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Today is Cinco de Mayo! If you’re not familiar with Cinco de Mayo, the day recognizes the Mexican Army’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. While many of us may celebrate this day, let’s not forget our pets. They love to celebrate too!

You may be thinking, “how can I celebrate with my pet”? Here are some fun suggestions:

Why not throw a party? Invite your pet’s friends and humans over for a fun get together. Add a piñata or photo booth for extra fun. Just make sure any choking hazards or unsafe foods are not easily accessible to your pet and their fur pals.

Enjoy a margarita with your pet! To clarify, you should be the only one drinking the margarita, as alcohol can be toxic to pets. Even though your pet cannot have a margarita themselves, they can keep you company while you sip one! You both will enjoy each other’s company.

No matter how you choose to spend Cinco de Mayo, your pet will be so thankful to be spending the day with you!

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Why Identification Tags Are Important

Do you keep a collar and id tag on your dog at all times? If you don’t, you really should considering doing so. Regardless of whether your dog is an inside or outside dog, there’s always a risk of your dog getting out and becoming lost. Having an id tag on them will aide in their safe return.

You may be reading this, thinking this a silly blog subject considering your dog is microchipped or would never run away. Dogs can become lost much easier than one might expect. There are so many potential scenarios that could happen. For example, someone doing work in your yard may forget to close the gate, allowing your dog to escape. Or a storm may frighten your dog causing them to dig under a fence or jump over a fence. For whatever reason, if your dog runs away the first step in their return is having an id tag.

Having an id tag with your dog’s name, your name, address, and phone number will allow neighbors or good samaritans who find your dog to contact you. Even if your dog is microchipped, this would require the individual who finds your dog to take them to their nearest vet or shelter. While many individuals would go out of their way to help a dog who appears to be lost, sadly some individuals may not. However, having an id tag on your dog allows whoever finds your dog to easily contact you. This greatly increases the chance of your dog returning home safely and quickly.

Put yourself in your dog’s paws. What if he or she were to become lost for any reason. Imagine how scared and anxious they would be. Just like we humans have identification, and keep it updated, so should our pets.

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Flea Prevention

 

As the weather becomes warmer, it’s a great time to discuss flea prevention for your pets. If you notice your cat or dog becoming itchy and pestered as the weather has warmed up, it’s because fleas are attracted to warm climates. 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.

As responsible pet owners it’s our responsibility to get a flea infestation under control and maintain it for the health of our pet. 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.

 

Spot on Treatments Compared to Oral Treatments-

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. Capstar and NexGard are great examples of oral flea preventatives. 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.

Even if your pet doesn’t currently have fleas, it’s a good idea to start them on a preventative for their safety and yours. 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.

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Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs

Have you ever suffered from a urinary tract infection? If so, you know how uncomfortable it can be. You may be surprised to learn that your dog can suffer from urinary tract infections too. Many dog owners are not aware of this, so knowing the signs of an infection is beneficial.

While some dogs may never have one in their lifetime, the dogs 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
  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in the urine (this may be pink or red)
  • Crying or whining while urinating
  • Frequently licking the genital area
  • Dribbling urine or the inability to urinate

 

If your dog 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 dogs 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 dog 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 dog’s body besides a urinary tract infection. A dog 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. For example, the culture may show that there is an issue in the kidney, prostate, or there may be kidney stones that are affecting the urinary tract.

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 dog receives treatment, the better he will feel. Some dogs are susceptible to reoccurring urinary tract infections, so it’s advised to know the signs and follow the directions and treatment plan your dog’s Veterinarian puts into place.

Many Veterinarians suggest giving your dog a daily urinary infection preventative. It’s also extremely beneficial to ensure your dog 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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Pet Spotlight: Meet Sparky!

Sparky is 6 1/2 years old and is an Agouti

Sparky’s story is a special one. Along with her 7 siblings, Sparky was rescued as a baby by her sweet human Mama named Julia, who has a passion for bunny rescue.  All of the 8 babies were paired off when Julia rescued them. If you’re not familiar with bunny terminology, pairing/bonding is essential to a rabbit’s livelihood.

Rabbits live longer, healthier and happier lives if they have a partner to share their life with. Having a partner is key to their happiness. Rabbits typically bond with rabbits with similar personalties and the process can be a tough one. In fact, some rabbits may not even bond with any of the other rabbits they live with.

