Traveling With Pets? These Are The Best Pet Carriers

Are you planning a vacation any time soon? Are you traveling with pets? If so, do you have a safe, cozy place to carry them? If not, you may want to invest in a pet carrier before you head out on your trip. We don’t see this often, but there are still some people who think that stuffing their small cat or dog in their purse will do the trick.

It may, depending on the size of your pet, but they would feel much better if they had a designated place that is cozy for them. It also looks better and is a much more suitable way of storing your pet when you are traveling, out and about and around other people in society. In fact, most airlines will actually require you to store your pet in an airline approved pet carrier. When flying, their number one priority is safety for the passengers as well as any pets and it is unacceptable to have pets not safely stored and secured during the flight. So, take a look at what we consider to be the best pet carriers and you be the judge as to whether or not we hit the nail on the head.

PetsFit Expandable Airline-Approved Pet Carrier

This airline-approved pet carrier is often the first choice of many pet owners because it is stylish, it can expand or retract to ensure maximum comfortability for your pet, and allows for easy storage or transport. It also comes with an adjustable shoulder strap to allow for easy carry and this works perfectly if you happen to have rolling luggage bags. This carrier comes in different sizes and can hold pets that weigh up to 20 pounds.

SleepyPod Dog Carrier

This multi-purpose dog carrier acts as an airline-approved pet carrier, a car seat and even a dog bed. It is flexible to fit under most airline seats, can hold nearly 20 pounds, has a slim, sleek design, allows for easy access for your pet, and is made with luggage grade fabric as its outside material. This carrier has been given 5 stars by many pet owners because of its utility and many different uses it offers for pets.

Snoozer Wheel Around 4-in-1 Pet Carrier

This Snoozer Wheel Around 4-in-1 pet carrier is one of the best pet carriers because it has consistently received nearly 5 stars from all of its merchants. This is perfect for any pet owners who would rather not lug their pup around over their shoulder for the entire trip. Putting your pet in this roller gives them plenty of room to work with and allows you to be able to transport them easily with very minimal effort. It has large mesh panels, it has an extending, telescope handle, and can even be worn as a backpack if you choose to carry your pet rather than roll them around.

Conclusion: Traveling With Pets? These Are The Best Pet Carriers

In our opinion, as well as the opinions of other pet owners, a pet carrier is something you should invest in, especially if you foresee some traveling in your future. Life keeps us busy. Sometimes, so busy that we will need to take our pets with us to care for them on our trips. So, if we have to take them with us, why not let them travel first class in one of these comfy, stylish carriers?

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 or comment on this post. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Golden Retriever Dog with tongue out smiling


dog walker legs and dogs

How Much Exercise Does My Dog Need?

Dogs and Exercise

Dogs need exercise, but how much? Most dogs need between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise depending on age and breed.

Exercise and Stimulation

Depending on the dog’s age and breed will determine the proper amount of exercise your dog will need. A puppy will require more play time than a senior dog. Sporting dogs will need much more exercise than non-sporting dogs.

If dogs do not get their energy out, they might take to chewing, tearing up couches, eating your favorite pair of shoes and other destructive behaviors.

The type and duration of exercise matters as well. Some dogs can play and run what seems like all day, while others will make do with a short walk and play fetch at home. It is important as a pet owner for you to know your dog’s needs, and we are here to help.

Quick Tips

(found from

  • Active breeds need a minimum of 30 minutes of hard aerobic exercise daily
  • Toy or small breeds need exercise, which can be done inside the house
    • Due to inactivity, small breeds are more prone to obesity
  • Extreme weather is not safe so make sure you find alternatives inside during these times
    • Fetch
    • Running up and down stairs
    • Playing chase

We Can Help

Luckily, VIP Pet Services has many different options for you and your dog.

  1. We suggest our Puppy Program for those who have  young canine at home. Puppies need extra attention and of course, plenty of exercise. For young puppies, we recommend a minimum of 2 visits per day.
  2. Dog Walking = Happy Dogs. We don’t do group walks, so your dog will get our undivided attention during their walks!
  3. Time and attention. Pets need TLC and we want to be there! Our services provide visits 7 days a week at almost any time you need.

