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4th of July: Fireworks Safety for Pets

How to Keep Pets Calm and Safe During Fireworks

The 4th of July is a time for being outdoors, enjoying barbecues, red, white, and blue, and of course, fireworks. The biggest problem? Pets and fireworks don’t mix. Cats and dogs have very keen senses of hearing, so they’re naturally predisposed to be scared of loud noises. In fact, most pets are terrified of the thundering booms, bangs, and crackles of fireworks, and the light flashes simply add to the panic and distress pets are feeling. That’s why the 5th of July is the busiest day of the year for most animal shelters. The staff will spend their day trying to find the owners of companion animals that fled or escaped their homes, only to be found exhausted, disoriented, or even injured. With a little preparation the night before the 4th of July, you can keep pets calm during fireworks.

The Night Before the 4th of July

Don’t lose your pet in a fireworks panic. Be prepared. Take a few minutes to create a safe sanctuary for your pets; one that’s away from exterior doors and windows. Keep all windows and doors closed, and draperies and shades drawn. Include a few favorite toys and a familiar blanket or bed for your pet in a sheltered area of the room. Playing soft music can also help soothe your pet’s nerves. For very anxious cats and dogs, try a Thundershirt or a snug-fitting harness. For pets that cannot be soothed naturally, a sedative type medication may be necessary – speak to your veterinarian to discuss options. 

How to Find a Lost Pet With a Microchip

Fireworks are just one reason why it’s so important for all pets to be microchipped. A microchip is a form of permanent ID for a pet that can’t get lost like a collar or tags. Lost pets that have a microchip are far more likely to find their family than animals that are unchipped. For more on the benefits of microchips, see our blog. Of course, if the owner’s information registered to the chip is out of date, the microchip isn’t much help. Make sure your pet’s chip registry and collar tags are up to date and have all the most recent address and contact information. Not sure how? Read on.

How to Update a Dog’s Microchip

Lots of rescues in the area routinely microchip their pets prior to adoption. When adopting a pet from a shelter, you should be provided the chip information, the specific chip number along with any relevant health history records. It’s important to contact the corresponding registry to update your contact information accordingly. Not sure which pet chip registry site was used to register your pet? If you have your pet’s microchip number but have forgotten where you registered your contact information, you may find the original registry here. Call the phone number listed or visit the appropriate registry website to have the information updated. If you don’t have the microchip number, ask your vet to check your pet’s record or have them scan your pet for the chip number and any other information. 

Have a lost pet or need to find a specific pet rescue or shelter? There are many around the Valley, from large organizations like the Maricopa County Animal Control, Arizona Humane Society, and Arizona Animal Welfare League to smaller rescues dedicated to a particular breed or pet type. Google or Yelp can be helpful in searching for local pet shelters and rescues. Social media pages such as Straydar and Lost Dogs of Phoenix can also be helpful for locating a lost pet.

Happy 4th of July from your AZPV family! Be safe, remember to maintain social distance from others, and have fun.

[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.

Social Petworking Month: Networking for Animals

How to Use Social Media to Find a Good Home for a Dog or Cat

As social media has become such a prevalent part of our lives, it’s allowed us to stay connected to friends, family, and acquaintances. It has also evolved into a useful tool to serve more purposes. June is Social Petworking Month — the perfect opportunity for individuals to use their social channels to help others — specifically, homeless dogs and cats looking for a good, loving forever home.

During Social Petworking Month, individuals are encouraged to use their social media to promote photos and information on furry friends in shelters that are seeking adoption. Doing this helps to bring awareness to all the different dogs and cats that are ready for a family and hoping that they’ll find their perfect match. 

How Can You Participate?

Participating in Social Petworking Month is easy and quick to do. All you have to do is look through your local shelter’s website to find dogs and cats that are looking for a new home. Take their photo and a short description of the pet to share on your social media, whether that’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Snapchat. The more you share, the more you boost the chances of someone seeing your post and being interested in adopting them!

On top of this, you can share interesting facts about the furry friend to really personalize their social post and increase interest in their adoption. People love to hear about what makes them unique or fun quirks they have, which can include anything from having a special talent or trick to loving tummy scratches. 

