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Gardening with Your Pet

Some people like to spend their warm summer mornings or evenings outside gardening. This is a great time to have your pet outdoors with you in a fenced yard. You can both enjoy the beautiful weather while getting some yard work done. However, there are some precautions to take.

If you are mowing your lawn, it’s best to keep pets indoors. This big, powerful machine can be a danger to pets, so it’s best not to take any chances.

Digging up and splitting bulbs is a common chore this time of year. While most flowering plants are just irritating to your pet’s stomach, some are truly toxic (such as Easter lilies for cats). The bulbs tend to concentrate most of the toxins in many plants. Pets may also be attracted to any plant food, such as bone meal, that you put around your bulbs. This is another garden chore your pets might be better off skipping.

Standard weeding is a chore your pet may choose to supervise or “help” you with by running off with the discarded materials. As long as you aren’t dealing with any toxic plants, this can be a fun time for your pet to share with you. Many gardeners become adept at tossing a ball in between tugging up weeds.

If you are planning on new plantings, take into consideration the toxicity of the plants you choose. Check out the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs and cats before sprucing up your yard with something new.

Spending time outdoors together can be a great bonding experience, as long as you keep safety in mind.

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Summer Tips from Your Dog

Summer officially begins this week! With all the fun activities planned this Summer, don’t forget to include your best friend in some safe activities. Below are four pieces of advice that we can take from our four-legged best friends this summer:

1. Play in the water: You might notice your dog running around in the sprinklers or your kitty playing with a dripping faucet. Take a page out of your pet’s playbook and don’t be afraid to cool off with a little water fun! Playing in those sprinklers with your pup might just be a great bonding experience as well as some welcome heat relief.

2. Be adventurous: Rain or shine, it seems like your dog is always leading the way on your adventures together. Summer is the perfect opportunity for camping, beach trips, and other adventures. Just be sure to plan accordingly for the weather by avoiding the hottest part of the day and bringing plenty of water and sun protection.

3. Drink plenty of H2O: Dogs and cats don’t have other summertime beverage temptations like lemonade and margaritas, so it’s easier for them to listen to their bodies and drink plenty of water to quench their thirst. Take a tip from your four-legged best friend and reach for that water to stay hydrated.

4. Make time for an afternoon nap: When the summertime heat gets to be a little too much, sometimes the best thing to do is find a cool place to catch some z’s.

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5 Reasons Cats Are the Best

(1) They are adorable- Have you ever met a cat that wasn’t cute in some type of way? Probably not! They’re small, fluffy and super cute to look at going about their day. Most cats love attention and petting from their humans. Watching them play will absolutely melt your heart. Not to mention, they are really excellent cuddlers, on their own terms of course.

(2) They keep unwanted pests away- A cat’s playful nature easily attracts them to small rodents and bugs who they can chase after. If your cat happens to catch a rodent or bug they are chasing, don’t be surprised if they bring you their catch. Cats are known to bring their owners “gifts” of this nature. While the thought of a mouse brought to your feet is cringeworthy, you must admit the sentiment is sweet.

(3) They’re independent- Cats are very self sufficient and independent. They don’t require much as long as their basic needs are provided for. Food, water, and cuddles keep them happy and content.

(4) They’re loving- Despite being independent, when a cat decides they want some snuggles, they’ll be sure to come to you and let you know. There’s nothing sweeter than the affection they will give you. If they purr while allowing you to love on them consider it an added bonus!

(5) They’re resourceful- It’s a known fact cats love a good snooze. Clearly that’s why a common term is a, “cat nap”. Kitties can make anything into their bed to achieve an instant cozy slumber. Your bed, couch, blanket, corner, cabinet, etc. You name it, your cat may find a way to make it into the perfect slumber abode. That takes talent!

