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How to Be a Responsible Pet Owner

February is Responsible Pet Owner Month, so it’s a perfect time to learn about ways we can all become better pet owners. Fur, fish, feathers or our pets need some key things from their people family members. Being a responsible pet owner means you can show your pets love in a variety of ways .

TRAINING: Pets require firm boundaries and training. Puppy training classes followed by advanced training classes can be fun for your pup who just wants to please you. Regular training helps dogs grow into good boys and girls and canine community citizens.

KEEP THEM SAFE: Always secure pet tags, micro-chips, plus any required licenses and registrations. Check your pet’s tags, licenses and microchip registration information to be sure all contact details are correct. If your pet isn’t microchipped, get it done ASAP.

GOOD NUTRITION: Younger pets will always need more frequent meals. No matter what the age of your pet, you’re going to want to feed them the best foods possible. Always read the Ingredients label and check that it’s been manufactured recently. The first ingredients should alway include some form of named animal protein like beef, chicken, lamb, or fish. Caution: avoid ‘meat by-products or poultry by-products’ as these are usually manufactured from low-cost parts that could come from any number of sources. If a listing includes ‘meal’ – a named type such as beef meal or chicken meal is better than ‘meat meal’. Food formulated for specific animals and different life stages will usually include added essential vitamins and minerals derived from legumes, fruits, vegetables, grains or meat. For those who prefer to leave grain out of the mix by choice or necessity due to diet sensitivities, there are many high quality grain-free foods on the market.

REGULAR EXERCISE: Young dogs often need at least an hour of exercise each day, while some breeds may need more. Age and fitness levels determine how long and vigorous your outings should be. Cats need interactive toys that keep them curious and active. You can also combine nutrition with cats’ natural stalking behavior with special toys designed to hold food or treats. 

DENTAL CARE: If a whiff of your pets’ breath prompts you to say “Eeeewwww!,” you’re not alone! Dental disease is one of the most common problems found during annual wellness exams. Left untreated, the bacteria can lead to issues such as gum disease, tooth infection, bone loss, chronic pain and infection of the kidneys, liver and even the heart. Veterinary dental treatment has evolved over the years. It requires general anesthesia so that the teeth can be thoroughly evaluated and cleaned. Dental x-rays are also taken to examine the health of the mouth.

Since February is also National Pet Dental Health Month – you’ll save $50 off a dental treatment.
Click here to find an AZPetVet location near you.

ANNUAL PREVENTATIVE CARE EXAMS: Annual exams are so much more than just vaccines! During the exam, the doctor will assess your pet from nose to tail. The personal attention your pet receives in the appointment allows us to use their current physical condition, the history provided, and our professional experience to formulate recommendations that we believe will help your pet live the best life possible.

Annual wellness exams can help prevent chronic health problems like diabetes as well as common communicable diseases. Pets will receive any required and/or recommended vaccinations and boosters, plus flea and/or heart worm medications. If it’s been a while since your pet has seen the vet, don’t wait. Schedule an annual wellness exam today. Don’t forget to ask about AZPetVet’s FREE Vaccines for Life program.

Click here to find an AZPetVet location near you.

REGULAR GROOMING: Your pet’s fur, teeth and nails can always use a bit of extra attention. Make sure to regularly groom your pets. Whether you bathe and groom them at home or use one of our experienced pet stylists, your pet will look, feel and smell wonderful. Don’t forget to regularly brush their teeth! Your veterinarian or groomer can show you the best techniques and recommend pet-safe products. Learn more about pet stylists and grooming at AZPetVet.

New Year Pet Health Check-Up

It’s a fresh new year, so it’s the perfect time to do a little new year pet health check-up on all things related to your pets. The theme is clean, clear and up-to-date, so let’s dig into our new year’s pet health check-up list!

1/ Schedule an annual check-up. Annual wellness exams can help prevent chronic health problems like diabetes as well as common communicable diseases. Your pet will be carefully examined from top to tail, including teeth. Pets will receive any needed vaccinations and boosters, plus flea and/or heart worm medications. If it’s been a while since your pet has seen the vet, don’t wait. Make an appointment today!

