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It’s Always a Happy Thanksgiving With Pets

Five Reasons to Be Thankful for Pets

Across the country, on Thanksgiving Day, it’s a common tradition for families to come together to prepare and enjoy a delicious, home cooked meal. Often, before digging in, they’ll go around the dinner table and take turns stating something they are thankful for, and although they may not be sitting at the table, we encourage you to take a moment to give thanks to all of the amazing things that animals give us, too.

There’s no question that pets are great companions that provide us with unconditional love, motivate us to be healthier and help us unwind, and give us a much-needed laugh at the end of a busy work day. But those are just some of the thousands of reasons to be thankful for your cat, dog, and all other animals alike. Here’s a list of five more:

Nonjudgmental. Your pet won’t make fun of your clothes, they will kiss you even when you have bad breath and might even dance along with your terrible dance moves. Pets are great companions because in their eyes, you can do no wrong.

Non-Demanding. Pets don’t ask for much besides food, water, and a safe place to call home. Sometimes they demand more belly rubs or extra treats, but is that really too much to ask for considering all of the things that animals give us? They’ll be the easiest to shop for come Christmas time, that’s for sure.

Best Food Critic. In your pet’s opinion, you are an excellent cook and they probably wouldn’t turn up their nose at a dish that you’ve prepared. But – it’s important to keep the Thanksgiving feast on the table, not under it. Luckily for them, these homemade treat recipes we shared for National Cook for Your Pets Day  are easy enough to whip up for Thanksgiving, too!

Great Listener. You can laugh with them, joke with them, cry with them, spill your secrets to them – they will always listen. Unless you tell them to get off the couch, or stop scratching up the baseboards, or stop stealing and hiding your only good socks, then it seems to go in one ear and right out the other.

Body Warmer. Not only will they happily binge watch an entire Netflix series with you but they’ll cozy up right next to you – or right on top of your feet – and keep you nice and warm when the fuzzy socks or plush blanket just aren’t cutting it.

You’ll never feel alone in the presence of your pet, they’re always thrilled to see you, they’ll comfort you when you’re feeling low and always keep the secrets you can’t share with anyone else. Not only do they warm our feet, they never fail to warm our hearts so be sure to show your gratitude. Keep them close this holiday season, and you’re guaranteed to have a happy Thanksgiving with your pets.

National Cook for Your Pets Day

Home Cooking for Pets

The origin of National Cook for Your Pets Day remains somewhat of a mystery, but there’s absolutely no question that it’s been picked up nationwide by many pet parents who believe that there should be a special day, at least once a year, dedicated to treating our beloved companions to an extraordinary –  yet safe and nutritious – home cooked meal. If you’re thinking about participating, remember that maintaining a steady, consistent diet of quality food as discussed with your veterinarian is very important to your pet’s overall health.

Things to Consider with Home Cooking for Pets

Pet nutrition can be a challenge, especially for those looking to practice the art of cooking for their pets beyond this national holiday. According to the folks at the American Kennel Club (AKC), when done right, home cooking for your pets can offer a number of benefits like diet management, appeasing picky eaters, bond-building, combatting food intolerance issues, concern over food recalls, and so much more. Thankfully, AKC developed a list of some common mistakes to avoid when trying out home cooking for dogs and cats:

  • Not Using Trusted Sources
  • Not Preparing Balanced Meals
  • Relying on Multiple Diets to Create “Balance”
  • Using Unsafe/Unhealthy Ingredients
  • Straying From the Recipe
  • Understating the Impact of Dietary Changes

One important point the AKC makes is that while there are a great deal of benefits for whole-ingredient based diets, this serves only as a suggested alternative to commercial pet foods, not a required one. Owners should be aware of ingredient quality of commercial foods, and although they are not the most exciting of meals, they are still made to be complete and balanced. Regardless of which method you choose, just be sure that you are catering to your pet’s individual health, nutrition needs, and consult your veterinarian before switching to a homemade diet as you may unintentionally deprive them of necessary nutrients.

Try a Homemade Treat when Cooking for Your Pets

As an alternative, try making a homemade treat to celebrate National Cook for Your Pets Day!  During the workweek, after a long day at the office it might be tough to find the time or energy to whip up baked goods for your pet… but luckily for your furry friend, this holiday falls on the weekend and we’ve found a couple recipes in the hopes of saving you that extra step.

If it’s tips on how to cook for your cat that you’re searching, look no further than these homemade treats from Jennifer Coates, DVM at PETMD. The best part about home cooking for your pets is that you are 100% in control of what goes in them, and these limited ingredient kitty treats are a purr-fect example of that!

