Glittering glass ornaments, shimmering tinsel, and shiny decorations give your home a warm, holiday glow. They can also be irresistibly tempting to pets. With a few simple precautions, you can turn your holidays into a joyful and safe season for all.
Before you bring out all the decorations, do a careful assessment of your home. Choose the safest possible location for all of your festive flourishes so they’re out of reach of pets and children.
Holiday Food, Cookie, and Candy Displays
Many homes traditionally set out all sorts of holiday indulgences for sampling any time of day (or night). From fudge, wrapped and unwrapped chocolates, candies, and cookies to gingerbread houses, cakes, and pies, the holidays are a treat for everyone – except your pets.
“People food” is a huge temptation for animals, so be sure to block access to people treats. Chocolate is toxic, so keep an extra close eye on your pets around these. People foods eaten by pets can cause stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea or worse. Keep some pet-friendly holiday treats on hand. Remember to limit table scraps, and make sure your guests know not to share their
food with your pets.
Holiday Decorations, Lights, and Candles
While many items look beautiful and harmless to us, a shard of glass from an ornament, strands of tinsel, and even those cute hand-crafted cookie/playdoh or macaroni ornaments your kids made in school can be harmful to pets if ingested. Cats, in particular, love the sparkle from tinsel which can cause irreparable internal damage if ingested.
Make sure that any electrical wires are tucked out of sight and that ornaments and lights are placed well out of reach for your curious pet’s paws. Christmas Tree lights can get extremely hot, giving your dog or cat a bad little burn if they venture over to sniff or touch them.
Remember to blow out Menorah candles (actually any type of candle!) every night. A simple bump of the table by an excited pet could send the candles tumbling and start a fire. The same is true for the ever-popular scented holiday candles, especially those that smell like food. Never leave a flame unattended!
Festive Plants, Trees, and Holiday Wreaths
Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, holly, and lilies look deceptively nice. Poinsettias do, too. However, when it comes to being safe for pets, they all belong on the naughty list. Their festive foliage can cause serious medical problems ranging from nausea to serious kidney failure and heart issues. Play it safe and opt for artificial holiday arrangements instead.
Pine needles (real and artificial) from wreaths or holiday trees can seriously injure your pet if they are ingested. If you have a live Christmas tree, you also want to keep your pet away from the water as they may be getting a dose of tree fertilizer or other harmful chemicals with their drink.
The safest place for your Christmas tree is in a room that’s off-limits to your pet. If that’s not feasible, situate it in a corner that you can block off with a play fence or other obstruction. Make sure the tree is secured and can’t topple over.
Gifts & Wrapping Paper
Who can resist the sight of gifts piled beneath the tree? Make sure that those beautifully wrapped presents are kept out of your pet’s reach, especially during gift opening time. From Styrofoam peanuts and plastic packaging to batteries, candy, and shiny twist ties, there’s a tantalizing treasure trove of temptation for your pet.
Having lots of people over to celebrate? With everyone’s attention diverted with presents and celebrations, you may want to have your pet in another room during gift exchanges to make sure they don’t accidentally ingest something harmful. Consider giving your furry friend a place of their own that’s well away from all the action and temptations. Setup a safe space that is designated as a “no people room” in a room in your house, with soft lighting and a comfortable place for your pets to relax for a bit.
Now that you’ve taken all the necessary precautions to keep your pets safe around holiday decorations, enjoy your holiday season!
[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.
Understanding the Benefits of Microchips for Arizona Pets
Despite our best efforts, some pets have a knack for escaping the house or yard and getting lost. That’s why it’s essential to have your pets microchipped! One tiny chip can mean the difference between a lost dog ending up in a shelter (and potentially being euthanized) and finding their way home. Here’s what you need to know to protect your pet if they get lost, where to get a microchip in Arizona, plus how to find pet chip registry sites.
What Does Microchip Mean?
A microchip is a tiny transponder, about the size of a grain of rice, that uses radiofrequency waves to transmit information about your pet. The microchip is implanted just under the pet’s skin, usually right between the shoulder blades.
How Do Microchips Work?
Each microchip contains a registration number and the phone number of the registry for the particular brand of chip. A handheld scanner passed over the pet can read the radio frequency of the chip and displays this information. The animal shelter or vet clinic that finds your pet can then contact the registry to get your name and phone number to notify you that your pet has been found.
How Long Do Microchips Last?
Microchips are designed to work for up to 25 years. One reminder, though – keep your contact information current!
Where in Arizona Can I Get a Pet Microchip?
Veterinarians, as well as some animal rescues and shelters, can microchip pets. If your pet is not already microchipped, contact any of our AZPetVet locations to schedule an appointment.
What Happens If I Move or Change Phone Numbers? How Do I Update My Pet’s Microchip?
If you have a new phone number or address, contact the company that registers the chip to update your information; otherwise, the chip will be useless. Depending on the chip vendor, you may be charged a small fee to process the update.
What Happens If I Adopt a Pet That’s Already Microchipped?