You can also use your social media to become an advocate for adopting in general, including sharing the benefits of adopting pets from shelters and rescues to encourage others to do the same.

Pet Sharing Apps

Another aspect of networking for dogs and cats that can be beneficial to look into during this time is pet sharing apps. These apps and sites connect communities of pet lovers who can provide a safe and loving temporary home for the dog or cat when the owner needs help with care. 

These virtual communities can often offer a cost-effective solution to normal pet daycares, walkers, and sitters. For those who take care of the dog or cat, it offers a perfect opportunity for them to experience being a pet parent without having to fully commit. This can be a great stepping-stone for those looking to adopt in the future so they can understand the time commitment, responsibility, and work that goes into taking care of a pet. 

During Social Petworking Month, take a look at how you can give back and promote dogs and cats looking for forever homes. By simply promoting animals up for adoption on social media, becoming an advocate for adopting, or getting involved with pet sharing apps, you can make a significant difference for pets in shelters in need of loving families. 

[DISLCLAIMER] 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. 

Ways to Celebrate Your Pet All Year Round

Party Animals – How to Get Creative with Celebrating Your Pet

As a pet parent, it’s our responsibility to shower our beloved companions with love and appreciation every day. However, there may be some special occasions where we want to go above and beyond our regular duties to show them just how much we care. These occasions can include birthdays, adoption days, and holidays. So, how do you make these days extra special for your special friend? Luckily, with a little planning and creativity, there are plenty of unique ways to celebrate a significant occasion for your pet that they will be sure to love.

Give Them a Gift

Nothing says “I love you” like a brand new gift! Surprise your friend with a new toy, treat, or food to show your appreciation. The change in their routine or environment will be extra exciting for them, and they will love you for it. If you have a dog, try giving them a new kind of chew toy that will stand the test of time. Recognize how your pup likes to play and find a toy that suits them best. If they prefer to play tug of war, look for a toy that you can use together. If your furry friend prefers to play fetch, search for a toy that you can throw a greater distance to let them run. For cats, you can never go wrong with toys that test their natural instincts, such as wand toys that have an enticing dangling piece.

When in doubt, take your pet to your local pet store and let them pick out their own toy. Your companion will love the mini-trip and will be sure to love whatever they pick out.

Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts can be a great way to bond with your pet. Whether it’s making them a homemade gift or creating something together, taking time out of your day to spend time together is a great way to celebrate your pet and make their day special. For some DIY pet presents, try your hand at creating a homemade bowtie for their collar, a new tug-of-war toy for your pup, or a new wand toy for your cat. Making these gifts yourself will make them that much more special for you and your pet.

If you’re in an artsy mood, purchase some non-toxic washable paints, paintbrushes, and a canvas. Using your pet as your muse, paint a portrait of your furry friend on the canvas. To top it off, put some of the paint on a plate, dip your pet’s paw in it, and have them stamp their paws on the portrait. Not feeling up to the task of trying to paint your pet’s portrait? Just dip their paws in different colored paints, then press their feet on different parts of the canvas for a rainbow of pawprints. Whichever way you go, you’ll be sure to create some pawsome masterpieces.

Host a Mini Pet Party

Feeling like a party animal? Then celebrate your pet by throwing them a party! Create a VIP (Very Important Pet) guest list filled with their best friends. To go all-out, decorate your home with streamers, balloons, and pictures of your pet. Make sure to have plenty of enticing toys out so your furry friend and their pals can have a blast. To top it off, document the occasion with a pet photoshoot — party hats are encouraged!

Whether it’s a special occasion or you just want to show some extra love, there are always plenty of ways to celebrate your furry companion. Don’t be afraid to get creative and above all — have fun!

[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.

Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month: Dog and Cat Seasonal Allergies

Dog and Cat Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Experiencing asthma and allergy symptoms can quickly put a damper on a perfectly good summer day. Most people know the signs of allergies in humans. However, recognizing symptoms in your cat or dog may be harder to distinguish, especially since they can’t voice their discomfort. May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month — the perfect time to brush up on dog and cat seasonal allergy symptoms, so you can quickly identify potential problems. Knowing the signs can help you make sure your furry friend receives the treatment they need to get on the right path to feeling their best!

What is an Allergy?

Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system to foreign substances. Just like their human counterparts, our furry friends can experience unpleasant allergy symptoms. Allergy season for dogs and cats is typically in the spring and summer months. These seasonal allergies arise because plants are blooming during this time of the year, which causes the pollen count to be high. Common allergens for dogs and cats include fleas, pollen, plants, house dust mites, and ragweed. Ragweed is one of the most common allergens in the U.S. and can be one of the leading causes of your cat’s or dog’s allergy symptoms.

Symptoms of Allergies in Your Dog or Cat

The symptoms of your furry friend’s allergies may vary on a case-by-case basis. However, some of the main signs of allergies for both cats and dogs include:

  • Itchiness
  • Itchy and runny eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Constant licking
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry flakey skin
  • Hair loss
  • Bumps/rashes
  • Chronic ear infections

What is Asthma?

Asthma is an allergic disease that occurs due to an allergic reaction in the airways, which then causes inflammation. This inflammation causes the passageways to constrict, making it very difficult to breathe.

Asthma Symptoms in Your Dog or Cat

An asthma attack can quickly turn into a life-threatening situation. That’s why it’s essential to recognize the signs of an asthma attack in its early stages. Symptoms of an asthma attack for both cats and dogs include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Gagging up foamy mucus
  • Panting with a wide mouth
  • Blue lips and gums

Treatment

Treatment for both allergies and asthma will depend on the severity of the condition. For allergies, lifestyle changes may be necessary to remove that specific allergen from your furry friend’s life. In addition, your veterinarian may also prescribe a medication to help control the symptoms.

In treating mild or ongoing asthma attacks, your veterinarian may prescribe a medication that can be taken either orally, or through regularly scheduled injections with your veterinarian, or through nebulization. Lifestyle changes may also be necessary to help ease your dog’s or cat’s asthma symptoms. These can include washing their bedding regularly, using dust-free litter, and wiping off your pup’s feet after being outside.

Our beloved pets are unable to tell us what is bothering them. We are in peak time for seasonal allergies, so keep a close eye on your furry friends that may be experiencing allergies or asthma-related symptoms. It’s our job as pet parents to help recognize the signs of allergies and asthma, and get our furry friends the help and medical attention that they need to feel better!

[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.

Why Animals are Good for Your Health

 

Is it good to have a pet? We may be biased, but our answer is a resounding YES! Without a doubt, having a pet is good for your health. Here are five great reasons why animals are good for you and your health.

  1. Pets provide love and companionship. Get a pet and you’ll never feel alone. Pets provide us with unconditional love, lots of affection, and are great for prompting laughter with their antics, so it’s hard to feel lonely with a furry friend by your side. Even better? Pets are always happy to see you, even when you’ve only been gone for a few minutes! (Many pet owners will tell you that dogs are much better at this response than most cats.) 
  2. Better mental health. According to an article in TIME magazine, research increasingly shows that owning a pet can improve your mental health. Many hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities often have a pet in residence to help soothe anxiety. Pet owners are also less likely to suffer from depression. 
  3. Reduced stress levels. Petting a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe you when you’re feeling stressed or anxious. Since stress is a significant risk factor for serious health conditions, a pet can help lower your stress levels and in turn, reduce your risk for experiencing health problems. 
  4. Reduced risk for allergies and asthma. Numerous scientific studies have shown that having a furry friend in the home can make children less susceptible to developing allergies or asthma later in life. 
  5. Lower blood pressure. Did you know that simply petting a dog or cat can help lower your blood pressure? It’s true. Getting regular exercise can also help lower your blood pressure. Dog owners tend to get more exercise than non-dog owners, as dogs are a great reason to get outside and take a walk. 

Still not convinced? According to the CDC, some of the health benefits of having a pet include:

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased cholesterol levels
  • Decreased triglyceride levels
  • Decreased feelings of loneliness
  • Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
  • Increased opportunities for socialization

One final note: better health associated with owning a pet isn’t limited to just cats and dogs. Whether your pet is sporting fur, scales, fins, or hooves – it’s the simple act of caring for another living being that makes being a pet owner worthwhile. Don’t have a pet yet or thinking of getting one? Check out our blog on how to choose the right pet for you and your family.

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.