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Tips To Get Your Dog More Active

How You Can Make Your Lazy Dog Active

It is a common misconception that all animals should be active and playful, and for some breeds, exercise comes more naturally to them than it does to others. Regardless of your dog’s breed, however, your animal should be exercising consistently and regularly. As pet owners, it’s a responsibility to find activities that are fun and comfortable for your four-legged friend.

Not only is exercise typically enjoyable for most dogs, but it also reduces the likelihood of obesity which can lead to further health complications. Along with other behavioral issues that can arise as a result of a lack of exercise, including excessive licking, anxiety, drooling, digging and chewing, there are many reasons why animals should stay active. In addition, there may be underlying reasons as to why your dog is so lazy.

Why Is My Dog So Lazy?

There are many reasons why a dog may be inactive or lazy. Here are a few reasons why your pet may be sluggish:

  • Breed: If your dog is typically lazy, it’s likely that this is a result of their breed. Specific types of dogs, like Bulldogs, Saint Bernards, and Basset Hounds, are particularly known for their lackadaisical demeanors. Despite certain breeds’ affinities for nap time, it is imperative that owners take initiative and walk these dogs at least once a day.
  • Age: Older dogs with joint and hip problems may also be reluctant to exercise because it can be painful.
  • Weight: For dogs with severe obesity, a sedentary lifestyle is common; however, pet owners can break this cycle and work with their dog – and veterinarian – to find alternative exercise routines that are manageable and gradual.
  • Underlying Health Condition: For dogs that are typically energetic, laziness can be an indication of a poor diet or a more pressing health concern. A common symptom expressed by sick dogs, lethargic behavior can suggest a medical health condition. If accompanied by other sickness-related symptoms like vomiting, loose stools, lack of appetite, minimal drinking, and persisting laziness, pet owners should contact a veterinary clinic immediately.

How Can I Get My Dog To Be More Active?

Different dogs enjoy different types of exercise, and there are plenty of enrichment activities for dogs to encourage their athleticism. For breeds that are more active and who need more exercise, long hikes outdoors are ideal. Finding an off-leash trail or dog park (weather permitting) where dogs can run free is sure to wear them out.

Older dogs who are experiencing pain are often limited in their movement. Introducing new chew toys to get them excited can be a great way to initiate playtime. New toys stimulate curiosity and can inspire interaction with other humans or animals in the house.

A few other fun activities for dogs include scheduling a playdate with another neighborhood dog or exploring a new dog park. For breeds that lack enthusiasm about exercising, try some different motivating tactics to get them moving. A play pal or a new environment with new smells are both alternatives to traditional walks around the block that may incentivize your pet and pique their curiosity.

Encouraging activity or making a lazy dog playful isn’t as difficult as you think, but pinpointing the cause of their laziness can be challenging. If you’re curious to learn more about why your dog may be acting lethargic and sluggish, or if you suspect your pet may have an underlying medical condition that is affecting their activity, a veterinarian can provide insight into potential causes. The team at AZPetVet is available 7 days a week to help you ensure your pet is active and healthy.

[Disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

National Insurance Awareness Day: Pet Edition

What Is a Good Pet Insurance?

Whether it’s our cars, homes, or families, we always want to protect the things that we care about and value the most. National Insurance Awareness Day falls on June 28, so many people will be reevaluating insurance plans to be sure the coverage continues to meet the needs of the policyholder. While searching for the best insurance plans for yourself and your loved ones, it can be all too easy to overlook pets and their healthcare needs in the process. Unfortunately, our furry friends do age, get sick, and can get injured as well. Happily, there is pet insurance!

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Adopting a quality insurance plan for your pet can help with your pet’s overall care throughout the years, from routine checkups to major injuries and chronic problems. Without insurance, everyday vet bills can stack up throughout your furry friend’s life. But if your pet gets sick or injured, undergoes extensive surgery, or needs intensive care, covering the bill can be a stressful situation.

Opting to have an insurance plan for your beloved pet can help eliminate unnecessary stress when handling your pet’s medical bills. While not every insurance plan is made equal, many will cover your needs and provide more return for your money.

What Is a Good Pet Insurance?

When trying to decide on the best insurance plan for your pet, it’s essential to look at many factors, as well as read the fine print. Searching for the right policy can be a time-consuming process. However, taking the time to review each plan thoroughly will not only help your furry friend in the long-run, but it’ll also help your wallet.

When looking over your options, try to find a plan that does not significantly hike up prices as your pet ages. Many plans may appear affordable while your pet is young. Still, the premiums can rise exponentially as your pet ages, making them difficult to afford when they’re older.

Also, you must fully understand what is and is not covered, so you aren’t thrown off by any unexpected costs down the road. You can opt-out of coverage for less-costly care –– such as wellness exams and preventative care –– in favor of coverage for more significant unexpected expenses.

How to Decide if Pet Insurance is Right for You

The bottom line is that insurance can be costly. Deciding on an insurance plan or shouldering the expenses alone can be a difficult decision to make. By paying monthly for insurance, you’re giving yourself a financial cushion in case your furry friend ever needs intensive and expensive care. Without insurance, you run the risk of facing hefty bills should your beloved pet ever become seriously ill, injured, or develop a chronic problem. 