When introducing rabbits to each other with the intention of bonding, there are guidelines to follow. All rabbits must be spayed/neutered and be healthy. Their first introduction should be away from the home rabbit’s territory. Rabbits must be introduced slowly and carefully ensuring the rabbits are demonstrating positive body language. Positive body language includes demonstrating relaxed behaviors, purring, or grooming. If either rabbit shows aggressive body language such as growling, biting, or chasing, the introduction should be stopped to prevent fighting. The introduction can be picked up again another day. This process can take some time. However, once they form bonds, the rabbits will be inseparable. The bond is so powerful that the separation or loss of a partner(s) can cause great heartache.

Sadly, Sparky’s original partner passed away. So you can imagine what grief and sadness Sparky was experiencing. Initially after the loss of Sparky’s partner, Julia tried to bond Sparky with two of her sisters she grew up with. Unfortunately, despite living together, Sparky and her two sisters didn’t bond because they didn’t like each other and would fight.

About a month after Sparky’s partner passed, Julia rescued another bunny named Theodore, with the hope that one day Sparky would bond with him.

When Julia introduced Sparky to Theodore they both began grooming each other! This is extremely rare in the world of bunny bonding as it typically takes multiple introductions before rabbits will bond. It was clear to Julia that these two were in desperate need of each other. Their instant connection is precious and doesn’t happen often. As you can see by the pictures of Sparky and Theodore, they truly adore each other.

Sparky enjoys living in sunny San Diego, California with her partner/husband Theodore. Not only is Sparky lucky to have bonded with Theodore, but she’s also lucky to have such a caring and compassionate Mama like Julia!

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Dog Breed Spotlight: Pekingese

 For this blog post we decided to spotlight a breed of dog that is not only adorable, but has such a unique and sweet personality.

 To begin with, just look at this face! How can you not fall in love with such a darling dog?

If you have no idea what type of dog you’re looking at, this is a Pekingese. The Pekingese is an ancient Chinese breed that was known to be a dog of luxury. They were bred to resemble Chinese guardian lions. In 1860 Queen Victoria of Britain was given a Pekingese. 

This breed of dog is a member of the toy group, typically weighing between 6-12 pounds. However, some dogs can weigh smaller! A Pekingese is known for its sturdy body despite being small in size. Their shortened muzzles, big beautiful eyes, and unique markings are a staple to this breed.

Their lush, soft hair which can grow long, makes regular grooming important for this breed. The breed does shed, but the love they give makes up for any stray hair lying around. Like Pugs, the Pekingese has facial creases that require regular cleaning.

They love to be outdoors and go on walks, but it’s important to keep them out of the heat as they do not do well in high temperatures. Even a short amount of exposure to hot weather can make these four legged cuties susceptible to heat stroke.

There are 10 standard colors of Pekingese. The colors include Biscuit, Black, Black & Tan, Cream, Fawn, Fawn Sable, Gray, Red, Red Sable, and White.

Training a Pekingese can be frustrating and difficult due to their stubbornness and belief that they run the household. Training is possible, but it’s suggested training begins early. They are a well behaved breed that are prone to barking. Barking isn’t a bad trait when you consider it makes them excellent watchdogs. Pekingese often are described as brave little dogs who guard their families, which is very endearing.

Pekingese are beloved companions who will put a smile on your face. They are intelligent and affectionate family dogs with unique personalities. They get along with fellow dogs and pets in the household. They are devoted lapdogs who love attention from all members of their family. They don’t require vigorous exercise to maintain their health and happiness which makes them the perfect dog whether you live in a house or an apartment.

We would love to see your pictures of your Pekingese, feel free to share them in the comments!

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Keep Your Pets Safe This Easter

Easter is just around the corner and we hope everyone enjoys the day with their friends, families, and fur babies. Whether you celebrate at home, at a park, or a friend’s house, we thought this would be a great time to remind our readers of some key tips for keeping their pets safe this Easter.

Keep All Easter Candy up and Away from Pets Reach

Chocolate is bad for pets to ingest and in doing so it can cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Many candies these days are made with an artificial sweetener called xylitol. Small amounts of xylitol can be fatal to pets. It doesn’t take much exposure to cause tremendous harm. This makes it so important to keep all easter candies up and out of reach of pets.

