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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 Of course, if the owner’s information registered to the chip is out of date, the microchip isn’t much help.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.

Hidden Desert Dangers For Dogs

Seven Desert Dangers For Dogs

The warmer weather brings out a variety of critters that enjoy basking in the sunshine, including snakes and other creepy crawlies. Since dogs love to sniff around and investigate all sorts of interesting sights and smells during walks, they may be at risk for meeting all sorts of potentially harmful desert dwellers. Here are some of the things you’ll need to watch out for when venturing outside or into the desert with your dog.

1. Arizona Rattlesnake Season:

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. If your dog gets bitten by a snake, it’s important to get to an emergency veterinarian immediately! For the best chance of recovery, dogs must be treated for a snake bite within just a couple hours of the bite. Restrict your pet’s movement to slow the venom’s spread, and remove any collars and halters if any swelling is occurring near the head or limbs. Symptoms of snake bites can include:

  • Changes in gum color (Brick Red or Pale)
  • Swelling
  • Weakness
  • Rapid breathing & heart rate
  • Continuous licking of paws
  • Digging at ears
  • Oozing from a puncture wound
  • Collapse from shock

Snake training for dogs can help avoid a snake bite. Phoenix has a lot of frequent hikers and residential areas with lots of desert around. That’s why we recommend you and your pet attend Rattlesnake Avoidance Training with a professional trainer. There are several different methods involved in this type of training, so be sure to ask a lot of questions before you decide on a trainer and training system. We also recommend repeating training annually – as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

2. Scorpions, scorpions, scorpions!:

Can scorpions hurt dogs? Oh, yes. Out of the more than 1,700 known types of scorpions, about 25 have sufficient amounts of venom to deliver a sting that could be fatal to pets. It’s no surprise that many poisonous scorpions make Arizona their home, including the deadly bark scorpion. During spring and summer months, our hospitals experience an increased number of calls about a dog stung by a scorpion on the nose or a scorpion bite on the dog’s paw. Symptoms of scorpion stings can include pain and localized swelling on the nose, face, paws or legs. Smaller dogs can even experience seizures. If you suspect your dog has been stung by a scorpion, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.

3. Heat Stroke/Hyperthermia:

Heatstroke, or hyperthermia, is a real danger for both pets and people. Unlike humans, cats and dogs have very few sweat glands – they’re located in places such as their feet and noses. Hyperthermia occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises dangerously above normal, putting them at risk for multiple organ failure or death. Early recognition, and treatment of heatstroke, can improve your pet’s chances of making a quick recovery. Seek veterinary care and guidance as soon as possible! Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs can include:

  • Excessive panting/drooling
  • Dehydration
  • Reddened gums
  • Reduced or no urine production
  • Rapid/irregular heart rate
  • Vomiting blood/black, tarry stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in mental status (i.e. confusion and dizziness)
  • Seizures/muscle tremors
  • Wobbly, uncoordinated/drunken gait or movement
  • Unconsciousness/Cardiopulmonary Arrest (heart and breathing stop)

4. Javelinas:

Are javelinas dangerous to dogs? Yes and no. While they can be a nuisance, according to Arizona Game & Fish, they rarely present any significant risk to dogs. Coyotes are a natural predator for javelinas, so they’ll tend to steer clear of you and your dog unless cornered or while trying to protect their young. If you encounter a javelina or a group of them while walking with your dog, immediately turn around and head in another direction.

5. Foxtails & Cactus:

While these native plants are pretty, they can have quite a sting. If your dog comes in contact with a cactus, call your vet or an emergency vet right away for guidance. Foxtail can be quite dangerous to pets, as the barbed seed heads can work their way into your dog’s eyes, ears, mouth, paws or skin. Left untreated, they can cause serious infection.

6. Bugs & Mosquitoes:

Warmer weather also brings out an abundance of bugs, including mosquitoes. To help keep your pet safe, be sure to maintain your pet’s heartworm preventative medicine. 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 critters after being outdoors.

7. Cuts, Bites, & Burns:

Noses, paws, and legs are where most cuts, bites, and burns occur in dogs. Remember, the pads on your dog’s feet are NOT the same as shoes, so delicate paw pads can burn and blister very easily. Hiking, running, and other protective shoes that are made just for dogs can help prevent cuts, bites, and burns on tender paw pads that will require veterinary care. 

Finally, during Arizona’s summer months, it’s best to take walks early in the morning when it’s cooler, or later in the evening after the cement or ground has had time to cool down. Remember, if you can’t walk barefoot, then neither should your pet! And if your pet does tangle with one of Arizona’s native snakes, scorpions. or other critters, act quickly and call your veterinarian for help. 

[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.

Protecting Your Pet’s Paws this Summer

Ways to Protect the Paws this Summer

With the summer fun comes the summer heat, and with the heat comes hot pavement! Asphalt, black tops, sidewalks, pool patios, and even turf can quickly become hotter than the outside air temperature making it dangerous for your pup’s paws.

To help avoid painful burns, damage to their paw pads, and ouchies that may require veterinary care, it’s best to be proactive when it comes to the heat. Avoid taking your dog out during the hotter times of the day and instead choose to exercise early in the morning or later in the evening after the pavement has had time to cool off. Another option might be to take them to a place without pavement like a grassy park where dogs are allowed.

When hot pavement or turf can’t be avoided, it’s a good idea to use dog booties! For summer, it’s best to have protective but breathable booties for your dog. There are even booties with reflective material on them to help provide visibility at nighttime. Make sure to shop around to find the best fit for your dog’s paws, their lifestyle, and your wallet. When buying booties, typically the manufacturer provides information that should tell you how to properly measure to find the best size for your pet’s paws.

Other things to consider when shopping around:

Make sure they are made for summer wear; you wouldn’t want to order dog sledding boots for summer! Look at the reviews and make sure they stay on dogs’ paws well; you don’t want to lose a bootie during an adventure. Lastly, make sure they fit your pup’s active lifestyle, as there are all different boots for different activities. For example, if they are using them around a pool, you may need ones that are water-appropriate material. If they are going to be hiking in them, they make trail dog boots for even more protection.

Introducing them to the boots:

It’s important to take a slow approach when introducing booties to your dog for the first time. Start by rewarding them for acknowledging the booties. You want them to see the boots as something positive and fun! Once your dog sees the boots as being something positive because they get a treat when the boots come out, try placing one of the boots on one of your dog’s paws. If your dog will not let you place a boot on their paw, try just touching their paw with the boot and rewarding them as a starting point – don’t strap them up just yet! One at a time, work to where you can successfully place a boot on each paw. Then, once you’ve had success doing that, place one bootie on and strap it up… don’t forget to reward your pup! Do this one paw at a time until you have successfully put on all the boots, give them a treat, and only leave them on for a few seconds before taking them off. Repeat this step, gradually increasing the amount of time they are on. Once they are comfortable with them on, encourage their first steps…they may walk a little funny at first!

Make sure to praise and reward your pup a lot while they figure out how to walk in their new shoes! After they have had time to adjust to the boots by having play sessions in the house with them on, you can begin to take them on walks wearing the boots. Don’t forget to bring treats and praise during your walk. Having your dog wear the booties for fun like on a trip to the pet store or to the park helps them associate positive experiences with the boots. Remember that making it a positive and fun experience for your pup will go a long way!

[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.