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A Comprehensive Guide to Nurturing Senior Pets

As pet owners, we share a unique bond with our furry companions that transcends time. Our pets grow with us, becoming cherished members of the family. As the years go by, our pets age just as we do, and caring for senior pets comes with its own set of joys and responsibilities. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the beauty of adopting and caring for senior pets, addressing their needs, health considerations, and the unique rewards that come with offering a loving home to these wise and gentle souls.

The Joys of Adopting Senior Pets

The beauty of adopting a senior pet lies in their maturity. Their personalities are fully formed, and their calm and gentle demeanor makes them excellent companions for individuals and families alike. Typically they may have lower energy than a puppy and are house broken. Seniors, looking to be adopted, need us as much as we need them as they are often overlooked in shelters.

Building a bond with a pet takes time and the bond is the foundation for the relationship. Pets and pet parents with a strong bond have a higher success rate with training and presenting good behavior in public. When adopting an older pet, this bond often forms quickly. Older pets seem to understand the gift of a second chance, and the loyalty and affection they show in return are heartwarming.

Understanding the Needs of Senior Pets

Senior pets have different nutritional needs compared to their younger counterparts. High-quality senior pet foods cater to their changing dietary requirements, promoting joint health, and maintaining a healthy weight. If medical conditions arise, a senior pet may need specific food that can be prescribed by a veterinarian.

As with all pets, frequent veterinary check-ups are essential to monitor their health. With senior pets, it is even more imperative. Preventive measures and early intervention can address age-related concerns and ensure your pet’s well-being.

As pets age their needs change. With these changes they may require adjustments to their living space. Some senior pets may need soft bedding, ramps for easier access, and a warm and cozy environment to maintain a state of comfort.

Health Considerations for Senior Pets

One of the most important things to keep your pet enriched and satisfied is daily exercise. Although senior pets may experience a decrease in energy levels, regular exercise remains vital. Consider low-impact activities, like gentle walks and interactive play, to help maintain their mobility and prevent obesity.

Dental health starts with teeth, but can impact the entire body. As pets age, keeping on top of their dental health is of utmost importance. Regular dental cleanings and a proper dental care routine help prevent dental disease, which can lead to more significant health issues.

Senior pets are more prone to chronic health conditions such as arthritis, kidney disease, and diabetes. Working closely with your veterinarian to manage these conditions through medication, dietary adjustments, and monitoring is essential.

The Rewards of Adopting Senior Pets

Senior pets are often overlooked in shelters compared to their younger counterparts. However, they offer companionship that is rooted in experience. Their presence adds a sense of calm and serenity to your home, enriching your life in immeasurable ways.

Unfortunately, our pets have shorter life spans than us, but you can extend the life of a senior by providing a loving home, diligent oversight, and comfort. By adopting a senior pet, you’re giving a deserving pet a chance to spend their golden years in comfort and love. Your kindness and compassion can profoundly impact their quality of life.

Despite their age, senior pets have an incredible capacity for love. They form deep bonds with their caregivers and shower them with loyalty, gratitude, and unwavering affection.

Conclusion

Welcoming a senior pet into your home is an act of kindness that’s immeasurable. These wise souls have so much to offer, from the wisdom of age to the unwavering love they bring into our lives. By embracing the joys and challenges of caring for senior pets, we honor the beautiful journey we share with them. The rewards are plentiful, and the memories you create together will remain etched in your heart forever.

Interested in learning more? Download our Top Five Tips for Providing Optimal Care to Senior Pets Guide.

Pet Hydration 101

Pet hydration is crucial for the overall well-being and health of our furry companions. Just like humans, pets rely on proper hydration to maintain bodily functions and prevent health issues. However, many pet owners underestimate the importance of keeping their pets hydrated, leading to potential complications. There are many things to consider when it comes to hydrating your pet: the significance of pet hydration, signs of dehydration to watch out for, and practical tips to ensure your pet stays hydrated and happy.

Understanding the Importance of Pet Hydration

Water is an essential nutrient for pets, playing a vital role in their bodily functions. It aids in digestion, circulation, and temperature regulation. Hydration is closely linked to organ health, as dehydration can negatively impact the kidneys, liver, and urinary tract. Additionally, maintaining optimal hydration levels supports a healthy metabolism and overall well-being. Adequate water intake is particularly crucial for regulating body temperature, helping pets avoid overheating and heatstroke.

Top 4 Signs of Dehydration and the Dangers

It is essential for pet owners to recognize the signs of dehydration.
  1. Dry gums
  2. Sunken eyes
  3. Lethargy
  4. Loss of appetite
Dehydration can have severe consequences, affecting organ function and increasing the risk of heat-related illnesses. Certain pet groups, such as senior pets or specific breeds, may be more susceptible to dehydration. Understanding these risks helps pet owners take appropriate measures to prevent dehydration.

Ensuring Adequate Hydration for Your Pet

Providing fresh and clean water is crucial for maintaining your pet’s hydration. Regularly cleaning water bowls and changing the water prevents bacterial growth and ensures freshness. Encouraging pets to drink more water can be achieved by placing multiple water bowls around the house, using fountains or dripping faucets, and incorporating wet food into their diet. Environmental factors like temperature and humidity also affect water consumption, so it’s important to consider these factors.

Creative Hydration Solutions can make drinking water more enticing for pets. Some great ways to get creative include:

  • Interactive Water Dispenser: Invest in an interactive water dispenser specifically designed for pets. These devices feature moving water that can attract your pet’s attention and make them more interested in drinking.
  • Ice Cube Treats: Freeze low-sodium chicken or beef broth into ice cube trays and offer them to your pet as treats. The cool and flavorful ice cubes can be a fun way to entice your pet to drink more water.
  • Water Fountain: Consider getting a pet water fountain that provides a continuous flow of fresh water. The flowing water can be intriguing for pets and encourage them to drink more.
  • Flavor the Water: Add a small amount of low-sodium broth, such as chicken or beef, to your pet’s water bowl to give it a more appealing taste. Just make sure to consult with your veterinarian to ensure the broth is safe for your specific pet.
  • Wet Food or Homemade Broth: If your pet eats dry food, consider incorporating wet food into their diet. Wet food has a higher water content and can contribute to their overall hydration. You can also prepare homemade broth using low-sodium ingredients and add it to their meals.
  • Elevated Water Bowl: Some pets prefer drinking from an elevated position. Experiment with different heights for their water bowl or consider purchasing an elevated water dispenser to make drinking more comfortable for them.
  • Dripping Faucet: If your pet is particularly fascinated by running water, leave a faucet dripping slightly in a designated area, such as a laundry room or bathroom, to encourage them to drink from it. Just ensure it’s safe and won’t cause any damage.
  • Multiple Water Stations: Place water bowls in different locations throughout your home to make it convenient for your pet to access water. This way, they won’t have to travel far to quench their thirst.
  • Water-Based Toys: Provide water-based toys, such as floating toys in a shallow pool or a sprinkler system, to encourage play and hydration simultaneously.
  • Schedule Regular Playtime: Engage your pet in regular play sessions, especially with activities that involve movement and exercise. This can help stimulate their thirst and encourage them to drink more water afterward.