2/ Clean, Repair or Replace Worn Toys. Take a few minutes to sort through your pet’s toys. While every pet has their favorites, some toys can become choking hazards. Repair or replace anything with torn seams, visible stuffing or that’s just become gross. Some plush toys are washable. Make a habit to regularly wash them along with your pet’s bedding. Dogs also seem to collect old bones and chews. Quietly dispose of any with ragged edges or visible cracks.

3/ Wash & Repair Pet Bedding & Food Bowls. Regular washing of your pet’s bowls, bedding, pillows, blankets and plush toys is a must. Washing bedding and toys can help cut down on irritants and allergens like pet dander, dust and dirt. Use an unscented, pet safe detergent and avoid fabric softeners or other additives. Air dry or use the dryer, but avoid dryer sheets.

4/ Examine, Repair or Replace Collars, Harnesses & Leashes. Take a look at your pet’s collar, harnesses and leashes to make certain they’re in good working order, with no visible signs of wear and tear. Repair or replace if necessary. Now, get outside together and take a good long walk to enjoy the mild weather!

5/ Set Up a Regular Grooming Schedule! Your pet’s fur, teeth and nails can always use a bit of extra attention. Make sure to regularly groom your pets. Whether you bathe and groom them at home or use one of our experienced pet stylists, your pet will look, feel and smell wonderful. Don’t forget to regularly brush their teeth! Your veterinarian or groomer can show you the best techniques and recommend pet-safe products.

6/ Update Pet Tags, Licenses & Registrations. Check your pet’s tags, licenses and microchip registration information to be sure all contact details are correct. If your pet isn’t microchipped, get it done ASAP. Replace any worn or rusted ID tags.

Ready to schedule your pet’s new year pet health check-up? Click here to find an AZPetVet location near you. Happy New Year from the AZPetVet family!

Pets & Fireworks: New Year’s Safety

scared dog hides from fireworksNew Year’s Eve is a time for celebrating, and for many people, this includes setting off fireworks. While most people enjoy the colorful explosions, many pets are frightened, and many will try to escape, largely due to anxiety over the booming, flickering firework shows. With a little planning and preparation, New Year’s Eve can be a safe and enjoyable time for you and your pets. Happy New Year!

Leave your Pets at Home. There are a number of elements that can compromise your pet’s health and safety, from large crowds and discarded trash, bones, and food to loud noises, alcohol, and fireworks. Home is the safest place for your pet.

Create a Safe Haven. Your crate-trained pet will feel much more secure within the confines of their kennel. If that’s not an option, secure your pet into an area where they will be most comfortable, away from the bright flashing lights and noises or any nearby fireworks displays. Many pets will panic at the continuous sound of fireworks and may go to extreme lengths to escape the noise. Some have gone so far as to jump through glass windows, chew through screens, dig under fences, or leap over constructs, following their instincts to flee from the threatening situation.

Get Some Exercise. Spend a portion of the day walking, hiking, and playing so that your pet is tired out by the time all the evening revelries begin.

Lock Up Explosives. If you have personal fireworks, make sure to keep them in a safe location that your pet cannot access. Curious cats and dogs may be tempted by the fancy streamers, decorations, and scents of fireworks. Most fireworks are toxic to pets, containing harmful substances like potassium nitrate, charcoal, sulfur, and coloring agents. If your pet has ingested a firework, contact your vet or emergency animal hotline to get help immediately.

Check ID. Make sure that your pet is wearing their identification tag and that all your contact information is up-to-date. Even inside pets should wear a collar and ID—the loud noises can trigger a flight response that prompts them to escape however they can.

Try the Mozart Effect. Play some soothing classical music to create some comforting background noises for your pet. The music doesn’t need to drown out the fireworks; aim for a distracting and continuous melody at a regular listening volume. If classical music isn’t your forte, try a white noise machine, fan, or television program, all of which can provide a welcome diversion.

Under Pressure. A Thundershirt for your dog or cat may provide some additional relief. A Thundershirt exerts constant pressure on your pet’s torso to help relieve anxiety, much in the same way that swaddling a newborn baby creates a sense of security and comfort.

