way that it kills fleas.

The FDA approves DE as pest control in food products. It’s often added to stored grain, like corn, and is generally recognized as safe. The FDA requires the testing of food-grade DE to make sure it doesn’t contain dangerous elements like lead, arsenic, or fluorine. You can rest assured that DE is a safe additive to your pet’s diet.

To use as a dewormer, simply add a small amount of food-grade DE to your dog’s diet. Approximately 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of DE should be given daily for a month—less for very small dogs and cats, more for very large dogs.

  • Safety First!

If you choose to use DE in your dog or cat’s food, make sure to mix it in with wet food instead of just sprinkling it on top. You don’t want your pet to inhale the powder and irritate their respiratory system.

Also, double-check to make sure it’s food-grade DE. You don’t want to feed your pet DE that is intended for yard and garden use. While it’s the same basic ingredient, it hasn’t been processed in the same way and might contain impurities that are unsafe for your pet to consume.

Diatomaceous Earth for Dogs: The Bottom Line

Are you interested in using DE for your pets, or does the idea of pest-killing algae dust still seem weird to you? Let us know what you think! Contact us at pets@vippets.net or comment on this post. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Golden Retriever Dog with tongue out smiling


 

Welsh corgi pembroke puppy on its owners hands

How Long Can You Leave A Puppy Alone

Post by Niki Clark

Puppies!

You cannot say that without smiling. Getting a puppy can be great, but it does come with a couple challenges, and for those who work outside of the home, arranging your schedule can be tough. There is the chewing phase, the endless amount of energy, and oh yea, the potty training.

Every new pet owner has a list of questions running through their mind.

We will cover the 3 main ones here:

  1. Exercise and Stimulation
  2. Food
  3. Potty Breaks

First, let’s define the age range for a puppy. This is anywhere between 3 months and 2 years. The younger they are, the more they need to play, socialize, have stimulation, go out for a potty break, stretch their legs, and have interaction. This doesn’t mean you need to leave work every hour to rush home and make sure your puppy hasn’t destroyed the couch cushions, you just need to be a bit more strategic in your planning. VIP Pet Services offers a great puppy service for just this instance, as well as many other options that would best fit your situation.

Exercise and Stimulation

Exercise and StimulationPuppies are full of energy. They absolutely must get plenty of activity and interaction. When left alone or in a crate for too long, destruction can happen. This is where the one hour per month rule can help. For example, if your puppy is 4 months old, he can be left alone for 4 hours. You want to make sure your puppy is getting plenty of exercise. Hiring a dog walker is a great idea for your new puppy and it allows more time in your schedule. Dogs also need mental stimulation. There are some great dog toys on the market that help keep your pup occupied. KONGs are widely popular especially filled with their favorite treats mixed with peanut butter. Other suggestions are Nylabones or ropes.

Food and Nutrition

Growing pups are hungry pups. The American Kennel Club has created a great feeding guideline to help determine the right amount and how many times you need to be feeding your puppy. The main thing to remember is that puppies require special formulated food and more of it throughout the day, so you need to make proper arrangements to make sure he is getting his proper nutrition. However, with frequent meals, comes frequent potty breaks.

Potty Breaks

The favorite topic when discussing puppies. How many times does a puppy need to go potty? This is where the one hour per month rule comes in handy again. It is also a good time to start a routine, especially for younger puppies. A common practice is to take your puppy out right after a meal and praise them when they go. This is where VIP Pet Services can step in to help with drop-in visits for those quick potty breaks.

 

Whatever your pet care need is, VIP Pet Services is here to help in any way we can. We are true animal lovers and thoroughly love what we do. Contact us today!

 

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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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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.

 

Dog drinking water out of bowl

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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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.

 

dog paw wrapped in gauze hand of human

Cuts, Scrapes & Injuries 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 an 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 and scalds
  • Snake bites of any kind
  • Deep lacerations
  • 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.

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 InjuriesInjured orange cat with paw wrapped in gauze in the hands of a vet with gloves

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, extremely large objects, or any type of long item, is very dangerous.  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.

Park Sign clean up after your pets

Why It’s Important to Clean Up the Poop

 

For a healthy yard, healthy pets and healthy kids … Clean Up The Poop!

One of those necessary chores when we have pets is cleaning the waste from our yards and walkways. If you’re like most pet parents, carrying a plastic bag full of poop while out on walks is not a new – or fun – experience with our animals. What you may not know is that there are significant reasons why removing and disposing of that waste may be essential for the health of your family, your pets and your environment.

Zoonotic diseases are illnesses that can be passed from animals to humans. When it comes to pet feces, there are 4 major parasitic ailments that can be passed to humans by contact with infected feces.

Hookworms are intestinal parasites transmitted by fecal to oral contamination from infected animal to non-infected animal. Your pet may eat contaminated feces or dirt, or run through contaminated soil, then lick its paws and ingest the worm eggs or larvae in that manner. Humans can pick up the eggs or larvae on the skin from soil or animal feces and acquire a “traveling” rash at the site of infestation.

Roundworms, commonly found in puppies and kittens, pass across the placenta from the pregnant mother to her unborn fetuses. The infection develops while the babies are in the uterus and they are born positive for roundworms. Most often, humans ingest soil contaminated by roundworm eggs or larvae by not washing their hands or by eating vegetables raised in contaminated soil.

While the adult immune system is able to fight off the worst of a roundworm infection, some organ damage has been diagnosed in patients with chronic roundworm infections. In small children, roundworm infection shows most often as “ocular larva migrans.” Roundworm larva travels underneath the skin to the eye and reside inside the globe of the eye, causing irritation and sight disorders.

Toxoplasmosis is a zoonotic disease found most often in cats. Outdoor cats – and those that eat raw meat – are more likely to contract the disease from their food sources. Children and immune compromised adults are advised not to scoop or sanitize a cat’s litter box as any toxoplasmosis-positive kitty can be shedding the infection in the stool.

Cryptosporidiosis is a protozoan parasite found in water. Infected animals can transmit “crypto” by defecating in lakes, ponds, and other bodies of water. You and your pet can acquire the disease through swimming or other contact with contaminated water. Pets become infected when they swallow Giardia that may be present in water or other substances that have been soiled with feces.

Environmental contamination is a common problem resulting from leftover pet poop. Pet waste and other pollutants are carried directly into gutters and waterways by storm water. That waste may contain harmful organisms such as Giardia, Salmonella and E. coli that can be transmitted to humans and other animals by ingesting that contaminated water. Additionally, animal waste adds nitrogen to the water. Excess nitrogen depletes oxygen in water necessary for the livelihoods of fish, wildlife and underwater grasses.

It might be the law in your area to pick up your pet’s feces. Many urban and suburban communities require that you clean up after your animal. Even without any restrictions, cleaning up pet poop is the right thing to do.

Neighborhood harmony results when your good manners prevent your neighbors from stepping in pet waste and spreading it into homes, cars and businesses. Daily scooping stops those nasty dog and cat odors that can creep into backyards and outdoor festivities. Cleaning up feces halts the growth of the fly population that can carry disease indoors.

If you need help keeping your yard clear of pet poop, contact VIP Pet Services to assist with your waste pickup needs.