Overcoming Hydration Challenges

Some pets may be finicky eaters and may not drink enough water. Mixing water with their food or using water enhancers can help entice them to drink. Experimenting with different water sources, such as filtered or bottled water, may also encourage consumption. Pets with medical conditions may require tailored hydration plans, and consultation with a veterinarian is recommended. In such cases, administering fluids and closely monitoring hydration levels becomes crucial. Managing hydration in extreme weather conditions is vital. During hot and humid climates, providing shade and ensuring access to cool water at all times is essential. In cold weather, pets may have reduced water intake, so monitoring their consumption and ensuring access to unfrozen water is important.

Conclusion

Maintaining proper hydration for our pets is crucial for their overall health and happiness. By understanding the importance of pet hydration, recognizing signs of dehydration, and implementing practical strategies to overcome hydration challenges, we can ensure our pets lead healthy lives. Remember to provide clean and fresh water, monitor their water intake, and take necessary precautions during travel or extreme weather conditions. Taking these steps will help keep your beloved companion hydrated and thriving for years to come.

The Ultimate Guide to Cats

Cats have captivated our hearts for centuries with their mysterious nature, grace, and unwavering affection. As pets, they offer companionship, entertainment, and a unique bond that warms our souls. Let’s explore the multitude of reasons why cats make exceptional pets, learn about common cat breeds, unravel the intriguing layers of their typical behavior, discuss key considerations when adopting a cat, and shed light on potential health issues that cat owners should be aware of. Whether you’re a passionate feline enthusiast or contemplating the joy of bringing a cat into your home, this guide will deepen your understanding and appreciation of these remarkable creatures.

Why Cats Make Great Pets

Cats possess a range of qualities that make them beloved companions and cherished pets. They can fit well within a person’s lifestyle who enjoys playful interaction along with periods of independence. They also don’t take up much space so they are common pets for folks in urban settings.

Top 4 Qualities that Make Cats Great Pets

1. Independent Spirit:

Cats are known for their independent nature, which appeals to many pet owners. They appreciate their personal space and are self-sufficient animals capable of entertaining themselves. Their ability to balance independence and companionship is a unique characteristic that sets them apart.

2. Affectionate Nature:

Despite their independent streak, cats form deep bonds with their human companions. They express their affection through gentle purring, head rubs, and cuddling, providing comfort and warmth. The sense of companionship and unconditional love they offer is invaluable.

3. Playful Demeanor:

Cats are renowned for their playful and mischievous personalities. They possess an innate curiosity that leads them to explore their surroundings, engage in acrobatic jumps, and chase after toys. Their playful nature is a constant source of entertainment and amusement.

4. Easy Maintenance:

Cats are generally low-maintenance pets. They are meticulous groomers, keeping their coats clean and shiny. Additionally, their litter box habits are usually easy to manage, making them convenient pets for individuals or families with busy lifestyles.

Common Types of Cats

The feline world is diverse, showcasing a wide array of cat breeds with distinct characteristics. There are domestic long or short haired cats which are the most common and then more unique breeds like Siamese and Persian cats. With each cat breed there are specific traits that help guide potential pet parents on the right type for them. Domestic shorthair cats are the most common type of cats. They are known for their diverse coat colors and patterns. They are adaptable, healthy, and possess friendly temperaments, making them suitable for various households. They are commonly found in shelters looking for a forever home. Siamese cats are instantly recognizable with their striking blue eyes, short coat, and color-point patterns. They are highly sociable, intelligent, and often vocal, seeking interaction and forming strong bonds with their human companions. This cat breed may be more difficult to find within the shelter space as they are not as common as domestic shorthair cats. Maine Coon cats are renowned for their large size, tufted ears, and bushy tails. They have friendly, sociable personalities and are often referred to as gentle giants. Maine Coons can easily adapt to different living environments and tend to get along well with other pets.
Maine Coon
Persian cats are known for their long, luxurious coats and distinctive flat faces. They have calm and gentle personalities, preferring a serene indoor lifestyle. Regular grooming is necessary to maintain their beautiful coat.

Typical Cat Behavior

Understanding cat behavior is essential for nurturing a harmonious relationship with your feline companion. Your cat may seem to be acting funny to you, but with a little research you can discover a meaning for their actions and enable you to embrace what is part of their nature. An important aspect of felines are their hunting instincts. Cats have an inherent hunting instinct, which even domesticated cats retain. This instinct is evident in their stalking, pouncing, and chasing behaviors, particularly during playtime. Providing appropriate toys and play sessions can help satisfy this natural inclination. Cats communicate through a combination of vocalizations, body language, and facial expressions. Meowing, purring, hissing, and tail movements are all forms of communication used by cats to express their needs, emotions, and intentions. Paying attention to these cues can foster effective communication and understanding. Grooming is important for most animals and especially felines. Cats are meticulous groomers, dedicating a significant amount of time to grooming their fur. This behavior not only helps them maintain a clean and healthy coat but also serves as a way to relax and soothe themselves. Regular brushing can strengthen the bond between you and your cat while promoting their well-being. Cat grooming himself

What to Consider When Adopting a Cat

Adopting a cat is a significant commitment that requires careful consideration. One must consider their needs in both the short and long term to ensure that they can make the commitment. They have a specific lifestyle that may or may not match closely to yours. One must also consider potential allergies to cats and future costs that may arise as your cat requires medical attention. Here are key factors to contemplate before welcoming a feline companion into your home:
  • Lifestyle Compatibility: Assess your lifestyle, living situation, and daily routines to ensure they align with cat ownership. Consider factors such as available space, time availability for interaction and care, and the activity level you can provide for your cat. Some cat breeds require more attention and activity than others.
  • Allergies: Determine if anyone in your household has allergies to cats. Additionally, if you have other pets, consider their compatibility with a new feline member. Proper introductions and gradual integration can help facilitate a harmonious coexistence.
  • Financial Responsibility: Owning a cat entails financial obligations, including food, litter, toys, regular veterinary care, and potential medical expenses. Consider your budget and ensure you can provide the necessary resources to maintain your cat’s health and well-being.

Potential Cat Health Issues

While cats are generally healthy animals, they can be susceptible to certain health issues. Being aware of these conditions can help you provide proper care and seek veterinary assistance when needed. These are the most common health issues seen within the feline community:
  • Obesity: Obesity is a common health concern in cats and can lead to various associated problems, such as diabetes, joint issues, and heart disease. Monitoring your cat’s weight, providing a balanced diet, and engaging in regular exercise can help prevent obesity.
  • Dental Problems: Cats can develop dental issues, including tartar buildup, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Regular dental care, such as teeth brushing or dental treats, can help maintain good oral hygiene and prevent dental complications.
  • Urinary Tract Issues: Cats are prone to urinary tract problems, including urinary tract infections and bladder stones. Ensuring proper hydration, offering a balanced diet, and providing access to clean litter boxes can help minimize the risk of these issues.