Enlist Help. If your pet shows extreme anxiety, talk to your vet to find out whether anti-anxiety medications may help them get through the noisy holiday season with minimal stress.

Pet Euthanasia – When It’s Time to Say Goodbye

As another year draws to a close, we wanted to take some time to address a difficult subject: pet euthanasia. No matter how much we all want to avoid it, eventually the day every pet owner dreads will come. We hope that day is a long time coming.

Preventive care like regular wellness checks, vaccines, and dental cleanings are key to keeping good boys and sweet girls healthy for years to come. That advice applies to pet parents, too!

One thing we can all agree on: the goal is to reach a gentle, loving end without pain. To have time say ‘goodbye, good boy’, or ‘we’ll miss you, sweet girl’.

Pet euthanasia days are hard for us, too. We have to focus on keeping you informed, while we carefully assess and tend to your pet’s care and comfort. Difficult decisions must be made. It’s our job to be calm, informative, and prepared so we can help ease the transition for everyone. Some manage this sad time better than others. We want you to know that sometimes, it’s really hard to fight back our own tears.

Whether it’s in the comfort of your own home, or the privacy of one of our treatment rooms, we’ll do our best to keep your pet comfortable while you say goodbye. You can count on AZPetVet to help you stay informed at every point through the journey.

Young or old or in-between, we’ll help you keep your pets looking and feeling their best. Hopefully, that will be for many years to come. From your pet’s first visit with us all the way to their last, it’s our honor to help you look after them along the way.

Different Types of Pet Loss

And please remember, you can lose pets in other ways. With the right preparation and the help of lots of caring people, most of these goodbyes don’t have to be permanent.

Lost pets pass through our doors daily. It’s always sad when we scan a scared stray dog or cat and their contact details are so out of date there’s little hope of them finding their way home. We share news through our network of Facebook pages and local rescues, so be sure to follow. Social media has helped us reunite many families!

Sometimes lost pets are brought to us injured. We care for them all, providing them the best medical help whenever possible, ensuring that we ultimately ease their pain and suffering – all while doing our best to help them find their family.

Make sure your pets have their best chance to return home if they escape the house or yard and get lost. Microchip your pets, have them wear collars and tags, and please keep your contact numbers current!

Moving to a new home or neighborhood? Those goodbyes are a bit easier (for us). We’re happy to introduce you and your furry (or not so furry) family to the team at one of our 21 locations in the Phoenix Metro area. They’ll welcome you with the WOW service you have come to know and love from AZPetVet.

Five Reasons to Be Thankful For Pets

be thankful for petsThis Thanksgiving, we are thankful for many things. Don’t forget to be thankful for your pets. Cats, dogs, pocket pets, exotics, whatever floats your boat – pets are the best! Here are five great reasons to be thankful for pets:

1/ Unconditional love.

Animals don’t discriminate. Short, tall, fat, thin, young or old, animals accept us and love us for who we are, and there is no limit to their love – except time. Savor your time with them, and they’ll do the same. Especially when they know you’re the keeper of the treats.

2/ Pets are great companions.

Happy? Sad? Feeling sick? Your pet knows your moods, and will often try to make you feel better, or simply curl up next to you to make sure you know you’re not alone.

3/ Pets can be hilarious.

One of the greatest joys of having a pet is the laughter they provoke. When they’re running around the house like their tail is on fire, or simply playing with toys (or shredding them), it’s hard to keep a straight face watching their antics.

4/ Pets help us stay healthier.

In fact, the Center for Disease Control attributes decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels along with additional positive health benefits to owning pets. Owning a pet also promotes relaxation and reduces levels of overall stress. Dog owners are more likely to get outside for exercise, and to socialize with others.

5/ Pets are just magic, and their magic extends to people with severe health issues.

Therapy animals are becoming more mainstream as more organizations realize the positive benefits of pet therapy. From hospitals to age care facilities, therapy animals are making a huge difference in the lives of people of all ages. Pets seem to have the innate ability to break through barriers others cannot – and that, friends, is nothing short of magic.

From the AZPetVet family to yours – we wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Don’t forget to keep a close watch on your pets during the holiday season. Click for some safety tips for the Thanksgiving holiday.