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Puppy Potty Training – FAQ’s

Let’s be honest, house training your puppy is one of the biggest difficulties you’ll face when you bring your newest family member home. It requires time, consistency, and lots of patience. By the way, did we mention patience? It may take 4-6 months for your puppy to be properly house trained. It’s easy to get discouraged and even confused by your puppy’s behavior, but it’s important to not give up. All the hard work and effort you put into training will pay off. The following tips are the most helpful and commonly asked questions when it comes to training your fur baby.

-When should I begin housebreaking my puppy? As soon as you bring your puppy home! This is usually between 12-16 weeks of age. Don’t delay or else you’ll risk him developing the habit of relieving himself in the wrong places. He’ll have a difficult time understanding the training once you initiate it. It’s easier to build good habits than it is to break bad ones.

-Should I designate an area of my home for training? Absolutely! This is ideal as it will reduce confusion by allowing your puppy to know this is where to relieve himself, no where else. This area should be blocked off so your puppy doesn’t wander off and relieve himself in other undesignated areas of the house. Once your puppy has the hang of puppy pad training and/or going outside to relieve himself, you may gradually give him more freedom to roam your home.

-What should I use to clean up an accident? Keep a pet odor neutralizer handy. These cleaners are designed to eliminate pet odors on various surfaces. Using a common household cleaner will not eliminate the odor completely, possibly causing your puppy to continually go back and have accidents in the same spot.

-Why does my puppy pee when I come home and greet him? This is an involuntary behavior caused by excitement or submission that occurs when sensitive or insecure dogs have exciting or intimidating interactions with humans.

-Why isn’t my puppy relieving himself on his puppy pads? Puppy pads are a huge help when it comes to potty training. The trick to using them correctly is consistency. You should designate a certain area of your house to put the pad consistently. Putting puppy pads in various areas of your house and not having a designated area causes confusion and leads to the misuse of pads. Keep in mind that it’s difficult for a puppy to distinguish the difference between the pad and rugs.

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Why Do Dogs Shed?

Believe it or not, dog’s fur isn’t just for extra cuddley cuteness. A dog’s fur aides in protecting his skin from environmental factors like the sun as well as helps to control his body temperature. Without fur, dogs would face many health challenges. It’s completely normal for a dog to shed as this is a natural process once the fur stops growing. However, depending on the breed, seasons, and any existing health conditions, the frequency of shedding will vary.

Some breeds have double coats of fur and will naturally shed their undercoat during spring and fall. These types of breeds include the Labrador, Beagle, Retriever, and German Shepherd.

If a dog is shedding much more than what is normal for the particular breed it could be due to:

Environment- A change in a dog’s environment can cause shedding due to stress or anxiety. For example, moving, car rides, or visits to the Veterinarian may cause stress or anxiety which will cause extra shedding. If you have noticed your dog’s hair seems to be all over the place (including you and your clothes) when they go to the Veterinarian this is why.

Skin disorders- Skin disorders are a common cause of excessive shedding.These disorders include but are not limited to ringworm, dermatitis, fungal infections, mites, fleas, and parasites. If you notice skin irritation in the form of bumps, rashes, or scabs in addition to extra hair loss, make an appointment for your dog to be evaluated by their Veterinarian.

Allergies– Particular medications, foods, and household cleaners may cause your dog to shed more due to an allergic reaction. If you notice extra shedding after introducing a new product into the household, it’s most likely due to an allergy you dog has to the product. This is the same for any new foods or medications your dog is given.

Fur all over you, your house, and furniture can be frustrating and you may wonder how you can prevent it. Unfortunately, you can’t stop a healthy dog from shedding, but you can try to get a handle on it with grooming supplies.

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Help Your Pets Beat the Heat

The weather is warming up and the days are sunny and beautiful. It’s the perfect time to get outside for picnics and events with family and friends outdoors. Like most pet owners, your pets are sure to be included in the fun festivities. Your pets love time and attention with family and being outdoors is an added bonus. However, it’s important to remember that pets don’t handle heat well and heat stroke is a life threatening condition that easily sneaks up quickly.

