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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.

Why You Should Consider Adopting A Senior Pet

Senior man with senior dogShould you consider adopting a senior pet? The answer is a resounding YES! November is Adopt A Senior Pet Month, so let’s look at some of the reasons why you should at least consider adopting a senior pet.

Senior pets lose their homes for a variety of reasons, and most have nothing to do with their behavior. Their families may have experienced hardship or loss of a home. Sometimes, senior pets have lost their people due to the death of their guardian, or they’ve had to move to a senior care facility or other accommodations that don’t allow pets. Worst of all, some people simply give up their animals because they just don’t want them anymore. No matter how you look at it, it’s heartbreaking.

Reasons to Adopt a Senior Pet

Senior pets need homes just like puppies or kittens. Older animals in shelters or rescues are less likely to be adopted, and more likely to be euthanized.

Senior pets are usually fully house trained and know basic commands. And yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Senior pets have a longer attention span than younger animals, and can learn all sorts of new tricks and commands.

Senior pets are less rambunctious than puppies or kittens, so they make wonderful companions for people of all ages, especially senior citizens. They’re calmer, and usually have fewer destructive tendencies than their puppy and kitten counterparts who love to chew everything within their reach while they’re teething.

Finally – you’ll be saving a life. You might be surprised at how much love and joy you’ll get from adopting a senior pet. While they may miss their former family, they can and will bond with new people, and can make wonderful companions for the rest of their days.

How to Recognize Diabetes in Pets

diabetes sign with exclamation pointDiabetes is an endocrine disorder that affects the way the body produces or processes the hormone insulin, which helps the body turn glucose (sugar) from food into energy.

November is National Pet Diabetes Awareness Month, so we thought we’d take some time to review the symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats.

If your dog is experiencing the following symptoms, make a veterinary appointment as they could be indicators that your dog has diabetes. Please note that these symptoms overlap with many other health conditions, so blood work is required to make a proper diagnosis.

  • Change in appetite
  • Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption
  • Weight loss
  • Increased urination
  • Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting
  • Cataract formation, blindness
  • Chronic skin infections

Diabetes is the second most common endocrine disease in cats. If your cat is experiencing the following symptoms, make a veterinary appointment as they could be indicators that your cat has diabetes. Please note that these symptoms overlap with many other health conditions, so blood work is required to make a proper diagnosis.

  • Increased thirst (polydipsia) and urination (polyuria)
  • Inappropriate elimination (cats also experience increased urinary tract infections)
  • Change in appetite (increased or decreased appetite is an indicator of a problem)
  • Weight loss
  • Change in gait (walking)
  • Decreased activity, weakness, depression
  • Vomiting

Still not sure? Take the quiz and see if your pet is at risk

Diabetes can be managed. If your pet has symptoms, make an appointment with your veterinarian to make sure your pet can live a longer, healthier life.

Five Ways to Celebrate National Cat Day

National Cat Cats are awesome creatures and they’re sure to keep you laughing with their antics. Cuddling is also great – but not all cats are the cuddling type. No matter – it’s National Cat Day, so here are five great ways to let your kitty know how much you care!

1/ Adopt a cat or kitten from a local shelter or rescue – there’s always a beautiful kitty in need of a good home.

2/ Make a donation to a local shelter or rescue. Food, blankets, toys, litter and other items are always in demand.

3/ Volunteer at a local shelter or rescue where you can help by cleaning cages and litter boxes, play with the cats and kittens.

4/ Buy or plant some cat grass for your furry friends. It helps them get key nutrients and minerals into their diet, aids with digestion and helps prevent the build-up of hairballs.

5/ Take some time out to play with your cat/s. Try a cat-fishing pole with a toy or feather on the end of the line, a mirror to reflect light (careful- laser pointers can cause eye damage), crumpled paper or best of all – boxes. Cats adore boxes. “If I fits, I sits.”

Do Reptiles Need Veterinary Care?

do reptiles need veterinary careOne of the most common misconceptions about exotic pets is that they don’t need veterinary care. Nothing could be further from the truth. Responsible owners of reptiles understand they are not low-maintenance pets. Reptiles require expert care throughout their lifetime, which depending on the species, could be more than 20 years! They also cannot regulate their body heat, so they will require strictly controlled environments with thermometers, heaters, humidifiers and special day and night light sources.

Snakes
Snakes need frequent veterinary checkups. Most are carnivorous, and prone to contracting any number of parasites as well as blister disease, respiratory and digestive disorders and mouth rot. Many types of snakes can live for decades and grow to more than 5-feet long. Snakes need at least a 30-gallon tank, fresh water and strictly controlled 
daytime and nighttime temperatures. Their habitats must be regularly cleaned.

Turtles & Tortoises
Turtles are water-lovers, while tortoises live on land. Domestic aquatic turtles need at least 30-gallon habitat with strictly controlled temperatures, water to swim in, an area to bask in. They eat a varied diet that includes vegetables, turtle food for extra nutrients, and in some cases, insects. The average lifespan of an aquatic turtle is 25 years.

Tortoises can live to a ripe old age, so they’re definitely a long-term commitment – especially when you realize they could outlive you. Tortoises are land dwelling herbivores who love vegetables, fruits and tortoise food. Keeping them as pets require a large environment – at least a 40-gallon tank or terrarium – with a shallow bowl of water. The temperature should be warm and humid. Be sure to check with your vet for specific requirements.

Iguanas
Green iguanas can live for more than 20 years and grow to more than 6 feet long! They’re strict vegans. Their diet is limited to a very specific range of greens and fruits. Enclosures for a full-grown iguana should be at least 18 feet long, humidified, and maintained at a particular temperature with specific timetables for periods of darkness and ultraviolet light. Iguanas are some of the most frequently abandoned pets – simply because the proper care requirements are so extensive. 

Responsible Pet Care for Reptiles
Reptiles cannot regulate their own body heat, so they need temperature and brightness-regulating devices like:

  • Humidifier to keep air warm and moist
  • Daytime lights and heat sources. Reptile tanks need a “hot side” and a “cool side” so they can regulate their body temperature. 
  • Nighttime lights and heat sources. The cool side of the tan needs infrared heat lamps for nighttime use. Some reptiles – like iguanas – also require ultraviolet light.
  • Thermometers. Get two thermometers: one for the hot side and one for the cooler side.

Reptiles Also Require These Accessories

  • Hides where they can retreat from the heat and rest
  • Food and water bowls, some need deeper water for swimming
  • Tile, newspaper, or reptile carpet bedding
  • Rocks, logs, plants, and other accessories

Human Health Risks of Reptiles
Each year approximately 70,000 people in the US contract salmonellosis from direct or indirect contact with reptiles and amphibians. Children, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illness or death.

Click here for a list of AZPetVet hospitals that treat exotics and reptiles.