Overall, deciding on an insurance plan is a significant financial decision. Through in-depth research and considering your pet’s unique needs, you can find a quality insurance plan that works for your furry friend and your budget.

[DISCLAIMER] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Canine Parvovirus – Learning how to Prevent is the Key

What Every Pet Parent Needs to Know To Prevent Parvo

Canine parvovirus (CPV), is most commonly referred to as parvo. It’s a very contagious and aggressive virus that causes an infectious gastrointestinal illness (GI), and in some instances can cause lifelong damage to the heart muscle. The most common form of CPV is intestinal, causing many unpleasant and even dangerous symptoms that often require hospitalization and 24-hour monitoring. Parvovirus can also be lethal for your pet.

So where does parvo come from in dogs, and how do you catch it? 

Parvovirus is spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with feces. That means that your dog can get parvo from eating an infected dog’s poop or simply sniffing an infected dog’s hindquarters! Keep pets away from feces, and always pick up and dispose of their poop – it’s good manners, and helps prevent the spread of potential diseases. Make certain your pets are current on all of their shots before they are exposed to other dogs.

How to Prevent Parvo in Puppies

Puppies, adolescent dogs, and canines who are not vaccinated are most susceptible to the virus. Parvo can be especially hard on puppies who haven’t yet been vaccinated because their immune systems haven’t yet fully developed. Make certain your pup is current on all of their shots before they are exposed to other dogs. Puppies need to undergo a series of vaccinations and boosters during their first year of life. Puppy shots usually begin between 6-8 weeks of age to help boost the development of their immune system. Additional vaccines and boosters will be necessary every 3-4 weeks until the puppy reaches 16-20 weeks of age. The vaccine schedule will not be the same for every pup, so consult your veterinarian.

What is the First Symptom of Parvo?

Lethargy is a common base symptom, but it can indicate any number of health issues, so you’ll need to watch for other symptoms. Dogs that are infected with the parvovirus will often experience severe vomiting, loss of appetite, and foul-smelling or bloody diarrhea. If you notice these or other symptoms, seek immediate veterinary care for your pet.

What Do Dog Vaccinations Prevent?

Vaccinations are vitally important to the health of pets. According to the ASPCA:

“Vaccines help prevent many illnesses that affect pets. Vaccinating your pet has long been considered one of the easiest ways to help him live a long, healthy life.”

The core vaccines recommended for dogs include:

  • DHPP Vaccine – This vaccine is used to protect your pet from 4 potentially fatal but preventable diseases (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza and Parvo).
  • Bordetella Vaccine – Bordetella is one of the more common causes of kennel cough/canine cough (infectious tracheobronchitis). The vaccine is also required by most groomers and boarding facilities.
  • Rabies Vaccine – A vaccine that is required by law due to the risk to people. While rare, rabies can be fatal, so get your dog vaccinated.

Want to know more about core vaccinations and other vaccines that may be recommended for your dog? Visit our blog to learn more.

Now that you understand the importance of preventing parvovirus, here’s how we can help. Each of the AZPetVet locations offer affordable Puppy Vaccination packages. Have an adult dog? Be sure to ask us about our Free Vaccines for Life program which is designed specifically for adult animals. After a one-time enrollment fee, your pet’s core vaccines will be free for the rest of their life. All you must do to keep the benefits going is bring them in for their annual Preventative Care exam! Visit Free Vaccines for Life for more information on our program.

[DISCLAIMER] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Heartworm Awareness Month

How to Avoid Heartworms in Dogs

Springtime in the Greater Phoenix area brings mosquitoes, and with them comes an increased risk for heartworms, a serious parasitic disease that’s found primarily in dogs and cats. According to the National Heartworm Society, at least 22 different species of mosquitoes can carry heartworm larvae, and more than 100,000 dogs contract heartworms each year.

Remember, these are actual worms. Heartworms can live directly within the infected animal’s heart or the neighboring large blood vessels for years. In severe cases, up to several hundred worms could be present, and each can grow up to a foot-long. As heartworm disease advances, it can result in a myriad of health complications including severe lung disease, heart failure, and damage to other organs. It can even be fatal. That’s why prevention is critical to pets that may be at risk.

Signs of Heartworm Disease in Dogs

In the early stages of heartworm disease, many dogs will show few symptoms or worse, no symptoms at all. The longer the infection is present, the more likely symptoms will develop. It’s important to get your dog tested, and onto a course of preventive treatment if your vet recommends it.

Signs of heartworm disease may include:

  • Mild persistent cough
  • Lethargy/avoids exertion
  • Fatigue after moderate activity
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss

Signs of Heartworm Disease in Cats

The signs of heartworm disease in cats can be very subtle or very dramatic. Symptoms may include:

  • Coughing or asthma-like attacks
  • Periodic vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss

Heartworm Preventative Comparison

It’s estimated that more than 1 million dogs are heartworm positive nationwide. Since prevention is the only way to protect your pet, it’s a simple matter of consulting your vet about an oral, topical, or injectable preventative medication at your next veterinary appointment. While heartworm medications don’t prevent infection from occurring, they do kill any existing heartworm larvae that were transmitted since the last monthly treatment, so they don’t have the chance to cause health problems.