If your pet is already microchipped, that’s great news! 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. If you are unsure if your pet is microchipped, stop by any of our AZPetVet locations , or a local Arizona veterinarian office/rescue to get your pet scanned.
Pet Chip Registries
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.
Nothing feels quite as good as scratching an itch, but when the itch keeps itching, it can drive you batty! Just imagine what it’s like for your pet – they rely on you for their needs, so be aware of their scratching – it may be the first sign of a nasty problem – mainly, fleas and/or ticks.
Fleas and ticks are the two most common external parasites found in dogs and cats, and both will cause your pet to scratch themselves more frequently. These nasty little guys survive by feeding on the blood of dogs, cats and sometimes people. Flea and tick bites can lead to health problems including constant itching, hair loss (alopecia), hypersensitivity (allergic reaction), as well as infections and transmission of disease.
Common Myths About Ticks and Fleas
1/ A flea collar is all you will need to prevent problems. Sorry, no. Most flea and tick collars do not work well, and allergic reactions are common.
2/ Garlic is an effective dietary aid for preventing fleas and ticks. Feeding your pet garlic will not prevent flea and tick infestations anymore than you eating garlic will protect you from vampires. Fleas and ticks will bite anyway because they find you and your pets delicious.
3/ Fleas and ticks are normal parts of life and won’t hurt my pet. This is not true. Ticks can transmit many diseases, including canine ehrlichiosis (tick fever). Severe hypersensitivity (allergic) reactions may develop after even a mild flea infestation. Fleas can also transmit tapeworms to dogs and cats.
What to Do In Case of Flea and Tick Infestation
Step 1:Treat the pet’s environment.
You must kill fleas and ticks where they live when they’re not on your pet. Hire a professional exterminator. Be sure to explain that you have a flea or tick problem and that you have pets.
Step 2:Kill fleas and ticks that are on your pet. When used as directed, flea and tick control products are safe and effective at preventing re-infestation of your pet. There are several excellent products available for cats and dogs. Ask your vet for a product recommendation that will be suitable for your pet.
Step 3:Prevent re-infection. Treatment with a product like Frontline Top Spot will kill and repel ticks for one month, and fleas for up to three months. Frontline Top Spot is a topical treatment that can be used on dogs as young as ten weeks of age and cats as young as twelve weeks of age. Pet beds, carpets, blankets and other items must also be sanitized to kill any eggs that may be hiding.
Step 4:Break the reproductive cycle of fleas. In the past, controlling fleas and ticks has been difficult, however, new products are available which make external parasite control manageable. Your vet can recommend a safe and effective product for your pet.
Remember – fleas and ticks are NOT just summer time problems. While it does get cool enough during the winter to decrease flea and tick activity, it does not get cold enough to kill them. Fleas and ticks can live very happily indoors during the winter months, so be aware and check your pets frequently year round.
Nothing feels quite as good as scratching an itch, but when the itch keeps itching, it
can drive you batty! Our dogs and cats rely on us to take care of their needs, so it’s
important to be aware of excessive scratching. Fleas and ticks are the two most
common external parasites found in dogs and cats. Both can cause your pet to
scratch themselves more frequently.
Fleas and ticks are nasty little guys that survive by feeding on the blood of dogs, cats,
and sometimes people. They can also lead to health problems and carry disease. For
instance, flea bites can lead to health problems including constant itching (Flea
Allergy Dermatitis), anemia, and tapeworms. Tick bites can cause infections and
transmission of diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.
Prevention, prevention, prevention is the key!
Common Methods for Preventing Fleas and Ticks
Flea collars: Wearing a flea collar will be enough to protect your pet, right? Sorry,
not in every case. Flea and tick collars don’t always work, they have to be replaced
regularly, and allergic reactions are more common than you might think. Ask your vet for a preventative recommendation that will be suitable for your pet and lifestyle.
Adding garlic to a pet’s food to prevent fleas and ticks. Not really a great idea.
Garlic belongs to the Allium family (which includes onions, chives, and leeks), so it
can be poisonous to dogs and cats. Fleas and ticks will bite anyway
because it’s what they do. They find you and your pets delicious, so the garlic will just
add flavor. (Just for the record, feeding garlic to your pet will not prevent fleas and
ticks anymore effectively than you eating garlic would serve as protection from
vampires. Plus fleas and ticks are real threats; vampires are imaginary.)
Doing nothing to prevent fleas and ticks. After all, they’re a normal part of a dog’s
life, right? This is also a bad idea. If you’ve ever had a flea infestation in your home,
you’ll understand just how invasive and itchy these tiny critters can be when they’re
making a home around (and on) you and your pets!
Pets can develop severe hypersensitivity (allergic) reactions after even a mild flea
infestation. Trust us, now you’ll be hypersensitive every time you see your pet
scratching themselves. Fleas can also transmit tapeworms to dogs
and cats. Ticks can transmit many diseases, including canine ehrlichiosis (tick fever).
Talk with your vet about creating a parasite prevention treatment plan that’s
suitable for your pet’s needs.