If it’s your canine companion you are interested in treating, pun not intended, these treats from AKC are sure to make them drool. Whether it’s National Cook for Your Pets Day or any day of the year for that matter, it can be fun to try out a vet-approved treat recipe to spoil your pet and it will surely be a satisfying nod to your cooking when you find them reaching (or pawing) for more!

Just keep in mind that providing nutritious, nutrient-rich meals is important for the health of your pets and switching your dog’s diet suddenly can cause an upset stomach – so while many home-cooked pet meals have ingredients that are nourishing, it might be best served as a holiday treat rather than a daily menu item.

If you’re interested in celebrating this holiday be sure to consult your veterinarian to discuss options for preparing healthy treats or meals to meet your pet’s particular health needs, age, and lifestyle.

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.

The Best Outdoor Activities to Do with Your Pet This Fall

Pet Friendly Fall Activities

Now that the fall season is finally here, Arizonans can take advantage of the beautiful weather, with the company of their furry friends. Luckily, there are plenty of fun things for dogs to do outside, that they normally wouldn’t enjoy during the hot summer months. Keep reading for some pet friendly fall activities and fun places to take your dog this season.

Hiking: 

Going for a hike with your pup is a great way to enjoy nature and get fit at the same time. If your dog is athletic and needs to burn off some energy, hikes will become your new best friend this season. There are different types of trails all over the Valley that have incredible views, and some are puppy proof! Here are a few to check out soon: 

  • North Mountain National Trail – Moderate 
  • Dreamy Draw Loop – Moderate
  • Shaw Butte Trail – Moderate 
  • Phoenix Mountain Preserve – Easy to Moderate 
  • Gateway Loop – Easy 

Dog Parks: 

One of the best outdoor activities for dogs is to enjoy some time at the local dog park. With temperatures cooling down, pet parents can play fetch with their fur kid – without all the sweat and heat exhaustion. Dog parks allow pups (and their owners)  to socialize and get some fresh air at the same time. Below are a few pawesome dog parks that your pup will love: 

  • Cosmo Dog Park – Gilbert area
  • Paradise Valley Dog Park – Phoenix/ Paradise Valley area
  • Tempe Sports Complex Dog Park – Tempe area 
  • Quail Run Dog Park – Mesa area 

Pet-Friendly Places Around the Valley: 

Looking for something unique to do this weekend? Luckily, during the months of September – November, Arizona doesn’t fall short when it comes to places and experiences you and your pets can enjoy. Check out this list of other pet friendly fall activities that you won’t want to pass up:

  • The McCormick Stillman Railroad Park 
  • Goldfield Ghost Town 
  • Farmer’s Markets 
  • Biltmore Fashion Park 

As you can see, you and your furry friend have a lot to check off your bucket lists this year! Pets make great adventure partners, just remember to always keep their health and safety in mind. Happy fall! 

AZPetVet loves to see our patients and pet parents enjoying everything that Arizona has to offer. Call one of our 21 locations across the Valley to schedule your pet’s yearly wellness exam today! 

Cats Have Allergies! Itching to Help Your Feline Friend?

All About Allergies in Cats

Just like humans, cats have allergies. However, unlike humans, your cat will likely not develop the same watery sinuses or tickle in their throat, so it’s good to be able to identify signs and determine the best treatment methods early in order to spare your feline friend many miserable months.

Signs of Allergies in Cats

Most commonly, cats develop allergies to their environment, food, and fleas, and you will likely see signs of these allergies on their skin and coat. While no two cats are the same and symptoms may vary, if you want to know how to tell if your cat has allergies, here are some common signs to look out for:

  • Excessive scratching
  • Increased licking
  • Chewing/biting at skin
  • Hair loss
  • Lesions
  • Scabbing 
  • Dry/flaking skin
  • Redness on chin, paws, or mouth
  • Sneezing, coughing, or wheezing
  • Head shaking/frequent ear infections
  • Runny nose

Cats with allergies to food will most often scratch at their heads and necks and experience gastrointestinal issues like vomiting or diarrhea. Frequent changes to diet can cause these reactions but ultimately, food allergies can show up in cats at any age or at any time. The cause of food allergies in small animals is the protein source, with chicken and beef being the most common allergens. Sneezing, coughing, wheezing, severe itching, and redness and swelling of the skin are common signs of environmental allergies in cats who spend a lot of time outdoors,. Flea allergies are most commonly transmitted from a flea bite directly and results in itchiness, redness, crusting, and hair loss of the head, neck, rump, dorsum, flank, and tail regions. It’s important to note that it may only require one bite to trigger 2-3 weeks of severe itchiness and discomfort. Cats can also be allergic to other types of insect bites, such as mosquitos, and can result in ulcerations and crusting lesions on the ears, nose, and less commonly, around the mouth and on the body.