Conclusion

Cats are extraordinary companions, enriching our lives with their unique personalities, independent nature, and unwavering affection. Their diverse breeds, captivating behaviors, and health considerations contribute to the depth of our understanding and appreciation of these remarkable creatures. By embracing the joys and responsibilities of cat ownership, we embark on a journey of mutual love, companionship, and endless fascination.

Pet Adoption: Everything You Need to Know

Adopting a pet can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Not only will you be gaining a new companion, but you’ll also be helping an animal in need. However, there are many things to consider when adopting a pet. Read this helpful compilation of the most important aspects of pet adoption from considering adoption to bringing a new pet home.  

Responsibilities of Pet Ownership

Before adopting a pet, one should consider the responsibilities involved with pet ownership. It can be up to a 20-year commitment, for some pets, so it is important to be in it for the long haul. To better understand the time, effort, and resources involved, we’ve outlined what to expect:
  1. Providing food and water

It’s important to provide your pet with a well-balanced diet and fresh water every day. Depending on the species and breed of your pet, their dietary requirements may vary, so it’s important to research and provide appropriate nutrition.
  1. Providing exercise and playtime

Most pets require regular exercise and playtime to stay healthy and happy. Dogs, for example, require daily walks and outdoor playtime, while cats and smaller pets may need opportunities to climb, play, and explore.
  1. Providing shelter

Your pet needs a safe and comfortable place to sleep and rest. This may include a bed, crate, or designated area in your home.
  1. Providing medical care

Regular veterinary check-ups and preventative care, such as vaccinations and parasite control, are essential to your pet’s health. It’s also important to seek medical care promptly if your pet is showing signs of illness or injury. Adopting Cat Medical Needs
  1. Providing socialization

Many pets, especially dogs, require regular socialization with people and other animals to prevent behavioral problems and promote positive interactions. Consider your local doggy daycare program at a pet care facility near you.
  1. Providing training and enrichment

Training and enrichment activities, such as obedience training and puzzle toys, can help stimulate your pet’s mind and prevent boredom. Hiring an experienced pet trainer can help streamline this process and make the learning more impactful.
  1. Meeting legal requirements

Depending on where you live, there may be legal requirements for pet ownership, such as licensing, leash laws, and vaccination requirements.
  1. Cleaning and maintenance

Cleaning up after your pet, such as scooping litter boxes or picking up dog waste, is an important part of responsible pet ownership. It’s also important to keep your pet’s living area clean and well-maintained.   By taking on these responsibilities and providing a safe, loving home for your pet, you can ensure a happy and healthy life for your furry friend. However, if you feel unable to meet these responsibilities, it may be best to hold off on pet ownership until you are ready.  

What to Consider Before Adopting a Pet

Adopting a pet can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience, but it’s important to consider a few key factors before making the commitment. Some considerations will help you determine the type of pet that best meets your needs and fits best into your lifestyle.

Your lifestyle:

Consider your lifestyle and how it will fit with the needs of a pet. It’s important to make sure you can provide a safe and happy home for your new furry friend.
  • Do you have a lot of free time to devote to a pet’s care and exercise needs?
  • Can you afford the cost of food, vet bills, and other pet-related expenses?
  • Are you willing and able to adjust your lifestyle if the pet needs additional care, training, etc.?

Your living situation:

Your living situation is also an important factor to consider when adopting a pet. Make sure your living situation is suitable for the type of pet you want to adopt.
  • Do you live in a house with a yard or an apartment with limited space?
  • Is your home pet-friendly, with no dangerous or toxic items around?
  • Are you willing to pet-proof your house and are you ok if your furniture, etc. gets dirty or destroyed from a pet?

Your family:

If you have a family, it’s important to consider how a new pet will fit in. It’s important to make sure everyone is prepared for the responsibility of pet ownership.
  • Do any family members have allergies or phobias related to pets?
  • Is everyone on board with the idea of adopting a new pet?
  • Will everyone assist in raising the pet or have you determined how the care will be divided among your family members?

Your schedule:

Consider your work and social schedule, as well as any travel plans you may have.
  • Can you make sure your pet is fed, exercised, and cared for while you’re away?
  • If not, can you find a reliable pet sitter or boarding facility to provide care?

Your expectations:

Think about what you want from a pet, and make sure you choose a pet that fits those expectations. Understanding your expectations and choosing a pet that fits them can help ensure a successful adoption.
  • Do you want a lap dog to cuddle with or a high-energy dog to take on runs?
  • Do you want a low-maintenance pet or one that requires a lot of attention and training?
  • Are you willing to meet your pets need based on the type of breed that you adopt? High energy pets require more activity.

Your experience with pets:

If you’re a first-time pet owner, it’s important to choose a pet that’s suited to your experience level. Some pets, like cats, are generally low-maintenance and easy to care for, while others, like dogs, require more time and training. Consider your experience with pets and choose a pet that fits your level of expertise.
  • Am I willing to learn about my pet, what he needs, how to best care for him, etc.?
  • What are my reasons for adopting a pet?
By considering these factors before adopting a pet, you can help ensure a successful and fulfilling adoption. Remember, pet ownership is a long-term commitment, and it’s important to make sure you’re ready for the responsibility before making the commitment. With careful consideration and preparation, you can provide a loving and safe home for your new furry friend.  

Types of Pets to Adopt

There are many types of pets that you can adopt, each with their own unique needs and characteristics. Some of the most popular types of pets include dogs, cats, birds, fish, and rodents. Let’s take a closer look at each of these types of pets. Dogs: Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the world, and for good reason. They’re loyal, affectionate, and make great companions. However, they also require a lot of time, attention, and exercise. If you’re considering adopting a dog, make sure you have the time and resources to care for them properly. Cats: Cats are another popular choice for pet adoption. They’re independent creatures that require less attention than dogs, but they still need daily care and affection. They’re also great for people with allergies, as they produce fewer allergens than dogs. Birds: Birds can make great pets for people who are looking for a more interactive companion. They can be trained to do tricks, and many species are known for their singing abilities. However, birds can also be noisy and messy, and they require a lot of attention and care. Fish: Fish are a popular choice for people who are looking for a low-maintenance pet. They require very little attention, and they can be a calming presence in your home. However, setting up and maintaining an aquarium can be expensive and time-consuming. Rodents: Rodents, such as hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats, can make great pets for people who are looking for a smaller companion. They’re relatively low-maintenance and can be a great option for people who live in apartments or smaller homes. However, they still require daily care and attention. Whether big or small, adopting a pet requires several considerations to determine which type will best suit you. Some may require more time and space while others may be relatively low-maintenance. By assessing your needs and considering your future pet’s needs – you can discover a pet that is right for you.  