Table Scraps Can Be Deadly

We know how cute our fur babies can be begging for leftover food, but giving them even small amounts can potentially be fatal. The ingredients used, spices for flavoring, and fat contents can make your pets incredibly ill with nausea and diarrhea, to the point hospitalization is needed. For example, the high salt content in ham can cause pancreatitis in dogs. This makes dogs incredibly sick and can be life threatening. It’s best to avoid giving your pets table scraps all together, no matter how cute they look asking for them.

Easter Grass and Confetti Are Dangerous to Pets

If you plan on decorating with confetti, or Easter grass you may want to think twice. Confetti and Easter grass is not easily digested by pets. These items can be easily be mistaken as normal grass prompting your pets to ingest these items. Ingestion may cause a great amount of damage. Damage can involve the confetti or grass becoming lodged or blocked in the intestines or stomach, extreme discomfort, and possibly internal punctures which may require surgery or result in death.

Easter Lilies Are Poisonous

The Easter Lilly, is an Easter staple. While it’s gorgeous, it can be potentially life threatening, especially to cats. Exposure to its pollen, leaves, or even the water the flower is kept in, can cause vomiting, frequent urination, and possible kidney failure. If these symptoms go left untreated, death can occur fairly quickly. Dogs may experience gastrointestinal distress if exposed, but nothing life threatening like cats do. It’s best to keep Easter Lilies away and out of reach from all pets.

VetDepot wishes you and your family a happy and safe Easter!

We would love for you to share your photos and videos of your Easter celebration with your pets. This photo submitted by a fan shows how much fun dying eggs with her four legged pal is!

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April Is National Frog Month

April is National Frog Month! We really don’t give frogs enough credit for how much they help us humans out. They deserve much more than a month to celebrate them. Frogs are vital to the food chain and help to keep insect populations under control. This is important because most of the insects they eat carry diseases that can be fatal to humans. Frogs also aide in eating insects that may destroy crops.

We Love Our Leaping Amphibian Friends and Thought You May Enjoy Learning These Fun Frog Facts:

  • Frogs inhabit every continent except for Antarctica.
  • Frogs don’t drink water, they absorb it into their body through their skin. Specifically through a frog’s belly and underside of its legs. A frog’s skin is permeable which allows water and gases to be easily absorbed. As humans, this is important to remember and aide in reducing pollution. Pollution in a frog’s environment can greatly hurt and easily kill a substantial amount of frogs.
  • A frog breathes through its nostrils as well as its skin by absorbing extra oxygen in the water.
  • Frogs have an incredibly sticky tongue. This allows them to catch and swallow their food. A frog’s tongue is not attached to the back of its mouth like a human’s tongue. Instead, the tongue is attached to the front which allows frogs to stick their tongues out farther.
  • A frog’s skin sheds once a week. This is known as molting. Once its skin has shed, the frog typically eats it. It may sound gross, but the purpose is for a frog to absorb the much needed protein found in its skin.
  • A group of frogs is called an army.
  • Male frogs croak to attract females. In fact, each species of frog has a unique croak which is can to be heard a mile away. Until recently, it was believed that female frogs do not croak, only the males croak. However, in the last few decades scientists have discovered some species of female frogs who croak.

Want to Celebrate National Frog Month but Not Sure How To? Here Are Some Fun Suggestions to Try:

  • Find out if your local zoo has a frog exhibit as well as any frog themed events to attend.
  • Remember being a young child and playing a game of leap frog with friends? Do it! Yes, it may be silly, but you’ll be surprised at how much fun you’ll have.
  • Do you love frogs or know someone who loves frogs? Consider getting a frog tattoo!
  • Explore for frogs in your neighborhood and do your part in reducing pollution to help ecosystems.
  • Share some fun frog jokes. Here’s one you can use:

Why did the frog go to the hospital?

  He needed a, “hopperation”!

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Does Your Dog Suffer From Ear Infections?

Many dogs have ear infections that go undetected. A dog’s ear canal is vertical which allows moisture as well as debris to easily become backed up in the ear canal. Extra hair, moisture, wax, allergies, ear mites, or yeast can cause a dog to have an ear infection. Ear infections can become very painful to dogs, just like they can become to humans.

How Do You Know if Your Dog is Suffering From an Ear Infection?