An annual blood test and preventative oral, topical, or injectable medication are the best weapon against heartworms. The combination of an annual test along with a scheduled dose of monthly heartworm preventative at home (or an injectable preventative at your wellness appointment) is the most effective way to help protect your pet from this disease.

Heartworm Prevalence By Zip Code

Can your zip code make a difference in the level of risk for heartworms? Generally, yes, but the parameters are usually a bit broader. Due to local climate and rainfall, some areas of the country have mosquitoes all year round, so the risk for dogs to contract heartworms is definitely higher than for dogs in hotter, drier areas of the Southwest. While heartworms can be contracted any time of year, the risk for dogs in the Phoenix area is dramatically elevated in the weeks and months following rainfall (spring/fall) or monsoon storms (late summer), when mosquitoes tend to thrive.

Heartworm Cases in Arizona

While Arizona has seen an uptick in heartworm cases in recent years, it’s largely due to neglecting preventive measures as well as an increase in mosquitoes. While inside Maricopa County risk for heartworm remains moderate, a trip to Sedona, Flagstaff, or even another state can put your pets at risk. Ask your vet about establishing your pet on a heartworm preventative program.

Treatment of Heartworm Disease

Prevention, prevention, prevention. Effective treatments for heartworms in dogs do exist, but they are expensive and painful for your beloved pet to undergo. There is no treatment for heartworms in cats. Ask your veterinarian about a suitable heartworm prevention treatment program.

Thinking about traveling with your pet? The Pet Disease Alert Tracker can be helpful for pet owners who want to take precautions before traveling or to manage risk factors for pets with health conditions.

[DISCLAIMER] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Avoid Springtime Pet Hazards like Fleas & Ticks & AZ Rattlesnake Season

Spring in the Desert: Fleas, Rattlesnakes and Poison Prevention

Springtime is an excellent time to get outside to enjoy the sun and warmer weather with friends, family, and your furry companions. However, as exciting as spring can be, it also can come with numerous health and safety concerns that can be detrimental to the wellbeing of your pet. As we begin to dip our toes into the spring season, now is a great time to brush up on the various seasonal hazards that may put your furry friend at risk.

Spring Cleaning

Spring offers a wonderful opportunity to start the season off fresh with many folks tackling some heavy-duty cleaning! However, as you’re getting into every nook and cranny in your house, be sure to keep your pet’s health top of mind at all times. Cleaners and chemicals – even the organic ones – can contain harmful ingredients that can cause damage to your furry friend’s health. When cleaning your house, try not to use cleaners or chemicals in areas and on surfaces where your pet likes to hang out. In addition to mindful use, properly storing your cleaning materials will also help to keep your pet safe. Animal poison prevention is vital when spring cleaning your space. If you suspect that your furry friend has ingested poisonous substances, be sure to contact your veterinarian or Animal Poison Control Center immediately.

Make a note of the number: ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435.

Seasonal Critters

Humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy the springtime – this warmer season also brings out a variety of critters that also enjoy basking in the sunshine. As Arizonans know, this time of year draws out snakes from their cozy hibernation quarters underground. While not all snakes are dangerous, pet owners need to be prepared for Arizona’s rattlesnake season. An encounter with one of these creatures can be deadly for your furry friend. Always be aware of your surroundings and where you step while on walks or hiking with your beloved pet.

Along with snakes, the warm weather also brings out an abundance of bugs – including mosquitoes. To help keep your pet safe, be sure to maintain your furry friend’s heartworm preventative medicine and be aware of the early signs of heartworm disease in dogs and cats.

Remember, being outside and going on walks increase your pet’s chances of having bugs hitch a ride on them – including fleas and ticks. On top of using medications prescribed by your vet to help prevent fleas and ticks, be sure to regularly check your pup’s body for these critters after being outside.

Allergy Season

Springtime in Arizona means different fruits and veggies are in season, as well as various plants blooming. Yes, it’s true – pets can have allergies too. Common allergies for pets include various foods, pollen, plants, and even dust. Just like their human counterparts, your furry friend’s allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe. Mild symptoms can include sniffling or wheezing, while severe symptoms can be as life-threatening as anaphylactic shock. Watch your pets for signs of allergies so you can take the necessary steps to keep them safe, happy, and healthy. If you have questions about allergies, talk with your vet.

Springtime offers countless opportunities to create cherished memories under the sun, as the warmer weather beckons you and your furry friend outside. As exciting as this time of year can be, it’s still essential to make your pet’s health and safety your number one priority. Be on the lookout for health risks that can come into contact with your pet. Seasonal allergies, cleaning materials, and desert critters can all put a damper on this season for both you and your pet. Utilizing early prevention tools, along with being aware of your environment, can help to ensure your springtime is a blast.

Need a good vet? Visit AZPetVet.com/locations to find one near you!

[Disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.