Black Lab Dog Green Background

We can help you with the perfect service and as always, exceptional care. Contact us today!




dog santa hat

Can Your Dog Catch Your Cold?

Many of us catch at least one cold during the winter months, and we all know how easy it is to pass a cold around the household!

What about your dog? Can your dog catch your cold? Happily, no. Humans and dogs are affected by different kinds of cold germs and cannot share them.

But dogs can catch colds from other dogs, which is why keeping them home with a pet sitter is so much better than boarding them at a kennel where they can be infected by another dog. If your dog does catch a cold, there are a few things to watch for. (This short video from Pet MD has some quick tips.)

As the video mentions, the best cold treatment for an otherwise healthy dog is to make sure they stay hydrated, and you may even want to put a humidifier near their bed.

If you’re going out of town for the holidays, or just extra busy and need a hand with your furry friend, it’s time to book your VIP sitter. It’s a great way to reduce their chances of catching a cold from other pets at a kennel! We’ll take your dog for a walk, cuddle with your cat, give them a belly rub and a snack, and we’ll even text you a quick update so you’ll have peace of mind.

Our schedules fill up quickly during the holidays – especially Christmas, so click here to book your pet sitter, or leave your number here and we’ll call you…

yellow cat getting shot by vet with gloves

Pet Diabetes Month

Symptoms of Diabetes

An affected animal will be hungry a lot of the time. Since glucose is not making it to the brain, the levels are too low for the brain to register that it is receiving food. You’ll see an increase in appetite, yet your pet will continue to lose weight because the nutrients in her food are not staying in her body. With glucose constantly leaving the body, she will be tired and unable to exercise or play. There is also increased thirst as a result of an upsurge in urine output while the body attempts to rid itself of the excess insulin.

The liver can also be adversely affected by this condition, as can the eyes and kidneys. Many animals with chronic and/or untreated diabetes will develop cataracts in their eyes and eventually go blind. They may also develop chronic kidney disease.

Veterinary Diagnosis and Treatment

In order to make a complete diagnosis, your veterinarian will take detailed a medical history from you about your pet’s health leading up to the onset of symptoms. The vet will also want details of the exact symptoms, including an estimation of daily urination times and amounts. Standard tests commonly include a complete blood count, chemical profile, and urinalysis. These tests should be sufficient for diagnosis and initial treatment.

Typically, with diabetes, an unusually high concentration of glucose will be found in your pet’s blood and urine. Abnormally high levels of liver enzymes and electrolyte imbalances are also common. Urine test results may also show evidence of abnormally high levels of ketone bodies – water-soluble compounds produced as a by-product of fatty acid metabolism in the liver and kidney. A numbers of other abnormalities may also be found.

The course of treatment for both cats and dogs typically includes…

  • Daily exercise using walks, runs or play therapy.
  • Gradual weight loss through increased physical activity and lowered caloric and carbohydrate intake.
  • Veterinary dietary management plans for all foods and treats. Dr. Spector recommends feeding cats “a canned, high protein, low carbohydrate food twice daily.” The veterinarians at WebMD suggest giving a high-fiber veterinary diet designed to normalize blood glucose levels.
  • Determination and tracking of daily blood glucose levels.
  • Daily insulin injections depending on the size, age, gender and weight of the affected animal. The insulin dosage may need to be adjusted as blood glucose levels sometime vary from day to day.

If left untreated, diabetes can lead to cataracts, growing weakness in the legs, malnutrition, vomiting, dehydration, and the development of ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a metabolic process where fats and proteins in your pet’s liver are broken down to serve as sources of energy not being supplied by necessary glucose. This leads to chronic liver disease, and eventually liver failure and death.

Prognosis of Pet Diabetes

Unfortunately, diabetes is not a disease that can be cured, but your pet’s health can be kept stable and she can go on to live a fully enjoyable life. This will be dependent on your willingness to adhere to your veterinarian’s dietary recommendations and suggested insulin protocol. The best preventive from complications is practicing careful maintenance at home with your animal’s best life in mind.


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
  • 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.


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.

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.



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.



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.


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.

black lab in flag

Enjoying 4th of July with your Precious Pets

4th of July

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 Cat looking for food in refrigerator at homepets 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. Contact us if you need pet care help during the holiday!