Fleas in Arizona
Fleas and tick populations tend to increase in warm and humid climates. Even in dry climates like Phoenix, fleas and ticks can still pose a threat to your pet, putting them at risk for serious
health concerns. They look for hosts to bite because they need blood to reproduce.
Arizona’s arid desert climate is true for only part of the state. We also have forests
and grasslands, which are ideal breeding grounds for fleas and ticks. With so many
people and pets engaged in weekend trips away and outdoor pursuits like camping,
hiking, and biking, it’s easy for pets (and you) to pick up a few hitchhikers along the
Fleas can be found living in shrubbery or piles of leaves and other debris, but they
also love carpeting, pet bedding, and dark, protected spaces under furniture.
Ask your vet about a parasite prevention program that’s suitable for your pet and lifestyle.
Ticks in Arizona
Ticks tend to live outdoors near the animals they feed on (deer, coyotes, possums,
raccoons, etc) but they’ve been known to hitch a ride on people and pets. If you are
going hiking or camping, pay special attention to ticks by checking
kids, people, and pets throughout your trip!
Checking your pets for ticks: Carefully examine your pet’s ears, groin area, and
spaces between their toes – ticks love to hide in nooks and crannies of the body
while they engorge themselves on the host’s blood. Undiscovered, a tick can feed
for days on its host, increasing the chance of spreading pathogens and disease. In
fact, a female tick will expand up to 10X her original weight.
Creepy crawly tick fact: While most male ticks die after mating, the females die
after laying anywhere between 2000-18000 eggs. That reality is more than enough
reason to establish a regular parasite prevention routine for your pets that allows
them to live a happy and healthy life!
Ask your vet about recommending a parasite prevention routine that’s suitable for
your pet 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.
Who has heard the saying “Aging is a Disease”? We definitely have! Aging is a natural process that happens to all of us, but that doesn’t mean aging itself is a disease. What’s true is that senior pets are more susceptible to specific health conditions as a result of aging. Thanks to the advancements in veterinary medicine, our fur babies can live longer and happier lives – with some extra TLC! Here are some of the most common age-related diseases, symptoms to look for, and how they can affect your pets.
Arthritis: We know how much dogs love to take walks, and cats love to jump onto their perch. If your pet begins limping on those walks or is hesitating to run and jump on their perch, they may be showing early signs of arthritis. Arthritis is a common disease amongst senior pets, where one or more of the joints are inflamed, resulting in continuous pain and muscle stiffness. Some large breed dogs such as German Shepards, Labrador, and Golden Retrievers have a genetic predisposition to develop the disease in their elbows and hips. The best way to help prevent your pet from developing arthritis is weight management, which can help decrease the stress put on certain joints. In some cases, we can prescribe medication to help reduce swelling and pain. If you are noticing any changes in your pet’s physical abilities, please contact us immediately so we can discuss the options available to keep your pets feeling their best.
Vision Loss:Just as our vision can become impaired with age, so can our pets! The most common diseases that cause vision loss in pets are diabetes, glaucoma, and cataracts. Vision loss can be hard to detect in pets because they often adapt by compensating with their other senses. Depending on the cause of vision loss, it can make it more challenging to prevent. Some common symptoms of vision loss include bumping into objects, cloudy, discolored or inflamed eyes, and even clumsiness and disorientation.
Dental Disease:Did you know that dental disease is the number one medical problem in dogs and cats? Yes, you read that, right! Dental disease (also known as periodontal disease) is an inflammatory disease from leftover bacteria in the mouth, causing symptoms such as bad breath, problems eating, red gums and bleeding, and in severe cases, loss of teeth. If dental disease is left untreated, it can have adverse effects on the large organs in the body – including the heart, liver, and kidneys. To help fight dental disease, annual dental cleanings, and daily home care are highly recommended. Talk with us at your next appointment about preventative care and treatment options.
Cognitive Dysfunction:You may notice that your pet is beginning to have more of those “senior moments.” It may be that your pet is moving slower than usual, appearing to be more anxious or even seems disoriented and confused in familiar spaces. These behaviors can be the beginning signs of cognitive dysfunction – very similar to dementia and Alzheimer’s. Cognitive dysfunction is a neurological disease related to the aging of the mind, that can slow down all mental and motor functions as well as trained behaviors. The symptoms are typically mild and come on gradually, making it difficult to initially detect. If you suspect your pet is developing any of these symptoms or notice changes in their behavior, contact us right away.
Heart and Kidney Disease:With age, many of the large organs in the body are known to slow down. Heart and kidney disease are similar in that they both consist of progressive loss of the organ function. Some common symptoms of heart disease are lethargy, coughing, and rapid breathing. Similarly, common symptoms of kidney disease include lethargy, decreased appetite, and increased urination and thirst. Both of these diseases are tricky to detect because the symptoms can either appear gradually or very suddenly. While both can be preventable, treatment may consist of oral medication and changes to their diet.
Ultimately, you cannot stop the aging of your pups and kitties; but what we can do is work together in an effort to detect these disease symptoms sooner rather than later. As your trusted partner in pet health care, we want to help ensure your pet leads the healthiest and happiest life possible!