Pet Travel Safety

Going on an end of summer vacation with your dog? Don’t forget to be prepared to have him or her with you so that they can enjoy the trip too! Remember to pack as much food as your dog will need for the trip, and bring a jug of water with you on the road so they can have a drink if they get thirsty. Keep in mind that more than a few laps of water can be too much for a dog when you have many hours of travel ahead because it can cause a need to use the bathroom or nausea.

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Canine Arthritis

Arthritis is a very painful and common condition that affects older dogs. One in five adult dogs are affected by arthritis, and it has been reported to be the number one source of chronic pain that veterinarians treat every year. “Arthritis” simply means inflammation of the joints. Arthritis occurs when the protective cartilage, or lubrication (synovial fluid) of the joints breaks down.

There are two common types of dog arthritis. These types are known as degenerative and inflammatory. They are diagnosed by their causes, and both types of arthritis have basically identical symptoms. There are a number of causes of arthritis in dogs. Some common causes of arthritis include poor nutrition, obesity, trauma to the bones or joins and malformation of the dog’s bone structure.

Symptoms Of Arthritis
Weight gain/loss – Your dog may lose or gain weight when he has arthritis. He will likely sleep more than play and lose interest in activities, hence, he may gain some weight. On the other hand, he may be in pain from bending down to eat his food, so he may lose weight. Dogs may become depressed when dealing with arthritis, and this is a common cause of under/overeating.
Decreased interest in activity – Since your dog is in a significant about of pain, he will likely not become very excited to play and run around. Your dog may want to stop and turn around during a routine walk. Even playtime may seem like a huge effort when your dog has arthritis.
Difficulty sitting or standing – Your dog may find it hard to get up and may not move right away. The first few steps may be painful and appear stiff. He may become uncomfortable while sitting or standing and shift around a lot.
Hesitancy to jump or climb stairs – Jumping up on the couch for a cuddle may not be possible when your dog is suffering from arthritis. You may notice your dog does not want to jump up and sit with you as much anymore, and will choose to rest on the floor instead. He may also be hesitant to climb any stairs around the house as well.
Sleeping often – Lethargy is very common with arthritis. Your dog may not want to move around at all, so he will sleep to ease the pain in his joints.
Favoring a limb – This is known as limb lameness, and is a common symptom of canine arthritis. It may come and go, and can affect different legs at a time. Your dog may even limp.
Mood swings – Your dog may not want to play or listen when he is called. Because of the pain, he may become easily irritated if he is forced into any activity. Keep an eye out for noises when you touch him as well.
Home Remedies For Arthritis
Control Their Weight. A healthy diet is extremely important for your dog during arthritis. Getting rid of excess weight is beneficial for your dog, as he won’t have to carry any more weight around on his joints. Fat tissues secrete hormones that cause pain.
Apply Heat on Sore Joints. Applying a warm compress to your dog’s joints will help to ease the pain. Heat will penetrate deep into the muscle to the joint for relief. Keep in mind your dog cannot get up fast, so avoid burning him with a water bottle that’s too hot.
Light Exercise. Exercise should be regular, but not too strenuous. If your dog wants to turn and go back home after a short walk, let him. The key is constant exercise, but keeping it light and short. Avoid walking when it is too cold out, as the joints will be especially sore. Treadmills are great when supervised, and swimming is a great form of exercise as well.
Keep Them Warm and Comfortable. This is especially important on cold or wet days. Cold weather may cause the joints to be especially stiff or swollen. Add an extra blanket to his bed or let him sleep inside the house. Adding an extra pillow will also help keep him comfortable and ease pain in the joints.
Raise Food and Water Dishes. This is especially important if your dog has arthritis in the neck or shoulders. Bending down may cause tension and pain, so raising his food and water dishes will help him to eat pain free. You may notice a weight loss during arthritis, and the pain to eat may be the source of this.
Slip-Free Floors. Your dog may struggle when walking on hard wood floors. If you notice this, consider getting a rug for common areas he plays or rests. Using different cleaning products on the floors may also help with slipping paws.
Massage and Acupuncture Therapy. You can do massages at home or take your dog to a professional. Massages and acupuncture provide relief for sore, inflamed joints and will help to loosen these areas up.
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Pets & Microchipping

Is your pet an adventure-seeker? Make sure they’re protected by having them microchipped, if they’re traveling with you, or even if they just like to wander. Microchipping ensures that your pet has a permanent form of identification linking them to you, in case you should be separated. Call us today at 210-684-2273 for more details about having your pet microchipped. Have you ever lost your pet before…and how did you go about recovering them?

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Feline Periodontal Disease

The most frequent complaint of senior pet owners is dental problems, including bad breath and difficulty eating. More than 85% cats over four years of age have some form of periodontal disease, a painful inflammatory condition in which bacteria attack the gums, ligament, and bone tissues that surround and support the teeth. Senior cats, those seven or more years of age, are especially susceptible to periodontal disease.
That’s why it’s important to have your cat’s teeth examined by your veterinarian on a routine basis. If left unchecked, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel to major organs, starting infection there and seriously compromising the health of your cat.
Most periodontal infections begin simply enough. Plaque, which is composed of bacteria, salivary proteins, and food debris, builds up in the groove between teeth and gums, causing irritation, redness, and swelling. Eventually pockets form and deepen, allowing bacteria to damage the tissues that hold teeth in place.
At this stage, bacteria from the oral infection have a clear path to the animal’s bloodstream and vital organs. The organs with the highest blood flow are most susceptible to infections: lungs, heart, kidneys, liver and even the brain. Damage to these organs caused by infection may shorten a cat’s life.
Look for these warning signs:
·      Bad breath – one of the first signs of dental disease
·      A yellowish-brown crust of plaque on the teeth near the gum line
·      Red and swollen gums
·      Pain or bleeding when your cat eats or when the mouth or gums are touched
·      Decreased appetite or difficulty eating
·      Loose or missing teeth
If your cat displays any of these signs, periodontal disease may be present.
Regular dental checkups are important to maintaining not only your cat’s oral health, but overall health as well. In fact, because cats age more quickly than humans, dental exams should become more frequent, perhaps every six months, as your pet ages. Think of it as a necessary part of your cat’s preventive care plan. Talk to your veterinarian about professional dental care and what you can do to keep your cat’s teeth and body healthy.

June is Social PETworking Month

June is Social PETworking Month! This is a month designated to help pair families with homeless pets. The campaign allows Facebook, MySpace and Twitter addicts to put their hours online to good use by advertising adoptable pets to their networks to help get them seen and into loving homes. So if you know of any pets in need of good homes, take to Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and get the word out this June!

Pets & Swimming

Is your dog a swimmer? Remember to protect their ears from infection. Dogs can develop chronic “swimmer’s ear” from water that gets lodged in the ear canal after a dip in the water. Because of the shape of a dog’s descending ear canal, it is difficult for water to drip out. The moisture left over in the ear canal is the perfect environment for ear infections. After your dog is finished playing in the water, take a towel and gently cover your dog’s ear and gently shake their head. This will keep any excess water from settling in your dog’s ear canal. When bathing, water can get trapped in a pet’s ear canals and cause the same kind of infection. If your pet is still experiencing irritation, call us and we’ll be happy to help in any way we can.