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 Of course, if the owner’s information registered to the chip is out of date, the microchip isn’t much help.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

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

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.

Polyuria and Polydipsia in Cats

How to Treat Polyuria and Polydipsia in Cats

As various factors change in a cat’s life, it’s common to see water intake and urination levels fluctuate to suit their current needs and environmental conditions. However, if you notice your furry friend drinking a lot more water or urinating more frequently, this could be a sign of an underlying health condition.

If your cat is making more frequent trips to the litter box or cleaning out its water bowl quicker than usual, these could be signs of polyuria or polydipsia. While polyuria and polydipsia themselves are not typically an immediate cause for concern, understanding these conditions and their causes are important in helping you determine if a visit to the vet is in order.

What is Polyuria and Polydipsia in Cats?

Polydipsia refers to a sharp increase in thirst levels. Polyuria is an increase in urination. While it can be challenging to identify polyuria or polydipsia in cats, the best way to recognize potential problems is to monitor your feline friend closely. Start by measuring the water that you pour into your cat’s bowl in the morning. On average, a healthy cat will take in roughly 20 to 40 milliliters of water per pound per day. By measuring your cat’s water supply at the start and end of each day, you can determine whether or not your furry friend is experiencing polydipsia.

One way to help identify polyuria in your cat is to observe the amount of wet litter inside of your cat’s litter box each day. In many cases, the cat might be experiencing an increase in urine volume caused by polyuria, and might also urinate outside the litter box. If you’re noticing more wet litter or an uncharacteristic change in your pet’s potty habits, it’s time to make a vet appointment right away.

Causes of Polyuria and Polydipsia in Cats

Many factors can lead to polyuria and polydipsia in cats. However, the primary causes include congenital abnormalities, specifically those related to renal failure. Additional causes of polyuria and polydipsia in cats include:

● Diabetes
● Kidney failure
● Uterine infection
● Liver disease
● Low protein diets
● Age

How to Treat Polyuria and Polydipsia in Cats

Treating polyuria and polydipsia in cats depends on a case-by-case basis, and is determined by the severity of the situation. The primary concern is that renal or hepatic failure could be the leading cause of polyuria or polydipsia. However, if both have been ruled out as possible causes, no treatment or significant life adjustment will likely be required for your furry friend.

By themselves, polyuria and polydipsia are not necessarily an initial cause for concern. However, if symptoms continue and are combined with other behavioral changes, make an appointment to have your cat evaluated by a veterinary professional right away.

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.

Pet Safety Around Holiday Decorations

Keeping Pets Safe During the Holiday Hustle

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.