Steps for Adopting a Pet

Adopting a pet is a wonderful way to add a new member to your family while also providing a loving home to an animal in need. However, the process of adopting a pet can seem daunting if you’re not familiar with it. We will outline the steps you need to take to adopt a pet:

Step 1: Determine What Kind of Pet is Right for You

Before you begin the adoption process, it’s important to consider what kind of pet is best suited for your lifestyle. This includes factors such as the size of your home, how much time you must dedicate to caring for a pet, and what kind of activity level you can provide. If you have a small apartment and work long hours, a high-energy dog might not be the best fit for you. If you have allergies, a cat or another type of animal might be a better option.

Step 2: Find a Local Animal Shelter or Rescue Group

There are many places to adopt a pet, including local animal shelters, rescue groups, and even pet stores. We recommend starting with a local animal shelter or rescue group, as they often have a variety of pets available for adoption and can help match you with the right animal. You can easily find local shelters and rescue groups online by searching for “animal shelter” or “pet rescue” in your area. There is also an adoption program called Your New Best Friend that highlights partner shelter and foster organizations with adoptable pets.

Step 3: Visit the Shelter or Rescue Group

Once you’ve found a shelter or rescue group that you’re interested in, the next step is to visit them in person. This will allow you to meet the animals and see if any of them would be a good fit for your family. Many shelters and rescue groups allow visitors to spend time with the animals in a designated area, so you can get a sense of their personality and temperament.

Step 4: Fill Out an Adoption Application

If you’ve found an animal that you want to adopt, the next step is to fill out an adoption application. This application will typically ask for basic information such as your name, address, and phone number, as well as questions about your experience with pets and your living situation. It’s important to be honest when filling out the application, as shelters and rescue groups want to make sure that the animals are going to a safe and loving home.

Step 5: Meet with an Adoption Counselor

Once you’ve filled out the adoption application, you’ll typically meet with an adoption counselor. This person will review your application, ask additional questions, and help you make sure that the animal you’re interested in is a good fit for your lifestyle. They’ll also go over any medical or behavioral issues that the animal may have, so you’re fully aware of what to expect.

Step 6: Pay the Adoption Fee

Most shelters and rescue groups charge an adoption fee to help cover the cost of caring for the animals. The fee typically includes spay/neuter, vaccinations, and any other medical treatment the animal may have received while in the shelter or rescue group’s care. Adoption fees can vary widely depending on the organization and the type of animal you’re adopting, but they’re typically much lower than the cost of buying a pet from a breeder or pet store.

Step 7: Take Your New Pet Home

Once you’ve completed the adoption process, it’s time to take your new pet home! Make sure you have everything you need to make your pet comfortable, including food, water, bedding, and toys. It’s also a good idea to schedule a visit with a veterinarian to make sure your new pet is healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations.  

Preparing Your Home for a New Pet

Preparing your home for a new pet is an important step in the adoption process. It helps ensure that your new furry friend is safe and comfortable in their new environment. Here are some tips to help you prepare your home for a new pet.
  • Set up a designated space: Before bringing your new pet home, set up a designated area where they can eat, sleep, and play. This will help them feel more comfortable and secure in their new environment. Make sure the space is free from hazards and has plenty of room for your pet to move around.
  • Pet-proof your home: Pets can be curious and like to explore their surroundings, so it’s important to make sure your home is safe for them. Remove any toxic plants, secure electrical cords, and put away any small objects that your pet could choke on.
  • Invest in pet supplies: Make sure you have all the necessary supplies for your new pet, including food, water bowls, bedding, toys, and a crate or carrier. These supplies will not only make your pet feel more comfortable but will also help you establish a routine.
  • Prepare for accidents: Accidents happen, especially when you bring a new pet home. Have cleaning supplies on hand to clean up any messes and consider investing in pet-specific stain and odor removers.
  • Introduce other pets slowly: If you have other pets at home, it’s important to introduce them to your new pet slowly. Allow them to sniff each other through a closed door and supervise their interactions until you’re confident that they can get along.
  • Plan for training: Whether you’re adopting a puppy or an older dog, training is an important part of pet ownership. Consider enrolling your pet in obedience classes or working with a professional trainer to help them learn basic commands.
  • Create a schedule: Establishing a routine is important for both you and your new pet. Set up a schedule for feeding, walking, and playtime, and stick to it as closely as possible. This will help your pet adjust to their new home and feel more secure.\
How to Prepare Your Home for a New Pet By taking the time to prepare your home for a new pet, you’ll be setting both you and your furry friend up for a happy and healthy life together. Remember to be patient and understanding as your pet adjusts to their new environment, and don’t hesitate to reach out to a veterinarian or animal behaviorist if you have any questions or concerns.

Introducing a New Pet to Your Family and Other Pets

Introducing a new pet to your family and other pets can be an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. It’s important to take things slowly and make sure everyone is comfortable and safe during the introduction process. We’ve outlined what we believe to be the most important steps to take.

Prepare your home:

Before bringing your new pet home, make sure you have a designated space for them to eat, sleep, and play. This will help your new pet feel more secure in their new environment. Also, make sure your home is pet-proofed and free from any hazards.

Introduce new family members first:

If you have children or other family members who will be interacting with your new pet, introduce them first. Make sure they know how to approach the new pet slowly and calmly and give them the opportunity to get to know the pet at their own pace.

Introduce pets on neutral ground:

When introducing your new pet to other pets in your household, it’s best to do so on neutral ground. This means taking them to a park or other outdoor space where they can meet and get to know each other without any territorial issues.

Introduce pets gradually:

When introducing pets, it’s important to take things slowly. Start by allowing them to sniff each other from a distance and gradually move closer together. Always supervise their interactions and separate them if things start to get tense.

Use positive reinforcement:

Positive reinforcement is a great way to encourage good behavior from your pets during the introduction process. Reward your pets with treats or praise when they exhibit calm, relaxed behavior around each other.

Be patient:

Introducing a new pet to your family and other pets can take time, so be patient. Don’t force interactions and let everyone get to know each other at their own pace. With time and patience, your pets will learn to get along and become great friends.

Seek professional help if necessary:

If your pets are not getting along or there are signs of aggression or fear, seek professional help from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist. They can provide guidance and support to help your pets get along and live happily together. Introducing a new pet to your family and other pets can be a rewarding and fun experience. By taking things slowly and using positive reinforcement, you can help ensure a smooth transition and a happy life together. Remember to be patient, supervise interactions, and seek professional help if necessary.  

Conclusion

Adopting a new pet is a life altering decision. You must ensure that your expectations are reasonable and align with the pet you are hoping to adopt. Make sure you research your pet type and ask yourself important questions so that you have a successful start. Pet ownership comes with responsibilities and easing your new pet into your home requires patience, time, and energy.  

Tips for Dealing with Shedding

As pet owners, we all know that shedding is a natural phenomenon that comes with the territory. However, it can be frustrating to deal with all the fur that ends up on our floors, furniture and clothing. Shedding is a common problem for most animals, including cats and dogs. Understanding why shedding occurs and how to deal with it can make a big difference in keeping your home clean and your pet healthy.