If you notice your dog have any of these symptoms it’s possible they may be suffering from an ear infection:

-Odor coming from their ear

-Hair loss near their ear

-Loss of balance

-Scabs on outside or inside of the ear

-Hearing loss

-Walking in circles

-Swelling

-Head shaking

-Scratching or rubbing at their ear

What Should You Do if Your Dog is Demonstrating Any of Those Symptoms?

The first step is to take him see his veterinarian. They will examine your dog’s ear canal and ear drum. Sometimes a sample of your dog’s ear discharge may be taken to determine whether bacteria, yeast, or parasites are present.

If your dog’s veterinarian diagnoses your dog with an ear infection they will clean your dog’s ear thoroughly. While this may temporarily cause your dog some discomfort, it is vital to clearing the infection up. In addition, your dog’s veterinarian will prescribe your dog a topical or oral medicine. It’s crucial to ensure your dog receives the treatment suggested by their veterinarian to clear up any infection.

How Can You Prevent Your Dog From Having Ear Infections in the Future?

Many times the cause for an ear infection is due to the ear canal becoming moist after swimming, bathing, or grooming. The moisture remaining in your dog’s ear fuels the growth of bacteria. Ensuring your dog is dried off properly can make quite a difference. However, some dogs easily get ear infections due to allergies. Determining whether your dog is getting ear infections due to moisture or allergies will help greatly in lessening the chances of your dog obtaining an ear infection.

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National Heartworm Awareness Month

April is National Heartworm Awareness Month. Heartworm disease is a disease that is very concerning and can possibly be fatal in pets. It can affect both cats and dogs. The disease itself involves foot long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of infected pets, that may cause heart failure and damage to other organs in your pet’s body.

The disease is primarily carried by wild species that live in suburban areas such as coyotes. However, the mosquito plays a huge role in the heartworm life cycle. Mature female heartworms living inside of an infected pet or wild animal, produce tiny babies called microfilaria that live in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites an infected animal or pet, it picks up these microfilaria which mature and become infective. When the infected mosquito then bites another animal, the infected microfilaria are deposited onto the animal’s skin and enter the animal through the mosquito’s bite wound. This cycle results in heartworm being difficult to control.

Heartworm Disease in Dogs

Dogs are common hosts for heartworms. Heartworms can live inside a dog long enough to mature and create their own offspring. This easily allows several hundred worms inside a dog’s body. If the disease is left untreated, the numbers of heart worms may increase inside a dog’s body creating damage to the heart, lungs, and arteries.

Symptoms of heartworm disease include a mild cough, fatigue, lessened appetite, and weight loss. As the disease evolves in a dog, a dog may experience heart failure.

Heartworm Disease in Cats

Heartworm disease in cats varies greatly from dogs. Cats are not typical hosts for heartworms, but the presence of heartworms may still exist causing great damage if left untreated. Most worms in cats do not survive as the cat matures. However, a few may remain causing a condition known as heartworm associate respiratory disease (HARD).

Symptoms of Heartworm Disease in cats includes coughing, attacks mimicking asthma attacks, vomiting, decreased appetite, or weight loss. Heartworms in cats can possibly migrate to other parts of the body such as the eyes or brain. The symptoms of heartworm disease in cats are much harder to detect than dogs. This means testing is crucial to not allow a cat to go untreated if affected by heartworms.

Testing and Treatment

The sooner the disease is detected and treated, the better the outcome. Heartworm testing administered annually by your veterinarian will determine whether your pet is infected or not. In addition, heartworm preventative medications are a must.

All dogs should be tested annually for heartworms during routine check-ups for preventative care. Dogs under 7 months old should start a heart worm preventative, but should be tested for heartworms after 6 months to ensure heartworms are not present. Dogs over 7 months old and not previously tested or on a preventative medication must be tested prior to starting heart worm prevention.

Even if your dog is currently on heartworm preventative medication it is crucial they are tested yearly for the disease in the event they have been infected. Missing a dose, or skipping a dose of heart worm preventative medication can leave your dog susceptible to the disease.

In the event your dog is diagnosed with heartworm disease it’s important your dog’s disease is stabilized and treated by their veterinarian.

It’s vital to understand that the medication used to treat heart worm in dogs cannot be used in cats. There is no approved heartworm treatment for cats, therefore early detection in crucial. Having your cat tested yearly for heart worm will make a great difference as well as preventative heartworm medication.

To learn more about heartworm disease, click here.

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