We want you to enjoy the warmer weather with your pets outdoors in a safe manner. Before you head out the door, consider these tips to have a safe outing:

Water- Water, water, water! This cannot be stressed enough. Always bring enough water for you and your pets. Don’t forget a bowl for your pet to drink out of and offer water breaks multiple times throughout your outing.

Consider keeping a small kiddie pool filled with water for your pet to cool off in. If your pet doesn’t know how to swim, make sure you supervise them.

Exercise when it’s coolest- If you take your dog on daily walks it’s best to plan these walks at the time of day when it’s coolest. This may mean getting up earlier than usual but it’s worth it to ensure your dog’s safety.

Protection from the sun- Trees and patios offer great shade and it’s important to make sure your pet takes a break in this shade often. If you’re attending an event and you’re not certain if shade is provided, consider bringing your own umbrella to give your pet breaks in the shade.

Pets can become overheated and some dog breeds easily overheat. Hot weather makes overheating possible very quickly. Never leave your pet outside unattended without shade and don’t leave your pet outside for long periods of time even if there is shade. It’s best to bring your pets inside where it’s cool and safe for them.

Know the signs of heatstroke– Disorientation, excessive water consumption, and heavy panting are signs of heatstroke. If you suspect your pet may be suffering from heatstroke act quickly and don’t hesitate. Move your pet to a cool air conditioned place immediately. Apply cool towels to their chest, neck, or head. As the towels become warm, replace them with cool towels. Do not immerse your pet in an ice cold water bath as this causes your pet’s blood vessels in the skin to constrict making it difficult for the body to dissipate the heat.

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Breed Spotlight: French Bulldog

If you own or have ever met a french bulldog (also commonly referred to as a Frenchie), you know how cuddly and loving these fur babies can be. In addition to being super cute and lovable, they are protective of their families making them wonderful family dogs. Here are some facts you may not know:

Frenchies are affectionate. They are friendly dogs that were bred to be companions. They get along well with other dogs making them wonderful family dogs.

Can’t swim. Due to the Frenchie’s short stature, the breed cannot swim. This is important to know if you are thinking of owning a Frenchie and you have a pool. Great caution should be taken to ensure the dog will not fall into the water.

Talkative. While the breed may bark a little here and there, Frenchies are known for their unique talking skills. By talking skills we mean yawns, gurgles, and yips. It’s almost like Frenchies have their own secret language.

Heat stroke. Heat stroke easily hits Frenchies as they are a brachycephalic breed. Their squished face and short nasal passages make it difficult to breathe. Heat stroke can hurt the dog within minutes and can be fatal. This makes it crucial to ensure Frenchies do not become overheated.

Easily trained. Frenchies are well behaved and easily trained. Training a Frenchie can be a breeze (as long as treats as rewards are involved).

Varying colors. Frenchies come in an array of different colors. Some colors include brindle, fawn, white, black, and tan.

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The Importance of Flea Prevention

It’s important to keep your pet on a flea and tick preventative to keep them safe. Even if your pet doesn’t currently have fleas,they are easy to catch and can be incredibly difficult to get under control. If your pet catches fleas, the fleas easily spread to other pets in your household. A flea infestation will cause a nuisance for you and your family members. Most importantly, fleas serve as hosts for tapeworms which both pets and humans can be infected with. It’s best not to risk a flea infestation when it’s so simple to protect our pets by using a flea preventative.

As the weather warms up, it’s not uncommon to notice your pet becoming itchy. The warmer of an area you live in, the higher the likelihood of fleas agitating your pets. As humans, we don’t like to be itchy and surely our pets don’t like to be either! This is why preventative, routine flea prevention is important. This is especially important if you live in an area that remains warm all year long.

You can either treat your pet for fleas spot on (also known as topically) or treat fleas orally. No matter the method you choose, it’s extremely important to understand that flea preventatives intended for dogs can be harmful and potentially lethal to cats. Therefore, preventatives intended for dogs only and cats only should be used in their respective manner.