Why animals shed

Shedding is a natural process of hair growth that happens to all animals. Just like humans, animals have hair follicles that produce new hair cells. As the new hair cells grow, the old ones die and fall out, which is what we refer to as shedding. Shedding tends to be more pronounced during seasonal changes, when an animal’s coat adapts to the changing weather. This is why you might notice your pet shedding more in the fall and spring months.Why animals shed, Cat Shedding

Understanding the causes of shedding

There are several factors that influence how much an animal sheds. Genetics play a big role in determining the thickness and length of your pet’s coat. Some breeds are naturally heavy shedders, while others have short, fine hair that doesn’t shed very much. The environment also plays a role in shedding. Poor nutrition, stress, and health problems can all contribute to excessive shedding. Regular grooming and proper nutrition can help alleviate these factors.

Tips for dealing with shedding

1. Grooming

Regular grooming is the best way to control shedding. Brushing your pet’s coat once or twice a week will help remove loose hair before it falls off around your home. Use the appropriate brush for your pet’s coat type, as some brushes are designed to be more effective on longer hair. Additionally, bathing your pet once a month can help reduce shedding and keep their coat clean.

Dog grooming, Dog shedding. Tips on Shedding.

2. Vacuum regularly

Vacuuming is essential to keeping your home free of pet hair. Make sure to vacuum floors, carpets, and furniture regularly, especially if your pet sheds excessively. A high-quality vacuum with a HEPA filter is ideal for removing pet hair embedded deep in carpets and upholstery.

3. Diet

A healthy diet is essential for your pet’s overall health and can help reduce shedding. A good quality pet food provides the necessary nutrients for healthy skin and fur. Consult with a veterinarian to determine the best diet for your pet.

4. Supplements

Supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, biotin, and vitamins can help support healthy skin and coat, which can reduce shedding. Consult with a veterinarian before giving your pet any supplements, as they can interact with other medications.

dig shedding, cat shedding, how to decrease shedding, tips on shedding

 

In conclusion, shedding is a natural occurrence that all animals go through. Regular grooming, proper nutrition, and a clean environment can help reduce shedding and keep your pet healthy. By understanding why shedding occurs and how to manage it, you can help keep your home free of pet hair and your pets healthy and happy!

Basic Grooming Techniques

Grooming is more than a bath and haircut. Pets have other maintenance needs which can vary based on their breed, coat type or age. Through a grooming consultation your pet’s grooming needs can be assessed. Typically the groomer will get to know your dog and his or her lifestyle. They will discuss any sensitivities and assess the condition of your pet looking for matting, shedding, tartar on teeth, condition of their coat and skin, and evaluating any crust on eyes and build up on their ears. A thorough consultation will help you, as the pet parent, and the groomer determine the best services to keep your pet healthy.

There are many options for a pet beyond a haircut – anal gland expression, Shedicures, nail trimming or grinding, teeth brushing, hand stripping, facial scrubs, and a handful of different shampoos to help specific conditions. If you are unfamiliar with the options and what they can do for your pet, we’ve put together this helpful list.

Anal Gland Expression

What are the anal glands in dogs and cats?

Animals, like dogs and cats, have two small pouches, located on either side of the anus, at approximately four o’clock and eight o’clock positions. The walls of the sac are lined with a large number of sweat glands that produce a foul smelling liquid.

What happens when they expresses their glands?

The purpose of a dog of cat expressing their glands is to create this liquid that has a unique smell as a way for the animal to “mark its territory”. Some can involuntarily express when they are fearful or become stressed.

Why would a dog or cat need to have their anal glands expressed manually?

Some pets need help expressing these glands as they can become impacted, painful, or uncomfortable. Signs of this include:

Signs of Impacted Anal Glands and when to Express Anal Glands for Professional Grooming

Do all dogs and cats need this?

Many pets can go their lifetime without any anal gland issues. Not all need an expression and it can vary dog to dog. It is more common in small dogs need it as their gland area is much smaller.

Can my groomer help with anal gland expression?

Groomers are recommended to only do external gland expression. Some anal gland issues may need to be expressed internally if severely impacted. In those instances, a vet would be recommended.

 

Shedicure

What is a Shedicure?

Most dog breeds have different types of hair on their bodies: 1) the topcoat or primary hair, 2) the undercoat or secondary hair, and whiskers. The undercoat, as the name indicates, is the part of a dog’s coat that is closest to their skin and under the topcoat. The main function of the undercoat is for insulation to keep your dog warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Throughout the seasons, a dog will shed to accommodate the weather and new hair growth. It is important to address the removal of both the undercoat and topcoat. The Shedicure is a de-shedding process that helps remove a dog’s undercoat.

Double Coated Dog Breeds, shedding and how to de-shed.

How is a Shedicure different from brushing?

A Shedicure helps any impacted hair loosen and come off the dog especially in the undercoat. Brushing will only remove a minimal amount of the top layer of undercoat. By removing shedding hair in the undercoat you are preventing matting and other issues from creeping up.

When do you recommend getting a Shedicure?

A Shedicure is great for any dog experiencing a lot of shedding that may be noticeable if there are clumps of fur stuck in the coat. It is also recommended for those double coated dog breeds.

Are there particular breeds that are good candidates for a Shedicure?

Yes! Akitas, Huskies, German Shepherds, Pomeranians, or any of the double coated dogs both large and small. Here is a link to the double coated breeds by the AKC.

Is this beneficial to non-double coated breeds?

While the Shedicure is primarily for the double coated dogs, it can also benefit single coats as it helps remove the dead coat that may be stuck in the dog’s fur.

 

Nail Trim & Nail Grind

What are the parts of a dog or cat’s nail?

Cat and dog toenails are made of keratin, just like human nails. They are oval; wider at the toe and narrower as they grow out. Inside each nail is the quick, a highly sensitive bundle of nerves and blood vessels. If the quick is cut or injured then it will bleed

Parts of a Dog or Cat's nail

Why should I trim or grind my pet’s nails?

If nails are long enough to touch the floor they will eventually push back against a dog’s toes. This puts pressure against the other structures of the paws. As the nail grows longer it can cause the toes to push apart and deform the feet. This is painful for your pet and may prevent them from being able to play, run or even walk.

What is the difference between the nail trimming and nail grinding?

Both options are effective ways of keeping your pet’s nails short. Nail trimming with leave the nails sharp and pointed on the sides, but is a less noisy option. Nail grinding will make the nails smooth and blunt, but may not be suitable to a dog who is afraid of noises.

 When do you recommend one versus the other?

Nail grinding is usually recommended as the nail gets shorter to the quick as there is a bit more accuracy and control to it.

 How often should I shorten my pet’s nails?

The frequency of nail clipping or grinding depends on how long the dog’s nails are. In an ideal condition every 3-4 weeks would be best or when you start hearing the “tick” of your dogs nails on the floor.

 What else should I know about this?

Nail grinding is ideal for older customers and those with small children as it helps soften the pet’s nail and prevents injury if the pet is prone to jumping.