What Are Cats Allergic To?

Not only is it crucial to your furry friend’s health for you to be able to recognize signs of allergies in cats, but it’s imperative that you understand what might be prompting these reactions. Here’s a list of some common triggers:

  • Various pollens (dust, tree, weed)
  • Protein source in food
  • Mold or mildew
  • Fleas/flea preventatives
  • Other insect bites
  • Perfumes
  • Cleaning products
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Prescription medications
  • Rubber or plastic materials

How to Treat Your Cat’s Allergies

Since the signs of allergies in cats vary, you’ll want to visit your primary veterinarian to best determine how to treat your cat’s allergies and develop a plan that meets his or her specific needs. Your vet may determine the source of the reaction(s) but if not, they may recommend skin or blood tests, medications, or suggest an elimination diet with the goal of narrowing down potential causes.

It’s unfortunate that even with technology today, our pets are still unable to verbalize their feelings. It’s our duty as pet parents to become aware of common triggers, avoid products or environments that over-stimulate the senses, and remain cognizant of abnormal behaviors in order to act accordingly and in a timely manner. Keeping a close eye on your feline friends and treating symptoms as soon as they arise guarantees more snuggles and less sneezing all year round. 

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. 

Tropical Royalty – How to Take Care of an Iguana

Close-up portrait of iguana

Learn How to Take Care of an Iguana, Before Adopting One

Did you know that there are different types of iguanas? There’s the Desert Iguana, Galapagos Land Iguana, and Rhinoceros Iguana – just to name a few. There are some with spiky tails, some that live near the sea, and some that are pink or red in color, but the most popular iguana species that is often kept as a pet is the Green Iguana because they tend to be calm and easy to manage. Green Iguanas derive their name from the very beautiful, vibrant green color of their skin.

When you’re ready to expand your family and bring a scaly friend into your home, there are a few important details to consider to ensure that you are up to speed on proper iguana care and feeding.

5 Important Things to Know When Getting Ready to Take Care of an Iguana:

  1. Size & Space – Iguanas can grow to be very large, some reaching over 6 feet in length and weighing up to 20 pounds. A large iguana calls for a large iguana habitat and when selecting the appropriate enclosure, it’s important to note that iguanas are arboreal creatures, meaning they often live in trees and have an innate urge to climb. You’ll want to consider this when picking out the perfect iguana tank setup.
  2. Climate – The Green Iguana is native to South and Central America and some parts of the Caribbean islands. This is because iguanas thrive in tropical weather that is both rich in heat and humidity, so It’s important to provide a warm basking spot and maintain the appropriate humidity level in your iguana tank setup. You can increase humidity by providing a large pool of water or by purchasing a mister and lightly misting the entire habitat, including the iguana, at least twice a day. They are diurnal, which means, like humans, they’re active during the day and sleep at night so your iguana tank setup should have an adjustable climate system with daytime temperatures ranging from 80-90 degrees fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures hovering around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Strength – Iguanas are strong, especially their tails as this is their primary defense system in the wild. Just like any pet, iguanas will need to go through a taming/training period and it’s not uncommon for the handler to experience a tail-whip here and there during this process. It’s all part of the fun in learning how to take care of an iguana.
  4. Introverts – Iguanas are not very social, nor are they cuddly and they can be a little bit lazy. As they get older, they often enjoy spending their days basking under a heat lamp or in the sunlight completely unbothered. However, if not properly or regularly handled from a young age, iguanas can develop irritable temperaments so while they may not want to go on long walks through the park, a little bit of extra attention each day will go a long way.
  5. Diet – While some reptiles have been known to indulge in insects, iguanas are natural herbivores, meaning they are at their healthiest when on an all-vegetarian diet. Some great examples of healthy greens include kale, collard greens, beet greens, alfalfa hay, broccoli, cabbage, parsley, and green beans. They can also enjoy fruits like apples, pears, bananas, and more.

Iguanas are ectothermic which means they rely on their environment to regulate their temperature. While this trait makes them a bit more adaptable, they are still sensitive to sudden environmental changes – like moving to Arizona! So, you’ll want to ensure your enclosure is accommodating for a smooth transition to the desert.

Proper iguana care and feeding are crucial to an iguanas lifespan. With the appropriate diet and environment, an iguana can live up to and sometimes beyond 20 years – so, as long as you research as much as you can and consider these factors, you and your iguana are sure to be lifelong friends.

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.