Products like Frontline and Advantage are commonly used spot on treatments. They work by killing existing fleas, in addition to regulating flea growth. They are applied to your pet’s skin once a month. It’s a great option for pets who downright refuse to swallow pills.

Some pet owners feel spot on treatments can be messy, which makes oral medication a great alternative. NexGard is a great example of an oral flea preventative. Oral flea medication can provide fast relief and treatment of fleas. In addition, there is no worry if you’ve successfully placed the entire treatment on your pet, like there is with spot on treatments.

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Memorial Day BBQ Dangers

Memorial Day weekend is upon us and there’s a high chance you’ll host or attend a BBQ. If your dog comes along for the fun it’s important to make sure they are safe from dangerous foods. Look out for these hidden BBQ dangers:

Corn on the cob- Dogs love to chew and corn on the cob may seem like the perfect treat for your dog but it’s very dangerous. Since dogs don’t know to chew the kernels off and not eat the rest, the cob can be dangerous is swallowed as it causes intestinal blockage.

Onions- Whether raw or cooked, onions are off limits for dogs. Due to the substance thiosulfate, onions are incredibly toxic to dogs causing gastrointestinal upset and an elevated heart rate.

Ribs- Meat on a bone can be dangerous for dogs due to the chance of choking. Once the meat is off the bone, your dog doesn’t know to not stop chewing. There’s a chance your dog may chew the bone which can lead to choking or even incredible injury to the digestive track if a piece of swallowed bone splinters.

In general, meat can be toxic to dogs if large amounts are consumed. Ingesting large amounts of fatty meat results in pancreatitis which is very dangerous and potentially life threatening.

Grapes- While the exact substance that causes toxicity isn’t known, dogs shouldn’t eat grapes as even small amounts can be fatally toxic.

Dessert- Any desserts made with chocolate lead to danger due to theobromine. This is toxic to dogs and can be potentially deadly. In addition, sugar free desserts containing xylitol are fatal to dogs.

To be safe, it’s not a bad idea to bring along your dog’s food or some special dog friendly treats so they don’t feel left out!

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Many kitty cat owners are not aware that their cat can suffer from a urinary tract infection. Some cats may never have one in their lifetime, but the cats that do suffer from them show symptoms that their owners may not even realize are indicators.

The Most Common Signs of a Urinary Tract Infection Are:

-Urine accidents inside the house in places like the bathtub or a closet

-Straining to urinate

-Frequent attempts to urinate

-Blood in the urine (this may be pink or red)

-Painful urination

If your cat shows these signs it’s important to take him to the Veterinarian for an evaluation. The Veterinarian will need a to perform a urinalysis. The urinalysis will show whether there are white blood cells present in your cats urine or not. White blood cells in the urine indicate an infection. While the presence of white blood cells suggests an infection, it’s vital that this is confirmed by performing a culture. Culturing the urine and allowing bacteria to grow will allow the Veterinarian to be absolutely certain there is an infection and most importantly what type of bacteria is causing it.

A culture is vital because it allows the Veterinarian to know which antibiotic to treat your cat with due to the type of bacteria found. If no bacteria is present there is no need for an antibiotic. Veterinarians prefer not to prescribe antibiotics unless it’s absolutely needed due to the risk of developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A culture can also help determine if something else is going on in your cat’s body besides a urinary tract infection. A cat may exhibit signs of a urinary tract infection, but the type of bacteria found in the culture may indicate issues that are more serious than initially thought.

How to Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections

Most importantly remember the symptoms of a urinary tract infection and look out for them. The sooner your cat receives treatment, the better he will feel. Some cats are susceptible to reoccurring urinary tract infections, so it’s advised to know the signs and follow the directions and treatment plan your cat’s Veterinarian puts into place.

Many Veterinarians suggest giving your cat a daily urinary infection preventative. It’s also extremely beneficial to ensure your cat has access to water to drink throughout the day. Not only will it help your four legged pal to stay hydrated, but drinking plenty of water results in regular urinating. This helps to flush out and reduce the chance of bacteria growing in the urinary tract.

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