 

Teeth Brushing

Cat and Dog Teeth Brushing. How to brush a pet's teeth

Why should you brush your pet’s teeth?

When a pet’s teeth gets coated in plaque and tartar their gums will get inflamed. This can lead to tooth loss. Receding gums, caused by periodontal disease, can permit bacteria access to the bloodstream which can lead to infections. Teeth brushing is the most effective tool in decreasing plaque buildup before it becomes tartar.

When is teeth brushing recommended?

You should brush your pet’s teeth on an on-going basis as part of general maintenance. It is extremely important for a pet that has minor tartar build up on their teeth or just had a dental cleaning done.

Should this be done in a grooming salon versus at home?

Ideally teeth brushing should be done both at home and in a grooming salon. For those who may not be comfortable with brushing their pet’s teeth, a groomer is a great resource to provide guidance.

How often should you brush your pet’s teeth?

Ideally you should brush your pet’s teeth at least once per week.

Anything else?

Teeth brushing is ideal when a home schedule is followed as well. It can help with freshen up a pet’s breath when done frequently.

 

Hand Stripping

What is hand stripping?

Hand stripping is the process of excess dead topcoat, without clipping. It leaves room for the new coat to grow and gives a more natural look. The process keeps the dog’s coat tidy and healthy, leaving it strong and shiny.

When would this be recommended?

Hand stripping is the correct way to groom a wired coat breed. Hand stripping mimics how a dog’s coat would be maintained in the wild and will keep the proper breed look.

Are there types of breeds that benefit from this?

Hand stripping is more about the coat type then the breed. Dogs with wire coats like terriers as well as hound and toy breeds that are hand stripped for the show ring.

What else do I need to know about hand stripping?

Hand stripping is a long process and can take multiple visits to achieve the desired look. Some breeds require hand stripping as a breed standard over clipping the back for show.

 

 

Shampoos 

Does it matter what type of shampoo I use on my dog?

Like humans, a pet’s skin and coat can differ based on many factors. There are many types of shampoos available to meet your pet’s needs. These shampoos can cleanse your dog’s coat of germs and insects, and add nutrients and vitamins to keep it healthy. The type of shampoo, used on your pup, depends on his needs. Here are some of the differences among these different products and what they can do for your dog:

 Dog and Cat Shampoo Types and When to Use Them

Are there specific issues that a dog can have that would require a specific type of shampoo?

Each shampoo is formulated to aid a specific condition. Your groomer will assess your pet’s coat and skin, prior to a groom, to determine the best shampoo for your pet.

Is there anything else I need to know about choosing the right shampoo for my pup?

Each dog is unique along with their coat and skin needs. Finding the proper shampoo, designed to meet your pup’s needs, will make him feel his best and contribute to a healthier pup. Sometimes it may require a combination of shampoos to get the best overall outcome for your dog.

Facial Scrub

What is a facial scrub and what does it do?

This gentle scrub is pH balanced to exfoliate and remove dirt, tear, and food stains. It is made with plant derived ingredients that are safe to use on your dog’s face and chin. And it smells great!

When is this recommended for a pup?

Usually this is recommended for dogs that “cry” excessively or to in order to give a dog a pamper session. The blueberry facial is a key player in helping clean a pup’s face.

Anything else I need to know about facial scrubs?

If used frequently the blueberry facial can help reduce the tear staining commonly seen in breeds like the Shih-Tzus and Poodles.

Are there any other grooming add-on services that should be highlighted?

Paw pad and nose creams are great to know about – especially for the winter season. These help to soften and hydrate the paw pads and noses for pups. It is beneficial especially if you notice cracking or roughness on your dog’s paws.

Conclusion on Grooming Services

Grooming your pet means that you are maintaining your pet’s health. It is more than just a bath and a haircut and can tend to your pet’s teeth, coat, skin, nail and many more needs. Each pet is different and certain breeds may require other services more than others. Your professional groomer will assess your pet’s needs as part of your pet’s FREE initial consultation at Best Friends Pet Hotel.

Contributing Author:
Bobbi-Jo Bouchard has worked in the pet industry for over 15 years. She started out as a pet bather and moved onto grooming. She currently leads the Springdale Best Friends Doggy Daycare & Spa as the Center Manager. She has had a least one dog in her life at a time. Currently she has 4 (Roxas – Siberian Husky/German Shepherd, Axel – Cocker Spaniel, Shiva – Chihuahua mix, and Lexy – Whippet). Her heart and passion will always be with animals!

Winterize Your Pet

Dog and Cat preparing their coat for winter

As we head to cooler temps, now is the time to prepare for your pet’s needs. While most people routinely winterize their house, cars and wardrobe, it is absolutely essential to include your pets in the winterization process.

All pets should have wellness check-ups by their vet to ensure they are ready for winter. Cold weather can further irritate arthritis and other medical conditions and make it more difficult for your pet to regulate their body temperate.

Make sure your furry friend is protected from vents that can be blowing hot and cold air which can be drying to their skin and coat as well as drafts that can make them susceptible to colds. Certain parts of their body are more impacted by the weather than other parts including paws, noses, and ears.

Paw Rescue

Paw protection is vital in winter as snow, ice and rock salt for deicing can damage paw pads and can cause a chemical burn. Dog paws may become dry, chapped, itchy, flaky and downright painful due to walking directly on cold snow. Their paws need protection.

Pure and Natural Pet offers an award winning USDA Certified Organic Paw Rescue balm. It features organic Beeswax that creates a natural barrier between your dog’s paws and the snow. Their new and improved container allows for easier application. It has healing and moisturizing properties to help combat skin dryness associated with this time of year. Make sure to reapply the balm after returning from walks.

Dog's paws are sensitive to winter conditions. This paw may become dry, chapped, itchy, flaky from walking outside in the snow.

Nose Rescue

Cold winter weather and wind can impact a dog’s sensitive nose, and forced air indoors can further dry a sore and chapped nose. A “weathered nose” can appear cracked and crusty. A dry, winter nose can be kept clean and healthy by applying a thin layer of Pure and Natural Pet’s USDA Certified Organic Nose Rescue.  Nose Rescue hydrates skin while creating a protective barrier that won’t clog pores.

You may be tempted to use your own sunscreen or lip balm to treat your dog’s crusty nose. Human products are only tested for use on humans and often have chemicals or perfume that can be harmful for pets.

A dry, winter nose can be kept clean and healthy and is essential to winterizing your pet.

Pet Wipes

A Pet Wipe allows you to quickly remove ice, salt, chemicals, and caked-on mud. It’s important to wipe between the toes to remove debris. Cleaning up paws will not only protect your floors, but also will allow you to see any paw problems that might need attention while preventing others from developing. Caked on dirt may hide wounds and chronically dirty feet can cause inflammation and abrasions.

Pure and Natural Pet makes Grooming & Cleansing Pet Wipes that are larger than other wipes and biodegradable. They have antibacterial properties and remove odors exceptionally well, while soothing and hydrating delicate skin that can become dry from the elements. Their wipes are also free of sulfates, parabens and alcohol that can be harmful to your dog and the environment.

Ear Cleansing

Due to the lack of blood vessels in a dog’s ears, they can get chilly after only a few minutes and are susceptible to frostbite damage. This dog's ears should be dried and cleaned after going outdoors to ensure safety.

Like humans, dogs react to extreme temperature changes. Due to the lack of blood vessels in a dog’s ears, they can get chilly after only a few minutes and are susceptible to frostbite damage. It’s important to clean your dogs’ ears when they’ve been playing outside in the wet snow or ice. Added moisture is a common cause of painful ear infections, so be sure to thoroughly dry your dog’s ears after going outside in the winter. Best Friends Pet Hotel’s Grooming Salons use Pure and Natural Pet’s USDA Certified Organic Ear Cleansing Kit to naturally clean and heal your dog’s ear. The dual-sided medical grade Pure Tips clean while the Witch Hazel and Mullein Oil Ear Serum deodorizes and disinfects.

Waterless Shampoo

When it’s cold outside it may not be ideal for your pup to have a “traditional” bath especially if you are in the habit of letting them dry out in the sunshine.  When it’s chilly outside you need bath options. It’s important to keep up a grooming routine even during the winter months not only to help keep your dog smelling fresh but also to help prevent fleas, prevent matting, and notice any lumps and bumps that your dog’s winter coat might hide.

Best Friends Pet Hotel’s Grooming Salons have a waterless option for pets made by Pure and Natural Pet. It is a great option as it helps lift out oils and dirt without the need for a rinse.  It’s a stress and mess-free way to keep your dog clean and smelling fresh between baths. It is also great for cats who tend to be difficult bathers. Their natural, no-rinse formula is blended with lavender and chamomile to soothe and moisturize your pet’s skin.

Conclusion

The cold weather can have a negative impact to the sensitive areas of your pet including their paws, nose and ears. Ensuring you keep up with their grooming maintenance is key to their health. Best Friends Pet Hotel Grooming Salons use Pure and Natural Pet products to protect them from the elements and avoid injury or infection.

About Pure and Natural Pet

Best Friends has thought a lot about how we can give the best to you and your pets. That’s why we are proudly partnered with Pure and Natural Pet. They are passionate about Organic Pet Wellness & Grooming and are:

  • Industry Leaders in USDA Certified Organic
  • Ingredient and Education Focused
  • Proudly USA Made & Cruelty Free
  • Award Recipients for their Winning Formula

Learn more about their products or book a grooming appointment at Best Friends Pet Hotel.

 

 

Reproduced with permission from Pure and Natural Pet (https://pureandnaturalpet.com/)

Why Cats Make Good Companions

Pet owners usually fall into two camps: Dog People and Cat People. And while we believe that both make great companions, there are certain benefits of cat ownership that stand out. Yes, we know they are finicky, feisty, and generally aloof, but on the same token, cats can be wonderful companions. Here is a list of our Top 8 Reasons Cats Make Good Companions:

#1 Cats are Quiet

Let me preface this – cats make noise. Some cats meow whenever they want something and some meows can be loud. This is on purpose. Cats meow to communicate with people – to say hello, ask for things, and to tell us if something is wrong. What is interesting is that adult cats don’t meow at other cats. They save this as a special way to talk to their human loved ones. However, though some cats may be extra vocal, it is unlikely that you will receive a noise complaint due to a cat compared to what you might encounter with a dog. Cats are pretty content sleeping all day and getting up for the occasional crunch of their food.

#2 Cats are Low Maintenance

Cats are small. They don’t require much space. They don’t need to go for walks or go outside. They clean themselves. Cats are low maintenance compared to other pets. They need fresh water, food, and a clean litter space. Oh, and the occasional treat. Check out these Top 7 Cat Needs.

#3 Cats Make Great Apartment Pets

Cats are great companions for apartment living. They are very self-sufficient and require less training than a dog. They also thrive on vertical space. In an apartment, with limited floor space, cats can benefit from perches and shelves that allow them to explore the height within an apartment. Cats are also entertained by looking outside at birds, squirrels, and other outdoor life. Keeping a cat engaged is fun and simple. Most cat toys involve an element of chasing and pouncing. These are all games that they can play within a small apartment – it’s important to keep them engaged.

#4 Cats are Independent

Independence and cats go hand-in-hand and is deeply rooted. Unlike dogs, cats are solitary predators. They must hunt alone and, in fact, their methods of stalking, hiding, and pouncing would not be successful if done in a group. Though they may seem like they would prefer to be alone, most cats enjoy the company of their favorite human. They can spend hours snuggled up beside you while periodically glancing up with an adoring face.

#5 Cats have a Long Lifespan

It’s been said that cats have nine lives and it often feels that way when we watch them jump from a high ledge or squeeze into tiny spaces. Factors such as diet, healthcare, and environment can have an impact on how long a cat can live. Some domestic cats can live up to 20 years old! However, on average, a cat lives 15 years compared to 12 years, the average for dogs. They are great companions for the long haul.

#6 Cats are Good for Your Health

While it has been noted that pet ownership, in general, can provide a wide variety of health benefits, there are some reserved specifically for cats. They can:

  • LOWER STRESS AND ANXIETY: One session of petting or playing with a cat can leave you feeling great. There is scientific evidence that a cat’s purr can calm your nervous system and lower your blood pressure.

  • IMPROVE CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH: Cat owners have been reported to carry a lower risk for heart disease and stroke.

  • PREVENT ALLERGIES: If a child is exposed to cats within the first few years of life, they are more likely to develop an immune system that combats both cat allergens and other kinds as well.

  • REDUCE LONELINESS: They make great companions and provide unconditional love!

#7 Cats Cost Less than Dogs

According to the ASPCA, owning a cat instead of a dog can save you between $300-$800 per year. Since dogs are bigger than cats they have bigger demands. Cats require fewer food, toys, and supplies compared to dogs. Also, veterinary costs tend to be less expensive with cats. So, if you’re into saving money then a cat would make a great companion.

#8 Cats are Entertaining

For the same reasons our cats annoy us they also provide us entertainment. Cats are sassy. They make their own rules and if we get in the way are not afraid to serve up one of their looks with “cattitude”. The glares they give us are funny. Cats also hide in the strangest places. If you haven’t spent the afternoon searching indoors for your cat, then you haven’t been a cat owner long enough. Cats will make their sleeping spots in any place left unattended – leave a closet, cupboard, or dresser drawer open and expect a cat to waltz in. Cats are also entertaining in the way that they play. They can spend hours chasing a laser light or a toy mouse. They will pounce, flip, jump, twist and turn to get the toy. It’s hard not to smile. You might not need a TV once you get a cat.

Black Cats are Good Companions Too

With all the reasons listed above, it is evident that cats make great companions. They are easy to take care of and independent and give so much in return. If you are thinking about adopting a cat, then consider a black one. Black cats have been given a bad rap because of myths and fears surrounding black cats. And, because of this, they spend longer in shelters compared to other cats and are more likely to be overlooked.

 

Why the Word Allergy Makes Your Veterinarian Cringe

I bet you thought the words was “anal glands”, maybe “diarrhea”, “vomit” or maybe even “pus”. Nope. It is allergies. Why? Read on to find out the Four Reasons Why.

First of all, what is an allergy?

An allergy is a damaging immune response of the body to a substance which it is has become hypersensitive to.

What causes allergies?

FIRST REASON:

Your pet can be allergic to anything: pollen, fleas, grass, house dust mites, weeds, mildew, your cat, and even his own food. No, it doesn’t matter that he has been eating that same food his whole life. He can still develop an allergy to an ingredient in it.

How do I know my pet has allergies?

SECOND REASON:

Allergies can present in numerous ways. It can be runny eyes, sneezing, or face rubbing. It can also be more severe causing hives, welts, swollen face or the inability to breathe. But it can also run middle of the road with chronic ear infections, chronic infections between the toes, persistent foot licking, generalized itching and, yes, even doing the carpet scooting boogie.

Does your pet have any of the above symptoms? Then your pet could have allergies.

In order to diagnose allergies, other things must be ruled out. Does you pet have an autoimmune disease, a metabolic disorder, not properly groomed, or do you leave a wet collar on after swimming? Any of those things could present as a skin disorder and itching, but it may not be allergies. The best way to know if your pet has allergies is to discuss what is happening with your veterinarian. There are things they can do to help determine if it is allergy related like:

  • Blood tests for inhalant and environmental allergen
  • Food trials (and, no, a grain-free diet is not a food trial) to determine if your pet has allergies.

How are allergies in pets treated?

THIRD REASON:

There is not a one-size-fits-all treatment. There are numerous ways allergies can be treated. The treatment will depend upon the severity of the allergy and a collaborative discussion between you and your veterinarian on side effects, costs, and your ability to treat your pet.

  1. Simple allergies can be treated with over the counter antihistamines as directed by your veterinarian.
  2. More complex or severe allergies may require prescription pills or monthly injections. This treatment, until several years ago, was not available and has become a game changer to the allergy world providing pets with much needed relief.
  3. If your pet has a food allergy, then a special diet will be required.
  4. Lastly, there is the tried and true method of immunotherapy injections. These injections are specifically formulated to your pet’s individual allergens to build up their immune system as to not react as violently to the allergen when it is presented. It is along the same lines as humans who get allergy injections to desensitize their bodies.

Can allergies be cured?

FOURTH REASON:

Pet owners may have unrealistic expectations about allergies. Allergies are not something you cure! Please re-read that previous sentence. With the exception of sometimes immunotherapy over numerous years, allergies are not cured but managed. The goal is to have fewer and less severe reactions over the life of your pet. There are times where pollen count of your pet’s allergen may be higher than typical causing your pet to have a break through attack and to start scratching possibly developing a sore or secondary bacterial infection which then must be treated. There are some pets who do great on allergy management and never have a break through or problem. This doesn’t mean you stop treatment and when they start scratching again say “Well I stopped because they were cured but now there scratching again so it didn’t work.” Allergies require life long management.

 

Though pet allergies are difficult to pinpoint, the treatment of allergies has come a long way in the past years. It is important to be mindful of the symptoms and understand that the treatment might be lifelong and managed with medication or a special diet. Your veterinarian may cringe at the word, “allergy” due to its complexity and it being difficult to pinpoint, but they are the best to help identify a plan to help your pet thrive.

Why Does My Pet’s Breath Smell?

Dental health guidance provided by Dr. Sharon Davis, DVM

dog, vet, dental health, teeth cleaning

If you find that your dog or cat’s breath smells, it may be time to take the utmost care of your pet’s dental health.

Dental health: how important is it really?

Periodontal disease can lead to bacteria getting into your pet’s blood stream through their inflamed gums. These bacteria can wreck havoc on the body. They go to heart valves causing endocarditis and heart murmurs as well as travel to other organs seeding infection throughout the body.

Diseased teeth can lead to tooth root abscess and even infection in the jaw bone that can get so bad it can weaken the jaw bone enough to cause a fracture. All these things can be prevented with proper dental care.

Do you think it’s important now?

dog-teeth-check

Check out your pet’s teeth. If any of the following applies, your pet likely has dental disease.

1) You see brown build up on the teeth. Don’t forget to check the back teeth.

2) The gums bleed if you touch them with a cotton tip where the tooth touches the gum.

3) You touch one or more of your pet’s teeth and they move.

4) Your pet’s chew toy has spots of blood on it after chewing on it.

5) Your pet picks up a toy and drops it or doesn’t chew on the toys like before.

6) Your pet shy’s away from his head being petted when he used to enjoy it before.

7) Your pet’s breath can clear the room.

If you recognize any of these symptoms in your pet, have your pet examined by your veterinarian.

 

If your pet has mild dental tartar, you may be able to get away with just brushing the teeth with a pet approved toothpaste on a routine basis, but eventually almost all pets require a professional dental cleaning – just as you require professional dental cleanings.

If your pet already has evidence of dental disease and gingivitis, your pet requires a professional dental cleaning, or as veterinarians like to call it: a comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment (COHAT for short).

The sooner you get this done, the healthier your pet will be long term, and there will be decreased likelihood of needing extractions.

It is not a one and done for the life of your pet. Dental cleanings need to be done on a regular basis. The frequency depends on your pets breed, genetics, chewing habits and at-home care.

dog, teeth brushing

Brushing your pet’s teeth is easier if you start when they are young. Get them used to having your fingers in their mouth, lifting their lips and opening their mouths.

Brushing can be done with a special long handled dog toothbrush, a human tooth brush, a special designed finger cap brush or even just a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger. What you use will depend upon you and the size of your pet. It is important however to only uses specialized pet toothpaste as human toothpaste is harmful to your pet.

For a DIY pet toothpaste recipe that you can make and use at home, watch this “how to” video from Best Friends Pet Hotel:

Listen to the advice of the professionals and veterinarians to tell you when it is a time for a professional cleaning.

cat, dental health, teeth brushing

In small breed dogs it can be as early as one year of age or as late as 6 years of age in a large breed dog. Cats may require their first cleaning anywhere from 1 year to 8 years; a lot depends on their chewing habits, underlying medical conditions, and at-home care. The most important factor is: don’t wait until your pet is experiencing pain, infection and complications to get it done. It is important to be proactive with dental care. Your pet will thank you.

 

pet grooming, groomer, dog
Your local Best Friends Pet Hotel offers professional teeth brushing as part of our grooming services. Visit our Grooming webpage to learn more and book an appointment. Or call your local center with any questions.

vet care, vet clinic, vaccinations, Vetco, Best Friends pet Hotel
To learn more about veterinary care and monthly vet clinics (in partnership with Vetco) at SELECT local Best Friends Pet Hotel locations, visit our Vet Care webpage. Or call your local center with any questions.